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Suflete moarte

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  75,369 ratings  ·  3,193 reviews
The first of the great Russian novels and one of the indisputable masterpieces of world literature, Dead Souls is the tale of Chichikov, an affably cunning con man who causes consternation in a small Russian town when he shows up out of nowhere proposing to buy title to serfs who, though dead as doornails, are still property on paper. What can he have up his sleeve, the lo ...more
Paperback, 398 pages
Published 1987 by Editura Univers (first published 1842)
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Brent Ranalli I thought the same thing--tantalizing and would be a good joke. But no, what is included and omitted in Part 2 appears to be simply a reflection of wh…moreI thought the same thing--tantalizing and would be a good joke. But no, what is included and omitted in Part 2 appears to be simply a reflection of what could be reconstructed from the author's papers.(less)
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Jim Fonseca
Jun 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: russian-authors
The book goes way back to 1842, before Russian serfs were emancipated in 1861. It’s considered a picaresque novel; Don Quixote-ish – a journey with a lot of satire and absurd situations with a rascal as a main character, a man who always has a get-rich-quick scheme going. He’s kind of happy-go-lucky - a drinker, gambler, liar. There are more than 2,000 reviews on GR so I’ll be brief.


In this story the main character is buying “dead souls” – papers from other property owners whose serfs died (own
Ahmad Sharabiani
Мёртвые ду́ши = Myórtvyjye dúshi = Dead Souls, Nikolai Gogol

Dead Souls is a novel by Nikolai Gogol, first published in 1842, and widely regarded as an exemplar of 19th-century Russian literature.

The purpose of the novel was to demonstrate the flaws and faults of the Russian mentality and character. Gogol portrayed those defects through Pavel Ivanovich Chichikov and the people whom he encounters in his endeavors. These people are typical of the Russian middle-class of the time.

Gogol himself saw
Jeffrey Keeten
Aug 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: the-russians
”What was the riddle, indeed, what was the riddle of the dead souls? There was no logic whatsoever in dead souls. Why buy dead souls? Where would such a fool be found? What worn-out money would one pay for them? To what end, to what business, could these dead souls be tacked? And why was the governor’s daughter mixed up in it? If he wanted to carry her off, why buy dead souls for that? And if he was buying dead souls, why carry off the governor’s daughter? Did he want to make her a gift of these ...more
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
Jon Nakapalau
Aug 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, favorites
Another 'classic bucket list' book. As he buys dead souls in an attempt to help increase his social standing Pavel Ivanovich Chichikov represents the all too common association that is made between power, ethics and the law. The dead on the list are treated (by the law) better than they ever were when they were living. Should be required reading to get an MBA. ...more
Aug 29, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dead Souls is a work of pure satire. There is no section of Russian society that this work doesn't touch. It scorns the Russian bureaucracy, gentry, and society at large. Many of Gogol's works are known for their satire, but I think none would equal this.

Using a simple story with an antihero, Gogol exposes the corruption, bribery, and despotism of the Russian officials. A major part of the story is devoted to this exercise. Gogol brings to light how a "government" within the government operates
Jul 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Every writer carries an essential book, the work he has to "tell everything". From the day he saw it, when he began to realize it, to think of himself, his vision of the world and the conception of his own life revolve around this pole; the work becomes the symbol of man, his message.
It's about a crook, Pavel Ivanovich Tchitchikov. The latter has an extraordinary idea to make a fortune: he will redeem dead souls.
In ancient Russia, the peasants (dead souls, as they called them) were considered se
Dead Souls Reading Diary

January 4th, 2019

I've just reached page 249 where finally the hero, to the waving of the cap of the houseman, who was standing there in the same fustian frock-coat, and in the presence of the inn-servants and someone else’s lackeys and coachmen, who had gathered to gape at the departure of someone else’s master, and amid all the other circumstances that accompany a departure, took his seat in the vehicle, and the britska, which was of the sort in which bachelors ride, and
Sep 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: aere-perennius, 2012
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
Aug 18, 2011 added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: For those who've enjoyed Gogol's short stories
What is this book?

I can't remember any more if Gogol described it as a Poem or an Epic, maybe it doesn't matter what he called it since he had great chunks of the manuscript fed into the fire on the advice of his religious advisor.

So we are left with part one, some bits of part two and an outline of the three part whole of the work, the rest having gone up in smoke.

What there is of the first part is generally read as a comedy. It is funny, but bear in mind that the first part is about a young ma
J.L.   Sutton
Jan 09, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“However stupid a fool's words may be, they are sometimes enough to confound an intelligent man.”

Publication of Dead Souls with illustrations and autograph by Chagall put on auction

Ostensibly a story about a man traveling the Russian countryside inexplicably buying the souls of dead serfs, Nikolai Gogol's Dead Souls is part commentary on middle class morality, part picaresque account of the main character's travels and part satire. It is actually a fun read and the humor comes here and there in moments when characters recognize the absurdity of what is happening. Dead Souls had
What did you think, Goodreads politely asks me.

Well, dear Goodreads, it has been a while since I read Dead Souls, and I think I remember the melancholy humour best, but as for what I THINK, this is what keeps haunting my mind:

There are so many things going on in the world right now that are more bizarre than wandering around buying dead serfs' names from their owners in order to make a profit...

Sometimes I think of Dead Souls when I read the news and wonder whether our world of 2019, with all t
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
Jan 18, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"The longer and more carefully we look at a funny story, the sadder it becomes."
— Nikolai Gogol

Before saying anything else, I think I must begin with my association with this novel. It was that period of my age, years and years ago when I had read only a few books, most of them incomplete, yet I used to impress my friends with that precocious intelligence I gathered from those books devoured by me in such scanty doses.
And what about my knowledge of Russian literature then?... That was extraordi
Maru Kun
The hero of Dead Souls, Chichikov, these days would be Fabulous Chichikov.

Sitting at his 40th floor, 200 West Street dealing desk Fabulous Chichikov’s eye would travel from screen to screen searching out deals in NINJA loans, distressed debt and CDOs squared. Debits and credits would flit in and out of his trading book as ephemeral as any Dead Soul.

Instead of a “troika suitable for bachelors”, Fabulous Chichikov would travel by Uber limousine. He would move from Manhattan steakhouse to members o
Jun 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

In Dead Souls, a novel about Russia and what it means to be Russian, we follow the adventures of Pavel Ivanovich Chichikov, literature's most endearingly dishonest character. After several attempts to grow rich and live a life of comfort, Chichikov comes up with a scheme of buying non-existent peasants in order to get a state loan on them and, thus, making easy money out of nothing. The non-existent peasants are the title’s Dead Souls . They were those serfs who had already died but were cou
Richard Derus
Apr 14, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
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'
Dec 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 eve
Nov 10, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Russians who own gold chains
Shelves: 2016
Here's a Russian douchebag.

This is called poshlust, an untranslatable word referring to a kind of banal tackiness special to Russia. Here's another Russian douchebag:

The stereotype goes all the way back to 1842 and Gogol's great antihero dandy grifter Chichikov, with his Navarino smoke-and-flame silk frock coat and his violet-scented snuffbox, and according to Nabokov poshlust is the great theme of this book, a definition of an essential theme of Russian character.


That's not what Gogol
Michael Perkins
Jan 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
the wonderful dark irony of Russian humor....

According to the story line, a trickster, "not too fat and not too thin," i.e. a rather average person named Chichikov, is trying to enroll the names of dead peasants (muzhiks) to increase his paper wealth and raise his stature. These are the nominal dead souls.

Chichikov knows that serfs have value, even if it's just on paper. Most landowners jump at Chichikov's offer to buy them, because it means the landowners will no longer have to pay taxes on se
5 stars for the B.G. Guerney translation (revised version), Yale UP.
I also read Part II in Donald Rayfield's translation (NYRB Classics / Alma Classics)

'Exuberant', 'panoramic' and 'state of the nation' are attributes that come up time and again among my favourite novels, so it's hardly surprising I liked this. Dead Souls, in the Guerney translation, is also one of the funniest 19th century novels I've read. Diary of a Nobody was the funniest; I wasn't as keen on Three Men in a Boat as some peo
Honestly, I like this book, but not a whole lot, so I have settled on three rather than four stars.

I like the satirical humor—it isn’t nasty, it makes you laugh.

The prose doesn’t feel dated; it’s easy to follow. Constance Garnett is the translator.

I like very much the descriptions of people and places—the writing is lyrical in parts. Reading this, you get a strong sense of time and place—provincial Russia in the first half of the 19th century. The emancipation of the serfs had yet to take place;
Steven Godin
Way ahead of its time, Dead Souls turned out to be everything I'd hoped, but still caught me a little by surprise as to just how funny it actually turned out to be. Blending realism and the picaresque, I read this when I went through a bit of an obsession for Russian literature. One could even argue Russian literature is the best literature, at least the older stuff anyway. The anti-hero Chichikov was a most memorable character, who simply travels around the Russian countryside buying up the dea ...more
Jul 20, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Srividya Vijapure
The weather was hot and humid and conducive for only one thing, sleeping. I had finished Dostoevksy’s The House of the Dead and was looking forward to relaxing and thinking about how to write a review for that book. However, the pull towards another Russian, a Russian that D admired and a book and its characters that D referred to consistently in his book was just too much of a temptation to me. I had to read the book and understand why D, one of my favourite authors, felt so moved and inspired ...more
3 and a half stars, maybe it'll be rounded up, I have to think about it.

“Dead Souls” has a complicated reputation as a very important classic, but also as a potentially frustrating unfinished work. A certain understanding of the context in which Gogol wrote it is crucial to grasp the dark humour of the plot – not to mention the commentary Gogol was making on his society.

Chichikov is, for all intents and purposes, a con-man: as he lives in a society ruled by corrupt officials, he doesn’t really t
Roy Lotz
There are, of course, many faces in the world over the finish of which nature has taken no great pains

For a book with such a gloomy title, this is quite a fun read. Gogol took the genre of the picaresque novel—born in Spain, and widely popular in England—and applied it to the Russia of the early 1800s. The result is a brilliant satire of his place and time. Our hero, Chichikov, rides around provincial Russia trying to buy up the deeds for dead peasants. This is a get-rich-quick scheme based
Dec 13, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bitchin
For my review of Fernando Pessoa's The Book of Disquiet I asked you to imagine that someone has given you a beautiful old watch, a gift with a catch, which is that it unfortunately does not work, is not, somehow, whole. Would you, in this situation, feel aggrieved, because the watch is not all that it could have been? Or are you happy to have it as it is, opining that you have gained something, rather than lost out, because you cannot lose something that never was [the watch had never and could ...more
I didn't love Dead Souls as much as everyone else seems to have. While there are certainly many outstanding elements in its compelling, comical characters and satirical reflections on Russian life in the early Nineteenth Century, I found the majority of the writing - particularly in the business negotiations that form the backbone of the novel - to be fairly repetitive, tiresome and drawn out.

The prose ranges from tight, beautiful and perceptive moments, to pages of rambling dialogue and descri
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Goodreads Librari...: Link editions 2 17 Jun 18, 2022 12:04AM  
Goodreads Librari...: book cover and linking editions 2 9 Jun 12, 2022 09:21AM  
James Mustich's 1...: Dead Souls — April 2022 2 6 Apr 15, 2022 07:07AM  
Dead Souls Hogarth vs Hapgood 1 4 Jun 03, 2021 09:57PM  
Goodreads România: Noiembrie 2017: Suflete moarte (4 din 5 voturi) 23 118 Jan 30, 2021 08:15AM  
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Nikolai Vasilevich Gogol was a Ukrainian-born Russian writer. Although many of his works were influenced by his Ukrainian heritage and upbringing, he wrote in the Russian language and his works are among the most beloved in the tradition of Russian literature.

Gogol is seen by most critics as the first Russian realist. His biting satire, comic realism, and descriptions of Russian provincials and pe

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