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A Guy's Moleskine Notebook

Thoughts and reflections on works of fiction and literature. Pondering of life through pictures and words. Babbling about gay rights. Travelogues and anecdotes.

  • [1] Annie Proulx: Brokeback Mountain
  • [2] Arthur Golden: Memoirs of a Geisha
  • [3] Yu Hua: To Live
  • [4] Alan Hollinghurst: The Line of Beauty
  • [5] Colm Toibin: The Master
  • [6] Carlos Ruiz Zafon: The Shadow of the Wind
  • [7] William James: The Varieties of Religious Experience
  • [8] Charles Higham: The Civilization of Angkor
  • [9] Graham Greene: A Burnt-Out Case
  • [10] Dai Sijie: Mr. Muo's Travelling Couch
  • [11] Alan Hollinghurst: The Swimming-Pool Library
  • [12] Mikhail Bulgakov: The Master and Margarita
  • [13] Colm Toibin: The Blackwater Lightship
  • [14] Alan Hollinghurst: The Folding Star
  • [15] Ross King: Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling
  • [16] Fyodor Dostoevsky: The Brothers Karamazov
  • [17] Jonathan Franzen: The Corrections
  • [18] Colm Toibin: The Story of the Night
  • [19] John Banville: Shroud
  • [20] Leo Tolstoy: Resurrection
  • [21] Peter Hessler: River Town, Two Years on the Yangtze
  • [22] Ian McEwan: The Atonement
  • [24] Gabriel Garcia Marquez: Love in the Time of Cholera
  • [25] Ignacio Padilla: Shadow without a Name
  • [26] Umberto Eco: The Name of the Rose
  • [27] Richard Russo: Straight Man
  • [28] Fyodor Dostoevsky: Notes from Underground
  • [29] Alan Hollinghurst: The Spell
  • [30] Hermann Broch: The Death of Virgil
  • [31] James Baldwin: Giovanni's Room
  • [32] Ken Kesey: One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest
  • [33] Xingjian Gao: One Man's Bible
  • [34] C. Jay Cox: Latter Days
  • [35] Harper Lee: To Kill A Mockingbird
  • [36] William Shakespeare: The Taming of the Shrew
  • [37] Daniel A. Helminiak: What The Bible Really Says about Homosexuality
  • [38] James Baldwin: Tell Me How Long the Train's Been Gone
  • [39] Kenji Yoshino: Covering - The Hidden Assault of Civil Rights
  • [40] Italo Calvino: If, On a Winter's Night A Traveler
  • [41] Arthur Phillips: The Egyptologist
  • [42] George Orwell: 1984
  • [43] Michael Warner: The Trouble with Normal: Sex, Politics, and Ethics of Queer Life
  • [44] Andrew Sullivan: Virtually Normal
  • [45] Henry James: The Wings of the Dove
  • [46] Jose Saramago: Blindness
  • [47] Umberto Eco: The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana
  • [48] Dan Brown: Da Vinci Code
  • [49] Kazuo Ishiguro: Never Let Me Go
  • [50] Ken Follett: The Pillars of Earth
  • [51] Leo Tolstoy: War and Peace
  • [52] Michael Thomas Ford: Alec Baldwin Doesn't Like Me
  • [53] Jonathan Franzen: How To Be Alone
  • [54] Jonathan Lethem: The Fortress of Solitude
  • [55] Matthew Pearl: The Dante Club
  • [56] Zadie Smith: White Teeth
  • [57] Fyodor Dostoevsky: The Double
  • [58] Jose Saramago: The Double
  • [59] Andrew Holleran: Dancer from the Dance
  • [60] Heinrich von Kleist: The Marquise of O & Other Stories
  • [61] Andrew Holleran: In September, the Light Changes
  • [62] Tom Perrotta: Little Children
  • March 06, 2006


    [28] Notes From Underground - Fyodor Dostoevsky

    Notes From Underground is probably the most arguable works of Dostoevsky, inviting numerous interpretations and speculation. Most of the undergraduates in discussion sections I TA believe the underground man is Dostoevsky. What about you? "So long live the underground. I already carried the underground in my soul." This quote best epitomizes Dostoyevsky's Notes from Underground.

    The book is not easy to read let alone to digest. Dostoyevsky again placed some of his favorite arguments in the moth of a character (the 40-year-old underground man) he despised. The underground man self-proclaims to be angry and sick at the very beginning and goes out of his way to offend his readers. The book reads like a delirious man's babbling, in his own shy, wounded, and exorbitant pride. While a novel usually needs a hero, but here Dostoyevsky had purposely collected all the features of an anti-hero: self-contempt, wounded vanity, conceit, and sensitive ego.

    Even though the underground man might be extremely egotistical and has no respect for others, Dostoyevsky never meant for him to have any surface appeal. The recurring themes of the narrative revolve around the underground man's alienation from society, which he despises, his bitter sarcasm, and the heightened awareness of self-consciousness. He larks to revenge himself for his humiliation by humiliating others. I don't think Dostoyevsky meant for the underground man to be liked and pitied by the readers. In fact, our anti-hero is inevitably targeted for Dostoyevsky's harsh satire.

    The first part of the book (titled The Underground) introduces the anonymous underground man and his outlook on life. The second part (titled A Story of the Falling Sleet) sees how the man with heightened senses of ego and awareness submerges voluptuously into his underground, motivated by many contradictory impulses. Dostoyevsky paints not only a complex portrait of an anonymous personage who lacks surface appeal, but also a society in which people are so unaccustomed to living and the manners of which that they feel a loathing for real life. Notes from Underground is an egocentric man's monologue that is abound with fascinating nuance which reveals itself only upon close reading.


    Anonymous muebles parla said...

    The author is absolutely right, and there is no question.

    11/30/2011 6:36 AM  

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