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Dead Souls : A Poem by Nikolai Vasilievich…

Dead Souls : A Poem (original 1842; edition 2004)

by Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol

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Title:Dead Souls : A Poem
Authors:Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol
Info:London : Penguin Books, 2004.
Collections:Ebook, Your library

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Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol (1842)


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English (61)  French (3)  Dutch (3)  Finnish (1)  Catalan (1)  Hebrew (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (71)
Showing 1-5 of 61 (next | show all)
I’ve read several novels by Russian authors, including Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky and Grossman, so I am familiar with the genre and have even been comfortable with the style and culture of the 19th century writers.

While I was moderately entertained by parts of this work, I found it somewhat slower and more difficult to engage than some of the others I’ve read. Most disturbing, however, is the fact that in several places, large chunks of the original manuscript have been lost. To be reading along and suddenly come to a gap with the statement, “several pages of the original manuscript were lost”. This, along with an ending that was very much unresolved left me very unsatisfied.

The story follows the adventures of a ne’er-do-well wanderer, Chichikov, who embarks on the project of acquiring title to deceased serfs for the purpose of pulling off his latest fraud. There are several interesting and comedic interactions between Chichikov and various estate owners. Unfortunately, in my opinion, the cons outweigh the pros in,this instance and I cannot recommend it. If you are looking for a 19th century Russian novel, read Crime and Punishment instead. ( )
  santhony | Feb 8, 2015 |
The copy I read was from Project Guttenberg and ended in mid sentence. Even without the sudden ending it should be noted that the story was anticlimactic. Most of the book is spent gathering dead souls only to have the act become pointless in the end. If other copies have a more satisfying, i.e. complete, ending I could possibly recommend this book. ( )
  labrick | Aug 25, 2014 |
I need to read the new translation of this by Donald Rayfield, published by NYRB. ( )
  proustitute | Jul 17, 2014 |
I need to read the new translation of this by Donald Rayfield, published by NYRB. ( )
  proustitute | Jul 17, 2014 |
This is a funny book. Bureaucratic foibles permit the collecting of the identities of the no-longer-living for profit. ( )
  JVioland | Jul 14, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (143 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Gogol, Nikolaiprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Eliasberg, AlexanderTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Güell, Josep MariaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kalima, JaloTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
MacAndrew, Andrew R.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Magarshack, DavidTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Maguire, RobertTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Noordzij, GerritCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
O'Connor, FrankForewordsecondary 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
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.
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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:00:58 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

In this comic classic of Russian literature, Chichikov, an amusing and often confused schemer, buys deceased serfs' names from landlords' poll tax lists hoping to mortgage them for profit.

(summary from another edition)

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Yale University Press

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