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Kældermennesket : optegnelser fra en undergrund (1864)

af Fyodor Dostoevsky

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12,495154494 (4.05)3 / 371
Pessimistiske betragtninger, fremsat af en jeg-person, som føler det oprørende at være underkastet "visse almægtige, evige og døde naturlove", og derfor i protest melder sig ud af normaliteten.
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Viser 1-5 af 153 (næste | vis alle)
The narrator of this two-part novella is the most thorough-going misanthrope I can recall encountering in literature. The one person he hates most is himself, a poverty-stricken retired minor government clerk.
Before reading the book, I’d heard it praised for its psychological insight. To the extent that this offers an unsparing depiction of a mindset, yes. But there is little exploration of why this man turned out as he did, only hints, such as his being an orphan. Or why he makes choices that will only deepen his isolation and misery. Or refuses to even admit he is choosing, feeling compelled instead.
The narrator rants about the futility of utopian social programs as if that were the only alternative to his life and rails about the fatuity of the conformist crowd. But is the alternative self-flagellation? At one point, the narrator reflects on why he’s writing this down and concludes, “It’s hardly literature so much as a corrective punishment.” When he asks, “Which is better—cheap happiness or exalted sufferings?” I wondered if those were the only two options.
Then there is Liza, a novice prostitute as if to illustrate the adage that misery loves company (if only for a little while). Imaginative fiction explores the boundaries of existence; prostitutes in nineteenth-century Russia were undoubtedly on that boundary. For that reason alone, it’s unsurprising that these are a recurring motif for Dostoevsky. Rather than dismissing Liza as a rough draft for Sonya in Crime and Punishment, I saw the narrator’s ambivalence and cruelty toward her as another way the book presents us with choices the narrator refuses to make for failure to recognize they exist.
Without falling into the fallacy of conflating Dostoevsky and the narrator, I think it’s fair to assume that in writing this, Dostoevsky was examining moods and reactions he knew from personal experience. His aim seems to be to suggest that there is a little bit of this miserable man in all of us. As the narrator says, “We are all divorced from life, we are all cripples, every one of us, more or less. . . . I have only in my life carried to an extreme what you have not dared to carry halfway.”
I can’t say the book was a pleasure to read. That’s a left-handed tribute to Dostoevsky’s skill at creating an atmosphere and drawing the reader in. It’s also remarkable as an example of sustained monologue as a fiction technique. So, while I don’t think it’s on the level of his undeniably great novels, it’s still an achievement in its own way. ( )
  HenrySt123 | Apr 6, 2024 |
Notes From Underground depicts a protagonist/narrator who perceives himself to be an outcast, and is isolated from the society as a result. His isolation has turned his mind into an echo chamber in which he seeks pleasure in his mental anguish while despising humanity. At the beginning of this book, the reader might ask themselves whether there was any need for this book to be written, but as one gets more acquainted with the severely conflicted nature of the narrator, they are bound to feel increasingly at home with the feverish battle between the narrator's love for seclusion and his desire to be noticed. Dostoevsky masterfully paints this tug-of-war between the narrator's egoistic inertia and the constant temptation of gaining acceptance among his acquaintances through vulnerability, and the end product is a bundle of hopefulness and heartbreak ( )
  shadabejaz | Apr 2, 2024 |
The underground man is the worst kind of sniveling, worthless, and delusional little rat ever to be a stain on God's creation. ( )
  RepentantErasmus | Mar 21, 2024 |
I’m not sure if this novel is timeless or ahead of its time, but either way, it’s one of the most profound and yet relatable works I’ve ever read. I saw a Youtube video that updated the setting of the novel by portraying the main character as a blogger, and I’m convinced that if the Underground Man were alive today, the first forty pages of his book would indeed have taken the form of a blog. He shares his philosophical and existential ramblings, pretending he has an audience, but admitting that no one is really listening.

In the second part of the novel, he transitions from philosophizing to recounting the actual events that drove him to isolation and despair. The humor is (sometimes painfully) relatable as the protagonist’s rich inner life is contrasted with his bathetic social interactions. For example, the section in which he tries to impress the popular kids from his former school—several years too late to improve their opinion of him—reminds me of the song “High School Never Ends.” The Underground Man’s disastrous attempts to gain the recognition he believes he deserves are as darkly hilarious as anything in contemporary entertainment, but with an added depth. Like the clues at the start of a well-written mystery novel, the narrator’s existential ramblings at the beginning of the book take on an ironic quality upon rereading. Although the underground man’s claims that humans will always choose freedom over happiness and individuality over rationality may be controversial as generalizations, they are certainly true of his own life.
( )
  soulforged | Jan 7, 2024 |
A ~40yr-old man philosophizes about conformity, identity, and society in general, and then tells a story about his experiences just prior to his being sent 'underground'. He seems to be both bipolar and an Aspie, and struggles with his manic phase as he is also trying to figure out how and why other people fit in easily and are accepted in society while he must struggle to do the same. He tries dressing differently, asserting himself into social circles with people he vaguely knows, and spending the night with a prostitute, and each experiment just complicates his life without making him any more accepted as just a normal guy. And of course, he knows he is really better than all of them anyway, so his failures just prove how exceptional he really is.
Of course, when Dostoevsky was writing there was no Dr. Asperger yet, and no Aspergers diagnosis, so while he was no doubt writing from his own experiences of himself and/or people he knew, he would not have thought he was writing about the inner life of someone with this brain type(Aspergers/High-functioning Autism). I always find books like this interesting not just for the story, but also for what they show about past eras, that these mental disorders and neurotypes existed in the past too, and that they were just interpreted differently before psychology created the labels we know now. (So, there is not really such an 'epidemic' of autism; we simply are recognizing the wider range of people in the Autistic Spectrum.)
I liked seeing how this book compared with Dostoevsky's others, too. Some of the scenes and ideas from this book crop up again in other books, in other contexts. And,I liked that this book was fairly short. ( )
  JBarringer | Dec 15, 2023 |
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Pessimistiske betragtninger, fremsat af en jeg-person, som føler det oprørende at være underkastet "visse almægtige, evige og døde naturlove", og derfor i protest melder sig ud af normaliteten.

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