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Dead Souls

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message 1: by Ellen (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:41PM) (new)

Ellen I loved this book, because, as Nobokov says, it is like a great epic poem--my favorite. I also loved it as an example of an author who, instyead of striving to be invisible, constantly intrudes, as if barging in on a private party, announcing himself and his intent.


Darius Jones Yeah, it's brilliant. In my opinion, the single best book ever written about Russia. It's poetical, satirical and literary all in one swoop. And it's still relevant today, nothing much has changed.


Grand Logothete Finished a few weeks ago and so far it was the single most entertaining book about Russia, I've ever read. Sometimes I would just burst out laughing with some of its situations and characters. Nozdriov was particularly amusing! But its whole satyrical, social and political critique of the time, makes it quite unforgettable. Its poetic description of Nature is also quite evocative, together with the gastronomic refinement within it, sometimes just made me wish I lived in that time in Russia.

Such a shame that Gogol sent volume two to the flames, but in my portuguese book they managed to put it the surviving chapters, the first three and of the last ones. With a third volume I believe this would be a work of mastodontic proportions and ultimately his magnum opus. Nevertheless, this single book is already quite magnificent.


Saurabh The book was like a final signature of Gogol. Which very well complimented his own being, the mystery of his existence & Dead souls will gnaw his fans & readers till eternity and so will linger the fate of Chichikov.


David fun!


Richard Spring Read it five times over the past 15 years! Lovely book Richard


Holly Mascaro (birdbrainbooks) I enjoyed the book, and at moments it was definitely laugh-out-loud funny; but in general, it was lacking something for me as a reader compared to Tolstoy and Dostoevsky novels. I love Gogol's shorts, but this book lacked a depth, was too sketchy, that I think unless you are really interested in just observing and learning about Russian country life at that time and seeing some interesting characters, there won't be much more you get out of it than that.


Fergus Currie An amazing book! Brilliantly observed in all it's detail. Gogol's Characters - Tchitchikov especially, are his usual larger than life versions of the archetypal Russian class 'stamps', the peasant, the landowner, etc. His obsession with the main idea of the book – that peasants are somehow only goods, as valuable dead as they were alive - is typical of Gogol, the Diary of a Madman and the Overcoat being other examples of this thematic tenacity. His (anti)hero is such a wonderfully courageous coward. What audacity to realize his idea and how cowardly he slips away in the night. All in all this is his masterpiece, this is the book he wanted to write his whole life. I even get the feeling that his other short stories were somehow test flights for Dead Souls. I gave it five stars and would have given it six but there was on button for that!


Mizzou I'm reading, and enjoying, Dead Souls, in a translation by David Magarshack. I have no intention of stewing and fretting over the appraisal of the writing by scholars and/or critics. I just read about what Chichikov does, and what he thinks, and about the colorful characters that he encounters. Plus, I enjoy Gogol's "tirades" (using the word in its French theatre sense), when the author interrupts the story with pungent commentary of his own. Why do the literati insist so strenuously on ferreting out the 'message' or 'meaning' of the novel? Remember, poor Gogol did not achieve what he wanted to do, in literature. It's sad that he went mad, in later life.


Peter i read 19th century Russian literature to better understand 21st century America. there are a lot of similarities. Love Dead Souls, Part 1. Witty, vicious and funny... while also very sad.


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