Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Notes of Desperation:

 I am a sick man.... I am a spiteful man. I am an unattractive man. I believe my liver is diseased. -Dostoyevsky, Notes from the Undergound
Dostoyevsky's work and life really made an impression on Bukowksi. I think most people would  be impressed if they knew the more dramatic facts about Dostoyevsky. He's the only writer I know of that got a reprieve at the last moment from execution by firing squad. The reprieve from death was in exchange for four years hard labor in Siberia, followed by a term of compulsory military service. He had been having seizures for about the past ten yeas, and the seizures increased in severity and frequency while he was imprisoned. Somehow he survived prison, military service, and failing health to publish Notes from the Underground.

Bukowski wrote a poem called Dostoyevsky. Buskowski wrote in the poem that Dostoyevsky lifted him up on dark nights and left him in a better place. He was glad that Dostoyevsky got that reprieve because it was a reprieve for Bukowski as well.

After Bukowski began having some literary success, Bukowski wrote a series of articles called Notes of a Dirty Old Man for an underground newspaper.  Later, the articles were collected and published in a book of the same title. Bukowski thought it was some of his best work. Sometimes I wonder if Bukowski used the word "notes" in the name of the series of articles in honor of Dystoyevsky's earlier work.

Notes from the Underground is sometimes also translated as Letters from the Underworld. If I ever write a book, it should probably be called Notes of a Desperate Man.

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