The Mantle and Other Stories
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The Mantle and Other Stories

4.21 of 5 stars 4.21  ·  rating details  ·  5,415 ratings  ·  145 reviews
Gogol has made brilliantly colored pictures of his Zaporogues, which please by their very grotesqueness; but sometimes it is too evident that he has not drawn them from nature. Moreover, these character-pictures are framed in such a trivial and romantic setting that one regrets to see them so ill-placed. The most prosaic story would have suited them better than these melod...more
Paperback, 160 pages
Published August 1st 2011 by Aegypan (first published 1842)
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Rachel Mecham
The Overcoat is my favorite story by Gogol. He writes in the absurd genre so sometimes it seems weird, but he also draws out human emotions to make his characters seem so real and makes such great commentary on life that he makes me want to read and re-read his books. There is a paragraph that talks about how all the people in Akaky's (yep, that's his name!) office mock him that stands out as one those passages that sticks with a person for the rest of their life:

"Only when the jokes were too un...more
Adam Floridia
"The Overcoat," "The Nose," and "The Tale of How Ivan Ivanovich Quarreled with Ivan Nikiforovich" are all about the most bland and/or odd subjects: a guy gets a new coat, someone's nose runs away, two guys become enemies over a silly insult. The fact that each story managed to keep me reading and chuckling until the end speaks to Gogol's quality as an author. It isn't what he writes about; it is how he writes that is so pleasing. Everything I have read by him is relayed through a tongue-in-cheek...more
David
The four stories in this slim volume may indeed be 'masterpieces of the form', but they left me as cold as Akakii Akakievich, the unfortunate protagonist of the title story. Gogol has a fine time skewering petty bureaucrats of every stripe, but after a couple of pages it gets old, frankly. Perhaps if I had a better understanding of the relative ranks of a collegiate assessor, a procurement officer, a major, a senate chief clerk, a field officer, a state councillor, a police inspector, and a dist...more
علی
شنل (بالاپوش) 1342، قصه ی کوتاهی ست غیر قابل وصف. زیبایی تراژیک آن در خواندن آن است. این داستان کوتاه چنان تاثیری بر ادبیات روسیه گذاشت که داستایوسکی گفت؛ "همه ی ما (نویسندگان روس) از زیر بالاپوش گوگول بیرون آمده ایم"! شنل قصه ی زندگی و مرگ آکاکی آکاکیه ویچ باشماچکین، کارمند فقیری ست که در اداره ای در سن پیترزبورگ، میرزابنویس است.اما کوشش او که کارمندی ست سخت کوش، به چشم رییس و همکارانش نمی آید. آنها تنها او را مسخره می کنند، بخصوص منشی جوان اداره که درباره ی بالاپوش کهنه ی آکاکی جوک می سازد. وص...more
Alan
Gogol, who lived from 1809-1852, was decades if not a whole century ahead of his time. His clever, sardonic, cynical stories satirize the world of self-important bureaucrats in ways that still seem eerily relevant.
In "The Overcoat," a humble clerk who spends his days copying documents, is shaken out of his routine when he suddenly acquires a splendid new coat. Suddenly, all his repressed desires come to the surface. I won't reveal the end of the story except to say that it is both funny and sad...more
Vipin Goyal
"The Overcoat" is one of the best stories that I have read so far.
No doubt "We all come out from Gogol's 'Overcoat'."
Chuddchutney Buana
Wandering around through pages of The Overcoat is simply not an easy task. The language that Gogol use is just so old school literature, very hard to chew every words. That's why it took more than a month for me to finish this book ( While the pages are quite thin, only lingering about no more than 200 pages). But, this is a kind of book, that while you might not enjoyed reading it, but the impact resides in you long after you read it. The short stories that Gogol told, either it's the mistifyin...more
Danns
What an odd collection of stories: A officer who overwhelming concern for a new cloak captures his complete attention and serves as his ruin spins off into the supernatural; a man's nose turns up in a pastry then completes a trek as an officer whom he chases all the while worrying over his appearance; another "official" slowly disappears down the halls of insanity, talking to dogs, obsessing over a beauty and finally discovering he is the king of Spain; and two fairy tales which on one hand seem...more
CJ
A fantastic piece of literature.

Nikolai was a wonder and this was the first work by him that I had read. He seems to delve in satire, surrealism, and just craft well-made, fun stories.

"Old-Fashioned Farmers" stars a bickering couple who seem to enjoy ribbing and poking fun at each other until a small event leads to tragic consequences.

"The Tale of How Ivan Ivanovich Quarrelled with Ivan Nikiforovich" is about two similarly named once called friends who only relate in their feud with each other a...more
Hansen Wendlandt
The later two stories in this collection are the deeper, better written, more interesting narratives. The Overcoat is the jewel, describing the sad plight of a middle manager with lofty taste, or exactly the population of America's disenfranchised middle class. The central character, Akakii, is at once lovable, but turns pathetic and even disgusting to the reader. Gogol has little need here to use satire or comedy--it's just a good story, with message, well written. The Nose fits well with the p...more
Lindsay
"Many of us have come from underneath 'The Overcoat'," recalled Dostoevsky. Upon reading this quote, I immediately turned to Gogol, if only to see Dostoevsky in a greater contextual light. However, I found this story to be intriguing, an object of fond warmth. Darkly humorous, slightly peculiar, and courageous in the pluck of its time, what I learned from the novel was this:
It did not have to do, necessarily, with the moral or objective of such a story, but with the understanding of how to metab...more
Germano Dalcielo
Il cappotto:
Protagonista un impiegatuccio che non è mai riuscito ad affermarsi e anzi, viene preso di mira a suon di sberleffi dai colleghi, ma troverà il suo alter ego (meglio di una moglie!) in un cappotto costatogli caro (digiuni e ristrettezze) di cui si servirà post mortem per vendicarsi di tutti i torti subiti.
Consigliatissimo, sono 30 paginette divorabili e decisamente piacevoli. La scrittura è molto semplice, scorre via liscia e l'empatia col Akakij Akakievic è d'obbligo

Il naso:
è il racc...more
Michael
Thank you for paying no mind to the dolts who say The Overcoat is "kind of weird" or "not Gogol's best work." I actually read that. In some of the reviews on this site. Villains! Rakes! Of course the stories in this collection are weird And not only is The Overcoat his best work--we're talking short stories here, right?--it's the best story ever written. If you disagree, then please enjoy being wrong.

Dig.

Dostoyevski said, "We all come from under The Overcoat." How should I know what he meant by...more
Charity
Feb 11, 2010 Charity rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Charity by: The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
4.5 Stars

Stories include:
- Old-Fashioned Farmers (aka The Old-World Landowners): Very, very touching story of love and loneliness...or, at least, I think so. 4 stars

- The Tale of How Ivan Ivanovich Quarreled with Ivan Nikiforovich: What happens when hurt-feelings, pride, and nonsense mess with a life-long friendship...hilarity, that's what! (Note to self: Refrain from using the word goose. Not safe in all company.) Very, very good story. Although, it really reminded me of something I might have...more
Jonathan Gierman
Biting and witty, Gogol is an earlier, slightly less endearing, Russian, gothic version Wilde. Or at least that's how I choose to process this collection. Familiar with the Dostoyevsky quote, I know it's "The Overcoat" that should've been the show stopper, but for me, it was the hilarity of "The Tale of How Ivan Ivanovich Quarreled with Ivan Nikiforovich" that won me over. After reading this piece, I promise I will be much more liberal with my use of "goose" as slander.
JP
If subsequent Russian greats claimed to have built on Gogol, I find that they did indeed progress beyond him. The 4 stories in this collection hold the readers interest and they seem consistently tight, but Ivan Ivanovich is no Ivan Ilyich. The Overcoat, the title work for this collection was the best of the 4. Character development was perfect and the ending intriguing. Two of the oother stories were entertaining, though anti-climactic. The Nose was a complete disappointment. The quality of wri...more
Julie Rylie
Gogol I'm terribly disappointed on you!

In my portuguese volume this contained the city of quietness (or something related) with 2 different tales combined - if I'm not mistaked - one of Ivan Ivanovitch and Ivan Nic bla bla vitch and The Witch; and The Overcoat.

It was boring. Plain boring. The first one was more or less aceptable; the second one had everything to go right for me but didn't quite do the trick, even though, at parts, was quite interesting and the last one i didn't even felt like f...more
Leila
Very very good book that I strongly recommend to every people keen on short tales. Gogol depicted a Saint Petersburg as realistic as magical, haunted by ghosts and supernatural apparitions. Everywhere and at any moment the fiction interrupts the reality to drive us into a parallel universe, full of emotion, passion and... fear.
Kek-w Kek-w
Aug 26, 2008 Kek-w Kek-w rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everybody
Recommended to Kek-w by: No one.
Gogol is really funny. Funny and surreal. "The Nose" rules. Fiercely.

There's a bit of vague musing on Gogol by me here: http://kidshirt.blogspot.com/2008/08/...

Gogolization. Or: Gogolisation if yr a Brit like me.

I love this quote from Tom Bradley on Wikipedia, who "traces the roots [of Bizarro] back in literary history to the time of Vladimir Nabokov's "Gogolization," and his cry of despair and horror at having his central nervous system colonized: "...after reading Gogol, one's eyes become gog...more
Vanessa
Gogol has been a great discovery introduced to me by Anton Chekhov.
I really enjoyed this book, specially the first 2 stories: The Overcoat and Memoirs of a Madman. The Nose was pretty good and extremely imaginative.
In The Overcoat I love his main character Akaki. Every tiny part of his character is perfectly drawn, you really get to know this little man and what is going on in his head. I was very fond with this character and his end was really sad.
Memoirs of a Madman was just amazing. Absolutel...more
Tim Stiller
I loved these 4 short tales. They were amusing and tinged with great ironic humor. The best for me were "The Nose" and the titled "The Overcoat", but they were all good. Check out if you like Russian literature and weird stories.
Trilby
Garcia-Marquez meets Kafka in Russia? In these very early short stories, Gogol creates strange and wonderful worlds. It's sad that there's only one widely read Gogol story, "The Overcoat." Not that "The Overcoat" isn't one of the greatest of short stories (Frank O'Connor: "We all came out from under Gogol's 'Overcoat'")...But the other stories in this collection are superb also. You'll laugh, you'll cry!...at Gogol's savage satire of bureaucratic bumbling in "The Nose" and of small-town small-mi...more
Kate Conley
I've wanted to read Gogol since reading Jhumpa Lahiri's The Namesake. These are great short stories to get the flavor of the Russian greats like Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky without the time commitment!
Aditi
This was my first time reading any of Gogol's work that weren't plays and other than Old Fashioned Farmers and The Overcoat, the stories failed to make an impression on me. Perhaps it is because the corruption and the society in which the stories are set are already too familiar to me, that I have stopped appreciating their nuances on peoeple's lives. Nevertheless, I really enjoyed the storytelling and the sarcasm built into the story. Overall, the book enabled me to see a slice of Russia in tho...more
Benjamin
Fun reading, I like the short story format. The translator did a good job making the language coherent without losing the historical context.
Ioana
Loved these stories. They're funny, sad, and so...Russian. And I love Russian literature, so that may explain a lot.
Aubrey
I read this short story after seeing the movie "The Namesake" in which it was frequently mentioned.

Instead of portraying the poor as hopeless or with absolute unfeeling, Gogol presents the reality he saw. Themes are man's (and nature's) inhumanity to man. A funny one that I can't make concise: the fact that all the narrator needed to be a part of the society that shunned him (and that he shunned as well) was a new overcoat. How fickle the world is.

I don't know if it is common of Gogol's style,...more
Jens
The collection I read entailed:
The Mantle
The Nose
Memoirs of a Madman
A May Night
The Viy

The usual brilliant writing one expects from the (great) Russian writers. All in all, the collection is very enjoyable but I have to say that I'm tired of the always recurring theme and characters. Petty official here, ghastly higher official there, and a moronic aristocratic official to balance it out... I'm bored reading about them and no amount of brilliant satire and witty sarcasm can change that.
Out of the...more
Cibernetes
Muy bueno, más la intervención del narrador es excesiva.
Lucie Novak
I like Gogol, it is funny and sad, very Russsian
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amazing story 2 6 Dec 01, 2013 01:31AM  
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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
More about Nikolai Gogol...
Dead Souls The Collected Tales of Nikolai Gogol The Overcoat The Nose Village Evenings Near Dikanka / Mirgorod

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“Around the windows and above the doors were a multitude of small pictures, which you grow accustomed to regard as spots on the wall, and which you never look at.” 3 likes
“At the end of the table, the secretary was reading the decision in some case, but in such a mournful and monotonous voice, that the condemned man himself would have fallen asleep while listening to it. The judge, no doubt, would have been the first of all to do so, had he not entered into an engrossing conversation while it was going on.” 3 likes
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