(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.
Pavel Ivanovich Chichikov makes his way through the rural Russian countryside visiting landowners and town officials in a scheme to buy up "dead souls"--serfs who have died since the last census. He secretly hopes to have enough "souls," at least on paper, for financial leverage in a real estate deal in eastern Russia. Chichikov is alternately welcomed and greeted with suspicion by villagers, lawyers, town presidents, fellow travelers, and retired military men. Through these characters, Gogol paints a semi-allegorical portrait of the attitudes, weaknesses, habits, and eccentricities of his fellow countrymen. Sometime after he began "Dead Souls" in the autumn of 1835, Gogol became more and more convinced that he was writing an epic that would embrace all of Russia. This ambition consumed him, and, although he worked tirelessly on this project until his death by fasting in 1852, the version of "Dead Souls", as it was published in 1841, remains the only finished volume of a projected three-volume work.
- Fiction + Literature Themes, Fiction + Literature Genres
- Stages of Life, Society + Social Issues, Types of Characters, Humorous Fiction, Human Qualities + Behavior, Philosophy, Literary, Literary Genres + Types of Novels, Peoples + Cultures, Legal + Courtroom + Crime
- September 1, 2004
- September 1, 2004
- Nikolai Vasil'evich Gogol , Nikolai Gogol