The Collected Tales of Nikolai Gogol

[Ebook] The Collected Tales of Nikolai Gogol  By Nikolai Gogol – Johndore.co.uk
  • Paperback
  • 435 pages
  • The Collected Tales of Nikolai Gogol
  • Nikolai Gogol
  • English
  • 13 May 2019
  • 0375706151

About the Author: Nikolai Gogol

Is a well-known author, some of his books are a fascination for readers like in the The Collected Tales of Nikolai Gogol book, this is one of the most wanted Nikolai Gogol author readers around the world.


The Collected Tales of Nikolai Gogol 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 Stunning New Translation From An Award Winning Team Of Translators Presents These Stories In All Their Inventive, Exuberant Glory To English Speaking Readers For The First Time, The Best Of Gogol S Short Fiction Is Brought Together In A Single Volume From The Colorful Ukrainian Tales That Led Some Critics To Call Him The Russian Dickens To The Petersburg Stories, With Their Black Humor And Wonderfully Demented Attitude Toward The Powers That Be All Of Gogol S Most Memorable Creations Are Here The Minor Official Who Misplaces His Nose, The Downtrodden Clerk Whose Life Is Changed By The Acquisition Of A Splendid New Overcoat, The Wily Madman Who Becomes Convinced That A Dog Can Tell Him Everything He Needs To KnowThese Fantastic, Comic, Utterly Russian Characters Have Dazzled Generations Of Readers And Had A Profound Influence On Writers Such As Dostoevsky And Nabokov Now They Are Brilliantly Rendered In The First New Translation In Twenty Five Years One That Is Destined To Become The Definitive Edition Of Gogol S Most Important Stories

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10 thoughts on “The Collected Tales of Nikolai Gogol

  1. Garima says:

    We all came from Gogol s overcoat Fyodor DostoevskyDuring 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, simpleWe all came from Gogol s overcoat Fyodor DostoevskyDuring 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, at times illogical but enjoyable nevertheless The topics used to vary but the purpose was the same, to put me to sleep with sweet thoughts in my head to carry forward to the dream world These are the luxuries one enjoys being a child but soon our dependence on such stories fades away and inadvertently we start finding solace in acomplicated network of words to excite us.Lately I ve been reading some twisted literature and enjoy it too but thanks to Italo Calvino, I also became particularly inclined to short stories and started looking for some good collection by other writers and thereupon came across Nikolai Gogol Initially his simple introduction that I encountered wasRussian writer who introduced realism to Russian literature 1809 1852.Later after reading few of his stories, I searched a littleand found this extended introductionNikolai Vasilievich Gogol was a Ukrainian born Russian dramatist, novelist and short story writer.Considered by his contemporaries one of the preeminent figures of the natural school of Russian literary realism, later critics have found in Gogol s work a fundamentally romantic sensibility, with strains of Surrealism and the grotesque.But to be honest, I just don t want to objectify him with any of that literary jargon For me he is just a story teller who knew his gift very well and wanted his readers to enjoy his beautifully crafted tales with that child like excitement and curiosity For most of the time, I felt like being present at this imaginary set up consisting of a full moon night, with bonfire burning in the middle of a beautiful meadow in a nice country place, and a wise old village patriarch is reciting stories that his old eyes had long witnessed in his wondrous life The only difference is that those stories are not for children.This bizarre collection has generous use of outlandish and idiosyncratic elements conveying dark humor in its highest form making each single story worth reading and re reading Though of course there are some which are better than others namely The Nose, The Overcoat and The Diary of a Madman, which are mainly in the same league of brilliance covering themes such as alienation in society and status class anxiety imbued with ruthless satire These stories are heavily based on nonsensical musings and that s the very thing that would strike a chord with its readers i.e enjoying the supposed nonsense and making out logical interpretations of the same Some sources have revealed baffling implications of certain props Gogol applied to his works He definitely had a fixation with human Nose which features in most of these stories view spoiler As suggested by wikiThe critic Yermakov offers a Freudian interpretation of Gogol s fixation on noses as a form of castration anxiety Yermakov contends that Kovalev s missing part in The Nose represents his fragile masculinity In The Diary of a Madman , Poprishchin discusses how noses live on the moon and says, And when I pictured how the earth is a heavy substance and in sitting down may grind our noses into flour, I was overcome with such anxiety I hurried to the state council chamber to order the police not to allow the earth to sit on the moon Many of the nonsensical comments reveal his repressed castration anxiety as he constantly worries how forces outside of his control could emasculate him Another notable example occurs while he is being tortured by the grand inquisitor, when he randomly interjects, However, all this has been rewarded by my present discovery I ve learned that every rooster has his Spain, that it s located under his feathers In this passage, he equates the country of Spain to a rooster s genitalia obscured by his feathers This bizarre comment offers revealing insight into Poprishchin s Spanish fantasy as an attempt to protect his fading masculinity and sexual virility. hide spoiler The Overcoat recounts the story of a socially withdrawn clerk whose fatal obsession with getting him a new overcoat cloak turned into a series of unexpected consequences I especially liked its startingIn the department of but it is better not to mention the department There is nothingirritable than departments, regiments, courts of justice, and, in a word, every branch of public service Each individual attached to them nowadays thinks all society insulted in his person Quite recently a complaint was received from a justice of the peace, in which he plainly demonstrated that all the imperial institutions were going to the dogs.Diary of a Madman is another masterpiece of a short story surrounding around schizophrenia and depicts the protagonist s gradual declivity into madness due to his confinement to societal pressures and the standard identity imposed upon him which was in no way unique or special to make him feel a man of some importance It also presents a broader view upon Russia s identical crisis in the wake of the 19th century The Nose is a satirist aim at societal hypocrisy and administrative bureaucratic set up, along with The Overcoat.Apart from them, I was really looking forward to reading The Viy, a tale reproduced from a specimen Russian folk lore having facets of magical realism Now I knew that I was supposed to get scared by reading it but I really don t get frightened by just reading such stories so I deliberately created an environment wherein I sat alone in a dim lighted room at midnight and read it It worked, Yes Speaking of which I thoroughly enjoyed The Mysterious Portrait which had its share of supernatural elements supported by important life lessons based on spirituality and recognizing the good and the evil in this world.Stories like How two Ivans quarreled Apparently Ivan was Gogol s favorite character name probably because it was his younger brother s name who died at the tender age of 8 is a sweet story supported by the old world humor I equally relished rest of the stories like Old Fashioned Farmers, The Fair of Sorotchinetz, An Evening in May, Mid Summer Evening, and The Carriage though there were instances of getting a bit bored due to some detailed descriptions of the settings and characters but since they were necessary points for the development of narrative I ll blame that on my impatience.The main thing I found common w r t all these stories at least in my case is that they evoked a very balanced set of emotions in me There was no extremity I experienced, being it sadness, happiness, bewilderment or sympathy It was as if Gogol is implying, Oh you re feeling sad for that character, take this and the very next moment I started to laugh at some turn of events in the narration Therefore the pathos he created around his works were skillfully juxtaposed with hilarity and there lies Gogol s strength as an outstanding writer who changed the face of literary world and influenced many great works which later served and still serving as the epitome of great literature I m glad that it was through these short stories that I ve begun my expedition into the world of Russian Literature and also that of Gogol s before reading his celebrated Dead Souls

  2. Warwick says:

    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 wa 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 that was sitting on the other side of the counter When I was a kid I was obsessed by this passage That a writer should make things up was something I accepted instinctively nothing could benatural than to invent incidents, people, even whole species, for a story But that the basic preconditions of reality the laws of physics, the relationship between senses and experience that these could be simply ignored, or blended at will that a queen could become a sheep, mid sentence, with no explanation considered necessary that just blew my mind.I reread this little section endlessly, amazed by how I would fall for the sleight of hand even while aware of it And that nonsensical line of speech Be etter Be e e etter Be e ehhis, silly as this sounds, one of the most talismanic in all literature for me It represents something fiction can do that cannot be done by any other medium A Terrible RevengeCarroll had the device down perfectly, and I reckon that s why the Alice books, despite being written for children, have such a hold over literary history It is easy to see that a queen becoming a sheep in 1871 is not far away from a salesman waking up as a giant insect forty four years later Reading Gogol s The Nose was therefore a bit of a join the dots moment for me, because here we have the literary ancestor of all such techniques I especially loved that exquisite moment where our noseless narrator first glimpses a familiar figure in the streets of Petersburg Something inexplicable took place before his eyes a carriage was stopping at the entrance, the carriage door flew open a gentleman in uniform, bending down, sprang out and ran up the steps What was the horror and at the same time amazement of Kovalyov when he recognised that this was his own nose At this extraordinary spectacle it seemed to him that everything was heaving before his eyes he felt that he could scarcely stand but he made up his mind, come what may, to await the gentleman s return to the carriage, and he stood trembling all over as though in fever Two minutes later the nose actually did come out He was in a gold laced uniform with a big stand up collar he had on chamois leather breeches, at his side was a sword From his plumed hat it might be gathered that he was of the rank of a civil councillor Everything showed that he was going somewhere to pay a visit He looked to both sides, called to the coachman to open the carriage door, got in and drove off.What makes this so wonderful is the matter of fact prose Kovalyov may be astonished, but the narrator is not In the unlikely event that such a scene would even occur to any other writer, it s very easy to see that, in less skilful hands, paragraphs of description might be dedicated to convincing you of how a two inch nose can have become a six foot personage capable of wearing clothes and of moving of its own accord Gogol makes no attempt whatever to convince, to persuade He just relates the impossible.For him, clearly, this epistemological malleability is something that has been inherited from folktales The earliest stories in this collection are basically Ukrainian folk stories, and I found them mostly tiresome and overblown Only later, when you get to the good stuff, do the earlier stories becomeinteresting in retrospect, because you can see where a lot of his techniques originated St John s EveThe unrestrained demonic hijinks of his earlier stories are gradually brought under control and funnelled into specific themes and ideas as in The Portrait , for instance, where a strong element of supernaturalism is used as a means to comment on artistic integrity Even in the straighter stories, though, an underlying uncertainty bubbles up into a sense of genuine weirdness, especially in the later works there s an almost Nervalian, unhinged quality that manifests itself in odd little unexplained narrative devices There is certainly something eerily convincing about A Madman s Diary , with its progressively insane dating system I don t remember the date, one entry is headedThere was no month eitherThe Nevsky ProspectThis collection culminates in the very influential The Overcoat , a story that oozes with proto Freudianism and that seems, despite its comic philosophical flourishes, to be papering over some underlying terror Neverthless, The Nose remains my favourite piece It is just so odd, so resistant to any satisfactory interpretation, and the idea that it might just be intended at face value is almost frightening What is utterly nonsensical, Gogol asserts with appealing simplicity, happens in this world This particular edition from the Folio Society comes with eleven beautiful iconographic illustrations from Peter Suart, a few of which are scattered above They complement Gogol s brand of formal weirdness perfectly

  3. MJ Nicholls says:

    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 Collect 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 those rare moments when Collected means Complete In the case of Gogol, Yale U Press have the one Complete Tales in print, in two volumes, incorrectly lumped with the Collected Tales eds This beautiful Everyman s hardcover edition and, presumably, the paperback equivs omit a slab of material from Evenings on a Farm Near Dikanka, which only exists as an old Oxford paperback conflated with Mirgorod stories, suggesting the work is so lacklustre it doesn t bear reprinting For the sake of tedious exactitude, this edition omits all the story fragments, and, from Evenings The Fair at Sorochints , May Night or the Drowned Maiden, The Lost Letter, A Bewitched Place From Mirgorod, Taras Bulba is omitted available as a separate book from the Modern Library These tales, presumably, are found in Yale s Complete Tales The tales in this Collected Tales perform the Gogol mixtape function perfectly, from the rambling horror of Viy and The Night Before Christmas to the hilarious sinister satire of The Nose and The Overcoat Not all the tales spark and sizzle, like the slight St John s Eve and Old World Landowners, but the best of these, the bestest, are, at their bestestest, some of the premier examples of the Russian short story chilling and macabre, thigh splitting and mad

  4. Alex says:

    My first reaction to Gogol was bewilderment It s funny, and engaging to read, butwhat 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 PV write that Gogol, as compared t My first reaction to Gogol was bewilderment It s funny, and engaging to read, butwhat 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 PV write that Gogol, as compared to traditional storytellers, has nothing in mind Memory plays no part in his work He does not know where the act of writing will lead him Pushkin, an early and ardent supporter, wrote, Here is real gaiety honest, unconstrained, without mincing, without primness And in places, what poetry What sensitivity All this is so unusual in our present day literature that I still haven t recovered And that seems fair to me It s still unusual now although at least we have Borges maybe we should shut up about what it means and just have a good time with it.2017 11 17 Diary of a MadmanThe madman is a clerk, and right away hears two dogs chatting One belongs to the directir s hot daughter Never mind, never mind Silence The dogs are corresponding by letter he steals the letters to find outabout the daughter Meanwhile, Spain is in turmoil the throne is vacant It cannot be, he says, that there was no king A state cannot be without a king There is a king, only he s somewhere unknown luckily our clerk realizes that he is actually indeed the king of Spain Around this time the dates on his diary entries start gettingroyal from Dec 8 to the 86th of Martober, to date none The day had no date He is eventually returned to Spain, which bears a passing resemblance to an insane asylum, where he is shaved and beaten and possibly murdered

  5. Ali says:

    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 hilari 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 hilarious and moving, especially the last paragraphs Ivan Fyodorovich Shponka and His Aunt contains one of the greatest dream sequences I ve ever read This is one of my first experiences with nineteenth century Russian literature, and I m glad I chose Gogol

  6. James says:

    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 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 In short my kinda guy Russian literature, since books began making me feel things, has been for me that scary mountain whose lack of obvious footholds has sent me running home into the squishier bosoms of easier genres, whose peak is peopled with happy campers roasting marshmallows while animatedly discussing scenes from this Dostoevsky classic or that Tolstoy epic What sure hand would, as soon as I attempt the climb, save me from tripping over the first loose rock and snap my neck Gogol s, while mindful to point out where not to step, wouldn t hold mine, yet what convinced meto turn to his works first of all was learning of the ripples they caused that soon impacted on others in waves We all came out of Gogol s Overcoat , some dude said, which, prisoner to that tedious no stones left unturned school of thought that I am, rather finally shut the case.No gripes to be had here about that, to be on the same page, as evident by how finding noof the book to savor left me so restless my withdrawal dissipated only when I spent half an hour the next day at the bookstore, head deep inside The Inspector General a similar collection of another company included and, along with several other shorts, this one has omitted for crimes against humanity convenience Let s come back to the point the hype It s real Where Gogol s praisers have stumbled is that they haven t been louder about it Each of the stories, 13 in all andbesides that lay scattered elsewhere , springs from a mind able to hop between moods as simply as switching socks and,impressively, capture all that in writing that not so much reads as flows By no means, mind, does Gogol here achieve infallibility St John s Eve, where the roller coaster rolls out of the station, and The Terrible Vengeance get so twisty and turny I had to read the latter twice before heads and tails could be made of it The Carriage, fangirled over to no end by Anton Chekhov, fell short of my hopes, which, granted, the preceding unbeatable trifecta kicking off the second half of the book set impossibly high The Overcoat, too, didn t much measure up to those same expectations People, at least in the earlier parts, are either regularly found with their arms akimbo or perennially vexed But for all that, any misgivings don t matter so much theI think on them If they re not because my attention wandered, they re a placement issue if not that as well, then nitpicks Where there are strike outs, Gogol makes up for a hundredfold in home runs.The Night Before Christmas is hugely fun and entertaining, the vibe throughout fit for a 90 s Saturday morning cartoon, albeit one soon headed for the chopping block on account of complaints from parents outraged at their bumpkins being exposed to such degenerate content as a devil who had one last night to wander about the wide world and teach good people to sin. Ivan Fyodorovich Shponka and His Aunt contains the strangest dream sequence that, contrasted with the mundane goings on its characters face in the waking world, not enough weed will ever exist to help make sense of it Old World Landowners, even without witches and devils, is still plenty captivating with two old couple, developed masterfully, taking center stage The second scariest short of the lot, Viy, proves books can take years off such scaredy cats as me as well as that closet scene The Ring have long sucker punched unsuspecting viewers with Wrapping up the first half of Gogol s colorful re imagining of his country s rural life is The Quarrel, which boasts of a higher laugh per page rate than any other short to dateExcuse me for appearing before you in my natural state,says thecorpulent main character called Ivanovich Nikiforovich after being barged in on by his friend, neighbor, and soon to be bitter rival St John s Eve, either, doesn t lack for bright spots, and even those are soon outshone into white oblivion by a passage of just astounding imagery in The Terrible Vengeance that describes the Dnieper river to musical perfection Gogol s genius, aimed at the then capital, burns even hotter While not as inventively and unapologetically fantastic and outrageous as their Ukrainian predecessors, the Petersburg Tales, far from stumbling for their lack of broomstick riding witches, moon stealing devils, and the odd incest, are likelier than the former to worm their way into the collective subconscious to there make a permanent home The devil, representative in Gogol s wacky world of the ubiquitousness of bad influences whose seduction every day tempts us, lurks even in the city, but almost as an afterthought what need have we of the ultimate troublemaker when man himself can beat the master at his own game In the majority of the shorts, no puppet master hides behind purple curtains, pulling levers and pushing buttons to nudge events his way The result is often spectacular Nevsky Prospect throws a knockout from the opening bell, soaking us with ejaculations the narrator makes over what a great place Nevsky Prospect is, and then magnifies the microscope over two acquaintances, each different in their approaches, chasing after two women spotted there Gogol, at one point, shows so powerfully what it is to fall in love that it would still be aeffective form of communication than if telepathy were possible The Diary of a Madman, as the title gives away, takes us into the mind of an apparently healthy everyman whose mental deterioration should well satiate that morbidly curious class of gawkers by who gravitate towards car accident sites Dogs exchanging letters and talking politics aren t even the weirdest things here Next, The Nose seems straightforward enough, almost too straightforward someone finds someone else s nose inside his bread one morning and, after his story sor less wrapped up, we trail the said noseless man as he tries to locate it No other story, however, has ever so completely robbed me of my words, myself prostrate with awe at Gogol s audacity, as this one where he blindsides you with the last expectation you can think of It s a tough act no one wants to follow, so The Carriage, with its relatively normal happenings, can be forgiven for not wowing some people The Portrait, on the other hand, picks things up and Gogol is back where he s comfortable keeping therapists in business by sending to their recliner chairs us traumatized readers The story, separated into two parts, details the rags to riches to ruin life of an artist called Chartkov, whose painting skills are moderate and potential unmistakable, who happens upon a mysterious portrait of a creepy old man His stare, which Gogol s description gives major heft, is worse to imagine than to watch the best horror has to offer cinema In a nutshell there s gold hidden behind the portrait s frame that Chartkov exploits to better his position in society and that in the end destroys him The second part delves fully into the portrait s origins and is no less mesmerizing Along the way, Gogol touches on the artist s life and their creative process, social manipulation and superficiality, competition and obsolescence It s a meaty story with something for everyone and, as with most of his works so far, to relish anew with every reread The Overcoat, the last in line, continues the supernatural element The Portrait brought back, but dominated by thedown to earth routines of mediocre, bullied outcast Akaky Akakievich, it takes a backseat After his tatty overcoat, a source of ridicule at work, became useless as protection against the brutal Russian winter, Akaky gets another made, which gains him confidence and popularity His moment in the sun doesn t last, though, and from there does the story return tofamiliar grounds doom and gloom This second bookend may have suffered from the same positional problem The Carriage did the lesson here short story collections read from cover to cover are bound to favor some and hurt others , but hindsight is its friend There s a matter of fact, deadpan quality to the narration that gets funnier in retrospect A long suffering tone there also can t be missed when the writing takes great pains to explain how Akaky Akakievich came by that name, the purpose of which section is obvious and hilarious when Wikipedia to the rescue you read later that it is the Russian equivalent of John Johnson as well as sounds like the Russian word obkakat or kaka, meaning to smear with excrement, that makes it read as Poop Poopson The idea that the likes of Dostoevsky wasn t above toilet humor warms these cockles greatly Then, on the aforementioned Russian winter, it s not generally that it s the enemy of poor people, but that it s the enemy of people earn ing a salary of four hundred roubles or thereabouts. The exactitude is killer Another An order was issued for the police to catch the dead man at all costs, dead or alive. Added to Gogol s in jokes and humor is a question that, if given any consideration, is an easy road to a panic attack what s your overcoat Another character features in the story that goes by no other name than the important person, and in answer, he would probably bring up his rank, which is as much smokes and mirrors as Akaky s overcoat is that masks their total ignorance about certain workings of the world The balance between such introspective moments and the satirical asides in this story and the others is, if you ask me, not a half bad explanation for why Gogol is ducking awesome

  7. Jimmy says:

    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 tellsstories that are mystical in nature, sounding sometimes like folktales, dealing with witches and devils 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 tellsstories that are mystical in nature, sounding sometimes like folktales, dealing with witches and devils The second half Petersburg Tales have some of that as well, butsurreal unexplained occurrences like The Nose and other oddities Gogol makes hilarious observations about his characters and their hypocrisies He also inserts his own or his persona s storyteller voice in almost every story, wedging himself inside of them sometimes the narrator s voice adds a whole new dimension to the basic story would hardly work for any other writer but Gogol is not just any other writer Ah, but before we go on, we should first acquaint the reader somewhat with this remarkable character, Nikolai Gogol

  8. will says:

    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 feelsmodern someho 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 feelsmodern somehow The second part deals with Petersburg and is decidedlysurreal In The Nose, a man wakes one day to find that his nose is gone from his face He later meets this nose in the street wearing the military uniform of a general These stories clearly prefigure Dostoevsky s writing Diary of a Madman especially and seem to lay the narrative and formal groundwork for writers like Walser and Kafka This was one of the best and most riveting collections of stories I have read and I highly recommend it

  9. Andrew says:

    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.

  10. Gary says:

    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 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 aesthetics down to the very core of each story.There are some writers who are good storytellers and some who are known because of their penmanship skills Even translated, Gogol is clearly both The 13 stories in this collection, while undeniably Gogol s, play with a range of styles and rhythms He describes states of being and situations from the disintegration of one s mind to the excitement a young girl can feel for her booties From the combat of a warrior to a human nose on legs with prose that is completely fitting to each situation He is not scared of playing with a reader s expectations in this arena Yet somehow the writing is never inconsistent, either Pathos and menace are nearly always present, but somehow you feel comfortable in his hands He plays and teases with you, drawing you in one direction before shoving you into another Gogol paints his pictures with deep colours and complex textures, yet communicates all of this with a simple stroke, a glance in one direction that is fleeting but piercing, unapologetic, maybe dangerous in its unwavering loyalty to honesty One scene this does not spoil any of the stories , briefly shows a wizard flying past the moon in a magic saucepan Written here this is sugar and twee From the pen of Gogol it is delightful and energetic, entirely suited to the scene and, rather than squeezed in like a square peg into a pre thought squarish hole, is in fact inevitable It was reading this moment for the first time that I felt that rising excitement in my chest that tells me I m reading genius For me it s a standout moment and one I return to again and again.But as I said, it s not just the writing and of course this is translated Gogol is famous for the sophistication of his literary techniques but I shall never read his poetry as he intended me to but the content of the stories, too In the grand Russian tradition they tackle the very worst of humanity in a way that is rescued from cynicism with a tinge of optimism for the future, but Gogol s inimitable slightly mad, and obviously completely at odds with the world around him mind doesn t just twist some old formulas around but instead smashes them into each other and creates something brand new and rude in their originality In each story you can see the germination of ideas explored by Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, Kafka and these ideas are spat out and dispensed with almost immediately Most writers could spend a career delving into each one The rate at which Gogol sprays them across the page is staggering and beautiful It s The Mysterious Portrait , however, that stands out as the true achievement Anybody anybody who has ever had even an inclination towards art in the smallest bone in their body in the ear, right needs to read it Gogol lacerates through every affectation and whimsy in order to get to the truth in brutal fashion, executed with such style, with such sureness and swiftness and with such power that I find it difficult to type about right now without running downstairs to reread it.While dealing with lofty ideas and rich characters, the stories are also compelling and importantly fun You want to see what happens Not with dread or fear for the worst, but with excitement It helps that even at his most morose, Gogol is funny As with his writing style, he has it all wit, sarcasm, slapstick and punch lines He has his heroes and his villains, self discovery, transcendence of thought and all out action, the scenes of which put the imagination of Hollywood s directors to shame There ispacked into these 13 short stories than the entire careers of many giants of literature If you read the stories in one sitting you re left reeling, dizzy with ideas, unsure of which one to contemplate first.And the best thing about this collection is that this isn t even Gogol s best stuff That would be Dead Souls Part I and II, which I ll write about at some point in the near future