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Summary

Considered one of the first existentialist novels, Notes from Underground contains one of the most unsettling characters in 19th-century fiction. Resentful, cruel, entitled, and pitiful, Dostoyevsky's Underground Man is a disturbing human being bent on humiliating others for his own amusement. He despises modern society and stews in a self-imposed misery, articulated through his bitter, contradictory monologues about torment and alienation. 

The Gambler is perhaps the most personal of Dostoyevsky's novels. Written to pay off the author's own gambling debts, the book follows the obsessions and anxieties of Alexey Ivanovitch, a sympathetic character who has given in to the forces of addiction. His despair is compounded by his love for the enigmatic Polina Alexandrovna, a cold and distant figure who exploits his desperation.

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Public Domain (P)2019 Naxos Audiobooks

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  • 27-03-22

The Russian psyche

This novella provides a very sensitive and profound explanation of the struggle of Russia, first under Peter the Great and Katherine the Great, to become a European country...and failing. Dostoevsky has, among all the great Russian writers of the 19th Century, perhaps the best understanding of the uniqueness of the Russian culture and its inherent value as it stands apart from Western European culture. There are many reasons for the uniqueness of Russia, perhaps beginning with the Mongol domination for about 250 years (1240-1480), but reinforced by centuries of autocratic rule of the tsars and tsaritsas and abetted by the Russian Orthodox Church. Not an easy read, but a worthwhile effort.