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Isaac Richardson
Isaac Richardson

Notes From Underground



Notes from Underground (pre-reform Russian: Записки изъ подполья; post-reform Russian: Записки из подполья, Zapíski iz podpólʹya; also translated as Notes from the Underground or Letters from the Underworld) is a novella by Fyodor Dostoevsky, first published in the journal Epoch in 1864. It is a first-person narrative in the form of a "confession": the work was originally announced by Dostoevsky in Epoch under the title "A Confession".[2]




Notes From Underground



The novella presents itself as an excerpt from the memoirs of a bitter, isolated, unnamed narrator (generally referred to by critics as the Underground Man), who is a retired civil servant living in St. Petersburg. Although the first part of the novella has the form of a monologue, the narrator's form of address to his reader is acutely dialogized. According to Mikhail Bakhtin, in the Underground Man's confession "there is literally not a single monologically firm, undissociated word". The Underground Man's every word anticipates the words of an other, with whom he enters into an obsessive internal polemic.[3]


The title of Part 2 is an allusion to the critic Pavel Annenkov's observation that "damp showers and wet snow" were indispensable to writers of the Natural School in Petersburg.[9] Following the title there is an epigraph containing the opening lines from Nekrasov's poem "When from the darkness of delusion..." about a woman driven to prostitution by poverty. The quotation is interrupted by an ellipsis and the words "Etc., etc., etc."[10]


After all this, he still acts terribly toward her, and, before she leaves, he stuffs a five ruble note into her hand, which she throws onto the table (it is implied that the Underground Man had sex with Liza and that the note is payment). He tries to catch her as she goes out to the street, but he cannot find her and never hears from her again. He tries to stop the pain in his heart by "fantasizing."


He recalls this moment as making him unhappy whenever he thinks of it, yet again proving the fact from the first section that his spite for society and his inability to act makes him no better than those he supposedly despises.


When Notes from Underground was written, there was an intellectual ferment on discussions regarding religious philosophy and various 'enlightened' utopian ideas.[11] The work is a challenge to, and a method of understanding, the larger implications of the ideological drive toward a utopian society.[12] Utopianism largely pertains to a society's collective dream, but what troubles the Underground Man is this very idea. The point the Underground Man makes is that individuals will ultimately always rebel against a collectively imposed idea of paradise; a utopian image such as The Crystal Palace will always fail because of the underlying irrationality of humanity.


In chapter 11, the narrator refers to his inferiority to everyone around him and describes listening to people as like "listening through a crack under the floor." The word "underground" actually comes from a bad translation into English. A better translation would be a crawl space: a space under the floor that is not big enough for a human, but where rodents and bugs live. According to Russian folklore, it is also a place where evil spirits live.[citation needed]


On the Thursday, the ECB will announce its intentions on EU monetary policy. It still looks like the market is still forecasting a 50 basis point increase in its main financing rate as it rises from 3% to 3.5%. At the previous meeting, Madame Christine Lagarde was adamant that the ECB would be a fortress of solitude in its effort to squelch inflation. This will be important for if the European Central Bank crumbles under the potential collapse of Credit Suisse then it means that the global financial system is very worried about a systemic crisis. CRUMBLE infers the ECB PAUSING in an effort to measure the negative effects of a tumultuous global funding market on GENUINE FINANCIAL CONDITIONS.


The key issue for the entire global financial system is how can the price of sovereign debt be able to absorb the blows from inflation at 5% with a massive increase in the cost of financing the debt as central banks seek to remain HIGHER FOR LONGER. Who is buying all the US long-term debt at 3.6%?


***It is also of paramount importance to note that the ECB, BOJ, SNB, BOE, BOC, RBA, RBNZ, as well as many emerging market central banks are striving to raise rates in an effort to keep their currency stable. The ECB will raise rates more aggressively than most as President Lagarde is under extreme pressure from the HAWKS .


It was the week that was as three main central bank interest rate decisions from the FEDERAL RESERVE, BANK OF ENGLAND and EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK rocked the markets. There is more to follow Friday morning as the vaunted employment data will be released. The market is expecting 190,000 jobs created, a 3.6% unemployment rate, a 34.4-hour workweek and a 0.3% gain in average hourly earnings. After all of the central bank-induced volatility that last data point carries little weight unless it shocks to the robust economic upside.


It is always a great pleasure to be able to discuss the global financial situation with Louis Gave and have Richard Bonugli moderate the discussion. There are several issues discussed in this hour podcast but I want to provide listeners with a key rule of Gave: While it may seem like forecasting it is anything but. It is merely adapting to a changing landscape as global investing is dynamic in nature while so many critical academic models are STATIC. It is up to those who invest in myriad number of relevant asset classes to be aware of the changing conditions in an effort to MINIMIZE losses from ill-conceived trades while seeking to find the greatest profits potential from being able to analyze the changing conditions.


Critical to the discussion was what I am calling the two doctrines: Paul Volcker and Ben Bernanke. The Volcker Doctrine is based on wringing inflation out of the economy when it begins to boil, while the Bernanke Doctrine is focused on preventing deflation from gaining a foothold. In the last five decades the US and Europe have not experienced DEFLATION as the central banks and fiscal authorities have PREEMPTED the onset of such an outcome. In DEBT-PLAGUED economies DEFLATION is the worst potential outcome. Remember, Volcker confronted a 39% DEBT-TO-GDP ratio while today Jerome Powell confronts a 106% ratio and even much greater private/corporate debt. Enjoy the PODCAST with a strong libation or sugar-free drink for too much stimulant will not be advised.


The pathos mounted, however, along with the toll on his family. A year later, after Winnie had been taken from their Soweto home, jailed for fourteen months, and subjected to solitary confinement, Mandela wrote a letter to his two young daughters, Zenani and Zindzi, which begins:


I find it difficult to believe that I will never see Thembi again. On February 23 this year he turned 24. I had seen him towards the end of July 1962, a few days after I had returned from the trip abroad. Then he was a lusty lad of 17 that I could never associate with death. He wore one of my trousers which was a shade too big & long for him. The incident was significant & set me thinking. As you know he had a lot of clothing, was particular about his dress & had no reason whatsoever for using my clothes. I was deeply touched for the emotional factors underlying his action were too obvious.


"Zines and underground culture offer up an alternative, a way of understanding and acting in the world that operates with different rules and upon different values than those of consumer capitalism. It is an alternative fraught with contradictions and limitations...but also possibilities."


It's a book that will end up with post-it notes sticking out of every edge, dog ears, and underlining. It's just so eminently quotable. The chapters are broken down into themes such as Identity, Community, and Consumption, but as zines are unboxable those themes are used more as lenses to view through. -from-underground-20th-anniversary.html


fast moving, eloquent, critical, empathetic, and funny...playful enough to celebrate the humor and cultural sedition of zines...goes deeper than charging 'sell out' or merely charting corporate colonialism in the land of the underground...but does that mean anything politically?...Duncombe holds the underground to a higher standard.


Duncombe professes American Studies at SUNY Old Westbury and Notes From Underground is a work of very impressive scholarship: there are 32 pages of notes, many of them gathered during ``weeks on end'' when he studied at the NY State Library among ``hundreds of cubic feet of zines housed in their Factsheet Five Collection''. He's also a longtime zinester and has created a labor of love here, meant to be read. Don't be intimidated by the scholarly apparatus or the occasionally highfalutin language (zines are ``repositories of nonalienated creation and media for nonalienating communication'') -- there's a lot here to interest the general reader. There's dozens of well-chosen illustrations. Almost all from zines published in the early 1990s. A pretty good index despite the omission of Tussin Up and MSRRT's Chris Dodge. I recommend Notes From Underground very highly.


This is a sobering, inspiring book. Duncombe shows us the boundless potential of zines and zine culture. At the same time he diagnoses the failure of zines to reach out and become relevant to people outside our little "underground." 041b061a72


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