Summary of DOSTOEVSKY’S NOTES FROM THE UNDERGROUND PART ONE || Chapter by Chapter Summaries

Note: Under Review

Beneath the Floorboards represent the house of the unseen or unclean spirits beneath it, in Russia. The title of the book may be better translated as notes from under the floorboards, which Dostoevsky uses to tap into the collective Russian psyche.

Dostoevsky’s works reads like a mess of musings, one that I cannot at a level measure to its scale in my writings. He comes off across as an educated yet jaded intellectual. He hails from the 19th century Russia during a period of massive social upheaval, and has been held at gunpoint for participating in anti government activity.

The book I am currently referring to is a translation of Kyril Zinovieff and Jenny Hughes. It also includes stunningly the intro into the the book by the translators, touching upon those distinct meanings of the translations and why they intended it to be that message in the book. It also includes the bibliography of Dostoevsky’s life and his works.


So far Dostoevsky talks about materialism and postivism that affects social constructs, like how algorithms that dictate human life makes people less human because things are preordained in arithmetic. He also explores why people are so comfortable in their own hell in part 1. There are 11 chapters each of which has his own commentary or arguments encased within. The narrator of the novel is unnamed.

Chapter 1

Sick spiteful man that does not believe in getting treatment for his condition

Suspects that there must be something wrong with his liver but he does not know what illness he is plagued with and wants to ignore it.

Has respect for the medicine profession but does not want to get treated

He is set in his old ways and his life spent as a civil servant may be comparable to the spitefulness he feels for his wellbeing

He found satisfaction in upsetting people in the office including petitioners who are timid people.

He loathes the stubborness and the tendency of the army officer to wield his sword [may be metaphoric and refer to the army officer forging his own path that the narrator does not like].

He comes to the conclusion that he likes to frighten people who are timid for fun.

He is irritable and can be easily comforted with a cup of tea, but then he would be mad at himself and respond with disgust and suffer insomnia for months.

He then mentions that he lied about being spiteful to those people, the petitioners, army officer and his colleagues.

He feels that he has to do the opposite of what he truly wants, in his interactions with other people, to the point where he does not let his motivations out or be known to others, that this dampening down of his motivations leads to the maddening burgeoning inside of him. It manifests into the anxiety and convulsions he experiences. His anxiety is not one of apologising to others, even if mere appearances depict it so. He could not care less for others.

Because of this anxiety this may have made him fail to become spiteful or in his words a genuine man. It has not made him a person of virtue or a person of character.

He spends his days by tormenting himself that he cannot make anything of himself, as an intelligent man of the 19th century. He comes to the conclusion that a man of the nineteenth century who is intelligent has no character of sorts.

He declares that public figures or people with character must be perhaps lacking in something.

He says that only fools live beyond forty and have a long life. And he states that it is indecent and immoral to live such a long age.

Chapter 2

He wants to make himself like a simpleton, like an insect but failed

Warns that having an awareness of too many things is a disease

Half or a quarter of the intelligence gained from an educated individual in the nineteenth century is more than enough.

He’s aware that he commits acts that he ought not to perform after professing the sanctity of the beautiful and sublime leading to his cognitive dissonance with his actions and thoughts

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

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