'Notes From Underground' and Modernism
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This essay describes in what ways Dostoyevsky's novel 'Notes From Underground' opposes the philosophy of the Enlightenment and the project of modernism which it engenders. The essay argues that the critique contains both philosophical and sociological aspects. From the first point of view it shows the mistakes of philosophy made by the utopians, the most important of which is that to impose a rational construct on society is to deny free will. Regarding the sociological aspect, the paper shows how Russia loses its vital link to tradition and the soil through its blind imitation of the West. These arguments are made in the context of the experiences of the underground man.
From the Paper:"In his novel 'Notes From Underground' Dostoyevsky delivers a sterling critique of the ethos of the Enlightenment. We are made to question whether an outwardly determined rationalistic order of society is truly conducive to reason at the human level. In other words, we ask the question as to how far such a society accommodates the intelligent, or marginalizes those less so. We are led to believe that the protagonist is intelligent, and yet it is this same intelligence that becomes a barrier to a proper and healthy engagement with society. On the other hand, as we are shown through the eyes of the protagonist, it is the uncouth and purely virile members of society that make headway over the rest, and thereby establish an order of injustice. The author is finally presenting us with a paradox, that rational society is intrinsically unreasonable.
"Modernity celebrates reason, and the culture of reason finds its origins in the Enlightenment of the 18th century, and subsequently cemented through the industrial revolution. At the same time it generates various strains of reaction, embodied in such movements as Romanticism, expressionism, spiritualism, existentialism and postmodernism."
Sample of Sources Used:
- Beiser, F. C. (2003) The romantic imperative: the concept of early German romanticism. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
- Dostoyevsky, F. (1993) Notes from Underground. Translated by Richard Pevear, Larissa Volokhonsky. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.
- Lavrin, J. (2005) Dostoevsky: A Study. Whitefish, KT: Kessinger Publishing.
- Scanlan, J. P. (2002) Dostoevsky the thinker. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
Cite this Analytical Essay:
'Notes From Underground' and Modernism (2011, January 14) Retrieved December 07, 2023, from https://www.academon.com/analytical-essay/notes-from-underground-and-modernism-146716/
"'Notes From Underground' and Modernism" 14 January 2011. Web. 07 December. 2023. <https://www.academon.com/analytical-essay/notes-from-underground-and-modernism-146716/>