“Recommended by Pat ”Melanierose wrote this review Thursday, June 23, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Dostoyevsky's Underground Man (UM) is as repulsive and unnerving as his writing is extraordinary. The intimacy of his tone is so intense and direct, made all the more intriguing by its mixture of violence and humiliation, pathetic comedy and righteous satire, self regard and acute social consciousness. It is a voice made to seem real by its polyphonic playfulness.
The first part's impassioned tirade against abstract utopianism and intellectualism (in favour of free will) smacks of the nasty reactionary impulse that swept Europe from the French Revolution onwards (Burke, etc.). If this reflects Dostoyevsky's political views (which readers of Dostoyevsky in depth seem to agree), then they are disgusting and abysmal. But the lurid ferocity of UM's character is oddly compelling - full of savage paradoxes that convey a mind thinking, challenging its own mindfulness.
The second part was not quite as singular, but equally distinctive in its tale of social humiliation, account of self-destructive behavior (particularly with UM's brutal prognosis for the prostitute Liza) and sheer degradation. I can see why Dostoyevsky is elevated to such a high status, even if his debased view of humanity is hard to stomach and politically repugnant.”
“ A nameless narrator tells us about his life. “I am a sick man… I am a spiteful man. An unattractive man. I think that my liver hurts.” As he continues we find that he is cynical and bitter. Today he might be diagnosed as bipolar. In the first part of the novel we find out the narrator’s views of himself and the world. The second part of the novel consists of ”notes” from the narrator that describe certain events of his life. Throughout his tales there are times you may feel draw to him or feel sorry for him, but then he’ll do or say something mean or spiteful (as he himself claims to be) and all pity washes away for a bit.
The entire novel is one big contradiction. The narrator himself is a giant paradox. He claims to feel superior to everyone, and sometimes even acts the part, but most often we can see that he feels largely inferior to everyone around him… and he hates everyone for it. He despises himself, but punishes everyone else for his shortcomings. He speaks certainly that he is writing only for himself and that no one will ever read his notes, yet he constantly addresses the readers directly. I think there have been many interpretations of this novel, and all will have a hint of truth to them. I believe that what you pull away from this novel will depend on the type of person you are, and where you are in your own life. You may see pieces of yourself in the man from underground. You will definitely see things in him you hope to never see in yourself. But I think everyone will come away with something different, and everyone should read this one… at least once.”
“Torment and pain on the road to existentialism. As only a Russian could write it. One gets bogged down in the dismal slush of it all and hankers for some ray of hope in this eternal uphill struggle. Great literature, perhaps, but a slog nevertheless.”dbsovereign wrote this review Saturday, June 11, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I've heard that this is the type of book one must read every several years to learn more about oneself through each and each reading. First of all, it is imperative for future readers to make sure that they have a well-translated copy of the novel as during my first attempt to read the book, I was lost in a series of run-on sentences. Upon finding a version by a different translator, I found the book much more easier to read.
I really enjoyed this book for sticking so close to, at least to what my opinion is, the universal human experience. Dostoyevsky shows us through these notes exactly what everyone has thought at least once in their life. It is very easy to identify with the pathetic main character. I plan to reread this book once more in 5 years and maybe I will be able to see how much I have grown as a person after I draw new conclusion from this novel.”
“Dostoyesky's anti-hero is the the first of a long line of existential anti-heroes that followed later in the 20th century. Clearly, here is a man who is alienated from his bretheren. He has burrowed so deep internally that he can not connect with outsiders. He is trapped by his superior intellect and his heightened consciousness showers him with agony. He has no clue how to relate to men and women of any social status. He is alone. He foreshadows the players in the dramas of Samuel Beckett and Sartre. He is Nietzsche and Kierkegaard in the ways in which they experienced their lives. He is The Stranger of Camus. He anticipates the 20th century anti-hero of Nabokov in Lolita and protagonists like Billy Pilgrim in Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut. Honest, brilliant, alienated, articulate and alone. He finds it impossible to channel his intellect into positive action: he lives in a state of paralysis. Most of all, the anti-hero is Dostoyesky, the author, penning immortal lines of literature from debtors prison. To understand clearly the influence of existentialism in 20th century literature, one must first understand this germinal literary classic. ”David B. Lentz wrote this review Thursday, May 26, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“CONTRADICTIONS! this book is all about them. the underground man seems content and arbitrarily enthused to attack anything that makes sense... just like dostoyevsky to question enlightenment ideas... however, i feel myself inescapably drawn to it...”chris eppo wrote this review Friday, May 20, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“The fact that this book is one of my favorites, speaks volumes of my inner monoloque and possibly any psychiatric disorders I have. This came along in an important time in my life, and I'm thankful for the underground man and what he helped me figure out.”Jennifer wrote this review Sunday, April 17, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“So I understand why this is a classic, it was not a "normal" book for the time, and I can appreciate the complexity of the story, and the character, but I found him annoying, whiny and with out a point.
It was an effort to finish.”