Dead Souls

Dead Souls

by Nikolai Gogol


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This edition of Dead Souls i by Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol and translated by D. J. Hogarth is given by Ashed Phoenix - Million Book Edition

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781987037678
Publisher: Barnes & Noble Press
Publication date: 02/12/2019
Pages: 150
Product dimensions: 8.00(w) x 10.00(h) x 0.32(d)

About the Author

Novelist, dramatist, and satirist Nikolai Gogol (1809-1852) was a Russian writer of Ukrainian ancestry whose works deeply influenced later Russian literature through powerful depictions of a society dominated by petty bureaucracy and base corruption. Gogol’s best-known short stories — "The Nose" and "The Overcoat" — display strains of Surrealism and the grotesque, while his greatest novel, Dead Souls, is one of the founding books of Russian realism.

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Dead Souls (Russian edition) 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 29 reviews.
Avid_ReaderPA More than 1 year ago
This was a book club selection and only one person, out of 5, finished the book. To be fair, I only made it half way through. Although supposedly a newer, more engaging translation, I had a copy translated by Larissa Volokhonsky and Richard Pevear, it still read like dry Russian literature. The characters are all caricatures and blatantly so (note that this is the point of the book). The excessive detail is interesting if you are studying the period, but otherwise tedious.
Guest More than 1 year ago
One of the finest works of Russian literature, Gogol¿s DEAD SOUL epitomizes Russian soul at its purest, funniest, finest, richest, dreaririest, most charming and most hopeless state. Gogol utterly ridicules the Russian gentry in the middle of the 19th century in this story, centering on some dreadfully banal people who are trying to pull off a fraud. Exemplified by Chichikov who may be dividedly considered a scoundrel and a hero, Gogol portrayed to what length people can go to secure interests or benefits against over fellow humans considered to be of a lesser class. It is unfortunate that Gogol never finished this story. Overall, this amazingly entertaining classical novel deserves the highest of respects. In addition to UNION MOUJIK, TARAS BULBA, I also recommend classic Russian Stories like DEMONS, FATHERS AND SONS, and THE CHERRY ORCHARD. Once you get into Russian literature, you get to appreciate its supremacy.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book gave me an insight into 19th century Russian life and how serfs were treated by the nobility. The author also points out personality characteristics which are present in most people even now. I just wish that more info was given about the citizens of the town of N later in the novel.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a funny, touching novel. I picked it up as a lark because I have enjoyed the Pevear/Volkhonsky translations of Dostoyevsky works. Dead Souls is a deeply human story that speaks to our desire for social status even when we lack the means. Chichikov's insane plans seem to make more sense against the modern background of dime-a-dozen 'Internet Millionaires' and get-rich-quick schemes. This translation manages somehow to be laugh-out-loud funny, gut-wrenchingly tragic, and surprisingly fresh. A must-read for any Dostoyevsky fan.
JimmyChanga on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The parts I loved I really loved, it was very funny and insightful. But then it goes on and on in excrutiating detail and the end of the book is just fragments (it's unfinished or the manuscript was lost or something). It's kind of a frustrating read. You should read it not for the story, but for the little snippets or sketches of character that seem true and funny sprinkled throughout. I liked it overall but would not really recommend it. The first 150 pages or so are the best.
jddunn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A rollicking, farcical road tale set in Russia in the first half of the 19th Century. Follows Chichikov, a petty bourgeois con man¿ a man who is ¿not too fat, and not too thin¿ in the words of the author, on a trip around the country to buy up ¿dead souls,¿ which are peasants who have died but are still counted as living until the next census happens. Chichikov hopes to make his fortune by charming lots of landowners into giving them away for nothing, and then mortaging them under new regulations that allow Russian landowners to mortage their estates to the treasury at roubles-to-the-soul. Gogol uses the misadventures of our antihero to paint a humorous and loving picture of Russian life in the first half of the 1800s. Kind of reminds me of Tristram Shandy.
jennyo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
When you think of Russian novels, you probably think of doorstop weight ones like War and Peace or Crime and Punishment. Dead Souls feels downright slim compared to those. And considerably more lighthearted as well. It took me a long time to read the book, but that's not Gogol's fault; I've just had my mind on something else lately and have found it hard to concentrate on much of anything. Still, I thoroughly enjoyed this story of Pavlov Chichikov and his quest to buy dead souls from local landowners.The characters in this book and the situations in which Chichikov finds himself are a hoot. I think my favorite was Nozdrev, the compulsive gambler and liar, who ends up being the one to expose the truth about Chichikov to the community.I'd definitely read Gogol again, but I may save him until the future when I can pay a little closer attention to his work.
CBJames on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I started off last year reading another Russian novel, Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevesky which ended up being one of my favorite reads of the year. (Dakota enjoyed the book as well. She ate it last July.) I had very little experience with Russian novels, other than the first two thirds of Anna Karinina I'd not read anything. Besides being an excellent pyschological thriller, Crime and Punishment is a very funny book. I was surprised by how funny it was. I'd always been led to believe that Russian novels were difficult stuff.Look at the cover of Dead Souls. Does it look funny to you? Dead souls? How could that be funny?Nicholai Gogol wrote one of my all-time favorite short stories, "The Nose", about a man whose nose runs out on him one day to lead a life that is much more exciting and glamorous than the life it led while a part of the man's face. It's difficult to get your nose back once it's found out how much fun it can have without you. It's a very funny story.Dead Souls is a very funny novel. The hero, Tchitchikov, is a "gentleman of the middling" sort without significant money or land. He develops a plan to become wealthy by buying up dead serfs. Serfdom in Russia was a form of slavery that lasted throughout much of the 19th century. When Gogol wrote Dead Souls the Russian government taxed landowners based on how many serfs they owned at the time of the most recent census. Since the census was only done once every ten years, if a serf died before the next census, the owner had to continue paying taxes on the 'dead soul' until it could be officially counted as dead. Tchitchikov intends to acquire as many dead souls as he can by taking them off the hands of their owners as a gracious act of kindness and then use them as collateral for a large bank loan. He'll then use the loan to purchase an estate with actual serfs on it. Unfortunately, everyone Tchitchikov encounters is immediately suspicious of his plan. They cannot figure out why he wants dead serfs but they suspect he is up to something and they all want in on it. No one will give him their dead serfs, some refuse to sell them outright, others force him to pay high prices for them. The pattern repeats in various forms as Tchitchikov travels from town to town, estate to estate, trying to explain how much money can be saved by avoiding the tax on dead serfs if only he can have them. Gogol intended to make Dead Souls the first part of a trilogy of books reflecting Dante's Divine Comedy. He burned all but five chapters of the second book before he died. Dead Souls is his only completed novel.The more you understand the subject matter, the better satire works, so I imagine that my lack of knowledge about Russian history kept me from getting all of the jokes in Dead Souls, but I enjoyed myself thoroughly none-the-less. Gogol's sense of humor is probably not for everyone, but it's right up my alley. He manages to point out the absurdity of his society without letting on how completely he is undermining it. Of course this is a man who wrote a story about a nose cutting out on a face just to spite it. And the next time someone mentions Russian novels, don't think depressing, don't thing dreary, think funny.
mattviews on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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 pr
Diotima12 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The first book of "Dead Souls" is picaresque and wonderful, but the remnants of the second book are just outstanding. The depth displayed in the fragments of Book 2 elevate Gogol from a cheeky, vicious satirist to a real humanitarian artist.
cammykitty on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Lovely cynical romp through serf-filled Russia, especially if you enjoy portraits of despicable people.
ctpress on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Here we are presented with the russian people - and russian temperament - in all its variety. All the different people our main character visits and presents his remarkable idea. To buy dead souls. We are left to guess what's going on here. I liked the beginning of the tale - but the revelation in the end and it's conclusion is not very surprising or rewarding. Not a book I will read again.
shadowofthewind on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Some have compared this book to the Divine Comedy. The main characters journey through early 19th century Russia. Dead Souls refers to serfs (slaves) that have died. In Russia, landowners had slaves that were counted decennial for the cenus. The landowners were taxed for these slaves, also referred to as souls, every year, even if they were dead. Chichikov, our "hero", develops a scheme to purchase these dead souls as if they were living. Therefore, relieving the burden from the landowners who can then reduce their tax load. The secret is the main character can cash in on these souls by mortgaging them to buy land, although he only wants to appear as a good citizen who is relieving the tax load from landownders. The plot is only to display Russia during this time period, very much like Huckleberry Finn does for late 19th century. more to come.//..
soylentgreen23 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I was recommended this book by a friend, and I'm very glad she did. It's a marvellous, though unfinished, study of Russian country society in the nineteenth century - their characters, their characteristics, their foibles and their concerns. Running through it all is the quest by the protagonist to purchase the so-called dead souls of each estate he passes through, so as to claim for a mortgage based on how many people he reports as his. It's all very clever, and twisted too, in that typically Russian way.
tzelman on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Pt. I good; Pt. II in fragments, unrewarding, pointless--perhaps worth another try since it's been 25 years since I read it
xtien on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Imagine your a Russion nobleman but you're poor, you can't afford to own people. But you must own people in order to "count". So what you do is buy the papers of dead farmers, promising the previous owner to properly take care of the paperwork. At one point, a lady gets suspicious, suspecting that he makes money from these dead farmers, so she refuses to sell him her absolutely worthless dead farmers papers.The plot is brilliant, the writing is entertaining like most older Russion novels.
miketroll on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The novel affords fascinating insights into life in rural Russia in the 19th Century. The plot is amusing but even to outline it would be to give away too much.
Clurb on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Dead Souls suffers from being so incomplete and disjointed but the first half at least offers an amusing plot and some wonderfully crafted characters which together give an insight into Russian society at the time.
john257hopper on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Despite its gloomy sounding title, this is actually quite funny on many levels, in terms of the verbal approaches Chichikov uses in order to deceive various landowners and make them give him money for the serfs who have died on their estates. At the same time, it is quite chilling in the casual assumptions of ownership over the lives and bodies of these serfs, treating them as so many possessions. I thought this book dragged slightly in the middle, but was mostly quite an easy read.
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