Viktor Shklovsky suggested that the nameless hero of Notes From Underground is nameless because ‘I’ is all of us.
Structurally Notes From Underground is possibly perfect. That is why an immediate second reading felt essential, to try to unravel how Dostoevsky composed this extraordinary novel.
The counterbalance of despair and the blackest humour in Notes From Underground is deceptively brilliant. It reminds me equally of Sartre’s Nausea, and Rémy Belvaux’s satirical film Man BItes Dog (1992).
Nietzsche read Notes From Underground in French translation, and was a self-declared Dostoevsky fan.
Notes From Underground is one of the books regularly credited with marking the beginning of the modernist movement in literature.