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Notes from Underground (Pevear / Volokhonsky Translation)

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Overview

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 One of the most remarkable characters in literature, the unnamed narrator is a former official who has defiantly withdrawn into an underground existence.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 ...

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Notes from Underground

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Overview

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 One of the most remarkable characters in literature, the unnamed narrator is a former official who has defiantly withdrawn into an underground existence.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.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Praise for previous translations by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, winners of the PEN/Book-of-the-Month Club Prize

The Brothers Karamazov
“One finally gets the musical whole of Dostoevsky’s original.” –New York Times Book Review

“It may well be that Dostoevsky’s [world], with all its resourceful energies of life and language, is only now–and through the medium of [this] new translation–beginning to come home to the English-speaking reader.” –New York Review of Books

Crime and Punishment
“The best [translation] currently available…An especially faithful re-creation…with a coiled-spring kinetic energy… Don’t miss it.” –Washington Post Book World

“Reaches as close to Dostoevsky’s Russian as is possible in English…The original’s force and frightening immediacy is captured…The Pevear and Volokhonsky translation will become the standard version.” –Chicago Tribune

Demons
“The merit in this edition of Demons resides in the technical virtuosity of the translators…They capture the feverishly intense, personal explosions of activity and emotion that manifest themselves in Russian life.” –New York Times Book Review

“[Pevear and Volokhonsky] have managed to capture and differentiate the characters’ many voices…They come into their own when faced with Dostoevsky’s wonderfully quirky use of varied speech patterns…A capital job of restoration.” –Los Angeles Times

With an Introduction by Richard Pevear

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780679734529
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 8/28/1994
  • Series: Vintage Classics Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 160
  • Sales rank: 112,658
  • Product dimensions: 5.12 (w) x 7.99 (h) x 0.43 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 34 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(21)

4 Star

(7)

3 Star

(5)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(0)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 34 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 28, 2014

    I was torn between giving this 3 or 4 starts, but I went with fo

    I was torn between giving this 3 or 4 starts, but I went with four because no doubt it is profound, engaging and thought-provoking, though not very entertaining a read. This was probably my least favorite of the 5 Dostoevsky novels I've read so far (Demons, The Idiot, C&P, TBK, and Notes) but it's still a good book, and certainly a lot better than most of what is being written nowadays. The ramblings and actions of our narrator, though they may seem to be complete nonsense at times, actually constitute a pretty accurate description of the human condition as it relates to dignity, self-worth, and one's perceived place in society. That being said, as far as entertainment value is concerned, this book has a rather disjointed flow to it (intentional no doubt), there is very little semblance of a plot, the characters are difficult to relate to at times, and the book ends just as soon as it finally starts to get going.

    I really don't think I would recommend this book to someone looking for an entertaining read, as this book didn't entertain me much at all. That being said it still gives one a good think if they devote the energy to reading it, so I wouldn't have any reservations recommending it to my nihilistic, cynical, and jaded intellectual buddies. 

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 15, 2014

    Ariel

    "Ok. Thanks for giving me a second chance." She left.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 15, 2014

    War torn

    Yeah

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 10, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    An Essential Read for the Philosophical/Psychologically Interested Reader

    This translation of "Notes from Underground" is essential for an understanding of Dostoevsky's critique of traditions within Western Philosophy and his analysis of consciousness. Overall, this novel grabs the reader from his high and lofty comfort and drags him down to the raw, unmitigated center of his own humanity.

    One should enjoy it as a invigorating philosophical read or as a slow literary read; either way, it is an essential book to the reader who wants to be intellectually stimulated.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 25, 2008

    EXCELLENT

    Great book. Thought provoking. Dostoevsky is awesome!!!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2005

    AMAZING

    While other authors in literary history have reduced their plot lines to little more than mundane physical recounts of peculiar events, Dostoevsky changes the entire focus of novels as we know them. He takes the reader on a psychological joyride to the very essence of the human psyche. The Volokhonsky/Pevear translation is far superior to any other translations, whose translators (as the authors previously mentioned did) depend on simply providing accurate vocabulary rather than capturing the nature of the verse. From the first line, the reader can see the astonishing characteristics that all homo sapiens carry: regret, self-hatred, and an overall sense of the futility of the human condition.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 30, 2004

    absolutely amazing

    Theres no question that Dostoevsky is by far the greatest spiritual novelist of all time. Don't read this and just think it, just pick up his book and believe it, This book not only brings us back to the nineteeth century Russia but helps us to understand the time and Dostoevsky's concern for all humanity and that by suffering and repentence mankind can become what it was meant to be, true children of God.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 24, 2003

    Modern Library Classic version more for $

    For those who felt this traslation was lacking, try The Modern Library Classics, 'The Best Short Stories of Fyodor Dostoevsky.' It is more for your money; plus, it contains 'The Dream of a Ridiculous Man,' which patently mocks human nature. About 'Notes': It is the misanthrope's thesis. You could learn a lot, whether you think so or not.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 1, 2003

    The work is good, but the translation is not vivid.

    This novel is a wonderfull work of art which questions the society and poses intriguing questions, however it is dulled by the dry language of the translation. I am a native Russian speaker and I have read some parts of the work in russian. This perticular translation lacks the vivid and clear language of the original. I do think that this poor translation takes away from the beauty of the work.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2003

    Man's Loathsome Habits for 'Living Life'

    'We¿ve all grown unaccustomed to life, we¿re all lame, each of us more or less... We feel a sort of loathing for real 'living life.'' Yes! We learn 'living life' by the words of others, by the power of others, by the presence of others! And this is 'living life?' We common folk should be ashamed! An excellent and witty book recommended for the real ethicist for valuing and living one's own life.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 25, 2002

    One of my favorites. Depthful and mind-wrentching...

    Anyone who find this books anything less then 5 stars hasn't really read the book. It's easy to pick up the book and skim the words he writes, but it's harder to understand it if you don't want to. The narrator tells you how it is, notwithstanding the fact that he rambles on about his own hates, regrets and so forth. We've all felt like the narrator once in our lives, and if you haven't, then like one other reviewer said: he has proven his point. He believes he is above everyone, and has a certain lack-of-self-esteem-superiority complex. He takes what he doesn't have and makes himself to feel bigger and better because of his loses of not getting proper schooling, not having a proper job, home, family, and life in general. He also has a very large sense of contradiction. With his strive to be like every other insensible, ungrateful being on the earth, he realizes he can't do it. Of course, he will ramble on for 103,546,356 pages about it before he gets to his point, but it's rather amuzing once you get used to it. NOW READ IT!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 14, 2002

    The Bible of the spiteful and the bitter

    This is one of the great works of world- literature.It is Dostoevsky at his most spiteful and bitter. The man in the cellar alone meditating on his own meaninglessnes, and on the falseness of the civilization which he does not feel himself apart of startles us by the brilliant paradoxes and contradictions of his soul. If his enemy is ' superficial rationality' then he angrily illustrates how true life in feeling comes from conflict inside.Saying one thing one minute and feeling the opposite the next his great gloom also brings with it a great liberation and hilarity.This is one of the great funny books, one of the books which makes you laugh in its attacks on the mediocrity, the banality of others, and of oneself. Reading this book in my own most anarchic and nihilistic university days I found in it a kindred soul which revealed to me something I sensed in myself and did not know how to say . Yet I knew too that to remain down in the cellar is to ultimately , not live, and like Dostoevsky also I found my way out in literature and love many many years later.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 27, 2002

    Pure Genius.

    This book is the single greatest description of the way a truly intelligent person thinks. If you disagree, then you might be smart, but not intelligent. After all, a pool can be wide, but it might not be deep.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 16, 2002

    The Russian Master

    Notes from Underground is an excellent composition which reveals the inner most thoughts and psychological state of a complex character.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 31, 2002

    Excellent Book, really makes you think. If it doesn't the author proved his point.

    This may be hard to read for some people because there are a lot of idea's and morals thrown at you all at once and some people can't handle that. (I couldn't at first, it's a thinker). The 'character' is a little frigtening because he does in fact, hold grudges for years, and is neurotic a majority half the time. For lack of a better term, it's a free write, from what he says in the book. It's interesting because the character is well developed for someone who rambles on about his morality half the time. Definitely a great book to read, but you can either hate it or love it. It's small too ;)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 23, 2001

    Dostoevsky is the greatest author. This book contains his personal notes. Now let me ask, would you like to read it?

    Clearly, the reviewer next to me is misguided. This person claims not to have made out the point of the 'story.' Now, despite this reviewer being illiterate, I will waste my time to explain where he or she is wrong. Dostoevsky hasn't written a story at all. If you read the first few pages, my ignorant critic, you'd be aware of this also. This truely magnificant book contains his notes, not a story and, just as an adolescent teen jots notes in a diary, so too Dostoevsky jots notes in this book. the magnificance lies in the fact it was Dostoevsky who wrote them, and not some illiterate college student. As for the point: well, you see, these notes contain numerous ideas and if there's an idea in them you like, it can easily be made the point--whichever one you wish. It's easy, just pick one out. But the best and most important idea, and my advice to you, the ignorant critic, is to read this book before reviewing it.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 1, 2001

    What the hell?

    I really didnt get the point of this story. The narrator is a rambling man with a lot of issues. He holds grudges for years, and he takes pleasure in others pain.I didnt like this story, Dostoevsky has written better.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 16, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 17, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 34 Customer Reviews

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