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The Collected Tales of Nikolai Gogol

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4.36  ·  Rating details ·  12,946 ratings  ·  265 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 stun
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Paperback, 435 pages
Published June 29th 1999 by Vintage (first published 1835)
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Azra Yes, it's a part of the "Ukrainian Tales" section.

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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, a/>Fyodor
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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 was that really – was it really a sheep tsheep?
‘Oh, ...more
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 Collected. Except in tho ...more
Bill Kerwin
Apr 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

To those interested in the short fiction of Gogol, I couldn’t recommend a better collection. All the masterpieces are here, the selection is representative, the translation is vigorous, and the introduction is informative and helpful.

Of course the masterpieces of the St. Petersburg period are here (“The Nose,” “The Diary of a Madman, “Nevsky Prospect,” “The Overcoat”), Gogol’s macabre and satiric depictions of humiliation and madness among the bureaucrats of Russia’s capital city, bu
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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 lines. ...more
Alex
Jun 01, 2011 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, a
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Dawn
Sep 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
I'm a Gogol admirer & I've given five stars to other Gogol works & collections, so why four this time?
Well, possibly because of the translation. I know I'm in the minority here, but I wasn't captivated by the Pevear/Volokhonsky version. I've read quite a few of these stories before, and I remember liking them much more last time around.
I've heard the opinion that their work is more true to the original - does this mean I don't like Russian literature as much as I thought I di
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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
Ali
Sep 09, 2011 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
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Aaron Arnold
Jan 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2017, fiction
Even if he had published nothing but Dead Souls, Gogol would still have a claim to be one of Ukraine's all-time greatest novelists. Luckily for us, he kept writing, and these excellent short stories show that his transition to becoming a more "Russian" writer did not dampen his humor or invention one bit. This collection shows off both sides of Gogol's output: first, the strange, magical Ukrainian stories full of drunken peasants, quarreling landowners, hilarious religious bigotry, and fantastic ...more
will
Jul 26, 2008 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
Mike
Apr 14, 2011 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
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Andrew
Jul 28, 2015 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.
Amy
May 05, 2019 rated it liked it
This was overall a big disappointment. Most of the stories I would rate no higher than 2 stars as they are boring, anti Semitic, sexist and often needlessly repetitious. A few gems (the overcoat and the portrait) boost the book to an overall 3 star. Gogol isn’t all he is made out to be in my opinion.
Gary
May 30, 2011 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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Graham Wilhauk
Feb 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
I was wanting to get back into classics, so I picked up 2 books from the library. This collection and Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice." I DESPISED "Pride and Prejudice" and was worried about going into this collection thinking I was just not into classics anymore. However, people say "you can always rely on the Russians for a good book" for a reason. This is the best collection of stories I have read besides Ted Chiang's masterful "Stories of Your Life." This collection ranges from tragic to ...more
Carol Storm
May 26, 2015 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 o
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Stephen Selbst
Aug 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Gogol's short fiction combines an observant eye for rural peasants and the urban poor and lower middle class. The short stories and novellas poke gentle fun at stultified village life in the first half of the 19th century and level sharper criticism at the emerging city life of St Petersburg, with an emphasis on the absurdities of Russia's class-obssessed society, as exemplified by the infamous Table of Ranks. With his persistent use of the supernatural, Gogol prefigures the later magic realism ...more
Inderjit Sanghera
Jun 09, 2012 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 dab
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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 s
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Kelly
Jan 30, 2016 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 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
Vinay Ayilavarapu
**Warning: this text may contain spoilers**
Review of Ukrainian Tales:

A mixture of folklore, horror, drama, and comedies. This is was a very enjoyable read. Gogol is a very entertaining storyteller he seamlessly mixes witty lines with biting satire and profound sadness.

1. St. John's Eve - 3 Stars
This was him stretching folklore storytelling muscles.

2. The Night Before Christmas -5 Stars
One of my favorite stories in this collection. Its style might have influe
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Frankie
Feb 12, 2009 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 Cos
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Vanessa
Aug 26, 2007 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
Dachaublues
Nov 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Gogol is simply a master of social literature; I don't think I've ever had a better time reading short stories that the time I spent reading this. His stories may sometimes be simply folk tales, but they are told with such skill that the world of 19th century Ukraine almost feels real.
The stories may have been light and airy diversions in the hands of another author but Gogol makes them so convincing that I'd not hesitate to believe him if he told me that the fantasy and absurdity that all his
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Barrett
Aug 14, 2007 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 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.
"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
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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 o ...more
“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.” 41 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.” 28 likes
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