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The Overcoat and Other Tales of Good and Evil
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The Overcoat and Other Tales of Good and Evil

4.17 of 5 stars 4.17  ·  rating details  ·  715 ratings  ·  71 reviews
The compassion, simplicity, and gentle humor with which he treats the poignant quest of a hapless civil servant for the return of his stolen overcoat—and the fantastic yet realistic manner in which he takes revenge on his nemesis, the Very Important Person—mark "The Overcoat" as one of the greatest achievements of Gogol's genius.

The five other "Tales of Good and Evil" in t
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Hardcover
Published September 5th 1957 by Amereon Limited
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(showing 1-30 of 1,171)
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Joe
Recommended by Goodreader and Trotskyite Brian T., The Overcoat is an interesting collection of six short stories by Nicolai Golgol. Several of his tales explore evil as an an abstraction: in The Terrible Vengeance , a girl finds out her father is in fact the devil himself, in The Portrait, evil somehow takes up residence in a scary picture. The remaining stories are comic and absurd. The Nose begins with a barber finding a completely intact human nose baked into a loaf of bread. The rest of the ...more
Tyler Jones
Warning: this is less a book review than an attempt to explain how the stories of Gogol changed my life in a small but important way. If you don't like it when people write about themselves instead of the book they are supposed to be reviewing, then just skip this.

Back in my university days there was no such thing as a comparative literature courses offered - if you wanted to study Russian Literature, you had to take a class from the languages department. Academia's insistence on compartmentaliz
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Shama
My god, what a nut-job! Gogol was a crazy, religious, depressed, repressed lunatic, but my gum, could he write. The stories in this collection ranged from Gothic to comedic with tidbits of the fantastic and macabre. I loved the progression of the stories as much as I loved the stories themselves. The book is put together quite well, and readers shouldn't have trouble shifting their perspectives from Gogol's major themes: religion, piety, women, money, family, magic, society and circumstance. Oh, ...more
Danny
Gogol set the bar by which all other Russian authors of his day were judged. His writing style is unorthodox by today's standards. The deliberate unfinished feel of 'Ivan Fyodorovich Shponka and His Aunt' is a perfect example. But unorthodox as Gogol can be, his writing is thoroughly charming, and a very rewarding read in my opinion, even if the translation of this edition does (as some of the other reviews here suggest) leave something to be desired.

It's vary hard to understate the impact that
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Alaa Baageel
وانتهيت من قصص جوجول، أول مصافحة لي مع الأدب الرّوسيّ. يُقال بأنّ أشهر الأدباء الروسيين قد خرجوا من "معطف" جوجول. الكتاب يحتوي على أربع قصص مليئة بالدّروس الّتي قد تحتاجُ منك بعض الوقت لتعيشها أكثر، مذكّرات مجنون، المعطف، الأنف، الصورة.
الأسلوب غريبٌ عليّ تقريبًا بما أنها المرّة الأولى، لكن يجذبُ في شيءٍ ما لا أستطيعُ تمييزه، ربّما يكون تصويره للطبقيّة الموجودة في كلّ زمان ومكان، والتصرفات الّتي تبنى عليها، أوزالجشع الّذي يتملّك ابن آدم عند أيّ باب يُفتح له يطلب المزيد ولا يكتفي. العبر جميلة جدًا
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Nate
Feb 29, 2008 Nate rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: weirdos, painters, hot sluts
gogol is such a great writer. this particular collection has less of his comedic stuff, although a few of those stories are present. some of this stuff could be considered gothic horror, even. mario bava based one of his first gothic horror movies "black sunday" off of gogol's "the viy", which was an excellent film. i have yet to read "the viy", but i plan on doing so
Christine
Humorous and poignant, often unexpected, delightfully absurd. Everything that a piece of literature should be. 'The Overcoat' in particular shines in this collection. Though 'The Nose' was particularly amusing.
TarasProkopyuk
Очень люблю произведения Николая Гоголя, а особенно за то, что он как никто другой умеет тонко высмеять ту или другую ситуацию, пороки людей и самих их носителей.
RK Byers
"Nevsky Street" and "The Portrait" TOTALLY carried this book. "The Overcoat" was only ok.
will
With the first couple stories I was a bit skeptical, but this collection really sold me on Gogol being one of the first great, russian modern writers. Though some refer to Gogol as one of the first realists, he certainly isn't a realist in the way Dostoyevsky was. He is might be considered a realist in the sense that his stories do not follow any traditional arc (though they all share a similar plot arc as each other), and because of his tendency to kill off protagonists.

To be honest I was somew
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Emily
I started this book and then read Troung's book somewhere in the middle and then came back to finish the rest of the short stories. As such, I starkly saw the difference between what Foucault said characterized the difference between recent novels vs past novels. Recent novels read more as memoirs, biographies, or confessionals. Whereas with Gogol's short stories, especially with "The Portrait," questions about how to make sure that I am a good person, that I lead a meaningful, purposeful and al ...more
Ms.Wietecha
I didn't finish the entire collection, but the 4 stories I read were incredibly strong. I was drawn to the book and the author because of Jhumpa Lahiri's novel "The Namesake," in which Gogol and his story "The Overcoat" are important elements.

Gogol's stories are rich and detailed, yet also filled with supernatural elements. I think I'd have to read the stories several more times to get everything out of them.
Khalil James
An immortal writer, loved and admired; czar of satire.

The characters in his stories feature caricatured geometries and yet their descriptions impoverish reality. That is to say that the universes created by Gogol convincingly sway the stories' events and characters, with poetic excellence.

Exploring the lives of the petty civil servants, professionals and trades people of St. Petersburg will not be to everyone's interest but the experience can be fiendishly comical and yet almost always terribly
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Ahlam
I liked the "overcoat" and "the portrait" .. They were entertaining. However, "Terrible vengeance" was weird but entertaining .. 'Nevsky Avenue" was totally boring. I hated "The Nose".. Overall, I kind of liked the way the whole thing was written though so much wordiness and sometimes boring and unnecessary details.
Alina
Jan 23, 2008 Alina rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Russian lit fans
I only read select stories from this collection, but I have to say I was slightly let down. I think it was Dostoevsky who said that all modern Russian literature comes out of Gogol... I think my expectations were slightly too high.

Gogol has some moments of brilliance in what he writes. Little gems, like how Akakii Akakievich was named in the title story, are enjoyable. The cultural revealings are good for someone like me who knows little about Russian culture outside of what I get in literature
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Gwen
I picked this up because it featured prominently in the movie "The Namesake," which I watched recently and really liked. It turns out it wasn't really my thing.

A couple of the short stories were quirky and somewhat enjoyable--one, about a man waking up to find his nose has disappeared and is now running around on someone else's face, reminded me of Kafka (and in fact might predate him--these stories were published in the 1830s and early 1840s, I don't remember when "The Cockroach" came out).

But
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Kevin Shannon
collection of Gogol's novellas. The first ones, which are fantasist stories, like Master and Margerita, but the latter, in particular the eponymous tale, are wonderful exposees on the death of the soul of government clerks. Gogol really had it in for bureaucrats, cf Dead Souls....
Jill
The Portrait was really great, but was suspiciously similar to Dorian Gray - meaning I strongly suspect that Wilde ripped off Gogol. The Nose was bizarre and reminded me a little of that French film, The Moustache. Some of the stories were somewhat dull, but I really think it's because Gogol's sentences average about seven paragraphs a piece. Really - it's exhausting! You get lost in between all the commas. I loved the originality, and there were pieces - certain phrases that were just perfectio ...more
Jaime
I gather from scanning other Goodreads folks' reviews that people don't really "get" Gogol. I found the stories themselves to be funny and fantastical. I loved the matter-of-fact sinisterness of "The Portrait" and the bedtime scary-story feel of "The Terrible Vengeance." And "The Overcoat" and "Nevsky Avenue" fed my love of the ridiculous.

For me, there's something endearing about how straightforwardly the speaker in each of these stories addresses the reader ... like a letter to an aunt or an ol
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Anita
This collection is uneven -- with some stories being nearly unreadable ("The Terrible Vengeance" eg) and others are interesting -- but in a 19th-century Russian historical context.

If I were to recommend this to someone, I'd suggest reading only "The Portrait" and "The Overcoat". I liked both despite some flaws.

The emphasis on mores and customs of St Petersburg high society in the early 19th-century was mildly interesting to me, but I could see it being of little interest to many. This is a big p
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George
I was inspired to read the "The Overcoat" because of what I read about it and Nicolai Gogol in Jhumpa Lahiri's "The Namesake." The "Overcoat" was excellent, despite the mystical ending. So, I decided to read the other stories in this collelction. "The Terrible Vengence" was strange. I didn't like it. "Ivan Fydorovich Sphonka and His Aunt" and "The Nose" were too rediculous for my taste. "The Portrait" and "Nevsky Avenue" were entertaining, but not great. So, the entire collection gets a mediocre ...more
Sornaly
Jun 16, 2008 Sornaly rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone should read it!
Recommended to Sornaly by: Got interested after reading Namesake
Shelves: classics
I only read the overcoat. As I was reading this book I just wanted to give my clothes to this guy. Throughout the entire book I felt soo guility for having so much clothes. All I wanted to do was help the main character get some clothes so he would not freeze to death! I loved the flow of the reading and the way Gogol wrote the peice. The writing reminded me a lot of the Dostoevsky (read Dostoevsky in high school before I read this). Maybe Russia is just too dark and cold; no offense to all Russ ...more
John
This was my first exposure to Gogol after seeing the name throughout other Russian literature. It is a collection of six short stories. The best are "The Terrible Vengeance" and "The Portrait," though the other four are good. Gogol shows great range in these tales--going from a medieval morality tale in "The Terrible Vengeance" to the comic in "The Nose" and "Ivan Fydorovich Shponka and His Aunt." The other two are a mix of the two.

Not usually a fan of short stories, I highly enjoyed these, and
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Rachel
best story: The Portrait
Jennifer
For me this made a nice introduction to Gogol. He is somewhat funny, often going off on random tangents, and insisting on describing each character (even the minor ones) in detail. Everyone in his books seems to be either a humble artist, military man, or civil servant. Also, every short story seems to end with the main character having some sort of psychological upset which gives him a fever, of which he promptly dies. My favorite was probably Nevsky Avenue - though sad, all of the descriptions ...more
Nora Dillonovich
i only read the overcoat... which is great, etc. i plan to read more later. Why later? Because I cannot seem to stop acquiring books. Whether it is via the library or Powells, they just keep coming into my life. I compulsively collect them, and lately the leaning tower of texts is beginning to overwhelm me. It is too many... all quotes about aspiring to greatness or what have you aside. This will be plucked up again once the height of the tower diminishes and relief washes over me.
Rachael
Jhumpa Lahiri piqued my interest. After devouring the Namesake, I felt compelled to give Gogol a try. And I’m so glad I did!

Normally I’m not a huge fan of short stories, but Gogol’s pieces (with the exception of Ivan Fyodorovich Shponka and His Aunt, which didn’t really have an ending) were all really fulfilling.

My two favorites - hands down - were The Overcoat and the absurdist piece The Nose.

This is one that I may end up buying because I can see myself reading these again.
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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 Overcoat and Other Short Stories The Nose

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