Synopses & Reviews
Dostoevsky’s most revolutionary novel, Notes from Underground
marks the dividing line between nineteenth- and twentieth-century fiction, and between the visions of self each century embodied. One of the most remarkable characters in literature, the unnamed narrator is a former official who has defiantly withdrawn into an underground existence. In full retreat from society, he scrawls a passionate, obsessive, self-contradictory narrative that serves as a devastating attack on social utopianism and an assertion of man’s essentially irrational nature.
Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, whose Dostoevsky translations have become the standard, give us a brilliantly faithful edition of this classic novel, conveying all the tragedy and tormented comedy of the original.
(Book Jacket Status: Jacketed)
From the Hardcover edition.
Published in 1864, Notes from Underground is considered the author's first masterpiece - the book in which he "became" Dostoevsky - and is seen as the source of all his later works. Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, whose acclaimed translations of The Brothers Karamazov and Crime and Punishment have become the standard versions in English, now give us a superb new rendering of this early classic. Presented as the fictional apology and confession of the underground man - formerly a minor official of mid-nineteenth-century Russia, whom Dostoevsky leaves nameless, as one critic wrote, "because 'I' is all of us" - the novel is divided into two parts: the first, a half-desperate, half-mocking political critique; the second, a powerful, at times absurdly comical account of the man's breakaway from society and descent "underground". The book's extraordinary style - brilliantly violating literary conventions in ways never before attempted - shocked its first readers and still shocks many Russians today. This magnificent new translation captures for the first time all the stunning idiosyncrasy of the original.