Notes from the Underground – excellent review of work ahead of its time

Observer journalist Anita Sethi posted an excellent review on one of my favourite works of literature, Notes from the Underground – Notes from Underground by Fyodor Dostoevsky – review. This has always been an underappreciated and little-known novella penned by Fyodor Dostoevsky before he wrote the classics – Crime and Punishment, Idiot and Brothers Karamazov. The review concerns a new English translation of the novella and erudite introduction from DBC Pierre.

It is a pity that the work has been ignored so much by both Western and Russian audiences, as Dostoevsky not only lays down the framework for the ideas in subsequent novels, but also goes further in exploring the mind.

The novella also manages to cover such a wide range of issues – the desire for a utopia and the simultaneous desire to destroy this utopia, as man finds perfection unbearable to hold (example of Crystal Palace) ; the endless possibilities of technology and the way they can be used to cause more havoc – the better the technology, the greater the death caused through military action; the yearning for independence and freedom contrasted with the desire for some kind of security and state support; free will and existentialism; and many other ideas, including enlightened self-interest.

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