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The Collected Tales of Nikolai Gogol

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4.35  ·  Rating Details ·  9,921 Ratings  ·  217 Reviews
When Pushkin first read some of the stories in this collection, he declared himself "amazed.""Here is real gaiety," he wrote, "honest, unconstrained, without mincing, without primness. And in places what poetry! . . . I still haven't recovered."

More than a century and a half later, Nikolai Gogol's stories continue to delight readers the world over. Now a stunning new trans
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Paperback, 435 pages
Published June 29th 1999 by Vintage (first published 1835)
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Garima
"We all came from Gogol's overcoat."
Fyodor Dostoevsky


During my childhood, like many other kids, I was also in the habit of listening to bedtime stories. They were usually told by my father or my grandmother. My granny stuck to stories she knew already, either related to her life in her village or some anecdotes related to Hindu Mythology where there is no dearth of tales. My father however had to come up with a new story every time in an on-the-spot manner. These stories used to be sweet, simple
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Warwick

Do you remember that bit in Through the Looking-glass where the Red Queen turns into a sheep?

‘Oh, much better!’ cried the Queen, her voice rising into a squeak as she went on. ‘Much be-etter! Be-etter! Be-e-e-etter! Be-e-ehh!’ The last word ended in a long bleat, so like a sheep that Alice quite started.

She looked at the Queen, who seemed to have suddenly wrapped herself up in wool. Alice rubbed her eyes, and looked again. She couldn't make out what had happened at all. Was she in a shop? And wa
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MJ Nicholls
First: this is not The Complete Tales. The unlearned distinction between Collected & Complete has angered completists the world over. Collected means incomplete: a mixtape of works that constitute, critically, the best this writer has to offer. Complete means the totted-up totality, depending upon what is being completed, i.e. Complete Works is ambiguous and open to omissions, depending on what is classed as a work—prose? plays? Just assume a fuller completion when it’s Complete, not Collect ...more
Bennet
Mar 29, 2012 Bennet rated it it was amazing
Shelves: novels-stories
Here you will meet that singular smile, the height of art, which may cause you sometimes to melt with pleasure, sometimes suddenly to see yourself lower than grass, and you hang your head. Here you will meet people discussing a concert or the weather with an extraordinary nobility and sense of their own dignity. You will meet thousands of inconceivable characters and phenomena. O Creator! What strange characters one meets in The Collected Tales of Nikolai Gogol!


Actually, that should read “on Nev
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Alex
Jan 02, 2015 Alex rated it it was amazing
My first reaction to Gogol was bewilderment. It's funny, and engaging to read, but...what the hell is it about? I'm not sure what the point of "Diary of a Madman" is, although I know I enjoyed it.

Pevear and Volokhonsky's intro is helpful, although it contains a number of minor spoilers. Their point is that if you try to understand Gogol, you are failing: Gogol himself didn't understand Gogol. "We still do not know what Gogol is," says some guy they quoted. P&V write that Gogol, as compared t
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James
Nikolai Gogol, based on the image results my Google search spat back, reminds me of that quietly excited classmate who's usually game to tag along with you for some mischief-making. Whoopee cushions and joy buzzers presumably hadn't been around then, so one shudders at the tricks his imagination must've improvised. From his eyes shines a look too knowing not to have exposed his hastily-planned cover-ups and landed him in a few or hundred detentions, spent here sweeping grounds and there copying ...more
Ali
Dec 02, 2011 Ali rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.8.
Many of the Ukrainian Tales are almost physically painful to read, though they contain a few moments which made me laugh out loud. Starting with "Ivan Fyodorovich Shponka and His Aunt", the stories begin to get a lot of fun. I was particularly struck by Gogol's descriptions of the titular characters' friendship and its end in "How Ivan Ivanovich Quarreled with Ivan Nikiforovich", and found that it closely mirrored some of my own experiences with friendship. "Diary of a Madman" is both hilari
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will
Aug 19, 2008 will added it
Gogol's tales in this book are split into two distinct sections. The first is concerned mostly with life in Ukraine in the early 19th century and is filled with superstitious people and the demons and devils they interact with regularly. The stories are tremendously funny but also strange and dark, mysterious in the best, most inexplicable way. I was reminded at times of the short work of Hawthorne, in which dark creatures often seem to be lurking in the woods, but Gogol feels more modern someho ...more
Gary
Jun 15, 2012 Gary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: russian
Split into two sets of stories - those that take place in Ukraine and those in Russia, this is a collection that takes pride of place on my bookshelf.

The theme of each story tends to deal with the darker aspects of human nature – depravity, poverty, the squandering of talent and opportunity, groupthink and malice. However, the narrative never dips into over-sincerity or narcissistic exposition. There is a sharp, honest, knowing quality to the writing that is evident from the surface level aesth
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Jimmy
There's not a bad story in this batch! But I especially loved "Nevsky Prospect" and "The Story of How Ivan Ivanovich Quarreled with Ivan Nikiforovich". These are long stories, but they are cozy and full-of-life stories that I want to read out loud by a campfire. Nobody alternates between the absurdly comical and the frightfully chilling like Gogol. The first half (Ukrainian Tales) tells more stories that are mystical in nature, sounding sometimes like folktales, dealing with witches and devils. ...more
Andrew
Aug 02, 2015 Andrew added it
Shelves: russian-fiction
A few old favorites, plus a number of Gogol stories I hadn't read before, including “The Portrait,” which seems to rank among his finest works. For those of you who haven't read Gogol, please do so as soon as possible-- the great unkempt beast of Russian literature emerges from the woods in these stories, and they're as full of as much violence, absurdity, superstition, and vodka-drenched misery as you could want.
Inderjit Sanghera
May 21, 2015 Inderjit Sanghera rated it it was amazing
Gogol’s wild and wonderful fantasies expose the phantasmagoria of his imagination-from the lowly civil servant who haunts to streets of St Petersburg in search of his overcoat, to the man who one days wakes up to find his nose has disappeared and is walking the streets disguised as a titular councillor, Gogol’s tales are by turns whimsical and melancholy, exposing the irrationality and absurdities of life.
Some people, shockingly, call Gogol a “realist”-whilst he may have intermittently dabbled i
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Carol Storm
Jun 18, 2015 Carol Storm rated it liked it
Worth reading for the classic St. Petersburg stories, "The Overcoat," "The Nose," and "Diary Of A Madman."

The Ukraine stories are not really as good. They have some beautiful nature descriptions but Gogol is much too sentimental about the daily realties of serfdom to capture the times he lived in. And the Cossack stories are absolutely putrid. The way Gogol tells it, those poor Cossacks just can't murder, rape, steal and drink in peace because they're always being hassled by armies of invading P
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Sabrina
I was in an airport in Nottingham, England with Ben filling out those "welcome to the country, now who are you?!" cards.

We get up to th police clerk and I give him my card and move off to the side. Ben hands over his card. Trouble. Police clerk (sherrif of nottingham perhaps??) says "do you think you are funny?" and proceeds to berate Ben with such ditties as "Do you want to make y our girlfriend cry, I'll send you back to France!). Turns out that Ben put "rockstar" with the a as a star symbol f
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Mike
May 04, 2011 Mike rated it it was ok
A digression-free, lean review, gentlemen! exclamation points a-plenty!

The first six Ukrainian tales are a tedious, dreadful slog. "The Story of How Ivan Ivanovich Quarreled with Ivan Nikiforovich" has a funny premise, and funny moments, but is too bloated. Then, we hope Gogol gets better when he gets to Petersburg, and he mostly does. "The Nose" is really good; "The Overcoat" is great; and "Diary of a Madman" is awesome. The others are as clunker-ish as the first half of the entire book (though
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Kelly
Feb 23, 2016 Kelly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jean-marcel
Apr 20, 2012 Jean-marcel rated it it was amazing
This anthology is so achingly good that I read it slowly over a period of abouta year, and when I was through I was extremely sad that there weren't any more tales for me to come to afresh. But I can still re-read these many a time and always gain once again that feeling of a glorious, unfettered sort of artistic madness that teeters on so many precipices but never falls nor falters. Here we have wild humour, sincere and touching expressions of humanity, carousing, feasting, absurdity, and threa ...more
Jeff Scott
This version of Gogol's Collected Tales includes his Ukranian and Petersburg Tales of which, now Tales can be complete without The Nose and The Overcoat (the story that Dostoyevsky's credits as the beginning of modern Russian Literature, "we all came from Gogol's Cloak"). If you have never read any Gogol, you need to read those two stories, it explains all his other stories. There is something about them a mystical quality along with folktales that all dovetails into criticism of human nature an ...more
Frankie
Jul 03, 2009 Frankie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: russian
Like the PV translation of Dead Souls, this collection highlights Gogol's wordplay and "nameology" as only Pevear and Volokhonsky can. I've read The Overcoat before, mainly due to Dostoevsky's influence. He once said that "We all come out of Gogol's Overcoat."

This collection shows Gogol's dual writing careers in his homeland Ukraine, and later in Petersburg. The duality is best defined by his subject matter. Much of the Ukrainian tales deal with folk superstitions, pastoral scenery and Cossack f
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Tony
Aug 14, 2011 Tony rated it really liked it
Gogol, Nikolai. (1809-1852). COLLECTED STORIES. (this ed. 2009). ****.
Gogol was a relatively prolific writer in a variety of literary forms. My contact with his works thus far has been limited to “Taras Bulba,” and “Dead Souls.” It turns out, however, that I had read two of the stories in this collection, published by The Folio Society in a translation by Constance Garnett and illustrations by Peter Suart. There is also an an introduction by Philip Hensher which mostly provides ramblings as opp
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Vanessa
Oct 10, 2007 Vanessa rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: People with an interest in short fiction
I was spurred to read this book because I had heard so much about how Gogol was a master of the short story. The book is in chronological order and is divided into two sections - Ukrainian Tales (his earlier works) and Petersberg Tales ( later works). I read the book in chronological order and almost abandoned it because I was having such a hard time choking down the Ukrainian stories, finding them rough, superstitous and tedious. But I'm glad that I soldiered on, because my persistence was rich ...more
Barrett
Jul 17, 2009 Barrett rated it liked it
i read a mess of these in college for one of my (many) Russian lit courses... but not all of them. after running into a Russian speaker on the metro the other day, methinks it's time to revisit the college obsessions.

edit: finally finished! this collection of Gogol's works is divided up into two bits: his earlier Ukrainian and later Petersburg tales. the former read more like old folk tales, stories spun tightly around superstition and lore, faith in God and fear of (the) devil-trickster. Gogol
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Joseph Pinchback
Aug 10, 2011 Joseph Pinchback rated it really liked it
Gogol is a fun writer. Let's face it, most Russian novels and stories do not tend to make one crap one's pants with laughter, to use a common phrase. But Gogol writes with a certain lightness that makes his stories go down easy. I'd swear that some of the stories are satirical, but I don't know enough about Russia in the 1830s to be sure. The best known stories in this collection are The Overcoat, a heartbreaking story about a copyist who saves up to buy a new coat, and The Nose, a wonderfully i ...more
Simon A. Smith
"The Overcoat" is one of the greatest short stories ever written and is included in tons of "Best Short Story" collections. The amazing thing is that these pieces were written in the early 19th century. Some scholars consider Gogol to be the "father of the modern short story," especially around Russia. When you also understand that they were written in Russia during this time, you realize how brave and marvelous this man really was. "The Nose" is one of the most brilliant things I have ever read ...more
Brandie
Nov 18, 2008 Brandie rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who wants to laugh at the absurdity of it all
Recommended to Brandie by: my mom
What is it about this insane Russian fiction that I love so much? I don't know. But all of a sudden I have the urge to eat stale bread, bad cheese and red wine.
And laugh like a fool.
My favorite, is "The Story of How Ivan Ivanovich Quarreled with Ivan Nikiforovich."
It's got chapter titles such as "From Which Can be Learned What Ivan Ivanovich took a liking to, what the Conversation Between Ivan Ivanovich and Ivan Nikforovich was About and How it Ended," and as is to be expected, lots of prostitut
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Meri
Jul 30, 2011 Meri added it
Stunning collection. This man set the bar so very high for all Russian writers, and, centuries later, influenced some of the best American short story writers as well. "The Government Inspector" and "The Overcoat" are stand-outs, but there's not one bland story here. Gogol engages you, and his stories sustain over time--what else could you ask for? Oh, and he illustrates the joys and pains of everyday life. Amazing.
Megan
Feb 23, 2008 Megan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Megan by: got them after reading The Namesake
utterly surprising, every single time you read them. from the folk tales to the city tales, these are...indescribable... almost unworldly in their ability to create imagery and character. a kind of storytelling that is almost frightening--i always felt swallowed up in Gogol's world. awesome, in the lesser-used sense of the word.
lyell bark
Aug 08, 2010 lyell bark rated it it was amazing
all these stories are real cool. totes sux living in a late-capitalist post-industrial society when i could be living in a weird hobbit cove in the ukraine having trouble with ghosts, dudes. and, like, a kewl ukranian peasant girlfriend. or a miserable middle management type in st. petersburg. oops that last part is actually true, soz. in conclusion, 5/5
Elena
Jun 10, 2009 Elena rated it really liked it
i like gogol a lot esp his ukrainian tales so "evenings on a farm near dikanka" are my fav except for “shponka” tale and “terrible vengeance”, out of "mirgorod" tales i liked "viy" and "ivan i vs ivan n" and regarding "st pet tales" i liked “nose” and “overcoat”, “diary of a madman” was also nice, oh and btw we have a nose monument here in st pet :)
Malcolm
Nov 28, 2016 Malcolm rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-russian
It’s hard not to delight in Gogol, in his magical and at times ever so slightly absurdist style, flickering at times into the surreal but never quite so far that the narrative frame detaches itself and we get lost in his dreamworlds; and all with the delight of a new translation by Pevear and Volokhonsky who continue to seem to find sparkle and wit the texts they work with. But Granta, once again we are tempted and risk being misled by the tension between the ‘collected’ and the ‘complete’ – thi ...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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“He who has talent in him must be purer in soul than anyone else. Another will be forgiven much, but to him it will not be forgiven. A man who leaves the house in bright, festive clothes needs only one drop of mud splashed from under a wheel, and people all surround him, point their fingers at him, and talk about his slovenliness, while the same people ignore many spots on other passers-by who are wearing everyday clothes. For on everyday clothes the spots do not show.” 32 likes
“Man is such a wondrous being that it is never possible to count up all his merits at once. The more you study him, the more new particulars appear, and their description would be endless.” 24 likes
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