I have a tradition: every year, for spring break, I read Dostoevsky. I started in high school and have followed the tradition religiously since then, as a measure both to return frequently to my favorite author, and to prevent myself from spending the whole year reading his work (I probably would, otherwise, and never get anything else done). I love Dostoevsky. I think he’s one of the most insightful, compassionate, intelligent, and powerful novelists who ever lived, if not THE most insightful, compassionate, etc., etc. And after two months of beating my head against the wall that is Derridean scholarship and deconstructionism, I find it appropriate to turn my attention to Dostoevsky, who is as plain-speaking and direct as Derrida is obtuse and circumlocutory, but who is as complex and intricate to interact with as any other writer I’ve encountered. Like Derrida, Dostoevsky admits of no simple cut-and-dry interpretations, because he interacts with the world in so many dimensions simultaneously. So let’s put on our criticism hats and talk about that most characteristically direct and multilayered Dostoevsky story: Notes From Underground.