Book Review | Notes From Underground by Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky

Updated: Jun 24

Birth: November 11, 1821, Moscow, Russia

Death: February 9, 1881, St. Petersburg, Russia


Notes From Underground by Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky - 1864

Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky was born on November 11, 1821 in Moscow. Dostoevsky published his first book "Poor Folk" in 1846. Dostoevsky was arrested in 1849, for alleged involvement in a conspiracy against the state. The novels he wrote after exile glorified Russian literature: Notes from Underground, Crime and Punishment, The Gambler, The Brothers Karamazov...

I would like to share with you today; Notes From Underground by Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky.



Dostoevsky is an excellent writer, and this short novella really showcases his ability to deliver a searing social critique.


Although the narrative style and structure can be challenging to begin with, the fragmented nature of the story ends up being one of the most effective ways of presenting key ideas.


In many ways, this novella reminded me of Albert Camus' "The Stranger". This is a narrative of paralysis and discontent.


Dostoevsky is extremely critical about the artifice of 'modern' Russian society, and the fallacies he sees in the utopian ideals of the time. Perhaps most engaging, is the way the Underground Man demonstrates how paralysed one can be, as a thinking person in an unthinking society.


I admire Dostoevsky everytime because he can take you to the darkest places without making you mad.



“The pleasure of despair. But then, it is in despair that we find the most acute pleasure, especially when we are aware of the hopelessness of the situation...everything is a mess in which it is impossible to tell what's what, but that despite this impossibility and deception it still hurts you, and the less you can understand, the more it hurts.” /Dostoevsky, Notes From Underground
“I am to blame because, first of all, I am cleverer than anybody else around me.” /Dostoevsky, Notes From Underground
“I swear to you gentlemen, that to be overly conscious is a sickness, a real, thorough sickness.” /Dostoevsky, Notes From Underground
“I invented a life, so that I should at any rate live.” /Dostoevsky, Notes From Underground
“If you were to destroy in mankind the belief in immortality, not only love but every living force maintaining the life of the world would at once be dried up. Moreover, nothing then would be immoral, everything would be permissible, even cannibalism.” /Dostoevsky, Notes From Underground

“An intelligent man cannot become anything seriously, and it is only the fool who becomes anything.”

“...there is no explaining anything by reasoning and so it is useless to reason.” /Dostoevsky, Notes From Underground
“Even then I already carried the underground in my soul.” /Dostoevsky, Notes From Underground
“I am a sick man...I am a spiteful man. An unattractive man. I think that my liver hurts.” /Dostoevsky, Notes From Underground
“Which is better a cheap happiness or lofty suffering? Tell me then, which is better?” /Dostoevsky, Notes From Underground
“I agree that two and two make four is an excellent thing; but to give everything its due, two and two make five is also a very fine thing.” /Dostoevsky, Notes From Underground

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