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1. The Collected Tales of Nikolai
2. Taras Bulba and Other Tales
3. The Overcoat and Other Short Stories
4. Dead Souls
5. Mertvye dushi. English
6. The Diary of a Madman, The Government
7. The Works of Nikolai Gogol
8. Nikolai Gogol
9. The Collected Tales (Everyman's
10. Dead Souls: A Novel
11. The Collected Tales and Plays
12. Dead Souls: A Poem (Oxford World's
13. Plays and Petersburg Tales: Petersburg
14. Gogol: The Nose (Russian Texts)
15. Works of Nikolai Gogol. Dead Souls,
16. The Complete Tales of Nikolai
17. The Overcoat and Other Stories
18. The Overcoat (Dodo Press)
19. The Overcoat and Other Tales of
20. Dead Souls (Everyman's Library)

1. The Collected Tales of Nikolai Gogol
by Nikolai Gogol
Paperback: 252 Pages (2009-01-01)
list price: US$8.99 -- used & new: US$8.34
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1420934414
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Nikolai Gogol, an early 19th century Ukrainian-born Russian novelist, humorist, and dramatist, created some of the most important works of world literature and is considered the father of modern Russian realism. Gogol satirized the corrupt bureaucracy of the Russian Empire through the scrupulous and scathing realism of his writing, which would ultimately lead to his exile. Among some of his finest works are his short stories. Together in this collection are collected some of the best of these stories, they include the following: Old Fashioned Farmers, How the Two Ivans Quarrelled, The Nose, The Overcoat (The Cloak), St. John's Eve, The Night of Christmas Eve, The Mantle, The Diary of a Madman, The Viy, The Mysterious Portrait, The Fair of Sorotchinetz, An Evening in May, Mid-Summer Evening, and The Carriage (The Calash). ... Read more

Customer Reviews (14)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Must read of Russian Authors
I got the idea to buy this book after seeing the movie Name Sake w/ Kal Penn.It is a great movie with a personal message.A must see movie and the lesson here is never forget your roots and we come out of Gogols Ovecoat?

2-0 out of 5 stars Translation is disappointing
I'm Russian myself, and I wanted to find a good translation so that my husband could read the stories I was telling him about for himself. Boy, was it disappointing. I guess I thought if the translator had a Russian name, she'd know what she was talking about. I actually had to comment on every passage, so it would make sense to an English-speaking reader while it still preserved the essence of the story. I could probably do it better myself.
As far as Gogol is concerned - these Ukrainian stories stories are magical. Great reading on a December night, when the snow is falling, and you're curled up with a cup of hot tea on a couch, while the rest of the house is dark...

5-0 out of 5 stars Almost Perfect
Do you buy this Vintage Classics book or buy the Penguin Classics translation by Ronald Wilks? No contest. The present translation is longer, more stories, good notes, and it is translated by Pevear and Volokhonsky. They are among the best translators of 19th century Russian novels. Buy the present book. I am a literature nut so I bought both. The Penguin Classics has a better introduction plus Gogol's famous play, The Government Inspector. According to Nabokov, it is the best play ever written in Russia.

So, the Penguin Classics version by Wilks has only 8 stories. The present book contains 14 stories translated by Pevear and Volokhonsky, and an introduction by Richard Pevear. None of the stories are much over 50 pages, some are shorter. These are good examples of the writings and the literary techniques of Gogol - a highly complex subject. It is divided into two parts: the Ukrainian Tales and the Petersburg Tales. The former includes his use of witches and the devil. This is one of the best Gogol short story collections on the market today, probably the best. The translators cover most of the stories in the shorter Wilks Penguin version, missing only the play, The Government Inspector.

Nikolai Gogol (1809-1852, Ukraine-Russia) is one the best known Russian writers. His masterpiece is Dead Souls. It is a charming and a highly entertaining novel about a man touring Russian farms in the early 19th century by horse drawn buggy. Gogol wrote approximately 19 short stories plus non-fiction writings. His career was boosted when he published in Pushkin's magazine, The Contemporary. He spent 12 of his last 16 years living in western Europe, including the time when he wrote Dead Souls.

The Ukrainian Tales Section.

There are some gems here, and many of the stories demonstrate the genius of Gogol's writing techniques and creativity. The last story in the group about the quarrelling Ivans is among Gogol's best. Many will like all of them:
"a world of proud, boastful Cossacks, of black-brown beauties, of witches, devils, magic spells and enchantments..."
The stories are as follows:

St. John's Eve, The Night Before Christmas, The Terrible Vengeance, IvanFyodorovich Sponka and His Aunt, Old World Landowners, Viy, and The Story of How Ivan Ivanovich Quarreled with Ivan Nikiforovich.

The Petersburg Tales Section.

These are similar to the stories covered in the Wilks translation in the Penguin Classics, and are among his best known works.They are set in Petersburg, and we see a transformed writerwho creates realistic stories of depravity and madness, and transformed himself into the father of "Russian modernism." But he uses dreams here in his realism as he did in the Ukrainian Tales. His work was highly regarded by other writers, including Dostoevsky, who used dreams in his own works.
The selection is as follows:

Nevsky Prospect, The Diary of a Madman, The Nose, The Carriage, The Portrait, and The Overcoat.

2-0 out of 5 stars Ukrainian country side folklore and tales on the Russian bourgeoisie
The book has 2 parts: the ukrainian folklore stories - witches, devils, ogres and what not - interacting with the peasants living in the Ukraine countryside. Nice story telling with a quaint sense of humor. The second part is from St. Petersburg detailing the Russian bourgeoisie life. Mildly funny.
Some stories are a prelude to the surrealism to come out of Europe later - like Kafka. But make no mistake: Gogol is no Kafka.
Only if you have nothing better to read at the moment or the above is something you have a special interest in.

2-0 out of 5 stars Bad translation
A quick note to counterbalance all of the glowing reviews.Of course, everybody has an opinion, and one can't argue with taste as they say, so let me provide - for your consideration - a representative passage from the first few pages of this translation.From the second page of "St. John's Eve": "I remember like now - the old woman, my late mother, was still alive - how on a long winter's evening, when there was a biting frost outside that walled us up solidly behind the narrow window of our cottage, she used to sit by the comb, pulling the long thread out with her hand, rocking the cradle with her foot, and humming a song that I can hear as if it was (sic) now."I don't speak Russian, and maybe this "I remember like now" expression represents a literal translation of some Russian idiom, but it would have made a lot more sense to translate the phrase into something along the lines of "I remember as if it were yesterday" - a corny expression, but one that at least makes sense in English.If this seems like a petty criticism, take into account that that kind of awkward, bizarre phrasing is repeated in just about every other sentence.The translators are fond of corny, archaic words like "mug" (for face) and "drubbing" that seem like they belong in a British translation from the 30s, not something copyrighted in 1998.I just wanted to give a warning to anyone who was actually expecting this to be a "modern" translation, i.e., a translation into something resembling contemporary English.For the record, "Dead Souls" is one of my favorite novels and "Ivan Ivanovich / Ivan Nikiforovich" one of my favorite short stories, so this isn't about disliking Gogol. ... Read more

2. Taras Bulba and Other Tales
by Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol
Paperback: 198 Pages (2010-07-06)
list price: US$9.99 -- used & new: US$9.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B003YH9UFM
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Taras Bulba and Other Tales is presented here in a high quality paperback edition. This popular classic work by Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol is in the English language. If you enjoy the works of Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol then we highly recommend this publication for your book collection. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

4-0 out of 5 stars Some Errors But Not Bad
I bought this book to read Taras Bulba having become curious about the story from its adaptation into music by Leos Janacek.Taras makes up the majority of the book at 122 pages (from 285) and although I did not give much thought to the other stories in the book they are masterly and a joy to read.I was quite unprepared for the satanic rites of St. John's Eve and the character study of The Cloak is very good.How The Two Ivans Quarreled is a comic story about an imagined insult that goes way beyond an argument.The Mysterious Portrait is a supernatural story about a painting of an old man that appears to be incredibly life-like and The Calash.

There is an introduction by John Cornos who provides a bibliography of other editions of Gogol's writings but it is a mystery as to who has translated the stories in this edition.The language is good and the stories read well but there are occasional misspelling (for example Ha for Has) and there are footnotes that are difficult to read because the letters overlap.There also are pages where one line will go over the margin. Despite the errors, this edition of Gogol is not bad and the mistakes are not excessive but one does wonder if anyone proof read the book and just did not care.

5-0 out of 5 stars Marauders
The Bulbas were an old Cossack family.Ostap and Andrei, sons of Taras Bulba, attended the Kiev Seminary.Taras leads his sons to the Cossack encampment for them to become warriors.It is sort of their fate. The headman says he has promised the sultan there would be no war.Taras arranges for the election of a new headman.Soon all of southwest Poland is prey to a fear that the Cossacks are coming.

It is wonderful to enter into the minds and intentions of the marauders.The Cossacks had been inflamed to be warlike under reports of other religious groups failing to respect Eastern Orthodoxy.

Andrei runs into the servant of a woman he saw and fell in love with at the Seminary and becomes concerned that she is starving and that the harsh rations of his group are unsuitable fare for her.The sight of peopole starving is awful to Andrei.In the girl's presence, Andrei feels uncouth.He has spent his life in the Seminary and on the steppes.

The Cossacks are beseiging the city.Suddenly an army breaks through and Andrei is lost to Taras and the others.It is reported that Andrei has gone over to the other side under his own free will.

Ostrap Bulba is elected a chief.Part of the Cossack forces follow the Tartars out of the city to retrieve their prisoners, and the rest remain in the vicinity of the city for the same purpose, to retrieve the Cossack prisoners taken by the Poles.Ostap and Taras stay to confront the Poles.They are surprised to encounter Andrei.Taras kills Andrei.

Ostap is taken prisoner and transported to Warsaw.Taras seeks out Yankel to hide him and take him to Warsaw.Through the arrogant will of the Polish aristocracy, the captured Cossacks are tortured, Ostap included.Taras is a witness to the scene.

A Cossack Army 120,000 strong is massed on the border of the Ukraine.Among all the regiments, the crack regiment is led by Taras Bulba.The Russian Orthodox clergy go out to meet the Cossacks.Taras's exploits go well beyond ordinary raids.

The story is colorful and excellent.

5-0 out of 5 stars Tara Bulba- Cossack Glory
I read this book in my youth and loved it then.Revisiting it hasn't diminished the richness of its style or the quality of its impact. I love it still.Taras Bulba captures the wildness of spirit of the Cossacks and their role in the early Russia. It shows the magnificence of the qualities of love, loyalty and bravery.It also shows the opposite side of the human psyche mainly cruelty and despair in the face of overwhelming force.

There are always two values in Russian literature and music a high booming note and a low resonating note. This triumph of Gogol exhibits both in true Russian style.In a way this illuminates the components of Russian character.

It is by no means easy critiquing a work by the great Gogol but to advise readers to sample this great work I feel is a duty and a privilege.

By all means read this book, it goes to the heart of the Cossack and Russian soul. It will answer the basic question about the Russian people's love of motherland which has echoed throughout Russian history. ... Read more

3. The Overcoat and Other Short Stories (Dover Thrift Editions)
by Nikolai Gogol
Paperback: 112 Pages (1992-02-21)
list price: US$3.50 -- used & new: US$0.49
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0486270572
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description

Four works by great 19th-century Russian author: "The Nose," a savage satire of Russia's incompetent bureaucrats; "Old-Fashioned Farmers," a pleasant depiction of an elderly couple living in rustic seclusion; "The Tale of How Ivan Ivanovich Quarrelled with Ivan Nikiforovich," one of Gogol’s most famous comic stories; and "The Overcoat," widely considered a masterpiece of form.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (12)

5-0 out of 5 stars on time
needed it for my son's college class--it came on time, great condition and there's nothing more to add!

5-0 out of 5 stars Humanity--warts and all!(mostly warts)
Although I feel this small collection of stories by Gogol is well worthy of 5 stars, I have to say that after finishing it and laying it aside, I feel a strong sense of relief similar to awakening from a vivid and disturbing dream. These four stories go well together for they elaborate on different aspects of the Tsarist world of the early 1800's, and in their sequence provide a progressively more cutting view of the society of that time. Not that the situations depicted should be construed as being peculiar only to that time and place. The human capacity for cruelty, pettiness, delusions of grandeur, bigotry, and indifference to the plight of your fellow man are certainly not confined to Tsarist Russia; but this was the world of Gogol and the medium in which he wrote, so in reading him we get to samplean assortment of these human failings served up with the flavor of that time and place. "Old-fashioned Farmers", the first piece, describes the pleasant coexistence of a middle-aged man and wife, owners of a simple country estate with a village of serfs to serve them. They while away their time pleasing each other with the simple pastimes of good food and a settled pattern of domesticity. Then something seemingly trivial opens the door to the specter of death and dissolution, and shatters their illusions of permanence. The second story, about two petty rustic noblemen named Ivan who fall into a years-long quarrel, is a satiric and quite funny look at the extravagant lengths these self-important small-town tyrants go to to defend their "honor". Next,"The Nose" is an absurdist piece about a petty government official who loses his nose. That is, his nose simply jumps ship and launches out on its own because it believes it has better prospects going solo. The official is indignant at the pretensions of the nose in giving itself such airs, which is ironic because he is himself pretentious and gives himself airs. "The Overcoat" is liable to brutalize your sensibilties because it is, in my opinion, one of the most effective exposures of the meanness and viciousness directed toward the powerless and lowly by the hierarchy of society that has ever been written. A poor low-grade government clerk who is subjected to the abuse of both his fellows and his superiors has his new, barely affordable overcoat stolen. This seemingly minor event has tragic consequences for the unfortunate clerk, as the overcoat is a lifeline against the brutal Russian winter. Gogol allows the clerk to avenge himself, in a way, on his tormentors, but the story is likely to leave you with a sense of outrage and regret that such things can and do happen in the real world, not only in stories. Well, you may say, Gogol was certainly looking on the dark side; but I think he was only looking at what he saw in his world. Gogol expresses satirically the same frustration and outrage with bureaucracy and conformity as many of his later countrymen such as Bulgakov and Solzhenitsyn. Unlike these later writers Gogol has no hero to champion the cause of the individual(at least not in these stories), but the stories themselves; while no doubt primarily an expression of Gogol's artistic abilities, they are also a plea for a more intelligent and humane humanity. I would certainly be remiss if I didn't mention that these tales are fleshed out with a great deal of detail that conveys the sense of real life rather than a caricature. Each story connects with the senses in many ways to provide the reader with a strong inner impression of thesurroundings in which the action takes place. For me, this richness of description of a strange and bygone time was the element which decided me on a five-star rating.

5-0 out of 5 stars ahead of its time
Gogol, who lived from 1809-1852, was decades if not a whole century ahead of his time. His clever, sardonic, cynical stories satirize the world of self-important bureaucrats in ways that still seem eerily relevant.
In "The Overcoat," a humble clerk who spends his days copying documents, is shaken out of his routine when he suddenly acquires a splendid new coat. Suddenly, all his repressed desires come to the surface. I won't reveal the end of the story except to say that it is both funny and sad.
In "The Nose" Gogol reveals himself as an unequalled satirist with a weird, surrealistic imagination -- and this was way before the invention of surrealism. Again, he's able to put himself inside the heads of government busybodies and low-level officials with uncanny realism.
Great, though-provoking reading.

5-0 out of 5 stars Classical Russian Literature at its finest!
Gogol has been a long favorite of mine and when I saw these short stories I jumped to buy them.If you are an avid fan like I am then do not hesitate!:)

5-0 out of 5 stars A great read
I had heard that I should read Gogol from a friend, but this friend has a Master's in English Lit so I thought it might be a little over my head.To my happy surprise I loved all of the short stories.Gogol is really good at creating interesting, complex characters within a few pages, and his understanding of human nature really shines through. I also thought that I would be put off by some of the unreal elements in the stories, as i tend not to like magical realism or fantastical stories, but with Gogol I did not mind.It is kind of like hearing a bed time story or a fable. Most importantly, his stories are entertaining.For those of you who are looking to diversify your reading, I would really recommend this book. ... Read more

4. Dead Souls
by Nikolai Gogol
Paperback: 512 Pages (2004-12-28)
list price: US$14.00 -- used & new: US$6.97
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0140448071
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
Dead Souls is one of the most unusual works of nineteenth-century fiction and a devastating satire on social hypocrisy. Chichikov, a mysterious stranger, arrives in a provincial town and visits a succession of landowners to make each a strange offer. He proposes to buy the names of dead serfs still registered on the census, saving their owners from paying tax on them, and to use these "souls" as collateral to reinvent himself as a gentleman. In this ebullient masterpiece, Gogol created a grotesque gallery of human types, from the bear-like Sobakevich to the insubstantial fool Manilov, and, above all, the devilish con man Chichikov. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (10)

5-0 out of 5 stars Come now, We're not talking about the living!
As a narrater Gogol was a genius. This is without a doubt his masterpiece and one of the greatest depictions of russian society ever written. I was surprised to find this very witty which is not what I had expected, And it truly is funny in places.

Also a very ambiguous tale as in that we never find out where it is actually set we only know it as 'the town that will remain nameless' and also on the description of our hero, Chichikov who remains rather like a ghost, we follow his tale but we don't exactly know whom we are following until the end, where his real identity is revealed. i love the way gogol describes the characters especially the drunk manilov, Everything is put in place in exactly the place where it should be.

I really enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good gripping tale or anyone like me, infatuated with the beautiful culture of old Rus.

5-0 out of 5 stars Catfish tails and Purity
Travel through the richness and depth of the Russian soul, through suckling pig and sour cream, pies stuffed with fat juicy catfish tails, poppy seed cakes, pancakes dripping with hot sticky butter...and you get a taste of the genius that Gogol was. A work riddled with humour, irony, and just plain filth of the human condition, parody of rank and file and glorification of the unredeemable. Gogol laughs at us for our frailities and at the same time makes us cringe and repulsed at Chichikov's greed for the filthy lucre. Part I of this book will take you out of yourself and transport you to the ballrooms, farms, pantries and the minds and souls of Mother Russia. How much do I love this book? A little less than spiders of the sea and a whole lot more than stale cabbage soup at the roadside inn!! Just read it!!

1-0 out of 5 stars Kindle version incomplete!
i bought this for my Kindle in April, 2009.Unfortunately, this version is incomplete - the electronic version ends abruptly about 1/3 of the way through.I followed up with Kindle Support.They encountered the same problem.

1-0 out of 5 stars Kindle version NOT the Maguire translation
I found "Dead Souls" through the Amazon search and clicked on the hardbound Maguire translation.The 6 customer reviews extoled the Maguire version as one of the better ones.The webpage also mentioned a Kindle version and included a link.I clicked the link.The same customer reviews appeared as for the hardbound version.There was no contradicting information about the translator, so I bought expecting the Kindle version of the Maguire translations.When I opened the Kindle version, I was surprised to see credits for translation by D.J. Hogarth.This difference should be made clear, especially when the reviews on the same page extol the Maguire version and you don't get that translation.

5-0 out of 5 stars Deal Souls is a Masterpiece of Russian/World Literature
Nikolay Gogol lived a short and troubled life. He did manage to write one of the classic novels of Russian literature the immortal Dead Souls.
In this satirical novel we meet the rogue Chichikov (his name in Russian means " a sneeze. Chichikov is a government worker who has been dismissed due to smuggling. The crafty con man decides to buy up the dead souls of peasants from Russian landowners who have to pay a tax on them. He hopes to do this in order to be perceived as a wealthy landowner. In the second part of the novel we see him actually buying land, getting in trouble with the law and departing the unknown provincial town where he hoped to reside.
As Chichikov travels the vast expanses of Russia he takes with him two foolish and dumb servants. He travels in a fast moving britska carriage drawn by three spirited horses. Our "hero" (the term is used ironically)
is single and always in search of a young and rich wife. As he interacts with the landowners over their dead souls we meet the aristocratic landowner segment of Russia. The landowners are drawn with a humorous tongue in cheek pen as Gogol points fun at the powers that be. Gogol relishes attacking the corrupt and inept governmental officials in small town Russia.
Chichikov is rumored to be many different people. Napoleon in disguise!
A seducer of the police chief's fetching daughter! A counterfeiter and a rogue! A wealthy eccentric landowner! He is easily adept at pulling the wool over the eyes of gullible estate owners.
Gogol envisaged his work to encompass three volumes but only completed part one. Part II is included in the Penguin Editon in its incompleted state of composition.
Gogol had a fanstastic imagination and often his work achieves a theatre of the absurd level of humor. He influenced later writers in Russian who used his satire, irony and flights of fancy to take the nineteenth century Russian novel to greatness. Enjoy this fine Penguin Revised Edition of a true classic! ... Read more

5. Mertvye dushi. English
by Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol
Kindle Edition: Pages (2010-06-19)
list price: US$4.00
Asin: B003T9UX2O
Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Dead Souls, first published in 1842, is the great prose classic of Russia. That amazing institution, "the Russian novel," not only began its career with this unfinished masterpiece by Nikolai Vasil'evich Gogol, but practically all the Russian masterpieces that have come since have grown out of it, like the limbs of a single tree. Dostoieffsky goes so far as to bestow this tribute upon an earlier work by the same author, a short story entitled. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars A serviceable, readable Kindle edition of a great book.
I'll assume the fact that Dead Souls is a five-star, superlatively excellent classic by Gogol goes without saying. You probably wouldn't be looking into this edition of Dead Souls if you weren't already familiar with the fact that Gogol was one of the seminal figures in early Russian literature, whose short stories defined an era of Russian writing. If you're reading this review, I suspect you really want to know: is this free Kindle edition worth downloading, or should you buy a different edition instead? I say: casual readers, go with this one. I'm happy with it, and you will be too. What follows is some more information, for those interested.

Edition and Kindle features: This edition of Dead Souls is the standard old English translation of Nikolai Gogol's 1842 novel _Mertvye dushi_, translated by D.J. Hogarth (a.k.a. C.J. Hogarth) way back in 1842 (this is emphatically not a modern-language translation). It contains a lukewarm introduction by John Cournos, which is interrupted for a brief preparer's note. The book has a linked table of contents, with links to the Introduction and each chapter. This ToC is only accessible by going to the "cover" and then clicking forward a couple pages; the usual Kindle link to "Table of Contents" is not active. (If you're the type to be irritated by this mild quirk, you probably want to stay away from all the free Public Domain Books editions.)

Introduction: The intro is light, brief, and pedagogical; useful for folks who don't know anything about Russian literature, containing many of the quotations about Dead Souls that "everyone" is supposed to have heard or overheard. There's also a tiny bit of biography, and a pedantic explanation of what the phrase "dead souls" referred to in 19c Russia. The introduction also has that rare and notable benefit of not spoiling the book's plot, so it's readable before beginning the book.

Translation: D.J. Hogarth's translation seems dryly literal, and occasionally suffers from its age. Reading this, it's easy to miss puns and double entendres and the like which populate the work in the Russian. That's inevitable with any translation, but hey, some footnotes would be nice. Some quite funny passages have been rendered boring, and others, a bit inscrutable. Instead of informative footnotes, we get endnotes for allegedly untranslatable Russian words, which provide their translation. (Sigh.) That is, whenever a single word in the Russian would need to be translated as a phrase in English, the original Russian word is kept, and the phrase translation is shunted to a footnote. Even with Kindle links for footnotes and backlinks to return to the reading, you will find this every bit as irritating as it sounds. (You have to scroll the 5-way mouse-pointer controller line by line down to the footnote, click to follow the link, read what it says, move the mouse-pointer to the Return link and click it. Given that Kindle takes its own sweet time with each of those key presses, this is abominably irritating.) Fortunately, only a few words per chapter require this.

Other comments: the words are clean and readable, and I don't recall noticing any of those typos, misread characters im tHe OCR reod1ng, weird spacing issues between words, etc. which make some other Kindle freebies unusable.

Conclusion: a great budget edition for casual readers who don't mind not catching the humor that's lost in translation. The mildly irritating footnote and ToC quirks, and the quaint 19th-century translation, shouldn't scare you away from this freebie.

1-0 out of 5 stars I Don't Understand
From Amazon's description:Is this a Gogol short story in English?Very poor description.... ... Read more

6. The Diary of a Madman, The Government Inspector, and Selected Stories (Penguin Classics)
by Nikolai Gogol
Paperback: 368 Pages (2006-04-25)
list price: US$12.00 -- used & new: US$5.60
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0140449078
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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This expanded collection of influential Russian satirist Nikolay Gogol’s ingenious pieces now includes his most famous play. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Diary of a Madman is a collection of great short stories by the pen of Russian master Nikolay Gogol
Penguin has published a selection of short stories and the play "The Government Inspector" by Nikolay Gogol (1809-52) one of the premiere Russian authors of the nineteenth century and all time.
The collection includes:
Ivan Fyodorvich Shponka and His Aunt-This delightful gem tells the tale of Ivan who is a retired Russian Army officer. He spends his days with his masculine and domineering aunt on a large estate in the Ukraine. Shponka is shy failing to court a fetching beauty on a nearby estate. Gogol is a word artist who is able to paint the scene of a rural Russia where peasants and landowners go about their humdrum lives. The story reminds me of a tale which could have been written by Anton Chekhov.
How Ivan Ivanonich quarrelled with Ivan Nikiforovich-This is the bittersweet, sometimes humorous, tale of two old friends who are estate owners. They quarrel over Ivanonich's eagerness to be given a beautiful rifle owned by Nikiforovich. Their dispute ends up in a law court where a rebellious pig eats court documents! The story is narrated by an invented character. A memorable and excellent piece of short fiction!
Nevsky Prospect-Located in St. Petersburg this tale deals with a man who is a dreamer. It is surreal in parts and is evocative of life in mid nineteenth century St. Petersburg dubbed "The Paris of the North." One of Gogol's greatest short stories;often anthologized.
The Nose-An asburdist tale in which a Nose leaves the face of a minor government official only to return to his face as the story concludes. It is a satire on Russian government and the human desire to win fame and prestige by holding office. A precursor to Kafka in its absurdist and disorienting story.
The Overcoat-The tragic tale of a little clerk who is very poor. He finally saves up his money, purchases a beautiful and warm coat only to have it stolen one frigid St. Petersburg night. His boss is later tormented by the ghost of the thief who purloined the coat. This is one of the best short stories in all of world literature. Vladamir Nabokov is the critic to read on this tale.
The Carriage-This story concerns a landowner who falls asleep in his carriage despite the visit to his estate of several high officials. A humorous tale poking fun at the government.
The Government Inspector is a play in which the mayor and high officials in a small provincial Russian village mistakenly suppose a visiting wastrel is a high governmental official. All of the hypocrisy, greed and self-seeking resident in the human being are on display in this brilliant play.
The Penguin edition contains an excellent introduction to Gogol by Dr. Robert Maguire. Gogol is a delight to read; his insights into humanity are on target. May he and his carriage travel across the vast reaches of Russia forever!

5-0 out of 5 stars A Good Collection But Short
Do you buy this Penguin Classics translation by Ronald Wilks or the Vintage Classics version translated by Pevear and Volokhonsky, currently the best translators of 19th century Russian novels? No contest. The other has 14 stories versus 8 here. Buy the other book if you must buy only one.

I bought both and have no regrets. The present book has two good features: it has a better introduction by Robert Maguire plus it has the play, The Government Inspector. And according to Nabokov, and it is hard to argue with him, that play is the best Russian play ever written. This is a 1972 translation, revised in 2005.

So, it has only 8 stories, but the book does contain an impressive introduction by Maguire, professor from Columbia University, international scholar, now passed away. The present book contains 7 stories translated by Wilks, the introduction by Maguire, plus the play. None of the stories are much over 50 pages and some are shorter. They are good examples of the writings and the literary techniques of Gogol. He is an extremely complex writer and one must read the analysis to appreciate the subtle features and nuances in his writings.

Two stories are from "the Ukrainian Tales" and five from the "Petersburg Tales," and as pointed out by Maguire, that is an editorial division only of Gogol's works, not a division created by Gogol. The former stories from the Ukraine include his use of witches and the devil.

Nikolai Gogol (1809-1852, Ukraine-Russia) is one the best known Russian writers. His masterpiece is Dead Souls. It is a charming and a highly entertaining novel about a man touring Russian farms by horse and buggy in the early 19th century. In addition, Gogol has approximately 19 well known short stories plus non-fiction writings. He was a friend of Pushkin and he published some of his works in a magazine by Pushkin, The Contemporary. He spent 12 of his last 16 years living in western Europe where he wrote Dead Souls (a must read if you claim to be literate).

Ukrainian Tales.

There are two in his group.
"a world of proud, boastful Cossacks, of black-brown beauties, of witches, devils, magic spells and enchantments..."
The stories are as follows:
IvanFyodorovich Sponka and His Aunt, and
The Story of How Ivan Ivanovich Quarreled with Ivan Nikiforovich.

Petersburg Tales.

These are similar to the stories covered in the Vintage translation and are among his best known works.They are set in Petersburg, and are as follows:
Nevsky Prospect, The Diary of a Madman, The Nose, The Carriage, and The Overcoat.
Also included is the play, The Government Inspector, which is set in a rural area.

5-0 out of 5 stars A running Nose....
"The Nose" -- which tells with an utterly straight face the improbable tale of a man who wakes up one day to find his nose missing, only to then later spot it running around town wearing the uniform of a government official -- is probably the single funniest work of serious literature ever written. When I was at university 20 years ago, a fellow literature student and three of her male admirers (myself counted among them) started a weekly "story night" in which each member of the circle would bring in something to read to the others. I'll always remember the night I brought in "The Nose" and read it aloud, and everyone was rolling with laughter. Gogol has the added distinction of being a major influence on 20th century comedy, including the films of Luis Bunuel and Woody Allen. A must-read.

5-0 out of 5 stars Gogol, my blood brother
Finally, a book for sale, easily bought which has Gogol's great play, The Government Inspector! Mainly through the success of this play was Gogol known during his lifetime and he was in Russia to enjoy the praises sung in his name. Pushkin, one of Gogol's greatest supporters and one of his dearest friends was still around also.

The Diary of a Madman is, without a shadow of a doubt, the greatest short story ever written. This work, probably the finest Gogol ever wrote speaks to me and you can really feel Gogol's pain of rejection and alienation (like Kafka) through the sometimes scary entries in the diary of Poprishchen, which translates into "pimple" in Russian, the Madman's name.

Gogol's humor is just perfect. It is almost sadistic the way he tells of his characters downfalls and destruction. The Overcoat, Gogol's most famous short story is just about some guy who gets an overcoat, something the man treasures not because it looks nice, but because it helps him survive. When it is stolen, he dies. I love that humor. Gogol cared about the little guy, but, he wasn't afraid to tell of the miserable demise of his "little guys."

I will definatley be buying this one. There may be Dostoevsky but Gogol is the one more close to my kind of humor. Kafka called Dostoevsky his blood brother and Gogol must surely be mine. ... Read more

7. The Works of Nikolai Gogol
by Nikolai Gogol
Kindle Edition: Pages (2010-06-13)
list price: US$0.99
Asin: B003RWS6QI
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Product Description
Nikolai Gogol is considered the fathern of modern Russian realism; collected here are his best known works.

Works include:
Dead Souls
The Inspector-General
Taras Bulba, et. al ... Read more

8. Nikolai Gogol
by Vladimir Nabokov
Paperback: 172 Pages (1961-01-17)
list price: US$12.95 -- used & new: US$9.02
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0811201201
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Nikolai Gogol was the most idiosyncratic of the great Russian novelists of the 19th century and lived a tragically short life which was as chaotic as the lives of the characters he created. This biography begins with Gogol's death and ends with his birth, an inverted structure typical of both Gogol and Nabokov. The biographer proceeds to establish the relationship between Gogol and his novels, especially with regard to "nose-consciousness", a peculiar feature of Russian life and letters, which finds its apotheosis in Gogol's own life and prose. There are more expressions and proverbs concerning the nose in Russian than in any other language in the world. Nabokov's style in this biography is comic, but as always leads to serious issues - in this case, an appreciation of the distinctive "sense of the physical" inherent in Gogol's work. Nabokov describes how Gogol's life and literature mingled, and explains the structure and style of Gogol's prose in terms of the novelist's life. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars A keystone to Nabokov's oevre
I remember reading Nabokov's Gogol as a teenager a very long time ago, and being captivated by the bump and grind of Nabokov's most revelatory critical prose. The sketches that make up this book have the tone of a series of lectures. This may be the most spontaneous writing of that great writer. Unlike the vast, labored, encyclopaedic and undeniably seminal work on Pushkin, Nabokov conveys his passion for Gogol by anecdote and impressionistic imagery. Perhaps because of this, this book demonstrates how content is conveyed more through a writer's style, his grammar and tropes than straightforward semantic intent. The other artistic articulation of Nabokov's aesthetic ("An Evening of Russian Poetry") explains that "Because all hangs together - shape and sound/heather and honey, vessel and content./Not only rainbows - every line is bent" and in Gogol, the bent line is Gogol's life in art. The chapter on "Poshlust" in this book is essential reading not just for understanding Nabokov, but possibly for one's personal moral, ethical and aesthetic well being. Whether spelled as the Nabokovian "poshlust" or the more conventional "poshlost", this must rank as significant a Nabokovian English neologism as "nymphet". I would rank this book as perhaps the best key to Lolita, Ada, the Gift and Pale Fire, Nabokov's immortal Tetrology.

4-0 out of 5 stars Could have been better, but it's awfully good
Perhaps regrettably obscured behind Nabokov's famous novels and even his Lectures on Russian Literature and his controversial work on Eugene Onegin lies this short critical biography of Nikolai Gogol.The main thrust ofthe book is to portray Gogol as a masterful, if troubled and inconsistent,writer whose work is valuable not at all for its portrayal of Russia or forany seeming advocacy of social change, but rather exclusively for itsartistic merit.Nabokov takes us rather briskly through Gogol's youth andhis earlier works; provides detailed, quote-filled discussions of TheInspector General and the first volume of Dead Souls; summarizes the lastten years of Gogol's life, during which he attempted to write the secondvolume of Dead Souls but saw his artistic creativity fading; and gives ashort exposition of Gogol's most famous short story, "TheOvercoat."

Nabokov's essays on The Inspector General, Dead Souls,and "The Overcoat" are all quite illuminating and entertaining. He escorts us through each work, discussing the numerous ways in which eachinnovatively reflects Gogol's unique and charming quirks, and including,with annotations, numerous passages (each translated by Nabokov himself)which demonstrate Gogol's excellent prose.His emphasis is not at all onthe plots of the works (which he only grudgingly included at the end of thebook at the request of his publisher) but rather on their style, which hesuccessfully shows to be a much more fundamental aspect of Gogol's worksthan any satire that one may choose to read in to them.

At times,though, it seems that Nabokov gets a little too caught up in his own dogma. Most critics nowadays would agree with Nabokov that Gogol was much moreimportant as an artist than as a social commentator, but it's pushing itawfully far to say, as Nabokov does, that Dead Souls is no moreauthentically a tale about Russia than Hamlet is authentically aboutDenmark.Also, Nabokov confines almost all of his attention to just threeworks, which put together, if memory serves, wouldn't come to much morethan 300 pages.He dismisses Gogol's numerous Ukrainian tales (the last ofwhich were written when Gogol was 25; The Inspector General, by contrast,was written at the ripe old age of 26) as "juvenilia" which areemphatically not "the real Gogol," and pays little more than lipservice to any of Gogol's other acclaimed short stories.The one otherslightly irritating aspect of Nabokov's book that I can think of is that inthe long passages that he quotes he insists on interjecting his owncomments [in brackets] mid-sentence, thus ruining the flow of the prosethat he took the trouble of translating so very well.

But these are allminor quibbles, and I hope you won't let them discourage you.Nabokovmakes his point very entertainingly and very well, and although it mighthave been nice if he'd broadened his study to more of Gogol's work, hisdiscussions of Gogol's three most important works are really excellent. Since it would be hard for me to think of a 20th-century author more suitedto writing about Gogol than Nabokov, I had high expectations for this book,and I was not at all disappointed. ... Read more

9. The Collected Tales (Everyman's Library)
by Nikolai Gogol
Hardcover: 425 Pages (2008-10-07)
list price: US$25.00 -- used & new: US$14.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0307269698
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
(Book Jacket Status: Jacketed)

From the acclaimed translators of War and Peace, Crime and Punishment, and The Brothers Karamazov, a brilliant translation of Nikolai Gogol’s short fiction.

Collected here are Gogol’s finest tales—stories that combine the wide-eyed, credulous imagination of the peasant with the sardonic social criticism of the city dweller—allowing readers to experience anew the unmistakable genius of a writer who paved the way for Dostoevsky and Kafka. All of Gogol’s most memorable creations are here: the minor official who misplaces his nose, the downtrodden clerk whose life is changed by the acquisition of a splendid new overcoat, the wily madman who becomes convinced that a dog can tell him everything he needs to know. The wholly unique blend of the mundane and the supernatural that Gogol crafted established his reputation as one of the most daring and inventive writers of his time. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

4-0 out of 5 stars Very good
The book arrived in great shape and in a very timely way. The writing itself, being Gogol, is pretty hard to take, although I expected that. It may be a classic, but humor is incredibly culture-bound and time-bound, and what was funny in Russia 150 years ago doesn't translate so well to the present. Not the fault of the seller, by any means.

5-0 out of 5 stars Beautifully Written (Translated) Must Read!
After seeing "The Namesake" [...]
I was intrigued with references made to both "The Overcoat" and its author Nikolai Gogol and chose this "Everyman's Library" edition "The Collected Tales" which includes this short story.Published in 1842, the story and its author have had great influence on Russian literature, thus spawning Fyodor Dostoevsky's famous quote: "We all come out from Gogol's 'Overcoat'."

The stories are marvelous and the writing is good and this particular translation must be good, as I can't wait to read it each day.Highly recommended!

5-0 out of 5 stars A Rave with a Caveat
The reborn Everyman's Library is so uniquely head and shoulders above every other publishing venture available today that it seems ungrateful to append even a small caution about this newest title in the series. Especially so as the fresh translation really is a miraculous breakthrough--a huge improvement over previous efforts. What then is the problem? Simply that this is NOT a "collected" tales in the common understanding of that term, but a "selected" one. Not a great problem unless one is seeking a particular omitted piece, but it does raise some question about at least one link in the editorial chain--a failure of oversight that has marred certain series titles irretrievably and that is uncomfortably disrespectful to the quality of the project overall. ... Read more

10. Dead Souls: A Novel
by Nikolai Gogol
Paperback: 432 Pages (1997-03-25)
list price: US$16.00 -- used & new: US$9.32
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0679776443
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
Since its publication in 1842, Dead Souls has been celebrated as a supremely realistic portrait of provincial Russian life and as a splendidly exaggerated tale; as a paean to the Russian spirit and as a remorseless satire of imperial Russian venality, vulgarity, and pomp. As Gogol's wily antihero, Chichikov, combs the back country wheeling and dealing for "dead souls"--deceased serfs who still represent money to anyone sharp enough to trade in them--we are introduced to a Dickensian cast of peasants, landowners, and conniving petty officials, few of whom can resist the seductive illogic of Chichikov's proposition. This lively, idiomatic English version by the award-winning translators Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky makes accessible the full extent of the novel's lyricism, sulphurous humor, and delight in human oddity and error.Amazon.com Review
A socially adept newcomer fluidly inserts himself into anunnamed Russian town, conquering first the drinkers, then thedignitaries. All find him amiable, estimable, agreeable. But whatexactly is Pavel Ivanovich Chichikov up to?--something that will soonthrow the town "into utter perplexity."

After more than a week of entertainment and "passing the time, as theysay, very pleasantly," he gets down to business--heading off to callon some landowners. More pleasantries ensue before Chichikov revealshis bizarre plan. He'd like to buy the souls of peasants who have diedsince the last census. The first landowner looks carefully to see ifhe's mad, but spots no outward signs. In fact, the scheme isinnovative but by no means bonkers. Even though Chichikov will betaxed on the supposed serfs, he will be able to count them as hisproperty and gain the reputation of a gentleman owner. His firstvictim is happy to give up his souls for free--less tax burden forhim. The second, however, knows Chichikov must be up to something, andthe third has his servants rough him up. Nonetheless, he prospers.

Dead Souls is a feverish anatomy of Russian society (the bookwas first published in 1842) and human wiles. Its author tosses offthousands of sublime epigrams--including, "However stupid afool's words may be, they are sometimes enough to confound anintelligent man," and is equally adept at yearning satire:"Where is he," Gogol interrupts the action, "who, inthe native tongue of our Russian soul, could speak to us thisall-powerful word: forward? who, knowing all the forces andqualities, and all the depths of our nature, could, by one magicgesture, point the Russian man towards a lofty life?" FlanneryO'Connor, another writer of dark genius, declared Gogol"necessary along with the light." Though he was hardly thefirst to envision property as theft, his blend of comic, fantasticmoralism is sui generis.--Kerry Fried ... Read more

Customer Reviews (36)

5-0 out of 5 stars Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol
Dead Souls is about the enterprising Chichikov, a man of questionable origins who goes throughout the Russian countryside trying to implement a bizarre business plan. He meets people of various dispositions, networks, and becomes a mysteriously interesting member of society. Things don't go as he originally plans, however, leading to a humbling denouement and any number of valuable life lessons.

This is a book that, for me at least, isn't about plot so much as as it is the many complexities inherent in human nature. Its cast of characters are lean and brilliantly written, and run the gamut of emotions from greed to ignorance to anger to understanding and forgiveness. Gogol's book is such a triumph because of his powers of description, how he details his characters through clever dialogue and realistic situations, and in the convincing way the plot moves forward. Everything is laid out on his chessboard just right, and the suitable amount of light and dark fall on everything in the story. Add to that the fact that this is a very faithful translation by the always reliable Pevear and Volokhonsky, maintaining Gogol's brisk pace, his masterful description, and his wry humor that presents itself when you least expect it. It's a book to reread, to take your time and chip away at, to ponder all day. The cumulative effect, as the book reaches its conclusion, is somewhat hampered by its questionable chunks of missing pages, making the reader feel scattered, but what is there is easy enough to tie together and not interrupt the pleasure of the book too much. This is a must for any fan of the Russian greats.

4-0 out of 5 stars Shallow Protagonist Hits a Wall
Chichikov is one of the most well-sketched characters I've encountered in Russian literature. A wheeler-dealer who scours the countryside in a scheme to acquire land, wealth and power, this anti-hero spends the first part of the novel in shallowness, learning little and suffering self-pity at most. The satire is crystal-clear and at times hilarious.

As the story intensifies and builds, the protagonist exhibits more inner turmoil but barely grazes the surface of morality until Gogol set us up, at last, for a needed sequel. But Dead Souls is an unfinished novel--its sequel of redemption torched by its own author. This first installment is also structurally compromised; Gogol's manuscript is missing entire sections and lines, although translators Pevear and Volokonsky do an admirable job of bringing the story to life.

Dead Souls is a seminal classic, but it'll be a tough slog for many newcomers to 19th century Russian literature. The dialogue is wonderful, but at times the read feels uneven as the author's generally descriptive narrative ranges from passages of gorgeous aesthetics to drier, more difficult-to-follow excursions from the central storyline. Gogol's a great man of letters, and his death in the hands of a religious radical--a torturous situation as horrible as anything the author railed against--is all the more tragic in light of his trajectory. If only he'd left us more.

My Titles
Shadow Fields
Snooker Glen

5-0 out of 5 stars Masterwork
Nikolai Gogol had a keen ability to write dark humor.While many of his short stories border on silliness, "Dead Souls" is a scathing rebuke of provincial life in his homeland.Though many reviewers focus on the humor, the writing is also intelligent and an enlightening perspective on life in this era.

To begin the story, Chichikov is dismissed from a position of comfort in civil service.Feeling cheating by the system, he searches for a way to make the system work for him.As a matter of speaking, he becomes a con-man.Beginning his pursuit, he enters the first town with intentions of becoming friendly with the locals.After being accepted, he turns to business and his unlikely scheme begins to unhatch.He begins by purchasing the "souls" of peasants who have died since the last census.Even though Chichikov will be taxed on the supposed serfs, he will be able to count them as his property and gain the reputation of a gentleman owner.

Buying "dead souls" becomes more difficult as people become curious of Chichikov's graft.While the plan seems staggered as he leaves the town, Chichikov's desires evolve as the story draw to its conclusion.

Though the passages which focus on the scenary slow the pace, "Dead Souls" read very quickly.The witty prose and absurd plot keep the reader's attention peaked.These qualities make "Dead Souls" stand as one of the great works of Russian literature.

4-0 out of 5 stars An Incredibly Funny Social Satire
Older Russian literature, for the most part, has an odd way of alienating modern readers, likely because the prose tends to be dense, the plots thin. But what some of the most popular Russian writers such as Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, and Gogol do better than maybe any other literary tradition is capture the mindsets and what drives a person to do what they do. "Dead Souls" is a wonderful example of what a social satire should be - it takes the Russian landowner class and the Russian peasantry and interweaves an insightful critique with a humorous tale of a man who tries to buy up dead souls so as to make it appear he is a more wealthy landowner than he really is. Chichikov, the protagonist, moves from estate to estate, party to party, in such an attractive way that everyone he meets wants to learn more about this mysterious man. Beyond the social satire, Gogol has a way of including a number of maxims and sayings without destroying the fabric of the story. I highly recommend this book but with a warning - it's not the kind of book you can speed through. It needs to be read slowly and enjoyed.

4-0 out of 5 stars definitely worth a read!
Gogol himself claimed that Pushkin had told him that up until his own life, Gogol was the most successful in depicting the 'poshlost' of Russian social life, and this book certainly shows him to be correct.Not only with reference to the dead souls (serfs) that Chichikov purchased for his own gain, but also as a social commentary on post-Napoleonic Russia via the characters Gogol has developed in this self-described poema makes this a very insightful and enjoyable read. ... Read more

11. The Collected Tales and Plays of Nikolai Gogol
by Nikolai GOGOL
 Hardcover: Pages (1969)

Asin: B000JRPS1U
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12. Dead Souls: A Poem (Oxford World's Classics)
by Nikolai Vasilyevich Gogol
Paperback: 496 Pages (2009-08-03)
list price: US$13.95 -- used & new: US$8.28
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0199554668
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
Gogol's tale of a dismissed civil servant turned unscrupulous confidence man is the most essentially Russian of all the great novels in Russian literature.With its rich and ebullient language, ironic twists, and cast of comedic characters, Dead Souls (1842) stands as one of the most dazzling and poetic masterpieces of the nineteenth century. This brilliant new translation by Christopher English is complemented by a superb introductory essay by the pre-eminent Gogol scholar, Robert Maguire.Amazon.com Review
A socially adept newcomer fluidly inserts himself into anunnamed Russian town, conquering first the drinkers, then thedignitaries. All find him amiable, estimable, agreeable. But whatexactly is Pavel Ivanovich Chichikov up to?--something that will soonthrow the town "into utter perplexity."

After more than a week of entertainment and "passing the time, as theysay, very pleasantly," he gets down to business--heading off to callon some landowners. More pleasantries ensue before Chichikov revealshis bizarre plan. He'd like to buy the souls of peasants who have diedsince the last census. The first landowner looks carefully to see ifhe's mad, but spots no outward signs. In fact, the scheme isinnovative but by no means bonkers. Even though Chichikov will betaxed on the supposed serfs, he will be able to count them as hisproperty and gain the reputation of a gentleman owner. His firstvictim is happy to give up his souls for free--less tax burden forhim. The second, however, knows Chichikov must be up to something, andthe third has his servants rough him up. Nonetheless, he prospers.

Dead Souls is a feverish anatomy of Russian society (the bookwas first published in 1842) and human wiles. Its author tosses offthousands of sublime epigrams--including, "However stupid afool's words may be, they are sometimes enough to confound anintelligent man," and is equally adept at yearning satire:"Where is he," Gogol interrupts the action, "who, inthe native tongue of our Russian soul, could speak to us thisall-powerful word: forward? who, knowing all the forces andqualities, and all the depths of our nature, could, by one magicgesture, point the Russian man towards a lofty life?" FlanneryO'Connor, another writer of dark genius, declared Gogol"necessary along with the light." Though he was hardly thefirst to envision property as theft, his blend of comic, fantasticmoralism is sui generis.--Kerry Fried ... Read more

Customer Reviews (26)

4-0 out of 5 stars "For your pleasure I am prepared to assume even a loss."


TITLE: Dead Souls

AUTHOR: Nikolai Gogol

TRANSLATOR: Christopher English

PLOT: Pavel Ivanovich Chichikov has been dismissed from civil service, but not all hope is lost. He decides to stroll across the Russian countryside in order to reach his goal. And that goal involves deceased citizens of every kind.

CHARACTERS: Chichikov almost creeps me out (he's like a Russian Sweeney Todd). He can be calm on the outside, but impatient on the inside. The mystery of his goals affect his friends and his servants as they start to have an urge on why he wants to collect the names of `dead souls'. Nozdryov is particularly a memorable supporting character. At first he's kind to his good companions, and then, as he thinks boredom strikes, he aggressively defends their friendship. Selifan and Petrushka, Chichikov's servants, provide a bit of comic relief for their parts. Khlobuev is very likeable as he helps Chichikov in dire need near the end.

PACING: Part One of "Dead Souls" has an almost perfect pacing. There are never too many descriptive narratives nor does it have too little. The journeys of Chichikov almost never drag, and the introductions of supporting characters won't make you throw this book away. It's Part Two that slows the whole story down. The introductions to new characters are much more descriptive, and the narrative paragraphs seem to last forever.

THE WRITING ITSELF: Christopher English's English translation is a mixed bag. For the good side, he perfectly selects adverbs and adjectives. He also makes sure that Gogol's dramatic language remains in his own. For the bad side, I think he might've ignored much of the ironic/satirical humor, as some passages didn't make me smile at all. But I guess it's just me, and maybe other people have enjoyed this rendition as much as Robert Maguire's rendition.

And finally, it's a good thing that the supposedly `final chapter' is included here. We would get to know how Gogol wanted to start on a non-existent Part Three.

OVERALL: Despite a mediocre translation, "Dead Souls" is a comic classic in Russian literature. It's as anti-heroic as Lermontov's "A Hero of our Time", and as lyrical as Pushkin's poem "Eugene Onegin". It's a must-read. B+

5-0 out of 5 stars Devastatingly funny: The satire that launched modern novel in Russia
Nikolai Gogol's Dead Soul launches the 'great Russian novel form' with a satire, so apt and so funny, that the novel remains as one of the most popular Russian text ever. Gogol's own personal life may have been a dire disaster, but as a novelist he stands next to only Tolstoy and Dostovesky, as short story writer only Chekov comes close to his fame, and mind you, he preceded them and their writing. He was, alongside Pushkin, one of the major early forces in Russian literary scene. Since all other major novelists from Russia have delved into tragedies and melodramas, going down to philosophical and religious questions, Dead Souls comes as a relief fun read, rather one of the funniest reads.

In Dead Souls, he provides a cast of unforgettable and hilarious characters in episodes that leave you reeling with laughter. The hero or the anti-hero Chichikov or Tchichikov drives from town to town, buying "dead souls" i.e. dead peasants, assuring landowners that this will benefit them as they would pay less tax on their workforce. The tax was based on census numbers, and since many peasants died between two census years, landowners ended up paying taxes on people who didn't exist. Chichikov's brilliant idea was to collect a long list of (dead) peasants he had bought, and use that for getting a estate for himself. The novel tells us a story after story of his meeting his landowners and getting his purchase by a mix of tact, sweet talk, and so on, each purchase is full of absurd and funny details.

Beyond the obvious laughters, the novel provides a very detailed description of Russia in early nineteenth century. The sketches of nature bring alive similes and metaphors that Gogol (who was a failed poet) uses remarkably well. While the observations related to people, customs, bureaucracy and Russia are full of brilliant wit, they in fact recreate a lively and throbbing world to us. The world as it was. The bureaucracy has not changed much since then. Nor have the quacks and hacks and cheats who make fortunes by buying and selling dubious things. Hence Dead Souls has this undying and translatable humor that will keep this book in publication forever.

I would rank Dead Souls alongside Three Men in a Boat, Catch 22, A House for Mr Biswas and The Hitchhikers Guide to Galaxy as the novels that made me laugh the most. It has shades of Tolstoy in details it provides about rural life and rich landowners, shades of both Tolstoy and Dostovesky in pointing to certain moral issues (but that is at most an undertone) and maybe he was the one who influenced the style of his more famous successors. If you haven't read Gogol, you definitely need to pick him next.

4-0 out of 5 stars Challenging But Worthy Read
I will spare a synopsis, and stick to my opinion of the book.This book is not a quick read and requires close focus due to the abundance of difficult, yet descriptive Russian names.The story is truely ingenious.The satire and social commentary become apparant at the end, although most people will know it is coming due to having read a description of the book beforehand.In the meantime be prepared to be read some action scenes and wity dialogue.The reason I only gave four stars is because it wasn't a book I couldn't put down.I think that is because the names wore me out, and because the repetition of serf purchase scenes, although lending themselves to the above mentioned action/dialogue, became redundant.I found myself thinking, just get on with the revelation of his motives already!

4-0 out of 5 stars "I don't want real peasants. I want to have dead ones."
Dead Souls raises the fundamental puzzling problem of literary theory: the question of an author's personal involvement in his work, meaning, of how far, Gogol's outlook on life can impinge on the lives of his protagonists (or heroes) without leading, as in Gogol's own case, to insanity and suicide. Dead Souls is a fragmented work that upon finishing the second volume of which Gogol fell under the influence of a priest who advised him to burn it. He regarded Gogol's literary work as an abomination to the eyes of God and admonished Gogol to lead a sequestered life at the monastery to atone for his sin. There Gogol suicidally took to his bed, refused all provisions and died nine days later.

The remaining manuscripts of Dead Souls are rather fragmented as the four chapters of the second volume are recalled and put together through the word of mouth. The first volume affords the whole scaffold and theme of Gogol's ambitious work. As Gogol's work on the novel proceeded, its theme took on more and more grandiose proportions in his mind. At first he wrote without forming any concrete plan in his head but the beginning of the first volume already contains hints of how Gogol hopes to fulfill his mission of saving Russia, which was looking up to him with eyes full of expectation. But quite soon the fact that the whole of Russia would appear in his novel (in fact the skein of characters the hero encounters does represent the whole of Russia, in their skepticism, greed, fear, paranoia) was no longer enough to satiate him. Gogol was getting all the more convinced of his messiah-like mission to save Russia and he began to regard Dead Souls as the means God had given him to intercede for his fellow comrades.

Brooding over the fate of mankind in general and of his countrymen in particular, Gogol was puzzled by man's perverse habit of straying from the road which lay wide open before and which, if he followed it, would lead him to some magnificent "palace fit for an emperor to live in", and of preferring instead to follow and chase after all sorts of will-o'-the-wisps to the abyss and then asking in horror what the right road was. But Gogol's own pursuit (to the truth and meaning of existence), was unfortunately, a will-o'-the-wisps which brought him to the abyss into which he finally precipitated himself. It was through the numerous characters, with whom Gogol intended to represent all of Russia, that all the stupidities and absurdities of all the "clever fellows" were caricatured and reflected and therefore became more apparent to us. The work is therefore highly satirical of the senselessness of the noisy contemporary world, and the deceitfulness of the illusions that led mankind astray.

Notwithstanding all that remains of the second volume of Dead Souls is a number of various fragments of four chapters and one fragment of what appears to be the final chapter, the plot deduced from the context is nothing but discernible. But no final judgment of the complete second volume (and maybe another volume that was utterly lost) of Dead Souls can be based on what has been crudely recovered. Simple and uneventful the plot might have been, the essence of the book simmers on the ground that injustice cannot be rooted out by punishment and that the only way of restoring the reign of justice in Russia was to appeal to the inbred sense of honor that resided in every Russia's heart.

The plot is simple. Collegiate Councilor Pavel Ivanovich Chichiknov arrived in the town N. to buy up all the peasants who died before a new census was taken for the landowners were obligated to pay taxes for these dead serfs. With a subtle resourcefulness and perspicacity, he purchased these dead serfs for resettlement in land that was distributed for free. Was he to acquire them at a considerably lower price than what the Trustee Council would give him, a great fortune would be in store for him. Under the pretext of looking for a place to settle and under all sorts of other pretexts and chicanery, he undertook to scrutinize all parts of Russia where he could buy most conveniently and cheaply the sort of peasants he wanted. He did not approach any landowner indiscriminately, but selected those with whom he could negotiate such deals with the least difficulty, trying first to make their acquaintance and gain their confidence. Conducting himself with the utmost decorum and discretion, he was extremely meticulous in find out all the leading landowners and the number of dead souls each of them owned. But the thought that the serfs were not real serfs was never absent from his mind: a pricking thought that rendered him anxious to settle the tricky business soon as possible.

But the purchase of dead souls soon became inevitably a topic of the town's general conversation, in which views and opinions were expressed regarding whether serfs should be purchased for resettlement. No one was not astounded by the news of Chichikov's purchase. Some demanded an explanation but paradoxically the affair seemed to be deprived of any proper explanation. Readers might have raised the same question: What was the meaning of these dead souls? There is no logic in dead souls. How can one buy dead souls? Others quailed at the possible outbreak of mutiny so vast a number of rowdy peasants Chichikov contrived to transport. The vague identity of Chichikov also added to the public's paranoia.

Whether Chichikov's tricky business succeed or not, Dead Souls positions itself as Gogol's judgment of mankind, being a similitude to or even an inspiration to Dostoyevsky's Notes from Underground. Dead Souls offers a quasi-biblical solution as Gogol brings about his protagonist's spiritual regeneration: think not of dead souls, but of one's own living soul and follow a path with God's help.

2004 (47) ©MY

5-0 out of 5 stars Dead Souls
The last novel to be written by Russian author Gogol. Modern Library edition, published by Random House. Introduction by Clifford Odets. Former owner's name stamped on title page. Hardcover has wear on spine, pages have some yellowing, otherwise in perfect condition. ... Read more

13. Plays and Petersburg Tales: Petersburg Tales; Marriage; The Government Inspector (Oxford World's Classics)
by Nikolai Gogol
Paperback: 400 Pages (2009-01-15)
list price: US$10.95 -- used & new: US$6.14
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Asin: 0199555060
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This volume brings together Gogol's Petersburg Tales with his two most famous plays, all of which guide us through the streets of St. Petersburg, the city erected by force and ingenuity on the marshes of the Neva estuary. Something of the deception and violence of the city's creation seems to lurk beneath its harmonious facade, however, and it confounds its inhabitants with false dreams and absurd visions. This new translation by Christopher English brings out the unique vitality and humor of Russia's finest comic writer. ... Read more

14. Gogol: The Nose (Russian Texts) (Russian Edition)
by Nikolai Gogol
Paperback: 64 Pages (1994-10-01)
list price: US$18.00 -- used & new: US$16.20
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Asin: 1853994073
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Gogol's most remarkable exercise in the genre of the absurd. ... Read more

15. Works of Nikolai Gogol. Dead Souls, Taras Bulba, The Inspector General, The Nose, Viy & more (mobi)
by Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol
Kindle Edition: Pages (2009-04-21)
list price: US$2.99
Asin: B00276HAVM
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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This collection was designed for optimal navigation on Kindle and other electronic devices. It is indexed alphabetically, chronologically and by category, making it easier to access individual books, stories and poems. This collection offers lower price, the convenience of a one-time download, and it reduces the clutter in your digital library. All books included in this collection feature a hyperlinked table of contents and footnotes. The collection is complimented by an author biography.

Table of Contents

List of Works by Genre and Title
List of Works in Alphabetical Order
List of Works in Chronological Order
Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol Biography

Novels :: Play :: Short Stories

Dead Souls (Translated by C. J. Hogarth)
Taras Bulba (Translated by C. J. Hogarth)

The Inspector General (a.k.a. The Government Inspector) (Translated by Thomas Seltzer)

Short Stories
The Calash (a.k.a. The Carriage) (Translated by C. J. Hogarth)
The Cloak (a.k.a. The Overcoat) (Translated by C. J. Hogarth)
St. John's Eve (Translated by C. J. Hogarth)
Old-Fashioned Farmers (a.k.a. Old World Landowners)
The Mysterious Portrait (a.k.a. The Portrait) (Translated by C. J. Hogarth)
The Nose (Translated by Claud Field)
The Tale of How Ivan Ivanovich Quarreled with Ivan Nikiforovich (How the Two Ivans Quarrelled, or The Squabble) (Translated by C. J. Hogarth)
The Viy (Translated by Claud Field)

... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars A great Russian in good English
Works of Nikolai Gogol. Dead Souls, Taras Bulba, The Inspector General, The Nose, Viy & more. Published by MobileReference (mobi)

This is a comprehensive and well organized collection. It contains the unique gems of comedy, horror, satire, fantasy and more. The collection is perfect for those who want to get a solid feel for the writings of this inimitable and versatile artist. Gogol's Russian is a finely nuanced, very sensitive instrument which must be handled with extreme care. The translation is sensible, careful and free of excess, in a no-nonsense English that's a pleasure to read.

5-0 out of 5 stars A splendid translation of a splendid author
Works of Nikolai Gogol. Dead Souls, Taras Bulba, The Inspector General, The Nose, Viy & more. Published by MobileReference (mobi)

Gogol's prose is known for its beautiful lyricism, which sometimes fails to come through in translation. This translation is an exception. Throughout the volume I often marvelled at the elegance of the narrative. I can't think of a single weakness in this collection, and I highly recommend it to anyone with interest in Russian literature. ... Read more

16. The Complete Tales of Nikolai Gogol (Volume 1)
by Nikolai Vasilevich Gogol, Nikolai Vasil'evich Gogol
Paperback: 302 Pages (1985-04-15)
list price: US$17.50 -- used & new: US$8.49
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Asin: 0226300684
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Nikolai Gogol was an artist who, like Rabelais, Cervantes, Swift, and Sterne, "knew how to walk upside down in our valley of sorrows so as to make it to a merry place." This two-volume edition at last brings all of Gogol's fiction (except his novel Dead Souls) together in paperback. Volume 1 includes Evenings on a Farm near Dikanka, the early Ukrainian folktales that first brought Gogol fame, as well as "Nevsky Prospekt" and "Diary of a Madman."

"It is good to have a complete collection of Gogol's tales in paperback. . . . Professor Kent has thoroughly revised Mrs. Garnett's conscientious and skillful translation, eliminating the Victorianisms of her style, correcting mistakes and pruderies of diction, and making the whole translation sound much more contemporary and alive. But he has avoided the whimsicality and 'curliness' in which some recent translators indulged, and he has not changed or suppressed anything material. He has also supplied helpful notes which are often the first annotation in English, and he has written an introduction which steers the correct middle course between making Gogol an irresponsible artist of the grotesque and proving him a documentary historian of backward Russia."—René Wellek, Yale University
... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

3-0 out of 5 stars Something is missing in this translation
I have several books of Nikolai Gogol that I enjoy reading over and over again, but this translation, in my opinion, doesn't sound like Gogol at all. Maybe my books are old and translated with a different style.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Complete Tales of Nikolai Gogol, Volume 1 & 2
These are two volumes of the complete short stories from Nikolai Gogol ("Dead Souls" is not included). Volume One is somewhat inferior to Volume Two, but not everything here is flawed.

"Evenings on a Farm Near Dikanka" is a two-part series of tales that involve Russian life in the early 1800's. Some tales seems to drag (The Fiar at Sorochintsy), while others are enjoyable to read (A Terrible Vengeance).

Then, we have two early classics: Nevsky Prospekt, and "Diary of a Madman". Nevsky Prospekt is a half-comic, half-dramatic story about romance, family business, and agriculture. It doesn't have the same flair as "Dead Souls", but it's good nonetheless for its ironic humor. Diary of a Madman is very surreal, obviously because it's about a diary of a madman.

Volume Two has more influential stories. The humor works more brilliantly, and much of the surrealism that takes place is more extreme.

"Old World Landowners" seems to be a satire of how old generations will always be eclipsed by the new.

"Taras Bulba" is a recreation of a historical epic. There's a bit of fantasy roaming around, and the settings are attention-grabbing.

"How Ivanovich Quarreled with Nikiforovich" is a humorous story of two best friends who argue over a rifle. The climax is the equivalent of the anti-hollywood film ending.

"The Nose" is the most surreal out of all of these tales. One day a man discovers that his nose has disappeared. The nose is actually now in the form of a man and is being chased by those who are willing to bring the nose back to its rightful owner.

I instantly fell in love with "The Portrait" after I read it. It's THAT good. A young painter has to pay off a very large debt of money in order to save his home. A portrait that contains hidden amounts of gold not only saves his home, but also gives him the power to makes himself famous to the world. Tragedy to this story is almost Greek-like.

So all in all, Volume One isn't as good as Volume Two, but it is still a very good introduction of Nikolai Gogol, one of the greatest Russian storytellers.

4-0 out of 5 stars not the greatest dead russian
the language of the stories is a little stilted, but it is tough to tell if that is gogol's fault or that of his translator (it is definitely time for a new translation). the stories range in all types and quality, though gogol is at his best when leaning towards the fantastique (kafkaesque comes mind). there are some good stories in the collection: diary of a madman (the only story that is genious), the portrait (gogol ruins what would have been his greatest story with a poorly written, unneccesary second half), the nose, the overcoat, and taras bulba (though a bit wordy and does carry on a little too long). vol 2 is by superior volume (if the editor's introduction and diary of a madman had been in it, there would be no point to volume one).

4-0 out of 5 stars Volume 1 is the lesser of two volumes
This publisher has collected in two volumes all of Gogol's short stories.Volume 1 contains Gogol's early work, including his first two books ofstories. Several of the stories are good, but there are only two real gemshere: "Ivan Schponka and His Aunt" and "Diary of aMadman." Volume 2 contains the real classics: "The Nose","The Overcoat", etc. ... Read more

17. The Overcoat and Other Stories
by Nikolai Gogol
Kindle Edition: 138 Pages (2010-06-24)
list price: US$2.99
Asin: B003TU0XCI
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Nikolai Gogol, an early 19th century Ukrainian-born Russian novelist, humorist, and dramatist, created some of the most important works of world literature and is considered the father of modern Russian realism. Gogol satirized the corrupt bureaucracy of the Russian Empire through the scrupulous and scathing realism of his writing, which would ultimately lead to his exile. Among some of his finest works are his short stories. Together in this collection are collected some of the best of these stories, they include the following: Old Fashioned Farmers, How the Two Ivans Quarrelled, The Nose, The Overcoat (The Cloak), St. John's Eve, The Night of Christmas Eve, and The Mantle. ... Read more

18. The Overcoat (Dodo Press)
by Nikolai V. Gogol
Paperback: 52 Pages (2008-10-24)
list price: US$12.99 -- used & new: US$7.11
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1409931293
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol (1809-1852) was a Russian writer of Ukrainian ethnicity and birth. Often called the “father of modern Russian realism, ” he was one of the first Russian authors to criticize his country’s way of life. Although his early works were heavily influenced by his Ukrainian upbringing, he wrote in Russian and his works belong to the tradition of Russian literature. Gogol was one of the first masters of short prose, alongside Pushkin, Mérimée, Hoffmann, and Hawthorne. The main and most persistent characteristic of Gogol’s style is its verbal expressiveness. He wrote with a view not so much to the acoustic effect on the ears of the listener as to the sensuous effect on the vocal apparatus of the reciter. The other main characteristic of his genius is the extraordinary intensity and vividness of impressionist vision, sometimes skirting expressionism. The Dead Souls (1842), The Inspector-General and The Overcoat (1842) are among his masterpieces. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

4-0 out of 5 stars perplexed gohst
I feel that the dramatic portayal of the character Akaky Akaveich was cleverly narrated. Also the way Gogol exemplifies the hardships of being poor and trying to work the way up the ladder of life only to see that youend up back at the beginning. Akaky is concerned with greed towards the endand is happy with where he is now only to leave the reader unsatisfied. Theclever points that Gogol uses to refer to the devil and greed werebaffling. One example that sticks out in my mind is the fact that the storywas based on St. Petersburg, Russia, and the apostle of Jesus, Peter, wasknown to deny Jesus three times became devilish. While reading this book, Ifound myself feeling bad for Akaky becuase as the author say's "Truethis creature, who had meely bore the office jokes and gone quitely to hisgrave, had had, toward the end of his life, a cherished visitor-theovercoat, which for a brief moment had brightened his wreched existence.Then a crushing blow had finished everything, a blow such befalls thepowerful of the earth..."I defintly reccommend this book for it'sclever wit and many emotions it pulls you through, throughout the story.

5-0 out of 5 stars Gogal uses imagery and symbolism to appeal to the reader.

The short story "The Overcoat" written by Nikolai Gogol is a creatively written story containing imagery and symbolism to appeal to the reader.The main character's name is Akaky Akakievich, who is destined to be a "no body" in this world from birth.He lives a hard life in Petersburg earning what little money he gets by copying documents.Gogol uses excellent imagery with the description of Akaky by using phrases such as "a complexion that might be aptly described as hemorrhoidal."

Akaky is always the butt of jeers and jokes because of his social and physical status.Clerks often shower pieces of paper on the silent Akaky.One quote from Akaky often sticks in the minds of readers when he was being teased by one of the new clerks;"Let me be.Why do you do this to me? . . ."It is easy to see why Akaky is the butt of the jokes because he wears a shabby, almost see through frock known as the "old dressing gown."He doesn't even care when scraps of melon rinds and trash are thrown on him when he is walking to and from work.

The story gets underway when Akaky is forced to scrape together what little money he can and buy a new overcoat.This is the part of the story where he changes pretty drastically because he gains a little respect from his peers and is even seen at a party drinking a little champagne.The plot continues as something happens to Akaky and the overcoat.

I highly recommend reading this short story, as I enjoyed it immensely.I often wrote as many essays as I could possible on this story in my 10th grade english class.After reading this book I grew to love Gogol and I look forward to looking for more of his works.I really admire Gogol's way of using imagery to describe Akaky and his symbolism of the old dressing gown and the new overcoat.The ending was not expected as you find out what happens to the overcoat, Akaky, and the others involved.

5-0 out of 5 stars The work of a troubled genius
These stories are a painful insight into the way Nikolay Vasilyevitch Gogol percieved the world around him. This is not easy reading - being the work of a person on the verge of insanity - but well worth the effort. The incredibly moody images of St. Petersburg - the northern Venice, locked in perpetual decay between East and West - serve as a splendid backdrop for srange disturbing stories. Every piece of this collection - take for instance "The Portrait" - a story that might have been written by H.P. Lovecraft or the surreal story of the escaped nose - is a gem. It just takes a little effort to appreciate it ... Read more

19. The Overcoat and Other Tales of Good and Evil
by Nikolai Vasilevich Gogol
Paperback: 288 Pages (1965-09-17)
list price: US$12.95 -- used & new: US$7.34
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Asin: 0393003043
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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With the publication of "The Overcoat" in 1842, Nicolai Gogol (1809–1852) inaugurated a new chapter in Russian literature, in which the underdog and social misfit is treated not as a figure of fun or an object of charity, but as a human being with as much right to happiness as anybody else.The compassion, simplicity, and gentle humor with which he treats the poignant quest of a hapless civil servant for the return of his stolen overcoat—and the fantastic yet realistic manner in which he takes revenge on his nemesis, the Very Important Person—mark "The Overcoat" as one of the greatest achievements of Gogol's genius.

The five other "Tales of Good and Evil" in this superb collection demonstrate the broad range of Gogol's literary palette in his short fiction: the fantastic, supernaturally tinged "The Terrible Vengeance," the comic portraiture of "Ivan Fydorovich Shponka and His Aunt," the tragic moral realism of "The Portrait" and "Nevsky Avenue," and the rampaging satire and absurdism of his send-up of Russian upper-class stupidity, "The Nose." The stories offer the reader the perfect introduction to the imaginative genius of Gogol, which was to flower so triumphantly in his masterpiece, Deal Souls. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (8)

5-0 out of 5 stars Tales to Enjoy, Enjoy
Oh, my dear--you really should have heard the conversation between me and myself.

"You've never read Gogol?"

"No, I've never had the time.Is he good?"

"Excellent.You really should read Gogol."

"How would you know?You've never read Gogol."

"I've heard marvelous things!"

But why continue?Having never read Gogol, I felt more qualms about drinking a soda than opening THE OVERCOAT AND OTHER TALES OF GOOD AND EVIL; I predicted the great Russian writer would be quickly written of as a charlatan, a wordsmith with only tricks to beguile dilettantes, but not I, not the great reviewer.First I read 'The Nose' and laughed not at the story's content, but at the storyteller.A silly little story, cute--but substance?Oh, no, no.Not much substance, 'The Nose.'Elated by my correct prediction, I then read 'The Terrible Vengeance.'A fun review, indeed, it was to be; the story, a horrible little story, was long and thus offered various passages I could ridicule.It was enjoyable, reaching for a pen first thing after completing the "tale" and writing the first sentence to my review: "To chew a few rotten banana peels, to bathe in orange juice: a few things I would rather do than read Nicolai V. Gogol."After delighting over my carefully chosen words, I read 'Ivan Fyodorovich Shponka and His Aunt' and was forced to write, for the second sentence of my review: "Really, though, he is not that bad."

Then I read 'Nevsky Avenue,' then 'The Portrait,' oh!'The Portrait'!Well, by and by, I read 'The Overcoat.'What then?Dear me, what then?

"What interpretation should I side with?Should I simply skip any sort of interpretation?Should I be noncommittal?"

"No, no!You dunce, it is a story about redemption.Akaky Akakyecich is a hero.He represents the po--"

"Are you certain?Could this not be a quest for desire?All the objet petit a stuff we repeatedly see in great works of li--"

But why continue?I was at a disastrous moment in my life, a moment of great doubt and simultaneous awe.Please allow me to slither away merely saying the following:"Gogol's prose is highly stylized meaning unique meaning, typically, abstruse.There is nothing, though, in this book that cannot be read with ease.How refreshing it is to read literature so sweet, so enjoyable.The author is often humorous and is often wise with his pacing--the balance between plot, description, and character.A marvelous writer who proves that no, a great work of fiction does not have to be a puzzle and that, yes, all readers appreciate a writer who labors in order for the reader to enjoy, enjoy.If you are practicing the craft, you will feel smothered by the talent in each page of 'The Overcoat' and 'The Portrait.'If you are a reader, you will enjoy, enjoy."

5-0 out of 5 stars The Overcoat and other stories is a ticket into the theatre of the absurd managed by Gogol
Nicolai V. Gogol was born in 1809 and lived only until 1852. During that brief lifetime this author of genius produced the great novel "Dead Souls" and short stories which have won him literary fame. Nabokov the author of "Lolita" and a Russian literary professor considered Gogol to be the greatest author in Russian literature. While fans of Tolstoy, Dostoevski and Chekhov might contest that assumption this reviewer does concur with Nabokov's labelling of Gogol as a genius.
The W.W. Norton Company includes six of Gogol's best tales in a collection translated into English by the late scholar David Magarshack.
The stories are:
1.A Terrible Vengeance is set in a distant past when Cossacks fought Poles and their many enemies. The tale deals with a woman whose evil father is a sorcerer in league with the Devil. The story reads like a fairy tale conjured up out of the wispy smoke of a nightmare.Danilo and his wife Katerina are tortured by her father after he escapes from his captivity for the crime of being an evil sorcerer. Gogol was a native of the Ukraine with this tale being set in the area near Kiev.
2. Ivan Fyodorovish Shponka and His aunt is a short story left unfinished. It deals with a soldier who is discharged from the army who moves into the farm wherin resides his aunt. The mildly humorous story deals with the matchmaking for Ivan in a small village setting.
3. The Portrait is a fantastic story of a young artist who buys a portrat of an old man with fiery eyes.The portrait brings its owner very bad luck leading to his early death. The Portrait later brings trouble to all who own it. Gogol is a surreal writer who would have been at home in the library of a Kafka or Edgar Allen Poe. A spooky haunting story.
4. Nevsky Avenue is a story about two men and their love affairs. Nevsky Avenue is the chief street in St. Petersburg. Gogol is excellent at painting a word picture of the street during all the times of an ordinary day.
5. The Nose-This famous satire tells of a man who wakes up one day without a nose and the barber who cut off the nose during a routine shave! Gogol's story pokes fun at Russian society and the stiff formality of the various government officals who people this hilarious and disturbing short story.
6. The Overcoat is the simple story of a poor government clerk who is finally able to buy a new overcoat.The overcoat is stolen by thugs.
The desolate owner of the coat is the wretched Akaky. He dies when the coat is stolen but comes back as a ghost. Fantastic story which can be interpreted on many levels.
These are excellent stories by one of Russia's great authors. Highly recommended! Gogol had a great imagination seeing things that most of us do not or choose not to see or ponder. Read him and grow.

5-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, Unique Prose
Gogol's _Petersburg Tales_, the title under which these stories were ultimately collected by the author, are a perfect example of the brilliance use by the author of narration, absurdity and the fantastic. Note: the reviewer who thought Gogol's narration was "childish" is really missing the boat on Gogol's style!

Very often, great short stories are a little too dense for the first-time reader to feel sucked in, but with Gogol, I only felt that I couldn't read fast enough. His sense of humor is endearing and hits the mark. His narration is unlike anything else in world literature; I can't describe it - just try it out. And his worldview is fascinating, better than Vonnegut!

3-0 out of 5 stars Six tales don't constitute author's best work
This volume constitutes six stories by Gogol of which two are the most famous; "The Overcoat", a wonderful psychological story which was made into a film in the USSR many years ago, and "The Nose", a satire of Russian middle level officials of the early 19th century.Taken as a book, though, these tales full of dreams, asides, and great prolixity are not a major literary landmark on the world stage.Russian literature, as one of the world's greatest collections of works, offers a lot more in my opinion.Gogol, while perhaps a brilliant star for some national literatures, can only be considered a minor writer in Russia, especially if read in English as translated by David Magarshack, whose style can hardly be called `contemporary'.While it's true that Gogol had a good sense of humor, if a little bizarre, it comes across in this translation as childish.(I must hasten to add that I don't know Russian.)

"The Terrible Vengeance" is a rather tedious fairy tale with an incestuous theme, while "The Portrait" bears some likeness to a certain, later work by Oscar Wilde.Though the idea is interesting, Gogol, as in several other stories, just doesn't know when to let go.The story "Ivan Fyodorovich Shponka and His Aunt" contains lively humor and many colorful characters.I enjoyed it the most of all, but it was only the beginning of a larger work, which unfortunately seems never to have been completed.

Some analysts (see the Introduction by the translator)have read into Gogol's work pre-revolutionary predictions of violent change or a rising up of the lower classes.I think such an idea is far-fetched.Similarly, while it is true that Gogol's tales and stories do contain struggles between good and evil, the same can be said of an enormous number of folk tales, religious works, and literary pieces by writers in every language.It is interesting to read Gogol's work to widen your knowledge of Russian and world literature.That is a source of satisfaction, but perhaps not enough.Several of the stories are good, but they don't measure up to his longer works---"Dead Souls" and "The Government Inspector".I would read them first, before this lesser book.

5-0 out of 5 stars I did not read this particular edition
I was just looking and found that a book of Gogol's stories were #3 on University of Southern California's list.I was proud to see this.I'm one of Gogol's biggest fans and I keep it a secret because his talent is special, serious and fun.The Overcoat, Diary of a Madman, Dead Souls and The Nose...what more can you say.The first time I read Overcoat it was in a book of Greatest Short Novels my father had given me.I still hold on to this collection because of Gogol.To me, the Faulkner and James Joyce works included are mere book ends.Overcoat, along with Conrad's Heart of Darkness, stand alone. ... Read more

20. Dead Souls (Everyman's Library)
by Nikolai Gogol
Hardcover: 488 Pages (2004-09-21)
list price: US$20.00 -- used & new: US$12.22
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1400043190
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
(Book Jacket Status: Jacketed)

Nikolai Gogol’s Dead Souls is the great comic masterpiece of Russian literature–a satirical and splendidly exaggerated epic of life in the benighted provinces.

Gogol hoped to show the world “the untold riches of the Russian soul” in this 1842 novel, which he populated with a Dickensian swarm of characters: rogues and scoundrels, landowners and serfs, conniving petty officials–all of them both utterly lifelike and alarmingly larger than life. Setting everything in motion is the wily antihero, Chichikov, the trafficker in “dead souls”–deceased serfs who still represent profit to those clever enough to trade in them.

This lively, idiomatic English version by the award-winning translators Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky makes accessible the full extent of the novel’s lyricism, sulphurous humor, and delight in human oddity and error. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Golgol
This must be Russian satire, as satire was unheard of during this time.This man made this book amusing and made fun of the so called "rich as determned" by how many souls (serfs) they had.He bought up dead serfs and gained some popularity and status for a while.
Usually 18th and 19 Century Russian literature is serious and did in a suttle way exposed the suppression of the Russian lower class people.
Mr. Golgol approached the matter in a lighter way and some what morbid way. The book was great and have read it twice and have suggested it at our book club which we will discuss in December. Members not aquained with Russian literature and the title is a bit mis leading, turned an eye brow when they heard the title.
Karl Olson

4-0 out of 5 stars complete or incomplete?
This is a good effort in translation and presenting Gogol as an overall easy read.

The story of Chichikov who thought that buying the ownership certificates for deceased serfsmight help his ultimate goal of being part of the aristocrats. Through this task, he goes through difficulties,tragedies,funny moments and above all the fatal greed.......

After reading this novel,you ask your self if this was a real complete work? many consider the part One to be a novel by self! that might be the case! since there are many fragments missing in part Two. you could figure out the events in part two but you will be curious to know what happened to Chichikov in part three,if that made it to light.

The after-Napoleone Russia is beautifully depicted in this work. Gogol is definitely a master of narration...

The amazing part of all; Gogol lived in the same era of Dickens, Hugo and Stendhal.
dead souls is the Russian version of the French Les Misérables or the English Oliver Twist . they all telling the tragic life of the poor and guilty but in different tongues. they end up in same destiny.

Dead Souls is a magical novel that won't bore you but ignite you imagination to the utmost. highly recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars Gogol's "Dead Souls" - The Pevear - Volokhonsky translation.
This new translation of N Gogol's "Dead Souls", and a book of his short stories, are a major step forward in getting to the heart of Gogol's own writing of that great book. No other translation has been able bring out the humuor which so pervades the whole, in the original; it really is a laughing matter at last. It is also well worth reading the excellent Introduction to this Everyman edition. ... Read more

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