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Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821 - 1881)

Lifespan: 1821 - 1881

Related: existentialism - 19th century literature - Russian literature - Notes from Underground (1864)

Notes from Underground (1864) - Fyodor Dostoyevsky [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Aside from being Dostoyevsky's shortest, Notes from Underground (1864) is widely considered the world's first existentialist novel. [Apr 2006]


Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky (November 11 [O.S. October 30] 1821 – February 9 [O.S. January 28] 1881) was one of the greatest of Russian writers, whose works have had a profound and lasting effect on twentieth-century fiction. Often featuring characters with disparate and extreme states of the mind, his works exhibit both an uncanny grasp of human psychology as well as penetrating analyses in the political, social and spiritual state of Russia of his time. Many of his best-known works are prophetic as precursors of modern-day thought and preoccupations. He is sometimes said to be a founder of existentialism, most notably in Notes from Underground, which has been described by Walter Kaufmann as "the best overture for existentialism ever written". --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fyodor_Dostoevsky [Apr 2006]

The Double: A Petersburg Poem (1846) - Fyodor Dostoevsky

In search of doppelgänger and unreliable narrators.

The Double: A Petersburg Poem (1846) - Fyodor Dostoevsky [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

The Double: A Petersburg Poem is a novella written by Fyodor Dostoevsky, and first published in 1846. The novella deals with the internal psychological struggle of its main character, to whom Dostoevsky refers as "our hero", Yakov Petrovich Golyadkin, the name Golyadkin roughly translating to "naked" or "insignificant". The novella's motif is the doppelgänger.

The narrator's tone depicts a man whose life is on the verge of destruction due to the sudden appearance of a literal facsimile of his self. This double attempts to destroy the protagonist's good name and to claim his position within both his public life in the Russian bureaucracy and within the social circle inhabited by "Golyadkin" Senior (the author's term for the "original Golyadkin, our hero").

As one continues to read the novella and piece together the various clues - it becomes fairly obvious that the Golyadkin Junior character is merely a pseudo-schizophrenic manifestation of the actual Golyadkin's less desirable characteristics (a forerunner to the Shadow later proposed by Carl Jung), the classic "it's all in his head" twist. As such, the novella can be viewed as one of a series of Dostoevsky's critiques of the self-possessed nature of modernity, in this particular work it is also a critique of the machinations and maneuvering of the middle class in its socio-economic strivings. -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The Double: A Petersburg Poem [Apr 2006]

See also: Notes from Underground (1864) - 1840s - 1846 - unreliable narrator - the double motif - Dostoevsky

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