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Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol
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Dead Souls (1842)

by Nikolai Gogol

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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6,73584552 (3.95)1 / 279
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English (69)  Dutch (4)  French (3)  Italian (2)  Spanish (2)  Catalan (1)  Swedish (1)  Portuguese (1)  Hebrew (1)  All (84)
Showing 1-5 of 69 (next | show all)
Extremely repetitive and laborious. It is like hearing the same joke told over and over until the person says "knock, knock" and you just want to say "go to hell." ( )
  phantomswife | Jul 6, 2018 |
No dead book here. Laughable sketches of officials, landowners, serfs as a con job plays out. Everyone is on the take, but our hero had bigger plans.

I see why Gogol is compared to Twain.

BTW, why the dreary cover? ( )
  kerns222 | May 25, 2018 |
Classic
  stevholt | Nov 19, 2017 |
The first two-thirds are better than the last third. Thoroughly enjoyed this book, though. What a master of depicting characters! ( )
  Lindoula | Sep 25, 2017 |
Pavel Ivanovich Chichikov, a former civil servant, having narrowly escaped a corruption charge heads out for the country with a new scheme to get rich quick. Chichikov, an amusing and often confused schemer, buys deceased serfs' names from landholders' poll tax lists hoping to mortgage them for profit. He arrives in a fine coach with his servants in the “provincial town of N.” At first he makes a great impression, but then as he goes to carry out his scheme, the provincial landowners as not as gullible as he’d hoped, and when word gets around about what he’s up to he must beat a hasty retreat.

The humor in the meandering tale come in the interactions of Gogol’s characters. Chichikov himself, as Pevear says in the introduction is the embodiment of “Poshuost [POSHlust] is a well-rounded untranslatable whole made up of banality, vulgarity, and sham.” xxi ( )
  MaowangVater | Aug 24, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 69 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (131 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Gogol, Nikolaiprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Eliasberg, AlexanderTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Güell, Josep MariaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hapgood, Isabel FlorenceTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kalima, JaloTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Laín Entralgo, JoséEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
MacAndrew, Andrew R.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Magarshack, DavidTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Maguire, RobertTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Matic, PeterNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Noordzij, GerritCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
O'Connor, FrankForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Odets, CliffordIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pevear, RichardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pevear, RichardIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Praag, S. vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Prina, SerenaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Prins, AaiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rayfield, DonaldTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rayfield, DonaldIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Röhl, HermannTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Salden, HelmutTypographersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Skott, StaffanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Timmer, Charles B.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Volokhonsky, LarissaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wal, Theo J. van derTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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A small, rather smart, well-sprung four-wheeled carriage with a folding top drove through the gates of an inn of the provincial town of N.; it was the sort of carriage bachelors usually drive in: retired lieutenant-colonels, majors, and landowners with about a hundred serfs - in short, all those who are described as gentlemen of the 'middling' station of life.
Quotations
Information from the Italian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Frac neri spuntavano e vagolavano isolati e a gruppetti qua e là, come vagolano le mosche su un bianco, brillante pan di zucchero al tempo dell'ardente solleone, quando la vecchia dispensiera lo spezza e lo spartisce in tanti blocchetti, che scintillano davanti alla finestra spalancata: i bambini stanno tutti a guardare, raggruppati intorno, seguendo curiosi i movimenti di quelle mani dure, che sollevano il martello; e intanto gli aerei squadroni delle mosche, innalzandosi sulla lieve brezza, entrano a volo sicuri, da padroni assoluti, e approfittando della vista corta della vecchia e del sole che la abbaglia, si spandono sui ghiotti bocconi, dove alla spicciolata, dove in folti gruppi. Ben satollate dalla ricca estate, che ad ogni passo ammannisce loro cibi altrettanto ghiotti, esse son volate qui dentro non già per mangiare, ma soltanto per far bella mostra di sé, per passeggiarsela avanti e indietro in quella massa zuccherina, strofinarsi una coll'altra le gambette davanti o quelle di dietro, o grattarsi sotto le alucce, o protendendo bene tutt'e due le zampette davanti, strofinarsele sopra la testa, e rigirarsi indietro, e di nuovo volar via, e di nuovo tornare a volo con altri petulanti squadroni.
È noto che vi sono al mondo molti di codesti visi, per rifinire i quali la natura non è andata tanto pel sottile, non ha adoprato nessuno strumento delicato, come sarebbero lime, succhielli e via dicendo: ha, semplicemente, menato giù colpi di tutta forza: ha dato giù coll'accetta una volta – ecco fatto il naso; ha dato giù un'altra volta – ecco fatte le labbra; con una trivella grossa s'è sbrigata degli occhi: e, senza piallare il suo lavoro, l'ha mandato pel mondo, dicendo: «Vivrà!»
Tante cose vengono in mente, così passeggiando, all'uomo, cose che tanto spesso strappano l'uomo al noioso minuto attuale, e pizzicano, irritano, smuovono la fantasia, e gli riescono care anche quando è convinto lui stesso che non si avvereranno mai!
Ciascuno di noi, vedete, approfitta di qualche cosa: questo d'un bosco demaniale, quello dei denari dell'ufficio, quell'altro sottrae ai propri figli per non so quale attrice di passaggio, quell'altro ai contadini per i mobili di Hambs o per una carrozza. Che ci volete fare, se hanno inventato tante tentazioni a questo mondo? Ristoranti di lusso con prezzi folli, e veglioni, e gite, e danze colle zigane. È difficile, sapete, resistere, mentre tutti, dovunque ti guardi attorno, fanno appunto così, eppoi è la moda che lo comanda: provati un po' a resistere!
… è venuto per noi il momento di salvare il nostro paese; che perirà, il paese nostro, non più per l'irruzione di venti popoli stranieri, ma per opera di noi stessi; che ormai, accanto alla legale amministrazione della cosa pubblica, è venuta a formarsi una seconda amministrazione, assai più potente di quella legale. È venuto a stabilirvisi un regolamento proprio, tutto ha la sua tariffa, e i prezzi sono portati a conoscenza del pubblico. E nessun reggitore di stato, fosse pure il più sapiente di tutti i legislatori e reggitori, non avrà il potere di correggere il male, per quanto si affanni a limitarne l'esplicazione da parte dei cattivi impiegati, imponendo a costoro la sorveglianza d'altri impiegati. Tutto sarà vano, finché ciascuno di noi non avrà sentito che allo stesso modo in cui all'epoca dell'insurrezione dei popoli afferrò le armi contro…, così ha il dovere d'insorgere contro la disonestà.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0679776443, Paperback)

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 Fried

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:33 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Chichikov, an amusing and often confused schemer, buys deceased serfs' names from landholders' poll tax lists hoping to mortgage them for profit.

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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Yale University Press

An edition of this book was published by Yale University Press.

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NYRB Classics

2 editions of this book were published by NYRB Classics.

Editions: 1590173767, 1590176553

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