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Notes from Underground is one of the most profound and most unsettling works of modern literature, prefiguring Dostoevskys later masterpieces such as Crime and Punishment, The Idiot, and The Brothers Karamazov. The underground man has become one of the fixtures of the contemporary worldview. No discussion of the predicament of modern man would be complete without some allusion to this archetypal figure both prophetic and loathsome that towers over modern culture. / The Notes from Underground are, as translator Boris Jakim says, A foul passageway leading into the profoundest secrets of the human heart, an abyss where the most loathsome thoughts are revealed. The Notes are a limbo without hope even of hell, a Book of Job without a happy ending, a waiting for nothing and no one (not even Godot). Nonetheless, entering into this underground that Dostoesky claims is in us all is necessary in order to understand not only this lowest of lows, but also the heights that lift man out of the depths into sanctity and exaltation. It is largely due to this masterful contrast that Notes from Underground is considered by many critics to be not only a pinnacle of existentialist literature, but also one of the greatest works of modern literature altogether.
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