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Dead Souls

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3.98  ·  Rating Details  ·  39,726 Ratings  ·  1,284 Reviews
A few factual points ought to be explained to the reader, even though the novel itself eventually suffices to clarify some of them. First, the title of the book. Among Russian serf-owning gentry, the idiomatic way to assess someone’s wealth was to express it in terms of the number of “souls” he owned—that is, male, adult serfs. Taxes on serfs had to be paid by the owner un ...more
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Published November 17th 1971 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published 1842)
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Dan-Constantin Gitman Actually, you can understand how it ends, even there are missing parts. There are, of course, some puzzling things, but this doesn't ruin the pleasure…moreActually, you can understand how it ends, even there are missing parts. There are, of course, some puzzling things, but this doesn't ruin the pleasure of reading it. But then, this is just my opinion.(less)
Tomás O'rourke I read on the prologue to my edition, that some of the second part was burned by the author a few days before he died, and not all of it was managed…moreI read on the prologue to my edition, that some of the second part was burned by the author a few days before he died, and not all of it was managed to be recovered. I'm currently reading the first part of the book, so I'm not sure if that's the part that's missing, but it very well could be.

If those are the only pages mising, then it's probably not a joke, and the fragment that was lost.(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Stephen
2.0 stars. As much as I hate to say this about a book that is both a classic of Russian literature and considered one of the best satires ever written, THIS BOOK BORED ME TO DEATH!!! Okay, not quite "coffin ready" dead, but certainly bored to the point of suffering intermittent bouts of narcolepsy. I can certainly say without hyperbole that this is not a book I would recommend as an “enjoyable” experience, no matter how much Vodka you have standing by.

My assessment of the book arises DESPITE the
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Vanja Antonijevic
Gogol's "Dead Souls" is a true masterpiece. It is the only Russian novel that I have read that brings me as much deep satisfaction as Dostoevsky’s great novels. The novel is satirical, intellectual, political, and also entertaining.

The intriguing plot is sketched as follows:

A somewhat mysterious middle class man, named Chichikov, comes to a town and attempts to build prestige by impressing minor officials of the place. The man spends beyond his means in order to impress, and tries to befriend t
...more
Tej
Dec 20, 2013 Tej rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Almost, one and a three quarters of a century ago, Nikolay Vasilyevich Gogol-Yanovsky or simply, Gogol, himself lend words to the cries of dissent against the likes of him,

“Don’t we ourselves know that there’s much in life that’s contemptible and stupid? As it is, we often have occasion to see things that are far from comforting. Better that you show us what’s beautiful and distracting. Better that we should forget ourselves!”

That very arrogance and contempt has rocketed far beyond, eulogizing a
...more
Sidharth Vardhan
Serfs in Russia were often referred to as souls which provides for literal meaning to the story. The symbolic meaning of title is easy to guess – people whose conscience is dead (in the story, they are mostly landlords)

The first part reads as a light satire on Russian landlords and society. The tone is of gentle humor and conversational nature (often referring to ‘reader’ and ‘author’) and makes a fast read. Almost all landlords in the book are caricatures of their personality type – and so the
...more
Lona
Apr 30, 2014 Lona rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
غالباً ما يختبئ المؤلف أو الراوي خلف ستار إحدى شخصيات الرواية وتتولى تلك الشخصية بالنيابة عنه مهمة رواية الأحداث. إحساس القارئ بوجود المؤلف "فعلياً" قليل أو نادر الحدوث؛ هنا في الأنفس الميتة الوضع مختلف تماماً، الراوي خلق نوع من "النميمة" التي بطبعها تستدعي إحساس القارئ أنه جالس في جلسة مع متحدث لا تنقصه البراعة

في رسالة لبوشكين يقول غوغول: (بدأت أكتب الأنفس الميتة الموضوع امتد ليصير رواية طويلة جداً، واعتقد أنه مضحك جداً.....أحب أن أظهر في هذه الرواية جانباً واحداً على الأقل من روسيا)0

الأنفس الم
...more
Parthiban Sekar
What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? (Luke 9:25)

DEAD SOULS: A Poem

This is not a new story which Gogol tries to say through his not good looking, but not uncomely in appearance either, not overly fat, not overly thin Hero Chichikov whose desire takes him in pursuit of buying dead souls from landowners affected by sickness, famine, and other misfortunes which may befall any man. But, the same old story being told time and again, only in diff
...more
Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
Rating: 4* of five

The Publisher Says: Dead Souls is eloquent on some occasions, lyrical on others, and pious and reverent elsewhere. Nikolai Gogol was a master of the spoof. The American students of today are not the only readers who have been confused by him. Russian literary history records more divergent interpretations of Gogol than perhaps of any other classic.

In a new translation of the comic classic of Russian literature, Chichikov, an enigmatic stranger and schemer, buys deceased serfs'
...more
Moira Russell
Was just as hilarious as I remembered, which is really saying something, since I last read Part I about twenty years ago maybe. I don't think I read Part II then; it's so sad, such a skeleton. "At once a wild phantasmagoria and a work of exacting realism" - well, I don't know how phantasmagoric it actually is, but that's about right. I do think Rayfield's translation is v questionable ("A pleasant feeling of calm invaded one's soul").


(Chichikov admiring himself in his "Navarino smoke-and-flame f
...more
[P]
Jun 28, 2015 [P] rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bitchin
For my review of Fernando Pessoa's The Book of Disquiet I asked you to imagine that someone has given you a beautiful old watch, a gift with a catch, which is that it unfortunately does not work, is not, somehow, whole. Would you, in this situation, feel aggrieved, because the watch is not all that it could have been? Or are you happy to have it as it is, opining that you have gained something, rather than lost out, because you cannot lose something that never was [the watch had never and could ...more
Soycd
Aug 28, 2015 Soycd rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016-2
“Countless as the sands of sea are human passions, and not all of them are alike, and all of them, base and noble alike, are at first obedient to man and only later on become his terrible masters.”

Dead Souls follows the story of Pavel Ivanovich Chichikov, an ambitious and seemingly unscrupulous man who travels across Russia's countryside to buy dead serfs from landowners to relieve them from tax payment, making himself a wealthy man in the process.

This novel has a slow start, with Chichikov re
...more
Maru Kun
The hero of Dead Souls, Chichikov, these days would be Fabulous Chichikov.

Sitting at his 40th floor, 200 West Street dealing desk Fabulous Chichikov’s eye would travel from screen to screen searching out deals in NINJA loans, distressed debt and CDOs squared. Debits and credits would flit in and out of his trading book as ephemeral as any Dead Soul.

Instead of a “troika suitable for bachelors”, Fabulous Chichikov would travel by Uber limousine. He would move from Manhattan steakhouse to members o
...more
knig
Dec 09, 2012 knig rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
OK what just happened here? First things were going splendidly and then – like Chinua Achebe says, things just fall apart. Where did the magic go? I was robbed, I tell you.

This feels exactly like one of those unfortunate cases, where Mother Nature goes on strike, having had enough of the standard conveyor belt assembly tactics, and proceeds to screw together two halves that obviously don’t fit together:

description



I now know Gogol never finished the book and that may be the reason the second half was a mess
...more
Simon A. Smith
I didn't enjoy this novel nearly as much as I enjoyed Gogol's short stories. A couple of things...

1. Several times throughout, the text breaks off and a line is inserted that reads something like, "and here there are many pages missing..." and then the story picks back up in the middle of nowhere again. I didn't know that going in and it was a little confusing.

2. The first 100 pages are very funny and highly engrossing. Starting on about 150 there begins the most monotonous passages. All the bac
...more
Teresa
Pelas alminhas...
Terminei o livro há pouco mais de uma semana e já não me lembro de quase nada. Ou estou a ficar gágá, ou Gogol não é do meu gosto.
Vamos lá fazer um esforço...

Na Rússia do século XIX, um homem, acompanhado do criado, visita casas de proprietários rurais propondo-lhes adquirir, por baixo valor, um "produto" que a ele lhe é útil e a eles só dá despesa.
Com uma galeria de personagens - composta, na sua maioria, de vigaristas, sovinas e espertalhões - que protagonizam cenas com algu
...more
Riku Sayuj
Feb 13, 2012 Riku Sayuj rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Tanuj Solanki
Shelves: favorites
Why has no one turned thought to completing this in some form as a homage to the master. SO many literary works have spawned from this and yet...
Mohammed
Nov 17, 2015 Mohammed rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
فلنفرض أن أحدهم عرض عليك شراء شيء لا تحتاجه البتة، بل ويثقل ببعض التكاليف، لقاء مبلغ رمزي مع التزامه بدفع كل ما يتعلق بالسلعة. بدعوى التبسيط، تخيل أن أحدهم عرض عليك شراء فواتير الكهرباء الخاصة بكمع التكفل سدادها. هل ستقبل العرض دون تردد أم لن تترك الصفقة تمر دون تمحيص؟ هل ستطمع في المزيد أم ستستفسر أولاً عن وضع الحلال والحرام؟ هل ستصر على طلب التوضيح حتى وإن حال ذلك عن إتمام الصفقة، أم ستتهم المشتري في قواه العقلية؟ أياً كان موقفك فستجده مُدوناً في هذه الرواية الساخرة ببطلها الغريب (تشيتشكوف) وم ...more
Alan
Dec 20, 2013 Alan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have read only fifty pages of Gogol in Russian, enough to know how hilarious he is, and to regret his conversion and attempt to destroy this great book.
"Sobakavich" alone rewards the reader with the Russian patronymic, "Son of" applied to "Sobaka," a bitch. Yet Sobakavich is the most genial of men, who refuses to sell even those of his employ who have died. His sentimental valuing of the mere memory of his dead worker is a triumph over materialism. Lovely stuff. Viva Gogol! Sobakievich is ev
...more
Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
I was a bit surprised by this. Old Russian novels usually are like long, black trains loaded with ponderous themes travelling the entire length and breadth of Russia and ending up in Siberia with all its passengers dead or dying. The title of this book itself, "Dead Souls," suggests a good halloween read. I made a grave mistake.

This is more like Huckleberry Finn, except that its principal protagonist (or "hero," as Nikolai Gogol calls him), named Chichikov, is not a young clever boy but a wily,
...more
Panos Lettas
Dec 20, 2015 Panos Lettas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Το πρώτο μέρος ήταν, μπορώ να πω, πάρα πολύ καλό. Εξαιρετικά γραμμένο (Ο Γκόγκολ -αναμενόμενο- με κέρδισε, δεν έχω διαβάσει ακόμα κάτι άλλο πέρα από το «ημερολόγιο ενός τρελού»), πολύ καλή η ιστορία, σε κράταγε και διαβαζόταν εύκολα και ευχάριστα.
Στο δεύτερο μέρος, από τη μέση και μετά, είναι λίγο σαν να έχεις πάθει άνοια, λείπουν σελίδες παντού, βλέπεις ξαφνικά ονόματα και γεγονότα από το πουθενά. Οι τελευταίες σελίδες όμως είναι πραγματικά εξαιρετικές.
Κρίμα να πετάξεις ένα τέτοιο έργο στο τζάκ
...more
Rasha
May 27, 2015 Rasha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
للأدب الروسي عبقه الخاص، ففيه من الوصف الدقيق لتفاصيل التفاصيل، والإفراط في العاطفة، والغموض، والفلسلفة ما ينقل القارئ لروح روسيا.

تستفرد الرواية بفكرتها، فالبطل الغير مثالي الذي يدعى تشيتشيكوف يسعى لشراء أنفس ميتة. تتابع الأحداث والحكايات إلى أن يكشف المؤلف في أواخر الصفحات عن شخصيه تشيتشيكوف و نظرته حول الطبيعة البشرية. اتفق مع الكاتب وبإعجاب حين يرى ويصور النفس البشرية دون الفضيلة والكمال. فلا فائدة ترجى من تجميل حقائق البشر.

مما جاء في أسطر الرواية " فلم يكن بوسعي أن اختار شخصية فاضلة لبطلي. و
...more
Erik Graff
Jun 06, 2014 Erik Graff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Russian lit fans
Recommended to Erik by: Ed Erickson
Shelves: literature
By the last two years of high school many of my friends were older fellows already in college. Most were poorer than the average Maine South student, so their colleges weren't far away. As a consequence, I was afforded opportunites to visit and sometimes stay at Roosevelt University, Loyola University, Kendall College, Oakton Community College, the University of Illinois (Chicago and Champaign), the University of Chicago, Oxford University etc.--a practice continued, reciprocally now, when I mat ...more
Michela
Feb 22, 2012 Michela rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Continua il mio viaggio alla scoperta della letteratura russa, sono arrivata a Gogol’ passando da Dostoevskij, ed è proprio il caso di dire meglio tardi che mai.
“Le Anime Morte” staziona nella mia libreria dal 2006 quando, mi decisi a comprarlo dietro ispirazione di un personaggio televisivo della serie ‘Gilmore Girls’.
Durante la lettura di “Delitto e Castigo” più di una volta si è fatto riferimento a Gogol’, cosi che non ho potuto far altro che pensare fosse un segno, un indizio, per la mia pr
...more
TarasProkopyuk
Aug 31, 2012 TarasProkopyuk rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, russian
Не книга, а просто прелесть!

Искусство автора - редчайший шедевр! Прочитав его стало понятно почему Гоголь определил своё произведение не романом, а поэмой.

Сам сюжет настолько интересен и загадочный и забавен, что невозможно не оценить его по достоинству (кстати это благодаря Пушкину, который преподнёс идею данного сюжета Гоголю).

А неповторимое мастерство автора вдохновило этот сюжет жизнью, весельем, яркими эмоциями, задором и целым радом искусных приёмов. Не книга, а упоение. Жаль, что автору н
...more
Teresa
Dec 03, 2015 Teresa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Perhaps due to the title, "Dead Souls" was very different from what I thought it would be. It's not gloomy or ponderous at all, but funny and satirical. It's also written in an engaging style.

It has a lot to say to and about 19th century Russia -- and to human nature in general. Because Gogol never finished it, it ends up being a picaresque novel with hints of things to come. Gogol himself seemed to have changed quite a bit (though he denied it) after writing the part that was published, and it
...more
Simona
Jan 18, 2015 Simona rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Può un romanzo che sogni di leggere da molto, troppo tempo non corrispondere alle tue aspettative? Sì, se si sta parlando de "Le anime morte" di Gogol'.
Non facile, ostico, di difficile comprensione, non solo per lo stile, ma anche per la storia narrata.
Bellissime le descrizioni della Russia, una Russia diversa da quella che si è soliti immaginare, una Russia di desolazione, di solitudine, di scompiglio, una Russia abitata da personaggi di cui Gogol' dipinge virtù e difetti in un caleidoscopio
...more
Sandra
Aug 01, 2015 Sandra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: russia, classicissimi
Gogol è stato definito da Tolstoj “il Balzac russo”: “Anime morte” può essere definito un viaggio allegorico nell’umanità, una commedia umana ambientata in Russia, un viaggio realistico e visionario insieme, umoristico e divertente con un retrogusto amaro. Purtroppo ci sono rimasti solo il primo libro, un capolavoro, e il secondo libro mancante di diverse parti, anch’esso molto bello, specie nel finale.
Mi sono divertita molto lungo la strada, ho viaggiato a fianco di Pavel Ivanovic Cicikov , un
...more
Darwin8u
Oct 25, 2012 Darwin8u rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: aere-perennius, 2012
An absurd and brilliant satire. To think I avoided reading this novel for years because I thought it was going to be depressing. Ha! Dead Souls reminded me in many ways of the Odyssey + Don Quixote written by Mark Twain in a Russian prose poem. Gogol captures the absurdity of the mid-19th century Russia. Included in Gogol's satire/farce is an absurd and brilliant look at the corruption of the government, the stratification of society, the pretentiousness of the Russian middle-class, etc. Anyway, ...more
Rick
Mar 03, 2011 Rick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Gogol’s masterpiece was never finished. Volume 1 is complete but Volume 2 has missing pages and incomplete sentences and then doesn’t so much finish as just stops. (Gogol announced it as a trilogy, completed the second volume but destroyed the manuscript, and scholars rescued the existing second volume from his papers. Some insist it was never really meant to be more than one volume, though the existence of much of a second volume draft—over 130 printed pages—suggests a rather elaborate red herr ...more
Ksenia Anske
Jul 20, 2015 Ksenia Anske rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Read this translation and no other. You’ll laugh your pants off. Wish Gogol didn't lose heart and didn't destroy part of the manuscript before his death. But even incomplete, this is a masterpiece and complete in its incompleteness.
Alp Turgut
Rus romantik akımının öncüsü “Ölü Canlar”, Gogol’un en olgun eseri olmakla beraber; bitirememesi sebebiyle okuyucuyla tam olarak buluşamamış bir yarım başyapıt niteliğinde. Okudukça Gogol’un tamamlayamamış olmasına üzüldüğünüz eserde sadece zamanının Rus insanına değil günümüz insanına dair muhteşem akıcı bir dille yazılmış keskin eleştirileri okuma şansı buluyoruz. Zaman zaman okuyucuyla iletişime geçmekten çekinmeyerek eserin felsefi alt yapısını öne çıkararak eleştirilere cevap veren Gogol’un ...more
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Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol (Николай Васильевич Гоголь) was born in the Ukrainian Cossack village of Sorochyntsi, in Poltava Governorate of the Russian Empire, present-day Ukraine. His mother was a descendant of Polish nobility. His father Vasily Gogol-Yanovsky, a descendant of Ukrainian Cossacks, belonged to the petty gentry, wrote poetry in Russian and Ukrainian, and was an amateur Ukrainian-langu ...more
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