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 One of the most remarkable characters in literature, the unnamed narrator is a former official who has defiantly withdrawn into an underground existence.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.
Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821-81) was one of Russia”s foremost writers, producing novels, short stories, essays and philosophical texts. Born in Moscow, he initially trained as an engineer, spending his spare time translating books. The publication of his first book, Poor Folk, saw him enter the literary circles of St Petersburg, but he developed a gambling habit as he toured around Europe and then fell foul of the Russian authorities who sent him into exile in Siberia in 1849 for reading banned works. Crime and Punishment was the second novel that Dostoevsky wrote after he returned from exile and its serialisation was considered a huge success, earning Dostoevsky many plaudits.