Notes from the Underground (1864) is a short novel by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Considered perhaps the first existentialist novel, the first anti-hero novel, and Dostoevsky's first great novel, Notes is a... More > prolonged screed by a bitter, isolated narrator, a retired civil servant from St. Petersburg. It was originally published in two parts in January and February of 1864 in Epoch, a Russian journal which Dostoevsky and his brother produced. The first part is a monologue or a diary of sorts, and it features the narrator's attack on Western philosophy. The second part is titled "Apropos of the Wet Snow," which is a narrative of the events which lead up to his alienation from society.
Critics are unsure if Dostoevsky was portraying his actual views in Notes from the Underground, or whether it's a satire of the popular philosophies of the day. Certainly the narrator's tone is dreary, and which would match Dostoevsky's life at the time: he was financially ruined, his literary reputation was falling apart...< Less