At home, to begin with, I mainly used to read. I wished to stifle with external sensations all that was ceaselessly boiling up inside me. And among external sensations the only one possible for me was reading. Reading was, of course, a great help- it stirred, delighted, and tormented me. But at times it bored me terribly. I still wanted to move about, and so I’d suddenly sink into some murky, subterranean, vile debauch- not a great, but a measly little debauch. There were measly little passions in me, sharp, burning, because of my permanent, morbid irritability. I was given to hysterical outbursts, with tears and convulsions. Apart from reading I had nowhere to turn- that is, there was nothing I could then respect in my surroundings, nothing I would be drawn to. What’s more, anguish kept boiling up; a hysterical thrist for contradictions, contrasts, would appear, and so I’d set out on debauchery. It is not at all to justify myself that I’ve been doing all this talking… But no! that’s a lie! I precisely wanted to justify myself. I make this little note for myself, gentlemen. I don’t want to lie. I’ve given my word.
Fyodor Dostoevsky – Notes from Underground
I spent my weekend reading this novel first in Borders then on a bench by the beach in a park in Plymouth. There were some statements that I could completely relate to, and (most) others I couldn’t. But still I could identify other people in those statements. I found the narrator’s character ridiculous and amusing at the same time.
I have a degree in English and I’ve taken many literature classes, but despite that I’m not one to normally go out and seek a classic novel to read. I tend to have a hard time focussing and picking up on the intent of the novel. I’d like to, however, make this some sort of regular feature here and in my life. I always want to know what makes a classic just that, and why many other people think it is so amazing. So feel free to suggest ones, I’ll let you know if I’ve already read them. But I’m much more inclined to read a classic that has been suggested to me.
Have you read Notes from Underground? What did you think about it?