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Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Finish reading "Notes from underground"


The book has 2 parts. The 1st part, written in the epistolary form, is about the underground man in the present, at 40. Full of philosophical musings, and comments on contemporary philosophical and social views. Dark, bitter, misanthropic, self-contradictory. The 2nd part switches back to 16 years earlier and has an ordinary narrative, with society, other people, dialogues, actions, some interactions. Also dark, also bitter, also misanthropic and self-contradictory, cynical, spiteful, full of self-hatred, but more extreme, more unpredictable, much more intense, sometimes noisy, sometimes extremely hysterical, though strangely enough, the 2nd part once in a while can be horribly hilarious. 
The narrator is so strange, and yet so like myself.

It's just fitting to read this book now. I've just had philosophy. Reading "Notes from underground" after "Crime and punishment" is also interesting though the reverse order might be better, for Dostoyevsky's reaction against utilitarianism, expressed directly and explicitly in this book, is expressed in a more subtle and thus more masterful way in "Crime and punishment" through the characterisation of Raskolnikov. In this order, they complement each other.
Above all, I'm in exactly the right mood for it, the cynical, bitter, angry, doubtful, misanthropic, depressed, moody mood, with even a wish to retreat to the underground, to hibernation, to isolation, to be left alone, in peace, having nothing to do with anyone else.
Dostoyevsky doesn't blow me away- unlike Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky isn't awe-inspiring. But this book shakes me and touches a deep part in me, more than "Crime and punishment" has done, and perhaps, has done something else to me, something I can't describe. A great book, a masterpiece.













(Photo: from "Life. Live it")

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