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May 8, 2014


4 Comments leave one →
  1. May 8, 2014 11:10 am

    I would say, or meant to say, that readers of Notes from Underground read it with Chernyshevsky in mind, not the other way, since, as you note, there were almost no readers of Dostoevsky at that point, and almost no readers of Notes until a re-evaluation of Dostoevsky began in the 1880s.

    I have no idea what Chekhov story Bailey is thinking of. When will he tell us? I am on tenterhooks. Ow!

  2. May 8, 2014 12:14 pm

    Ah, fair enough, then. Just to balance things out, I’ll quibble the opposite way: in 1864 Dostoevskii may not have been the young star of 1846, but I don’t know that he had “almost no readers” either. He did get “thunderous clapping and applause” as part of that 1860 all-star cast of The Inspector General, and I feel like most of what he published in the early 1860s got a better (or at least more) critical reaction than Notes from Underground, which people initially just didn’t know what to make of. Wasn’t Notes from the House of the Dead well-received both for how it was written and what it was about?

    I don’t know what Chekhov story it is either, only that I’m going to stay tuned to Wuthering Expectations and Six Words for a Hat, both.

    • May 8, 2014 12:41 pm

      Oh, yes. that’s right. I have the relevant volume of Frank in front of me. House of the Dead had lots of readers. Because the response was so blank, Frank cannot tell if Notes from Underground was ignored because no one read it, or if, as is likely, no one (aside from Saltykov-Shchedrin) understood it.

      I don’t want to say I understand it, either. But that won’t stop me from writing about it.

    • May 9, 2014 11:55 am

      I am working on it! Part of the delay is that I’m not brilliant at this sort of essay and my method is usually “here are two stories; read them and note how similar they are. ain’t that cool?” I want to try to go beyond that this time. Hopefully sometime this weekend.

      There is a Chekhov story from 1886 whose title is often translated as “What is to be done?” Erik’s readers will know it as “Appropriate Measures” (Надлежащие меры). That’s not the story I’m scribbling about. Stay tuned! I’m trying to make it worth the wait.

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