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1. The Complete Tales of Nikolai
2. The Theater of Nikolay Gogol
3. St. John's Eve and Other Stories
4. Hanz Kuchelgarten, Leaving the
5. Selected Passages from Correspondence
6. Through Gogol's Looking Glass:
7. Gogol: His Life and Works
8. Out from Under Gogol's Overcoat:
9. Gogol: Plays and Selected Writings
10. Gogol, a Life.
11. The Collected Tales of Nikolai
12. Nikolai Gogol, 1809-1852; a centenary
13. The Overcoat, and Other Tales
14. Such Things Happen in the World:
15. Spektr adekvatnosti v istolkovanii
16. Diary of a Madman and Other Stories
17. Dead Souls (Norton Critical Edition)
18. Gogol's Forgotten Book: Selected
19. The Creation of Nikolai Gogol
20. Nikolai Gogol's Quest for Beauty:

1. 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$16.00 -- used & new: US$9.75
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0226300684
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Book Description

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 (2)

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

2. The Theater of Nikolay Gogol
by Nikolai Vasilevich Gogol, Milton Ehre
 Hardcover: 216 Pages (1980-06)
list price: US$18.50
Isbn: 0226300641
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3. St. John's Eve and Other Stories
by Nikolai Vasilevich Gogol
 Paperback: 383 Pages (1971-06)
list price: US$17.00
Isbn: 0836938003
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4. Hanz Kuchelgarten, Leaving the Theater and Other Works
by Nikolai Vasilevich Gogol
 Hardcover: 194 Pages (1990-11)
list price: US$27.95
Isbn: 0882338226
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5. Selected Passages from Correspondence With Friends
by Nikolai Vasilevich Gogol
 Hardcover: 271 Pages (1969-06)
list price: US$14.95
Isbn: 0826511260
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars Blueprint for Russian Future
The least known, "unusual" book by Nikolai Gogol (first published 1847), which was usually omitted in Gogol's collected works published in the Soviet times, gives in the guidelines for the self-improvement of the Russian "race" and presents in a nutshell the trial and error method of the Russian civilisational development. Most of the later Russian writers and thinkers used to keep this Gogol's work in mind, and the themes described in it are still actively disputed. The place of Russia in the family of nations, the mission of Eastern Orthodox Christianity, the tasks of Russian spiritual and political leaders are questions that remain open 155 years after the Gogol finished his "Selected Passages from Correspondence".

Built, as the title says, in a form of a series of letters, it is a collection of essays on topics from "What is a governor's wife " to "On Odissey being translated by [poet V.A.] Zhukovski." The main idesa is-- moral improvement of Russian elite ("...be humble, use to wear same dress to three, four, five parties and balls!" or "... Don't punch the peasant in the face, have {...} some imaginative curses for him instead"), following the Christian principles and love to their motherland-- Russia.

It seems the great classic wrote all that in vain, as I can guess living in the Russian protectorate-- Republic of Belarus, and visiting Russia often. Nevertheless, this work retrospectively sums up the searchings and custings of Russian and Russian-influenced intelligentsia for the last century and a half. ... Read more

6. Through Gogol's Looking Glass: Reverse Vision, False Focus and Precarious Logic
by William Woodin Rowe
 Paperback: 201 Pages (1976-03-01)
list price: US$5.95
Isbn: 081477377X
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7. Gogol: His Life and Works
by Vsevolod Setchkarev
 Paperback: Pages (1965-01-01)
list price: US$4.95
Isbn: 0814703801
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8. Out from Under Gogol's Overcoat: A Psychoanalytic Study
by Daniel Laferriere-Rancour
 Hardcover: 251 Pages (1982-08)
list price: US$25.00
Isbn: 0882337467
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9. Gogol: Plays and Selected Writings (European Drama Classics)
by Nikolai Gogol
Paperback: 205 Pages (1994-11-23)
list price: US$18.00 -- used & new: US$10.26
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0810111594
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10. Gogol, a Life.
by David. Magarshack
 Paperback: Pages (1957-06)
list price: US$2.95
Isbn: 0394173694
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11. The Collected Tales of Nikolai Gogol
by Nikolai Vasilevich Gogol, Richard Pevear, Larissa Volokhonsky
Hardcover: 435 Pages (1998-05)
list price: US$30.00 -- used & new: US$80.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0679430237
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Book Description
When Pushkin first read some of the stories in this collection, he declared himself "amazed.""Here is real gaiety," he wrote, "honest, unconstrained, without mincing, without primness. And in places what poetry! . . . I still haven't recovered."

More than a century and a half later, Nikolai Gogol's stories continue to delight readers the world over. Now a stunning new translation--from an award-winning team of translators--presents these stories in all their inventive, exuberant glory to English-speaking readers. For the first time, the best of Gogol's short fiction is brought together in a single volume: from the colorful Ukrainian tales that led some critics to call him "the Russian Dickens" to the Petersburg stories, with their black humor and wonderfully demented attitude toward the powers that be. 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.

These fantastic, comic, utterly Russian characters have dazzled generations of readers and had a profound influence on writers such as Dostoevsky and Nabokov. Now they are brilliantly rendered in the first new translation in twenty-five years--one that is destined to become the definitive edition of Gogol's most important stories. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (10)

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.

5-0 out of 5 stars Can read repeatedly without becoming bored.
As well known in the east as the "Wizard of Oz" series is in the west (which was also argueably inspired by a russian tale "The Wizard of the Emerald City", this collection is every bit as enjoyable - especially for children or grandchildren.

The Night Before Christmas is an insighful look at human nature - the desire of each person to have prince/princess and live happily ever after. The stories are full of hope, humor, sadness, and tragedy.

Overall, the stories are masterpieces that can read repeatedly.

5-0 out of 5 stars Nikolai Gogol, the Jonathan Swift of Russian Satire and the Charles Dickens of Russian Literature
Nikolai Gogol was one of the greatest writers of the golden age of Russian Literature. As friend of the Great Aleksandr Sergeeyivich Pushkin, the Shakespeare of Russian Literature, he helped Pushkin realize his genius and at the same time wrote some of the most famous and entertaining short stories of all the Great Russian writers such as "The Diary of a Madman" (before it was a cliche' kind of expression and well before Ozzy's 1981 classic) which is the story of a disilusioned clerk or something. Gogol always had sympathy for the little guy, who was stuck in a dead end job, and the guy who had no voice like the main character in probably Gogols most famous short story "The Overcoat" which I have just finished reading, and I may say without any sort of hesitation that that lovely little tale will go with me in my treasured memories for the rest of my life (May that life be filled with such lovely literature as that of 19th century Russian!)

This volume, while it doesn't have "Tarsas Bulba" redeems itself with some of the greatest stories ever told.

Nikolai Vasilyivich Gogol

5-0 out of 5 stars Sheer Genius (and a good translation)
This is the kind of writing that makes me questions why movies even exist. The style, the sentences, the humor, the feel is all something unique, unpredictable, and unmistakable. These plots are bizarre, intriguing and it is nearly impossible to guess the endings. All this coming from a translated work is a success for the writer and the translators.

The Overcoat, Diary of a Madman, & the Nose are some examples of Gogol's short story brilliance. These stories are realistic yet surreal, imaginative and impressive. Gogol shows you the roots of what Russian writers continued to excel at later with works like Metamorphosis (Kafka). He calls his stories tales (there are the Ukrainian Tales and the Petersburg Tales), and they most definitely are tales. They are the kind of stories you can tell around the campfire -- they are that unnerving and exhilarating. Yet they are social commentaries as well. These stories work on many levels because they are detailed, feature fantastic characters, and delve into fantasy. All the while you find unexpected twists and occurrences. It's sheer genius.

This book is a fabulous introduction to both Russian literature and the works of this unique genius.

5-0 out of 5 stars great translations
of course wonderful stories, but the translations are excellent.If you're going to read Gogol in English, use Pevear as your guide. ... Read more

12. Nikolai Gogol, 1809-1852; a centenary survey
by Janko Lavrin
 Unknown Binding: 174 Pages (1968)

Asin: B0006BVJ8K
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13. The Overcoat, and Other Tales of Good and Evil
by Nikolai Vasilevich Gogol
 Hardcover: 271 Pages (1979-10)
list price: US$20.00
Isbn: 0837604427
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (6)

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.

5-0 out of 5 stars Department Head...
This story, one of Gogol's most famous is skillfully narrated to reflect the author's frustration with civil service and the plight of the poor, and will evoke an emotional response among listeners. Akakii Akakievich is a lowly government clerk. When winter begins he notices that his old overcoat is beyod repairing. He manages to save money for a new, luxurious coat. His colleagues at the office arrange a party for his acquisition. But his happiness proves to be short-lived. On the way home he is attaced by thieves and robbed of his coat. To recover his lost possession, Akakievich asks help from an Important Person, a director of a department with the rank of general. He treats Akakievich harshly and Akakievich dies of fright within three days. One night when the Important Person is rerutning home, he is attacked by a ghost, late Akakii Akakievich, who steals his overcoat. The stealing of outer garments continue, even though now the ghost is a big man with a moustache and enormous fists. A simpler, if perhaps more prosaic, way of restating the general thrust of the storyline would be to say that 'The Overcoat' is like a good poem. It can be endlessly annotated, interpreted, dissected, but still emerges whole and fresh, like a new morning...

4-0 out of 5 stars Underrated and brilliant
I don't remember how I came across Gogol.But I'm glad I did.The morbid absurdity of these short stories (along with the unfinished "Dead Souls") marks him as a talented writer.

Gogol seems to be able tomilk character from mundane situations, but at the same token craft wordsthat have as much to do with Garcia Marquez' magic realism than traditionalRussian literature.It is this aspect that at first caught me off guard,but in the end made me fall in love with Gogol's prose.

My two favouritesare these:

"The Overcoat", the story of a poor, downtrodden manwho saves and saves to buy a fancy new overcoat, but has the whole planblow up in his face.It is tragedy, but often humourous; sad, butjoyous.

"The Nose", which is one of my all time favourite shortstories.Gogol manages to turn the story of one man's search for his lostnose (where does he find it?In a cathedral, of course!) into a scathingindictment of Russian caste system.It is wonderfully written andwonderfully absurd, and in the end you just go along with the context Gogolhas created, because you trust that this is a writer who knows what he isdoing. ... Read more

14. Such Things Happen in the World: Deixis in Three Short Stories by N.V. Gogol (Studies in Slavic Literature and Poetics, Vol 12)
by P. M. Waszink
 Paperback: 328 Pages (1988-01)
list price: US$125.00 -- used & new: US$125.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 9051830262
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15. Spektr adekvatnosti v istolkovanii literaturnogo proizvedeniia: Mirgorod N.V. Gogolia
by I. A Esaulov
 Unknown Binding: 100 Pages (1995)

Isbn: 5728100155
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16. Diary of a Madman and Other Stories
 Paperback: Pages (1991-09)

Isbn: 9994872540
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17. Dead Souls (Norton Critical Edition)
by Nikolai Vasilevich Gogol
Paperback: 585 Pages (1986-06)
list price: US$20.60 -- used & new: US$1.22
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0393952924
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

A socially adept newcomer fluidly inserts himself into an unnamed Russian town, conquering first the drinkers, then the dignitaries. All find him amiable, estimable, agreeable. But what exactly is Pavel Ivanovich Chichikov up to?--something that will soon throw the town "into utter perplexity."

After more than a week of entertainment and "passing the time, as they say, very pleasantly," he gets down to business--heading off to call on some landowners. More pleasantries ensue before Chichikov reveals his bizarre plan. He'd like to buy the souls of peasants who have died since the last census. The first landowner looks carefully to see if he's mad, but spots no outward signs. In fact, the scheme is innovative but by no means bonkers. 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. His first victim is happy to give up his souls for free--less tax burden for him. The second, however, knows Chichikov must be up to something, and the third has his servants rough him up. Nonetheless, he prospers.

Dead Souls is a feverish anatomy of Russian society (the book was first published in 1842) and human wiles. Its author tosses off thousands of sublime epigrams--including, "However stupid a fool's words may be, they are sometimes enough to confound an intelligent man," and is equally adept at yearning satire: "Where is he," Gogol interrupts the action, "who, in the native tongue of our Russian soul, could speak to us this all-powerful word: forward? who, knowing all the forces and qualities, and all the depths of our nature, could, by one magic gesture, point the Russian man towards a lofty life?" Flannery O'Connor, another writer of dark genius, declared Gogol "necessary along with the light." Though he was hardly the first to envision property as theft, his blend of comic, fantastic moralism is sui generis.--Kerry FriedBook 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. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (58)

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.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Charming Russian Masterpiece
I bought a copy of the Bloomsbury Good Reading Guide. In that guide the editors selected 45 works of fiction as masterpieces from 375 well known writers offiction - all written since since Cervantes. In that guide they describe why those 45 books are "masterpieces." Dead Souls is one of the 45 masterpieces, so I bought and read the book along with many others of those 45.

Dead Souls is not a novel but was called "an epic poem" by Gogol, similar to Tolstoy's characterization of War and Peace as not a novel but an "epic in prose." Hence, Dead Souls was not written as a balanced novel and as many critics have pointed out the actual plot is not terribly important. It was written as the first part of a three part trilogy on Russian life, and it was published as "The Adventures of Chichikov." The charm is found not in the overall plot, but it is found in the detailed descriptions of what happens day to day throughout the story.

From what we know, Pushkin suggested the story to Gogol based on the concept that serfs were considered to be the property of the landowner and there might be value in owning the title to dead serfs or "dead souls." Also, the characterization of being a "dead soul" has a second interpretation: it is to imply a moral and spiritual inferiority. So, the theme extends beyond the commercial transactions of buying up "dead souls" from various farm owners.

As a general reader, I was captured by the humour and charm of the daily life of the protagonist, Chichikov, as he travels by horse drawn carriage going from town to town in rural Russia, staying in small hotels or with farmers or rural gentry. In his travels he mixes with the locals in each town and he tries to ingratiate himself with the local officials as part of the process of building trust to find and buy dead souls; that is, he meets land owners and buys the title to those serfs who have recently died. Gogol treats us to a broad picture of daily life in rural Russia including many small details. It is so detailed that we can almost taste the food, smell the smells, and perhaps some will want to buy a horse?

In this work Gogol sets the literary tone for many Russian writers who follow in the 19th century including Dosoevsky, Tolstoy, and Chekhov. Dostoevsky, was in fact hailed as the new Gogol in the 1840s when he emerged from obscurity and became famous. There are many shorter works by these three authors where one could almost substitute Gogol for the author and one would be hard pressed to make the differentiation, and I reference Dostoevsky's "Poor Folk" as an example of a very "Gogol like" work.

This is a wondeful book that will disappoint few. Since reading this I have read many other Russian works and still think this is one of the better and more charming books of the era. If you like this but want something a bit different, I recommend Chekhov's one and only novel, The Shooting Party.

5-0 out of 5 stars Russian satire at its best.
Gogol is rightly esteemed as the greatest satirist in classical Russian literature, and is certainly a personal favorite among the 19th century authors."Dead Souls" is, in my humble opinion, his hands-down masterpiece.It doesn't offer the same sitcom-ish humor of "The Government Inspector," which was cutting-edge stuff in its time.Instead, it is riddled from beginning to end with more subtle, but still delightfully amusing vignettes as the enterprising Chichikov goes about his rather unconventional business of building his "estate" by buying up low-priced (i.e. dead) serfs.

I won't elaborate on the storyline, since that has already been done more than adequately in other reviews.It is enough to say that Gogol's brand of humor is both witty and insightful, and caused quite a stir among the intelligentsia of his day.Many, such as Belinski, viewed it as an attack on the corruption and ineptitude of the "establishment," i.e. the westernizing tsarist regime.There is certainly an element of that.Others saw it differently, including Gogol himself, if his later writings are rightly interpreted."Dead Souls" is much more of a commentary on the loss of the Russian soul.It is about the corruption of traditions and cultural distinctives that defined what it meant to be Russian.

Decide for yourself which direction Gogol was coming from.It certainly helps to have some familiarity with the history and culture of the time, but Gogol's commentary is near enough to the surface that those things are not essential to appreciate his work.Either way, don't take it too seriously.Just get a good laugh out of it.I did.

5-0 out of 5 stars Dead Souls: Translation is Everything
Perhaps no other novel requires a more exacting translation than Nikolai Gogol's "Dead Souls."This translation by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky isn't bad, but it gives the book the Pevear/Volokhonsky treatment ... read their translations of The Brothers Karamazov, Anna Karenina and Dead Souls back to back and you'd think they were written by the same novelist (well, if you're from Mars and had never heard of the books beforehand, that is.)

But as Vladimir Nabokov pointed out in his lectures of "Dead Souls", the greatest of all translations was by Bernard Gilbert Guerney.This version of Dead Souls was recently revised by Susanne Fusso for Yale University Press and I recommend it highly.

So why does translation matter?Because as Nabokov points out in Lectures on Russian Literature, "Dead Souls" is more poem than novel.The plot to "Dead Souls" is almost entirely beside the point ... it all pretty much goes in a circle (by the way, The Wire - The Complete Third Season" was modeled on this style.)Where this novel shines is in its haunting and evocative language.Nabokov points out several mind-blowing techniques that Gogol employs ... one is to take an object, create a metaphor about that object to explain it's importance, introduce another object in that metaphor, then compare the second object to a person ... this being a new character, introduced via a highly elegant segue.

The Pevear/Volokhonsky version picks up most of this, but there are some dreadful "Dead Souls" adaptations out there (especially thisDead Souls version that truncates the action and misses the poetry altogether.Especially awful is this Dead Souls audiobook that Amazon.com correctly calls abridged, but both Audible.com and iTunes label unabridged.

"Dead Souls" is a deceptively dense book.I recommend reading it along with Nabokov's lectures to get the full effect.Also, don't be deceived into reading the so-called sequel ... Gogol wished these disjointed new tales to be burned at his death and most critics agree, for good reason. ... Read more

18. Gogol's Forgotten Book: Selected Passages and Its Contemporary Readers
by Ruth Sobel
 Paperback: 287 Pages (1981-09)
list price: US$12.50
Isbn: 0819116319
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19. The Creation of Nikolai Gogol (Belknap Press)
by Donald Fanger
 Paperback: 320 Pages (1982-03)
list price: US$17.50 -- used & new: US$8.77
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0674175646
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20. Nikolai Gogol's Quest for Beauty: An Exploration into His Works
by Jesse Zeldin
 Hardcover: 244 Pages (1978-12)
list price: US$25.00
Isbn: 0700601732
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