Dead Souls
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
read book* *Different edition

Dead Souls

3.97 of 5 stars 3.97  ·  rating details  ·  29,161 ratings  ·  986 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...more
Paperback, 464 pages
Published December 28th 2004 by Penguin Classics (first published 1842)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
Crime and Punishment by Fyodor DostoyevskyAnna Karenina by Leo TolstoyThe Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor DostoyevskyThe Master and Margarita by Mikhail BulgakovWar and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
Best Russian Literature
10th out of 342 books — 1,338 voters
Les Misérables by Victor HugoWar and Peace by Leo TolstoyAnna Karenina by Leo TolstoyDon Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes SaavedraUlysses by James Joyce
The Great Classics You Have Not Read Yet
41st out of 506 books — 1,002 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
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...more
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
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....more
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...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
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
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
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:


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
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...
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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...more
Excellent, magnificent piece of work!!
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...more
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...more
Jim Coughenour
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"...more
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
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
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...more
Divertente. Divertentissimo, però non è il capolavoro che mi aspettavo. Finché si legge con l’idea di avere sotto agli occhi un’opera satirica, tutte le imprecisioni, le inesattezze, le approssimazioni non sono elementi che rovinano il godimento della perfetta caricatura dei tipi umani più o meno spregevoli fatta dall’autore. A rovinarmi un po’ il tutto è stato sapere che ci fosse sotto sotto un intento moraleggiante. Mi sarebbe andato bene anche solo leggere delle nefandezze e degli abietti per...more
Ah, troika, troika, swift as a bird, who was it first invented you? Only among a hardy race of folk can you have come to birth—only in a land which, though poor and rough, lies spread over half the world, and spans versts the counting whereof would leave one with aching eyes. Nor are you a modishly-fashioned vehicle of the road—a thing of clamps and iron. Rather, you are a vehicle but shapen and fitted with the axe or chisel of some handy peasant of Yaroslav. Nor are you driven by a coachman clo
May 26, 2013 linhtalinhtinh rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to linhtalinhtinh by: Trang Le
Shelves: old-lit, other-lit
Khi đọc xong phần 1 của cuốn sách, tôi cứ chắc mẩm quả này lại kiếm được sách 5 sao rồi. Thế nhưng khi đọc tới phần 2, dù có châm trước rằng đây chỉ là bản thảo, chắp vá, còn lại của Gogol, tôi cũng đành tặc lưỡi tiếc vì sự yêu thích đã giảm đi ít nhiều.

Văn phong của Gogol rất lôi cuốn. Thú thật là tôi không nghĩ rằng mình lại say mê đọc được một cuốn sách được xếp vào dạng "kinh điển" như thế khi đang chán nản ngồi một mình trên những chuyến tàu. Nhưng thú vị thay, những chuyến tàu thi thoảng c...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Goodreads Librari...: Book description is for different edition 3 23 Nov 03, 2013 06:29PM  
NYRB Classics: Dead Souls, by Nikolai Gogol 1 9 Oct 23, 2013 03:53AM  
Dead Souls 7 151 May 24, 2013 04:02AM  
NYRB Classics: October 2012: Dead Souls 32 72 Jan 19, 2013 03:50AM  
Best translation? 3 153 Aug 15, 2011 11:44PM  
  • Oblomov
  • The Adolescent
  • Home of the Gentry
  • Moscow to the End of the Line
  • A Bolt from the Blue and Other Essays
  • The Queen of Spades and Other Stories
  • Brigadoon (Vocal Score)
  • A Hero of Our Time
  • The Collected Poems of Yesenin
  • The Complete Short Novels
  • The Enchanted Wanderer: Selected Tales
  • Petersburg
  • The Fall of the Athenian Empire
  • Quiet Flows the Don
  • The Twelve Chairs
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...
The Collected Tales of Nikolai Gogol The Overcoat The Overcoat and Other Short Stories The Nose Village Evenings Near Dikanka / Mirgorod

Share This Book

“However stupid a fools words may be, they are sometimes enough to confound an intelligent man.” 85 likes
“But wise is the man who disdains no character, but with searching glance explores him to the root and cause of all.” 42 likes
More quotes…