Notes from Underground, by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Damn, Fedya. You could’ve saved everyone a lot of time by just titling this one “Character study: Raskalnikov”. The unnamed protagonist of this story has more than a little in common with the main character in Crime and Punishment: whether this is simply how Dostoyevsky draws characters or whether they’re intentionally similar, I was struck by the similarity of passive intelligent self-loathing characters in straitened circumstances. I had a friend who recommended this book to me ages and ages ago, when we were all teenagers. It’s a book I can see appealing to an intelligent teenager; it resonates with a lot of the blend of pride, self-loathing, and feeling of ill-use by the world that most smart teens have. But, hey, I’m no longer a bitter teen: I’m now a bitter twentysomething, so this is no longer really my bag.


About Jake
I'm a mathematics professor at the University of Louisville, and a geek.

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