An NYRB Classics OriginalThe first of the great Russian novels and one of the indisputable masterpieces of world literature, Dead Souls is the tale of Chichikov, an affably cunning con man who causes consternation in a small Russian town when he shows up out of nowhere proposing to buy title to... show more
An NYRB Classics OriginalThe first of the great Russian novels and one of the indisputable masterpieces of world literature, Dead Souls is the tale of Chichikov, an affably cunning con man who causes consternation in a small Russian town when he shows up out of nowhere proposing to buy title to serfs who, though dead as doornails, are still property on paper. What can he have up his sleeve, the local landowners wonder, even as some rush to unload what isn’t of any use to them anyway, while others seek to negotiate the best deal possible, and others yet hold on to their dead for dear life, since if somebody wants what you have then no matter what don’t give it away. Chichikov’s scheme soon encounters obstacles, but he is never without resource, and as he stumbles forward as best he can, Gogol paints a wonderfully comic picture of Russian life that also serves as a biting satire of a society as corrupt as it is cynical and silly. At once a wild phantasmagoria and a work of exacting realism, Dead Souls is a supremely living work of art that spills over with humor and passion and absurdity. Donald Rayfield’s vigorous new translation corrects the mistakes and omissions of earlier versions while capturing the vivid speech rhythms of the original. It also offers a fuller text of the unfinished second part of the book by combining material from Gogol’s two surviving drafts into a single compelling narrative. This is a tour de force of art and scholarship—and the most authoritative, accurate, and readable edition of Dead Souls available in English.
Publish date: July 17th 2012
Publisher: NYRB Classics
Pages no: 432
Edition language: English
, Historical Fiction
, Classic Literature
, Literary Fiction
, 19th Century
, Russian Literature
I wish only the complete first part of this novel had been published, because I thoroughly enjoyed it. However, I found the fragmented, crumbling second part to be agitating more than anything. Several times the narrative ends abruptly with the explanation, "Here a large section of the original is m...
Kind of a strange book, and, even with all the end notes explaining things, felt very out of context to me. It probably was amazing to your 19th-century Russian, or Russian lit nerd even, but I spent the majority of it bemused and confused.There were some good scenes, and I generally liked the writi...
We can thank our lucky stars for writer's block, as we'd likely have set fire to the Dead Souls manuscript ourselves if Nikolai Gogol hadn't. Had he, overcome with religious fervor, forged ahead with his plan and complete this three-parter, separated into volumes each of crime, punishment, and redem...
The book is a satire of 19th century Russian society specifically and the human condition in general. It concerns a minor bureaucrat who is going around Russian society and buying up dead souls as part of a scam. The book is at times quite funny. It is also clearly foreshadow all sorts of stuff a...
Finalement, les deux interlocuteurs franchirent la porte ensemble, mais chacun d'eux s'étant placé légèrement de biais, ils se cognèrent quelque peu l'un à l'autre.Il s'éveilla, le lendemain, assez tard. Un rayon de soleil, à travers la fenêtre, lui tombait droit dans les yeux, et les mouches, qui, ...
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