Notes from the Underground

Notes from the Underground

4.2 19
by FYODOR DOSTOYEVSKY
     
 

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Underground*

*The author of the diary and the diary itself
are, of course, imaginary. Nevertheless it is clear
that such persons as the writer of these notes
not only may, but positively must, exist in our
society, when we consider the circumstances in
the midst of which our society is formed. I have

Overview

Underground*

*The author of the diary and the diary itself
are, of course, imaginary. Nevertheless it is clear
that such persons as the writer of these notes
not only may, but positively must, exist in our
society, when we consider the circumstances in
the midst of which our society is formed. I have
tried to expose to the view of the public more
distinctly than is commonly done, one of the
characters of the recent past. He is one of the
representatives of a generation still living. In this
fragment, entitled "Underground," this person
introduces himself and his views, and, as it were,
tries to explain the causes owing to which he has
made his appearance and was bound to make his
appearance in our midst. In the second fragment
there are added the actual notes of this person
concerning certain events in his life.--AUTHOR'S NOTE.



I

I am a sick man.... I am a spiteful man. I am an unattractive man. I
believe my liver is diseased. However, I know nothing at all about my
disease, and do not know for certain what ails me. I don't consult a
doctor for it, and never have, though I have a respect for medicine and
doctors. Besides, I am extremely superstitious, sufficiently so to
respect medicine, anyway (I am well-educated enough not to be
superstitious, but I am superstitious). No, I refuse to consult a
doctor from spite. That you probably will not understand. Well, I
understand it, though. Of course, I can't explain who it is precisely
that I am mortifying in this case by my spite: I am perfectly well
aware that I cannot "pay out" the doctors by not consulting them; I
know better than anyone that by all this I am only injuring myself and
no one else. But still, if I don't consult a doctor it is from spite.
My liver is bad, well--let it get worse!

I have been going on like that for a long time--twenty years. Now I am
forty. I used to be in the government service, but am no longer. I
was a spiteful official. I was rude and took pleasure in being so. I
did not take bribes, you see, so I was bound to find a recompense in
that, at least. (A poor jest, but I will not scratch it out. I wrote
it thinking it would sound very witty; but now that I have seen myself
that I only wanted to show off in a despicable way, I will not scratch
it out on purpose!)

When petitioners used to come for information to the table at which I
sat, I used to grind my teeth at them, and felt intense enjoyment when
I succeeded in making anybody unhappy. I almost did succeed. For the
most part they were all timid people--of course, they were petitioners.
But of the uppish ones there was one officer in particular I could not
endure. He simply would not be humble, and clanked his sword in a
disgusting way. I carried on a feud with him for eighteen months over
that sword. At last I got the better of him. He left off clanking it.
That happened in my youth, though.

But do you know, gentlemen, what was the chief point about my spite?
Why, the whole point, the real sting of it lay in the fact that
continually, even in the moment of the acutest spleen, I was inwardly
conscious with shame that I was not only not a spiteful but not even an
embittered man, that I was simply scaring sparrows at random and
amusing myself by it. I might foam at the mouth, but bring me a doll
to play with, give me a cup of tea with sugar in it, and maybe I should
be appeased. I might even be genuinely touched, though probably I
should grind my teeth at myself afterwards and lie awake at night with
shame for months after. That was my way.

I was lying when I said just now that I was a spiteful official. I was
lying from spite. I was simply amusing myself with the petitioners and
with the officer, and in reality I never could become spiteful. I was
conscious every moment in myself of many, very many elements absolutely
opposite to that. I felt them positively swarming in me, these
opposite elements. I knew that they had been swarming in me all my life
and craving some outlet from me, but I would not let them, would not
let them, purposely would not let them come out. They tormented me
till I was ashamed: they drove me to convulsions and--sickened me, at
last, how they sickened me! Now, are not you fancying, gentlemen, that
I am expressing remorse for something now, that I am asking your
forgiveness for something? I am sure you are fancying that ...
However, I assure you I do not care if you are....

Product Details

ISBN-13:
2940012426789
Publisher:
SAP
Publication date:
04/26/2011
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
111 KB

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Notes From the Underground 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
AdrianaCuratola More than 1 year ago
...buy this book. This was the first version I was able to understand where this guy was coming from. This is a classic, no doubt about it, but the main character is definitely not warm and cuddly.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am from Russia and I believe this book is great. Dostoyevsky is one of my favorite authors and I recommend this book to everyone who is interested in Dostoyevsky. Thank you for listening to me, I thankful for such nice behavior from United States.
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Res moved to 19.
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Julia Tindell More than 1 year ago
As always, Dostoyevsky displays in Notes from the Underground an understanding of humanity that is nothing short of the "sublime and beautiful." This was a fantastic read and I recommend it without reserve to lovers of the genre.
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