Author: Fyodor Dostoyevsky | Page Count: 136
“The best definition of man is: a being that goes on two legs and is ungrateful.”
Notes from Underground is split into two distinct parts. The first part is primarily concerned with human suffering, and the complex enjoyment that can be attained from it. The text is presented as an excerpt from the diary of a retired civil servant. He's an embittered soul having a good rant about how the world is peopled by selfish bastards whom he despises; yet he too is selfish in his emotions and misgivings, so he is a part of the social group that he hates. He is aware of this fact and tries desperately to escape but he’s unable. This further feeds his misery, and the spiral takes shape.
The second part has the unnamed author relating tales of his awkward interactions with the kinds of contemptible people he was critical of in the first part. If he was to fit into their world would it enable him to escape the futility and crippling nature of his own? Read the text and find out. It explores human relationships from an ‘outsider’ point of view, and how reason and logic play a vital role in one’s own personal standing with other people. This second part was for me the least interesting part, while conversely being the most overtly vicious insight into the narrators psyche.
If you hadn’t guessed already, this is an existentialist text, perhaps even the first of its kind. It is equal parts enlightening philosophy and outright miserable psychology. In that respect it translates perfectly what the narrator feels.
4 assholes and a prostitute out of 5