In this six-week course, we will explore Fyodor Dostoevsky’s famous short novel “Notes from Underground” (1864) with its existential questions and themes that remain relevant a century and a half after its creation. The opening phrase, “I am a sick man… a mean man,” sets the tone of the protagonist’s twisted confession, exposing his self-loathing and misery as symptoms of a common malady affecting modern society. What is human life? What is the origin of suffering? Are humans good or evil? Do they have the right to torment others because of their own misery? As we read and analyze the novel and its historical context, we will ponder these and other questions, drawing parallels with our own society and its members. As part of the course, participants will produce their own narrative in the style of the protagonist of “Notes from Underground.”
Inside Literature is a 501(с)(3) non-profit corporation and community-based learning program in Austin, Texas. We provide university-level instruction to inmates in pre-trial facilities at zero cost to taxpayers. We offer 6-week literature courses led by instructors with advanced degrees in related fields.