…my “…NOTES FROM THE DUMP…” are more underground than his “NOTES FROM UNDERGROUND.” I too am ‘…a sick man, a spiteful man. I think my liver is diseased.’ However I must defer to him chronologically – he was there first – I’m merely a ridiculous man come late – he was there first yes but I don’t believe he’s got any more time underground than I.
I’m a natural to the nether world, mystery is my middle name; his was an acquired taste.
Not to mention, name-dropper that I am – once when Olga, a Russian immigrant with long rrrrolling rrrrs in herrrr speech, intrrrroduced me at an all-Russian party except for me, and said in English as only she can put it:
‘And this (Ond theese) ees Teddy Warrrd on whom arrrre based all Dostoyevsky novels’
I was in heaven, I blushed, gushed, stood and bowed, sat and scraped my feet on the Oriental carpet as my foolish Muzhik’s countenance glowed red with embarrassment (and vodka), and indeed I bathed in the reflected glory.
But over the years I’ve thought it over and over and Dostoyevsky’s novels are based in bathos, chaos, pain, murder & mayhem – why not only was I the fearless esne but also I was a ridiculous man, and that rascal Raskolnikov! Why, as a compendium of all Comrade D’s characters I was a murderer, a peasant, a lout, a wastrel drunkard and a social pariah!
How could Olga have seen through me so quickly? Were then these smiles around the groaning board the grins of approbation or smirks of derision?