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Notes from Underground, The Double and Other Stories (B&N Classics)

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Notes from Underground, The Double and Other Stories, by Fyodor Dostoevsky, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of Barnes & Noble Classics: New introductions commissioned from Notes from Underground, The Double and Other Stories, by Fyodor Dostoevsky, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of Barnes & Noble Classics: New introductions commissioned from today's top writers and scholars Biographies of the authors Chronologies of contemporary historical, biographical, and cultural events Footnotes and endnotes Selective discussions of imitations, parodies, poems, books, plays, paintings, operas, statuary, and films inspired by the work Comments by other famous authors Study questions to challenge the reader's viewpoints and expectations Bibliographies for further reading Indices & Glossaries, when appropriate All editions are beautifully designed and are printed to superior specifications; some include illustrations of historical interest. Barnes & Noble Classics pulls together a constellation of influences—biographical, historical, and literary—to enrich each reader's understanding of these enduring works.  Often considered a prologue to Dostoevsky’s brilliant novels, the story “Notes from Underground” introduces one of the great anti-heroes in literature: the underground man, who lives on the fringes of society. In an impassioned, manic monologue this character—plagued by shame, guilt, and alienation—argues that reason is merely a flimsy construction built upon humanity’s essentially irrational core. Internal conflict is also explored in “The Double,” a surreal tale of a government clerk who meets a more unpleasant version of himself and is changed as a result. In addition to these two existential classics, this collection also includes the psychologically probing stories “The Meek One,” “The Dream of a Ridiculous Man,” and “White Nights.” Deborah A. Martinsen is Assistant to the Director of the Core Curriculum at Columbia University and Adjunct Associate Professor of Russian and Comparative Literature. She is the author of Surprised by Shame: Dostoevsky's Liars and Narrative Exposure.


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Notes from Underground, The Double and Other Stories, by Fyodor Dostoevsky, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of Barnes & Noble Classics: New introductions commissioned from Notes from Underground, The Double and Other Stories, by Fyodor Dostoevsky, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of Barnes & Noble Classics: New introductions commissioned from today's top writers and scholars Biographies of the authors Chronologies of contemporary historical, biographical, and cultural events Footnotes and endnotes Selective discussions of imitations, parodies, poems, books, plays, paintings, operas, statuary, and films inspired by the work Comments by other famous authors Study questions to challenge the reader's viewpoints and expectations Bibliographies for further reading Indices & Glossaries, when appropriate All editions are beautifully designed and are printed to superior specifications; some include illustrations of historical interest. Barnes & Noble Classics pulls together a constellation of influences—biographical, historical, and literary—to enrich each reader's understanding of these enduring works.  Often considered a prologue to Dostoevsky’s brilliant novels, the story “Notes from Underground” introduces one of the great anti-heroes in literature: the underground man, who lives on the fringes of society. In an impassioned, manic monologue this character—plagued by shame, guilt, and alienation—argues that reason is merely a flimsy construction built upon humanity’s essentially irrational core. Internal conflict is also explored in “The Double,” a surreal tale of a government clerk who meets a more unpleasant version of himself and is changed as a result. In addition to these two existential classics, this collection also includes the psychologically probing stories “The Meek One,” “The Dream of a Ridiculous Man,” and “White Nights.” Deborah A. Martinsen is Assistant to the Director of the Core Curriculum at Columbia University and Adjunct Associate Professor of Russian and Comparative Literature. She is the author of Surprised by Shame: Dostoevsky's Liars and Narrative Exposure.

30 review for Notes from Underground, The Double and Other Stories (B&N Classics)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    I read Notes from Underground and White Nights in this edition. They were very compelling and interesting.

  2. 4 out of 5

    John

    Having read Dostoevsky's other major works, I was eager to read this collection of his shorter works. They are quite different from his other works. I enjoyed some of them, but they weren't really what I was expecting. Unless you're really into Dostoevsky, this collection can wait.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Seri

    The first time I read Notes from the Underground I was repulsed by the main character - but after a second reading you realize that The Underground Man is a rare hero - a hero of the modern condition. The scariest part about the Underground Man is you may see some of yourself in him. Deeply philosophical and perhaps Dostoevsky's darkest work. Not the similarities to Taxi Driver starring Robert Deniro. The early short novella The Double is also inlcuded and is a great work! The story i The first time I read Notes from the Underground I was repulsed by the main character - but after a second reading you realize that The Underground Man is a rare hero - a hero of the modern condition. The scariest part about the Underground Man is you may see some of yourself in him. Deeply philosophical and perhaps Dostoevsky's darkest work. Not the similarities to Taxi Driver starring Robert Deniro. The early short novella The Double is also inlcuded and is a great work! The story is very kafkaesque and absurd; about a man who meets his doppledanger. This must have been an inspiration for the films Fight Club and The Machinist. Also included is White Nights (an uncharacteristic Dostoevsky story) and Dream of a Ridiculous Man(a great complement to Notes from the Underground. One complaint is this volume is a weak translation by Constance Garnett. You are better off going with any other translation.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Sparkleypenguin

    Read Notes from the Underground from this version, not the other stuff. :-P

  5. 4 out of 5

    Nick Riso

    Dostoevsky's the master for a reason

  6. 4 out of 5

    Justin

    TH xqxxxxxxx Didn't enjoy White nights as much as I probably should have purely because of how uncomfortable it was. Reminds me of situations that happen all to often as a result of idealization and the spoon feeding of young girls that they will get they're Prince Charming. She said that he was perfect in every way he just didn't quite live up to the standards set by the culture at that time. The Moral is really to never fall in love too fast, It can happen overnight, especially if it's yo TH xqxxxxxxx Didn't enjoy White nights as much as I probably should have purely because of how uncomfortable it was. Reminds me of situations that happen all to often as a result of idealization and the spoon feeding of young girls that they will get they're Prince Charming. She said that he was perfect in every way he just didn't quite live up to the standards set by the culture at that time. The Moral is really to never fall in love too fast, It can happen overnight, especially if it's your first, but you need restraint to protect yourself, stories like this are all-too common The MeeK one Related to being with a girl like that. That moment where a typically cowardly man has no fear of the insane girl that will kill you, because he loves her too much. The Murder would be the highest form of sexuality for them to elevate to, but realizing that she couldn't follow through she dissolves into having no existential reason to be around >>> Nihhilism . She woke up with spontaneity and was bloody happy. she smiled to her handler. STARTED A cigarette roasted voracious of tobacco . she dropped to her deat fall from the flat window drained, t I dont have other reviews and Im in a lot of ambien so lets say welll leave this as is

  7. 4 out of 5

    Bob Dutch

    The Barnes and Noble edition is a great little collection of Dostoevsky's short stories and novellas that feel like short stories. Don't read the forward in advance, just keep in mind that the main character is always a narcissist. The Double: One of Dosto's earlier works, featuring Kafkaesque magical realism before Kafkaesque was a thing. Unusual narrative style. I should have read Gogol's books first, but that didn't stop me from enjoying the story. 5/5 White Nights: If you told my The Barnes and Noble edition is a great little collection of Dostoevsky's short stories and novellas that feel like short stories. Don't read the forward in advance, just keep in mind that the main character is always a narcissist. The Double: One of Dosto's earlier works, featuring Kafkaesque magical realism before Kafkaesque was a thing. Unusual narrative style. I should have read Gogol's books first, but that didn't stop me from enjoying the story. 5/5 White Nights: If you told my past self that I'd enjoy a tragic Russian story about unrequited love this much, I would have laughed in your face. 5/5 Notes from the Underground: I hope I'm not the only person on the planet who didn't care for this one, the opening line gives me chills, but the rest of it is mostly just a series of vaguely comical awkward moments. One of Dosto's weaker works. 2/5. The Meek One: I'm noticing a pattern here with having a Western Education and personal tragedy, it's almost as dangerous as being a government clerk. 4/5 The Dreams of a Ridiculous Man: I'm glad the narrator learned the true meaning of Christmas or whatever, but this was just silly. 1/5

  8. 5 out of 5

    Blake Simpson

    I can see why Dostoyevsky is known as a master psychologist. You need to give your full attention to Dostoyevsky's work. You need to read with your heart and mind and really dive into the characters. I think this book will help people gain more empathy for others and their circumstances instead of merely calling others crazy.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Blue Caeruleus

    I wouldn't exactly call these stories light reading, but I think Dostoevsky is more digestible in short bursts than in his lengthy novels and this makes him all the more enjoyable! His perception of human psychology was ahead of his time and in many ways remains relevant to this day.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

    Overall, the stories were just....'whelming'. None of them really sparked an interest and about two of them just had me rolling my eyes. Maybe it's just a matter of meaning being lost in translation that can't be conveyed unless its in the original language? All in all, just a bit disappointed...

  11. 4 out of 5

    Karen Lynn

    “Can a man of perception respect himself at all?" ~Fyodor Dostoevsky, Notes from the Underground

  12. 5 out of 5

    Joseph Ozias

    This says I've finished reading this as I've finished a few of the novellas, but I have yet to finish reading it in its entirety. When I do, I will update for sure.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Ema

    It was interesting. I've been wondering if I've exiled, can I write a good book.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kerri

    This is one of those books where I feel like a lot of it went over my head as there were breaks in my reading of it. Plus, it's Dostoyevsky. My main thought upon finishing Notes from Underground is: how sad. How sad that the narrator is his own worst enemy. And he tries to justify it all. I need to think about it a bit more, but for now my thoughts are not very coherent on the matter. Adding on: The Meek One: Another sad story. In some ways sadder than the first because the narrator is in m This is one of those books where I feel like a lot of it went over my head as there were breaks in my reading of it. Plus, it's Dostoyevsky. My main thought upon finishing Notes from Underground is: how sad. How sad that the narrator is his own worst enemy. And he tries to justify it all. I need to think about it a bit more, but for now my thoughts are not very coherent on the matter. Adding on: The Meek One: Another sad story. In some ways sadder than the first because the narrator is in many ways good, but he just doesn't know how to show it or be it and because of that potentially, he loses all. The Dream of a Ridiculous Man: Very interesting outlook on life, on man's fall from Grace. This one was a lift from the other two. Some quotes, since I don't know where else to put them: "Here I, for instance, quite naturally want to live, in order to satisfy all my capacities for life, and not simply my capacity for reason, that is, not simply one twentieth of my capacity for life. What does reason know? Reason only knows what it has succeeded in learning...and human nature acts as a whole, with everything that is in it, consciously or unconsciously, and, even if it goes wrong, it lives." -pg 256, Notes from Underground "Anyway, man has always been afraid of this mathematical certainty, and I am afraid of it now. Granted that man does nothing but seek that mathematical certainty, he traverses oceans, sacrifices his life in the quest, but to succeed, really to find it, he dreads, I assure you. He feels that when he has found it there will be nothing for him to look for. When workmen have finished their work they do at least receive their pay, they go to the tavern, then they are taken to the police station - and there is occupation for a week. But where can man go? Anyway, one can observe a certain awkwardness about him when he has obtained such objects. He loves the process of attaining, but does not quite like to have attained, and that, of course, is very absurd." -pg 261, Notes from Underground (The Prince and Cinderella in Into the Woods) "The worst of it was that on the knee of my trousers was a big yellow stain. I had a foreboding that that stain would deprive me of nine-tenths of my personal dignity." -pg. 295, Notes from Underground "I did not understand that she was hiding her feelings under irony, that this is usually the last refuge of modest and chaste-souled people when the privacy of their soul is coarsely and intrusively invaded, and that their pride makes them refuse to surrender till the last moment and shrink from giving expression to their feelings before you." -pg 322, Notes from Underground "But does it matter whether it was a dream or reality, if the dream made known to me the Truth? If once one has recognized the truth and seen it, you know that it is the truth and that there is no other and there cannot be, whether you are asleep or awake." -pg 413, Dream of a Ridiculous Man

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sonia

    Dostoevsky's collection was a rather difficult read for me. I wanted to do it justice by really thinking about what I was reading. It took me longer to get through it than is normal, but I still think it was a worthy read. I've heard that Dostoevsky was a genius and I definitely think that comes through in his writing. In spite of the cultural and period differences, there is still a relevant cross-current through each of his works. Philosophically, I think Dostoevsky understood a lot Dostoevsky's collection was a rather difficult read for me. I wanted to do it justice by really thinking about what I was reading. It took me longer to get through it than is normal, but I still think it was a worthy read. I've heard that Dostoevsky was a genius and I definitely think that comes through in his writing. In spite of the cultural and period differences, there is still a relevant cross-current through each of his works. Philosophically, I think Dostoevsky understood a lot about human nature, but I suspect that he based a lot of his character's thoughts on his own (hopefully exaggerated) viewpoints. His characters with the exception of the ridiculous man, are pretty despicable examples of the human race: self-absorbed narcisstic men who might actually be doing the world a favor by maintaining their isolated existences apart from society. Yet it was a fascinating insight into the mind of intelligent and analytical men and I think it may hold true for a lot of individuals even in today's world.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    Dostoyevsky is a great writer who paints a scene and an emotion so precise that there is no question what he is trying to say in the writing. My problem was his existentialism. There were 5 short stories of his in this collection. One after the other he poured his tortured soul and mistrust of society out on to the page. It actually began to mess with me psychologically at one point and I had to put the book down for a few days. I think that I would have been better able to take his "heavy" stor Dostoyevsky is a great writer who paints a scene and an emotion so precise that there is no question what he is trying to say in the writing. My problem was his existentialism. There were 5 short stories of his in this collection. One after the other he poured his tortured soul and mistrust of society out on to the page. It actually began to mess with me psychologically at one point and I had to put the book down for a few days. I think that I would have been better able to take his "heavy" stories if there were sprinkles amongst other authors, but not other existentialists i.e. Camus!!! Besides the content of the stories, Dostoyevsky is able to create tortured characters who feel so real that we can identify with some of there misgivings and shortcomings in life. This is my first experience with Dostoyevsky and I will give him another chance, only because he is an excellent creator of characters and scene.

  17. 5 out of 5

    C Joy

    Frankly I don't know where to start. The text was overwhelming and mostly dragging, but there were some stories that were interesting. This collection of stories are mostly on the philosophical, monologues of unconventional heroes who shy away from society. I read for entertainment and I picked this up so I could read one of Dostoevsky's works, because I liked his "Crime and Punishment". I'm not exactly an intellectual, and this one felt like a reading material for school. Frankly I don't know where to start. The text was overwhelming and mostly dragging, but there were some stories that were interesting. This collection of stories are mostly on the philosophical, monologues of unconventional heroes who shy away from society. I read for entertainment and I picked this up so I could read one of Dostoevsky's works, because I liked his "Crime and Punishment". I'm not exactly an intellectual, and this one felt like a reading material for school. I'm just a reader who wanted to read a classic, but sometimes I had to rest from it because of the endless character monologues and thoughts. I understand Dostoevsky's style is delving into the human minds, and this one has little entertainment value. I liked some of the stories here like White Nights and The Meek One. He tackles psychology in the form of fiction and though I found this just OK, I'm still curious about "The Brothers Karamazov".

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

    I read Notes from Underground in an electronic edition on my iPhone. It's the first book I've read on my phone all the way through. By the end I really liked the observations the narrator was making but it took a while to grow on me. The whole book is a rant by a depressed narrator about his in-the-moment crud, stuck in the contemplation stage of half a dozen pay-back schemes that he can't bring himself to act out. But it grew on me, I have to say. For phone readers I recommend the iBooks app. T I read Notes from Underground in an electronic edition on my iPhone. It's the first book I've read on my phone all the way through. By the end I really liked the observations the narrator was making but it took a while to grow on me. The whole book is a rant by a depressed narrator about his in-the-moment crud, stuck in the contemplation stage of half a dozen pay-back schemes that he can't bring himself to act out. But it grew on me, I have to say. For phone readers I recommend the iBooks app. The page turning effect meant a lot. Every time I lost my place and re-read large sections again before I realized what had happened it was so much nicer seeing the simulated pages turning over on the phone screen. I understand now why Bukowski said that he was a student of Dostoyevsky. But Bukowski has a sense of humor that I don't see in Dostoyevsky. Recommended though.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Hosanna

    Dostoevsky strikes again. From the gradual mental degeneration of Golyadkin in "The Double" (at parts reminiscent of Jekyll and Hyde and Kafka's "Metamorphosis"), the ultimate heartbreak of the "White Nights" dreamer, the Underground Man's masochistic commitment to self-humiliation, to the dawn of the degenerate utopia in "The Dream of a Ridiculous Man," the characters in the novels (all male) succeed in exacerbating their shame, misery and isolation, not so much because of external events, but Dostoevsky strikes again. From the gradual mental degeneration of Golyadkin in "The Double" (at parts reminiscent of Jekyll and Hyde and Kafka's "Metamorphosis"), the ultimate heartbreak of the "White Nights" dreamer, the Underground Man's masochistic commitment to self-humiliation, to the dawn of the degenerate utopia in "The Dream of a Ridiculous Man," the characters in the novels (all male) succeed in exacerbating their shame, misery and isolation, not so much because of external events, but due to their own internal resolve. Perhaps, that is what makes the novels so morbidly intriguing. The dialogue that occurs in Part II of "Notes from Underground" may well be one of the most chilling passages I have ever read.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Lloyd

    Though this, the so-called "first piece of existentialist literature" was not the easiest read I've ever had, there definitely are some things in this text that I'll take away with me. Most of the folks who I've heard talk about this book and Dostoevsky in general refer to him not so much as a novelist but a psychologist that happened to be a novelist. I think I'd agree afer reading this work. Dostoevsky so broke down the "Underground Man" that sometimes I thought that these were some Though this, the so-called "first piece of existentialist literature" was not the easiest read I've ever had, there definitely are some things in this text that I'll take away with me. Most of the folks who I've heard talk about this book and Dostoevsky in general refer to him not so much as a novelist but a psychologist that happened to be a novelist. I think I'd agree afer reading this work. Dostoevsky so broke down the "Underground Man" that sometimes I thought that these were some thoughts that I've had at different points in my life being piped back at me... This is a great dissection of a character as well as an exploration of the human condition that's worth the read...

  21. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

    What I want to know is how I can possibly be the only person to give this 1 star. Perhaps it is because I only read Notes From the Underground and perhaps it is also because I read it the day before school started as summer reading (though, to be fair, even after days of discussing it, I still did not like it or understand it) and perhaps it is even because I frankly don't understand it (or much of the Russian literature I've read for that matter). So I guess I'm not one to judge.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Lorna MacMenamin

    Told through first person narrative, this book unearths in my opinion one of the most unlikeable characters I've ever come across - a complete anti-hero. He opens the book attacking the enlightenment and rationalism and rants the whole way through about the flaws of modern society. I had this on my university book list for existentialism and only read it a few weeks ago! Really should have flicked through it at the time!

  23. 4 out of 5

    LynthePen

    depressng--depressing, but so true; classic Dostoevsky; I enjoyed the first part with the main character's philosophical rant more than the second part; narrator is beautifully crafted into this disgustingly deplorable human being that captures so much of the overly educated, middle class--like if Ivan from Brothers K was an only child and alone.

  24. 4 out of 5

    William Eck

    An uneven collection. I'm not sure how good the translation is. Some of the stories, like "Dream of a Ridiculous Man," are quite moving, while others, like "The Double," are almost unreadable. I would recommend this book for "Dream of a Ridiculous Man" alone, but there may be better translations out there.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    This book is so dark, so brooding, so self-deprecating and so AWESOME so far that I am in love. Read it if you think Nietzsche was right in saying Dostoyevsky was the greatest psychologist of all time.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Matthew Walton

    "Is there suffering on this new earth? On our earth we can only love with suffering and through suffering. We cannot love otherwise and we know of no other sort of love. I want suffering in order to love."

  27. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    this book is fabulous--the stories, the portraits of the human mind, are dark but humourous. i have read this one through several times.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Matthew Dunn

    Arguably, the first and greatest existentialist literary novel. As it has been said, "it is worth much for its tone."

  29. 4 out of 5

    Micah Rasmussen

    (400 pages) Fyodor Dostoevsky is by far one of my favorite authors. If you are interested in literature than give this a read. Include some of his best work.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Phil

    Worth reading. Not exactly cheerful. A glimpse of the darker side of insecuties and thoughts of an isolated man.

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