Dostoyevsky ‘Notes from Underground’ Critique

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“Notes from Underground” was published in 1864 as a feature presentation of his first 1860 issue “The Epoch”. “Notes from Underground” was written by the author during a time when he faced many challenges in his life. Dostoyevsky faced failure in the publishing of his first journal “Time”, his financial position was becoming weaker and embarrassing. Moreover, his wife was dying and his conservatism was eroded leading to a decline in his popularity with the liberal reading Russians and consequently, he became the focus of attack by the radical and liberal press (Fanger 3). Therefore, this research seeks to find how the author presents the aspect of “underground man” and how he approached Charles Darwin’s thoughts of man in “Origin of the Species”.

The tone of “Notes from Underground” is sharp, strange and bitter. The bitterness of the book is traced to the multiple personal misfortunes the author suffered as he wrote his novel. Through these personal tragedies it can be argued that the author presented the position of the “underground man” through his own experiences. Additionally, the research holds the second belief that the novel’s presentation of “underground man” is founded on the social context the novel addresses (Fanger 3). Through this, it was found that Dostoevsky presented the suffering of man under the emerging world view directed by European materialism, liberalism and utopianism. As he began writing his novel, Dostoevsky had been directed by the romantic error that looked at utopian social life and the social vision of satisfying and perfecting regular life for man. The failure for the society to gain these achievements was as a result of the distant liberalism and materialism that reduced the power of reasoning and...

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..., his physical inertia thwarts his aggressive desires and he has compulsive talk of himself but has no firm discussion (Frank 50). Moreover, the underground man is full of contempt for readers but is desperate that the reader understands, he reads very widely but writes shallowly, he depicts the social thinkers as superficial and he desires to collide with reality but has no ability to do this. Therefore the underground man is completely emotional, babbly with no real form.

Works Cited

Dostoevsky, Fyodor. Notes from Underground and the Grand Inquisitor, trans. R. E. Matlaw. New York: Dutton, 1960.

Fanger, Donald. Introduction: Notes From Underground. By Fyodor Dostoevsky. Trans. Mirra Ginsburg. NY: Bantam, 1992.

Frank, Joseph. “Nihilism and Notes from Underground." In Modern Critical Views: Fyodor Dostoevsky. Ed. Harold Bloom. NY: Chelsea House, 1988: 35-58
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