‘Tragedy and Satire ‘ Dostoevsky wrote in an entry for December 1876 in his notebook for diary of a writer, ‘are two sisters hand in hand, and the name of both of them when taken together is truth’.
Notes from Underground is Dostoevsky’s most profound statement on Humanity and what it means to be human. The development of a social and literary underground is the result of the breakdown of all human principles of free will and self expression in the elite Russian Society. The novel is basically made up of the confessions of an unnamed protagonist. Dostoevsky has used satire to point out at the moral degradation, disfigurement of the Russian society, the practical man, their common sense that has forced our idealist narrator to dive into the underground. It is a scathing attack on the romanticism prevalent in upper societies, on the pursuit of the “sublime and the beautiful”. Notes from Underground is Dostoevsky’s most enduring statement on free will , self expression and the hypocrite society.
It differs from other works on Dostoevsky. His great works like Crime and punishment, Brothers Karamazov are works of a mature writer. Notes from underground resemble the ravings of a mad man, a man forced into isolation, spitefulness and cynicism. The intensity in this short work is unmatched and is difficult to encounter in writings of other authors.Its like Ayn Rand or Oscar Wilde on steroids. A must read.
I believe it is prudent to end by two quotes – one from the narrator and other Dostoevsky.
The underground, the underground, the poet of the underground- the feuilletonists keep repeating it as though there were something demeaning in it for me. The little fools. The is my glory, because truth is here. — Fyodor Dostoevsky
The best thing is to do nothing ! Better conscious inertia ! So, long live the underground !
PS: I have become half Russian by now. Only thing left for me to do is to learn Russian language, and then go and settle there.