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Dead Souls

3.98 of 5 stars 3.98  ·  rating details  ·  32,181 ratings  ·  1,057 reviews
Dead Souls is eloquent on some occasions, lyrical on others, and pious and reverent elsewhere. Nicolai 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
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Paperback, 464 pages
Published December 28th 2004 by Penguin Classics (first published 1842)
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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
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Erik Simon
I had long resisted reading this book because Gogol didn't finish it. But Virgil didn't finish the Aeneid, which I think ends perfectly, and Bolano didn't finish 2666, which is plenty complete for me, so I figured I'd give this thing a whirl. Besides, there's a translation by Pevear and Volokhonsky, and their translations are sublime, so it was all the more reason to read it.

My instincts were pretty right. For what is there, it is marvelous, but I sure miss what Gogol didn't have time to get to.
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Tej
Dec 20, 2013 Tej rated it 4 of 5 stars
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
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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
Lona
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
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knig
Dec 09, 2012 knig rated it 3 of 5 stars
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
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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
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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
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Riku Sayuj
Feb 13, 2012 Riku Sayuj rated it 5 of 5 stars
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...
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,
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TarasProkopyuk
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
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Erik Graff
Jun 06, 2014 Erik Graff rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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
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
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Sandra
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
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Alan
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
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Rick
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
Darwin8u
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
James
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. Hadhe, overcome with religious fervor, forged ahead with his plan and complete this three-parter, separated into volumes each of crime, punishment, and redemption, and not starve himself to death,we might've had on our hands a literary misfire it seemed like he, previously so promising, wanted to unleash upon us expectant and unsuspecting masses.Fortunate ...more
Sara
My introduction to Gogol. After reading on the net how corporate life insurance was called "dead peasant's insurance" and why, I had to read this book. Selling and buying dead peasants? I was intrigued.

And amused! This book is very witty, very funny, and very insightful. It seems to me that Gogol is poking fun at the aristocrats in Russia as they are over-the-top caricatures. Social satire perhaps? I realize entire books have been written to dissect this book so I'm not going to dwell on that. I
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David
Only with trepidation do I give a measly 2 stars to classic books on the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die list. Even if I didn't particularly like the book (e.g., Steppenwolf, The Sea, Wuthering Heights, or The Kreutzer Sonata - dear God, the Kreutzer Sonata!), I'll usually give it 3 stars out of appreciation for its literary merits, its thematic depth, or the prose.

I won't deny Dead Souls has literary merit and thematic depth. It's hard for me to judge the prose since I've learned to mis
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Jim
Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky's handsome edition of Gogol's "poem" Dead Souls has been setting on my shelves since it was published in 1996. I've long been a fan of Gogol's crazed stories, but had always assumed that his novel would be a bit boring. Again, I was wrong.

Everyone knows the premise. A seedy character, Chichikov, travels about Russia buying "dead souls" – the titles to serfs who have died. Some dark satire seems intended, but as anyone who's read "The Nose" or "The Overcoat"
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Laura
Excellent, magnificent piece of work!!
Ahmad Sharabiani
Dead Souls=‭Mertvye dushi, Nikolai Gogol (1809 - 1852)
عنوان: مردگان زرخرید - رعایای مرده (بردگان مرده)؛ اثر: نیکولای گوگول (نیکولای واسیلیویچ)؛ مترجم: فریدون مجلسی، مشخصات نشر: تهران، نیلوفر، چاپ دوم 1387، در 352 ص، شابک: 9789644483844؛ کتاب از متن انگلیسی برگردانده شده، ، چاپ نخست انتشارات رسانه در سال 1379؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان روسی قرن 19 م
عنوان: نفوس مرده؛ اثر: نیکولای گوگول (نیکولای واسیلیویچ)؛ مترجم: کاظم انصاری، مشخصات نشر: ویرایش 2، تهران، نشر اندیشه، چاپ دوم 1369، در 348 ص، موضوع:
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James
I have to give the whole thing five stars just for chapter's 9 and 10 of the first part where the town becomes suspicious of Chichikov and institutes an inquiry. There, the narrative takes on the very funny and intense absurdism that you find in "The Cloak" or "Diary of Madman" or "The Nose." The whole Captain Kopeiken digression is fantastic as is the testimony of Nozdrev--the pathological liar. Both passages work a bit like Monty Python's Dead Parrot Sketch. The Postmaster suggests that Chichi ...more
Carl Brush
My last experience with Gogol was a dance/drama production of his “The Overcoat” presented at the American Conservatory Theater. Delicious and unforgettable. A relative talked to me about Dead

Souls, and I realized it was one of those classics I’d known about forever but had never actually read. There are a lot of those around, I fear. Nevertheless, I’m glad and proud to have finally gotten to it.

It was my son-in-law who steered me here. I was telling him about Catherine the Great, and he told
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Markus
Oh Nikolai, you had some clever characters developing. You made me laugh out loud like no Russian literature has done before. I told my wife that I loved Gogol.

But you made me a liar. What happened? All of the sudden, you waxed loquacious about the Russian countryside and the main character's psyche. Suddenly you were offering up major details about some minor characters troubled youth, and you went on and on and on and on.

I'm told that you burned the sequel to this book because the devil appea
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Kelly
Oct 06, 2007 Kelly rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: favorites
Almost a decade has passed since I read Dead Souls and I still find occasion to tell the story and recommend the author. The hero of the story, Chichikov, is a poor man living in Empirial Russia. During the historical period in which the story occurs, wealth is measured in terms of a man's property, including the number of souls (or serfs) he owns. Our cunning hero travels the country relieving this landed gentry of the paperwork for their deceased and growing a notorious unreal- estate of his o ...more
Al
The author described this book, first published in 1842, as a "poem" rather than a novel. This is probably because it is a linked series of sketches, rather than a story, comprising a social commentary on the conceits and foibles of feudal 19th century Russians. The main character, Pavel Ivanovich Chichikov, about whom little is disclosed initially, travels to a provincial Russian town and ingratiates himself with the local bourgeoisie in furtherance of a scheme he has devised. The execution of ...more
Max
Jul 23, 2014 Max rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: russian
An entertaining satire published in 1842 but with flippant style that seems much more modern. Bureaucratic inept government and pompous neurotic gentry get scathing treatment. For example after a huge dinner at a noble’s estate, “…the master of the house had settled himself into his…armchair that would have held four, he dropped asleep. His corpulent person was transformed into a blacksmith’s bellows; from his open mouth and from his nose he began to emit sounds as are not found in even the newe ...more
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Best translation? 3 168 Aug 15, 2011 07:44AM  
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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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The Collected Tales of Nikolai Gogol The Overcoat The Overcoat and Other Short Stories The Nose Village Evenings Near Dikanka / Mirgorod

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