Dostoevsky F. Notes from Underground

Notes from Underground, written in 1864, heralds the great novels of Dostoevsky’s maturity. The unnamed narrator is that classic figure of Russian fiction, an embittered minor official who has abandoned respectable life in favour of nihilism. At once an attack on godless bourgeois society and on the utopian socialism which many of Dostoevsky’s contemporaries saw as an alternative to it, the story is an exposé of the irrational forces which underlie all human enterprises, however lofty. Yet even in the darkest moments Dostoevsky finds not only grim humour but also the possibility of redemptive love, embodied in suffering individuals and, above all, in the character of Liza.

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