5 quotes to make you read: Notes from the underground by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

5 quotes to make you read: Notes from the underground by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Through a nameless, lonely and unhappy narrator, Dostoyevsky goes from the monologue to the narrative in a short but powerful book in which, in the end, nothing stays unharmed during the life of the underground man.


In short, one may say anything about the history of the world—anything that might enter the most disordered imagination. The only thing one can’t say is that it’s rational. The very word sticks in one’s throat.
— Page 39


Another circumstance, too, worried me in those days: that there was no one like me and I was unlike anyone else. ‘I am alone and they are EVERYONE,’ I thought—and pondered.
From that it is evident that I was still a youngster.
— Page 58


And how few, how few words, I thought, in passing, were needed; how little of the idyllic (and affectedly, bookishly, artificially idyllic too) had sufficed to turn a whole human life at once according to my will. That’s virginity, to be sure! Freshness of soil!
— Page 142


But at this point a strange thing happened. I was so accustomed to think and imagine everything from books, and to picture everything in the world to myself just as I had made it up in my dreams beforehand, that I could not all at once take in this strange circumstance. What happened was this: Liza, insulted and crushed by me, understood a great deal more than I imagined. She understood from all this what a woman understands first of all, if she feels genuine love, that is, that I was myself unhappy.
— Page 157


Leave us alone without books and we shall be lost and in confusion at once. We shall not know what to join on to, what to cling to, what to love and what to hate, what to respect and what to despise. We are oppressed at being men—men with a real individual body and blood, we are ashamed of it, we think it a disgrace and try to contrive to be some sort of impossible generalised man.
— Page 167