Read Мъртви души by Nikolai Gogol Николай Василевич Гогол Online

Мъртви души

An NYRB Classics OriginalThe 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 hAn NYRB Classics OriginalThe 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 local landowners wonder, even as some rush to unload what isn’t of any use to them anyway, while others seek to negotiate the best deal possible, and others yet hold on to their dead for dear life, since if somebody wants what you have then no matter what don’t give it away. Chichikov’s scheme soon encounters obstacles, but he is never without resource, and as he stumbles forward as best he can, Gogol paints a wonderfully comic picture of Russian life that also serves as a biting satire of a society as corrupt as it is cynical and silly. At once a wild phantasmagoria and a work of exacting realism, Dead Souls is a supremely living work of art that spills over with humor and passion and absurdity.       Donald Rayfield’s vigorous new translation corrects the mistakes and omissions of earlier versions while capturing the vivid speech rhythms of the original. It also offers a fuller text of the unfinished second part of the book by combining material from Gogol’s two surviving drafts into a single compelling narrative. This is a tour de force of art and scholarship—and the most authoritative, accurate, and readable edition of Dead Souls available in English....

Title : Мъртви души
Author :
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ISBN : 9789549976229
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 239 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Мъртви души Reviews

  • Fernando
    2019-05-11 17:31

    Nikólai Gógol es considerado uno de los padres de la literatura rusa junto con el eterno Alexandr Pushkin. Es gracias a ellos que Rusia fue conocida a nivel literario en toda Europa. Gógol, originario de la “pequeña Rusia” como se denominaba a Ucrania en los tiempos de los zares fue el pionero de la literatura moderna, además de perfeccionar junto con Pushkin la manera de escribir, así también como dar a conocer a Rusia al lector común, además de los estratos literarios más sofisticados. Luego de período ucraniano, Gógol se traslada a San Petersburgo a vivir, razón por la cual su obra de desdobla en estos dos lugares.La obra de Gógol no es tan extensa como la de otros autores rusos, pero marcó a fuego con su talento narrativo a todas las generaciones subsiguientes en su país y destaco entre todos ellos a Fiódor Dostoievski quien ya había acuñado su frase ”Todos descendemos del capote de Gógol” y a Lev Tolstoi, quien seguramente se haya inspirado en esta extensa novela para escribir uno de sus cuentos más geniales, me refiero a “Cuánta tierra necesita un hombre” en donde emparenta el afán de conseguir tierras del personaje principal, Pajom con la obsesión de Chichikov por comprar almas muertas. En su obra encontramos sus cuentos más inmortales como "El Capote", "La Naríz", "Viy", "Diario de un Loco", esta novela, "Tarás Bulba" y obras de teatro "El Inspector", las cuales son pruebas inequívocas de su maestría literaria.“El Quijote ruso”, es como se denomina a Almas Muertas. Ni más ni menos. De hecho Gógol reconoce su inspiración en la obra cumbre de Cervantes, madre de toda la novela moderna puesto que el viaje de Chichikov traza un paralelismo con el de Don Quijote aunque sus finales son totalmente distintos. La concepción de esta obra por parte del autor le llevó mucho tiempo para lograr su publicación allá por 1842 y fue ampliamente aclamada por crítica y lectores. Su proceso fue largo y arduo, como lo cuenta Dostoievski en una carta a su hermano Mijaíl en mayo de 1858 cuando le dice "¿De dónde sacas tú que al primer intento se pueda pintar un cuadro? ¿Cuándo has adquirido esa convicción? Créeme a mí; para todo se requiere trabajo, una labor gigantesca. Ten la seguridad de que cualquier poema gracioso y ligero de Pushkin nos parece ahora a nosotros tan gracioso y ligero precisamente por lo mucho que lo trabajó y corrigió el poeta. Esa es la verdad. Gógol tardó ocho años en escribir su Almas Muertas. Todo lo que sale de un tirón está todavía verde. Dicen que en los manuscritos de Shakespeare no se advierten tachaduras. Pues por eso, precisamente, presenta tales monstruosidades y pruebas de mal gusto; si hubiera trabajado más, le habría salido mejor.”Almas Muertas, por consiguiente es un libro largo, de apretadas y densas líneas, pero que son necesarias para desplegar toda la historia de Chichikov, este hombre tan particular que fatiga las estepas rusas en busca de hacendados que le vendan las almas, es decir los campesinos, que tienen en su poder y que han muerto pero que todavía aparecen en el Censo como vivos que realizaba el Estado ruso entre los terratenientes. Era normal designar con el mote de "alma" al campesino que trabajaba para ellos y de esa manera, sus propietarios podían tener trabajando veinte, cien o quinientas almas en sus tierras. El proyecto de Chichikov es comprar esas almas haciendo un contrato de traspaso para después hacerlos figurar como propios en unas tierras que tiene pensado comprar en la ciudad de Kherson, un remoto pueblo perdido dentro del vasto suelo ruso. Chichikov es un hombre refinado, pero taimado, tiene una avaricia por la compra de almas que lo transforma en un comprador lisonjero y astuto y es capaz de hacer cualquier cosa con tal de conseguir lo que quiere. Él va atravesando ciudades (aunque gran parte de la novela sucede en la ciudad de N.), en su calesín acompañado de su lacayo Petrushka y su cochero Selifan que ofician como dos Sancho Panza de menor injerencia que el famoso personaje español.El talento de Gógol en esta novela es el que precisamente también caracterizó a Pushkin y me refiero a que era un conocedor total de todos los estratos sociales de Rusia. Y los conocía como la palma de su mano. Este autor podía describir con lujo de detalle a todas las clases sociales rusas, de hecho, aparecen en sus novelas campesinos, generales, terratenientes, sirvientes, policías, gobernadores, funcionarios burocráticos, doctores, comerciantes, lacayos, damas de la alta sociedad y muchos tipos de personajes más. Para redondear el concepto, Gógol nos muestra magistralmente a Rusia de una manera total.El libro se compone de dos partes bien diferenciadas, siendo la primera mucho más extensa que la segunda y también muy distinta en cuanto al aspecto narrativo. La primera, obviamente nos introduce de lleno en la vida de este particular personaje y nos cuenta todo lo que le sucede, pero la segunda es un tanto confusa. Constantemente aparecen frases entre paréntesis que dicen "(falta una hoja en el manuscrito original)" o "(en este punto se interrumpe el manuscrito)", con lo que no queda claro si el manuscrito al que se refiere es al del narrador o al del propio autor. Hasta da la sensación que el libro está inconcluso, aunque queda muy claro como termina la historia de Chichikov, algo que no voy a develar para todo aquel valiente lector que desee atravesar las cuatrocientas o quinientas páginas de las que se compone esta novela según la edición que se lea.Lamentablemente, la vida de Gógol tuvo un giro radical casi hacia el final de su vida, ya que luego de un viaje a Palestina en busca de sosiego espiritual, su salud se deteriora rápidamente y comienza a tener serios problemas de insania, fanatismo religioso y delirio místico, lo que lo lleva a auto infligirse de una gran culpa, despreciando todo lo hecho en su obra artística. Abrumado por sus propios demonios, Gógol quema el manuscrito de la segunda parte de Almas Muertas, imposibilitándonos de saber que hubiera sucedido en la posterior vida viajera de Pavel Ivánovich Chichikov.Almas Muertas es uno de los cinco libros rusos fundamentales para todo lector que quiera acercarse a la de literatura clásica rusa, asi como queda claro que Nikólai Gógol es uno de los padres de la literatura rusa. Y eso, no se discute.

  • Stephen
    2019-05-19 12:23

    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 fact that the novel is very well written and gives an excellent description of “old” Russia (cold, dreary and depressing but otherwise a great place to visit). The historical detail is both precise and very broad as Gogol includes in the narrative detailed discussions of many aspects of Russian life from the economy to social life to politics to the very unique mindset of the Russian people. Thus, as a historical overview of a not very well known period of Russian history the novel is very good. In addition, the basic plot itself (or at least the idea of the plot) was very interesting. The “dead souls” of the title refers to the measuring unit (i.e., souls) used by the Russian census takers to count the numbers of serfs that landowners owned. Serfs, while not exactly the same as slaves, are similar enough for purposes of this review as they were considered property and had very few rights. The taxes that Russian landowners paid during this time were based on the number of serfs they owned. Anyway, the main character of the novel, Pavel Ivanovitch Chichikov, devises a plan to “purchase” from various landowners those serfs who have died since the last census but are still listed as alive for purposes of the taxes paid (at least until the next census which is only done every 5 to 10 years). Why he wants to do this, I will not spoil but it is very clever and I thought an excellent basis for a good story. So we have a book that is very well written, full of superb historical detail and an original and potentially interesting plot. So what was the problem? Well, first off...NO VODKA!! No, in all seriousness, I found the book to be simply way too dull and plodding. The satirical elements were UNDERWHELMING (and that is being kind) and the story was just incredibly slow to unfold. I kept trying to give this the benefit of the doubt, it is a classic after all, but it was just determined to remian not very interesting or enjoyable. The various characters Chichikov encounters were intended to portray various types of Russians and I guess I was not familiar enough with the period to understand the nuances (and thus the intended caricature) that Gogal was trying to highlight. Therefore, the various encounters just sort of bled into one another and left me anxious for the end. In sum, this was a book that I could appreciate on many levels (the quality of the writing, the historical detail, the cleverness of the plot) and there were certainly moments of the story that I truly liked. However, at the end of the day, from the standpoint of my enjoyment of the novel as literature, I can not rate it higher than two stars.

  • Luís C.
    2019-05-07 18:39

    DEAD SOULS by Nikolai GogolEvery writer carries with him an essential book, the work in which 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 were called), were considered to be a security: they were sold, bought, and the owner paid a tax per male and adult male head. The census was every ten years, so that in the meantime he continued to pay tax on all deceased serfs on his property. The clever and brilliant idea of Tchitchikov was to buy in good and due form dead souls since the last census: the owner would be happy to give a fictitious good and to free oneself of a real tax and everyone will find his account: nothing illegal in this transaction; and when the purchaser possessed a few thousand serfs, he carried his contracts to a bank in Moscow or St. Petersburg and borrowed a large sum on these securities. He would be rich and able to buy peasants of flesh and bones!In conclusion, this book by Gogol is a satire of human mediocrity and a virulent and ruthless criticism of Tsarist Russia.

  • Vanja Antonijevic
    2019-05-13 16:42

    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 the townspeople in order to execute a curious little plan regarding the selling of "dead souls".The idea is that the Russian state taxes these landowners pay are based on the number of serfs (or "souls") on record. The problem is that many of these landowners must also pay for the serfs that have already died. It is these "dead souls" that Chichikov wants to buy from the landowners. He does not tell the owners why he wants the souls, but one can imagine that his plans are somewhat twisted...The novel is ultimately a social and political commentary involving exaggerated characters.

  • Ahmad Sharabiani
    2019-05-15 16:22

    Myórtvyjye dúshi = Dead Souls, Nikolai Gogol (1809 - 1852)Dead Souls (Russian: Мёртвые ду́ши, Myórtvyjye dúshi) 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 (Russian: Павел Иванович Чичиков) and the people whom he encounters in his endeavours. These people are typical of the Russian middle-class of the time. Gogol himself saw it as an "epic poem in prose", and within the book as a "novel in verse". Despite supposedly completing the trilogy's second part, Gogol destroyed it shortly before his death. Although the novel ends in mid-sentence (like Sterne's Sentimental Journey), it is usually regarded as complete in the extant form. The original title, as shown on the illustration (cover page), was "The Wanderings of Chichikov, or Dead Souls. Poema", which contracted to merely "Dead Souls". ...عنوانها: مردگان زرخرید - رعایای مرده (بردگان مرده)؛ نفوس مرده؛ اثر: نیکولای گوگول (نیکولای واسیلیویچ)؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش: هفدهم ماه نوامبر سال 1991 میلادیعنوان: مردگان زرخرید - رعایای مرده (بردگان مرده)؛ اثر: نیکولای گوگول (نیکولای واسیلیویچ)؛ مترجم: فریدون مجلسی، مشخصات نشر: تهران، نیلوفر، چاپ دوم 1387، در 352 ص، شابک: 9789644483844؛ کتاب از متن انگلیسی برگردانده شده، ، چاپ نخست انتشارات رسانه در سال 1379؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان روسی قرن 19 معنوان: نفوس مرده؛ اثر: نیکولای گوگول (نیکولای واسیلیویچ)؛ مترجم: کاظم انصاری، مشخصات نشر: ویرایش 2، تهران، نشر اندیشه، چاپ دوم 1369، در 348 ص، موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان روسی قرن 19 مگوگول بیشتر عمر خود را صرف «نفوس مرده» كرد، از نظرگاه ایشان میبایست نوعی کمدی الهی مدرن باشد که در آن قهرمان «پس از گذر از دوزخ»، به برزخ میرسيد، توبه میکند، و راه راست برمیگزیند، و سرانجام اگرنه به بهشتی زمینی، دستکم به زندگی معنیدار و اخلاقی، دست مییابد. در دهه ی پنجم قرن نوزده میلادی سلامتی گوگول به خطر افتاد. هنگامی که یقین کرد رو به مرگ است رویایی رازورانه بر او ظاهر شد که هرگز آن را بر دیگران فاش نکرد. ایمانی رازگونه به مذهب اورتودوکس روسی پیدا كرد و بر این اعتقاد شد که برای تعلیم «حقيقت» به ابنای بشر برگزيده شده است. نشانه های بارز این گرايش در مقالاتی تحت عنوان: «گزیده ای از مکاتبات با دوستان» مشهود است. ا. شربیانی

  • Maria Espadinha
    2019-05-16 11:20

    Insatisfação Degenerada"Almas Mortas" é uma crítica caricatural quer da sociedade excessivamente burocratizada da época, quer da ambição humana.Quanto a mim, a necessidade compulsiva de Tchíchikov acumular almas é uma caricatura da ambição material desmedida.A natural insatisfação humana, nem sempre escolhe os alvos mais indicados para se manifestar!Quando assim é, embarca num ciclo de acumulação infindável, pois as escolhas efectuadas não proporcionam a satisfação almejada!Julgo ser este estado absurdo e degenerado que Gogol explora e satiriza, dando asas à sua imaginação dilacerante;)

  • Darwin8u
    2019-05-18 17:16

    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, the writing was amazing and the Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky's translation was fantastic.

  • Jan-Maat
    2019-05-07 16:18

    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 man travelling around in rural Russia in the 1820s buying the souls of dead peasants from their masters. This isn't that kind of a supernatural book though, buying dead souls (the title was originally censored because as the Church teaches souls are immortal and can't be dead) was a reasonable financial undertaking at the time. Serfs could be mortgaged by their owners. Censuses in Imperial Russia were only undertaken once every twenty-five years and peasants who had died since the last one enjoyed a strange half-life in which they could still be mortgaged even though as assets they were completely non-liquid (at least financially speaking) since they were securely lodged in the graveyard. So we find our hero, or "hero", travelling about, meeting various members of the nobility and attempting to buy their dead souls from them.If you've read some of Gogol's short stories you'll have some idea of what to expect when a man meets various members of the nobility and attempts to acquire legal title to their dead serfs. If you haven't read some of his short stories - that's probably the best place to start... In the three part scheme there would have been a return to moral grace, but since this was burnt, with in the background as Nabokov describes the still youngish but dying Gogol with leeches hanging off his long nose, we're left instead with the tale of a wheeler dealer coaching round the bizarre and comical landowners that populated the imagined Ukraine of Gogol's pen.

  • Amr Mohamed
    2019-05-21 13:21

    انا طلعت ظلمت كل الأسماء يا جماعة سارماجو خلي البطل كان بيكلم السقف وكنت زعلان..عمنا غوغول هنا بيوصف كل حاجة وفتفوتة فى الرواية يعني يوصف البيت حته حته ركن ركن بالخدامين بالسقف بالحيطان بالعواميد بكله ... ويوصف الابطال وهدومهم وبيجامة البطل وبعدين بقي يقولك مثلا البطل ده او الكمر ده في الحيطة بيفكرني بأله موسيقية ثانية واحدة اوصفلكم الألة الموسيقية يا دين النبي يابا احكي واخلص..وشوية السواق بتاعه بيوصف ويرغي مع تلات حصنة واحد اسمه الارقط والتاني الاوسط والتالت اسمه كدا الحصان القريب ويعرف بالمستشار ..والله مش اسلوب مش الفضا قاتلنا يعني نقعد نتكلم مع الارقط..طب مش تسأل عن الاوسط لايكون زهقان مثلا..طب والمستشار كويس..مش عايز يقول حاجة بالمره.. لأ وكل شوية غوغول بيكلمنا اللى هو كل شوية معلش انا نسيت احكي للقارئ عن موضوع كذا...احكي واخلص...معلش انا عارف ان القارئ مش بيحب يعرف تفاصيل عن الطبقة الاقل منه... يا عم انجز وقول احنا اصلا تحت الطبقة الاقل حلو كدا.. عايز تقول ايه وقوله ما احنا بنتنيل نقرأ يعني مقلناش ثانية داخلين الحمام وراجعين احنا قاعدين ومركزين متفصلناش بقا..طبعا نسيت اقولكم الرواية بتحكي عن ايه .انا مبدئيا مكملتهاش وصلت لصفحة 180 وكنت هتشل...البطل بيروح لكل واحد عند أنفار أو عمال ويقول له عندك كام عامل مات...انا عايز اشتريهم...خش بقا فى كام صفحة رغي وفصال ولا الوكالة...يعني عايز افهم هو ده قصد الكاتب ان اى حد لو مش لازمه حاجة ان شا الله ناس ميته ..بيقعد يفاصل ويغلي فى تمنها افهم يعني..وبعدين بيقولك كان ليها جزء تاني وضاع ولا اتحرق حاجة كدا ..ثانية واحدة سجدة شكر لله عشان ضاع ...الحمد الله هيا ناقصة ...كان ممكن يوصف الرصيف ويقولك اسمه الايمن ويعرف باسم امجد..طبعا مش عايز اعرف النهاية عشان انا عارف ...اكيد نهاية مفتوحة مثلا ان البطل مكملش العدد الميتين اللى هو عايزه قام باعت رسالة للأرقط ومات

  • peiman-mir5 rezakhani
    2019-05-07 11:17

    دوستانِ گرانقدر، این داستان که یکی از آثارِ بینظیر در ادبیات کلاسیک و ادبیات روس است، از دو جلد و 348 صفحه تشکیل شده است که جلد اول شاملِ 11 فصل و جلدِ دوم شاملِ 5 فصل میباشدداستان در موردِ مردی به نامِ «ایوان ایوانوییچ چیچیکوف» است که به صورتِ مسافر و مهمان به سراغِ مالکان و زمین دارانِ بزرگ رفته و پس از ورودش با چاپلوسی و تملق خودش را در دلِ زمین داران و اشخاصِ معروف و مقاماتِ دولتی، جا میکند و سپس پیشنهاد جالب توجه و عجیبی به آنها میدهد... این پیشنهاد از این قرار است: تقریباً هر ده سال به ده سال، دولت از کارگران و کشاورزانی که برای زمین داران و مالکین و اربابانِ روستایی، مشغول به کار هستند، سرشماری به عمل می آورد، و به ازایِ این کارگران، از مالکان و اربابان آنها مالیات دریافت میکند... حال در این مدت ممکن است چندین تن از این کارگرانِ روستایی بمیرند، که حتی در این صورت نیز مالک باید مالیات کارگر و یا کشاورزِ مرده را پرداخت نماید..... و امّا در این بین «چیچیکوف» از مالکان ثروتمند، کارگران مرده و یا همان "نفوسِ مُرده" را با قیمتی بسیار پایین خریداری میکند و مالیات آنها را متقبل میشود، ولی از طریقِ نامِ این کشاورزان یا همان "نفوسِ مرده" که دولت آنها را طبقِ سرشماری انجام شده، زنده به حساب می آورد، وام بانکی دریافت میکنددر این داستان، «گوگول» با زبانی طنزگونه و البته نیشدار از نوع رفتار مردم در اجتماع و همچنین رشوه گرفتن و پارتی بازی و دروغ گویی و چاپلوسی و کلاه برداری و فساد و قانون شکنی هایِ مسئولین دولتی و سیاسیون انتقادهایِ بسیار جالب انجام داده است و به معنای واقعی کلمه، مسئولین دولتی روس را با قلمِ آتشینِ خویش، له کرده استدرست است که شخصیتِ اصلی داستان یعنی «چیچیکوف» ممکن است کارهایش زشت به نظر برسد، امّا «گوگول» او را قهرمان داستان میداند و البته به نوعی حق دارد، چراکه شما با دقت کردن به روابط و معامله هایی که «چیچیکوف» در طولِ داستان با زمینداران و ارباب هایِ پولدار و شخصیت هایِ بزرگ انجام میدهد، متوجه بسیاری از کردارها و رفتارهای زشت و ناپسند میشوید و شما را بدین اندیشه فرو میبرد که انسان تا چه اندازه میتواند پست و زشت خو، باشد و جاه طلبی و اشتیاقِ به سود جویی چشمِ خردِ انسانیش را کور سازداین مردِ تیزهوش و زبان باز یعنی «چیچیکوف» از بلندبالاترین مسئولین دولتی و سیاسی همچون شهردار و استاندار و رئیس ژاندارمری را با رشوه هایی که میدهد در کارهایش شریک میکند تا کارگران و مستخدمین ارگانهای دولتی... همه و همه زنجیره وار مُشتی موجوداتِ بی شرافت و بدکردار هستندجالب است که در دلِ داستان بارها و بارها «گوگول» نصیحت ها و حتی هشدارهایی را به دولت روسیه و پادشاهیِ تزار و البته شاهزاده میدهد، و سالها بعد میبینیم که حق با «گوگول» بوده است. چراکه روسیه با انقلابِ بزرگش، تا مرزِ نابودی پیش رفت و روسیهٔ تزاری در باتلاقِ خودساخته ای فرو رفتدر پایان به انتخاب بخش هایی از نوشته هایِ «گوگول» دراین کتاب، که به نظرم بسیار تأمل برانگیز بود را برایِ شما عزیزان در زیر مینویسم*****************************بشر تا وقتی آنچه سببِ مناقشه و جدال و خونریزی است، رها نسازد و در راه صفایِ دل و روحِ خود نکوشد، هرگز ثروت و زندگانیِ این جهان را نمیتواند بر پایه ای رضایتبخش استوار سازد... همچنانکه گهگاه فقر و گرسنگی به سراغِ کشوری می آید، ممکن است به سراغِ تک تکِ افرادِ آن ملت نیز برودمن میدانم که به هیچ وسیله و با هیچ تهدید و با هیچ نوع مجازاتی نمیتوان اعمالِ خلافِ قانون را ریشه کن کرد.. زیرا در میانِ ما بسیار عمیق ریشه دوانیده است... امروزه عملِ ناشرافتمندانهٔ رشوه خواری، حتی برایِ مردمی هم که برایِ بی شرافتی خلق نشده اند، امری واجب و ضروری شده است--------------------------------------------------امیدوارم از خواندنِ این داستانِ زیبا، لذت ببرید«پیروز باشید و ایرانی»

  • Alex
    2019-05-10 16:31

    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.ChichikovThat's not what Gogol thought Dead Souls was about. He thought he was recreating the Divine Comedy; a morality tale, with three books corresponding to Inferno, Purgatory and Paradise. He only finished the first one: in one of the great tantrums of literature, he burned most of his draft for the rest and then starved himself to death. Lucky for us, Inferno is always the good part.Gogol with his emo face onThe fragments that survive of the rest of Dead Souls, like the ending of Crime & Punishment, get a lot less fun in a hurry. This is the thing about tales of redemption: the redemption is definitely not the fun part. But it's the first great Russian novel, and you can see prototypes here for Raskolnikov and Tolstoy's great conflicted landowner Levin.Book One of Dead Souls, which is about two thirds of what we have, is awesome. Vivid, surreal, funny, almost silly, as Gogol is. He's dead serious under that, of course, as they always are. Here's close enough to a mission statement:Some wondrous power has doomed me for a long time to walk hand in hand with my strange heroes, to survey in its entirety life that rushes along so massively, to survey it through laughter that is visible to the world and through tears which the world cannot see and does not know.Unfinished books are always frustrating, and I didn't enjoy the fragments after Book One. But that first bit is one of my favorite reading experiences this year. This is the great epic of Russian douchebaggery. Unbutton the top four buttons of your silk shirt and get psyched.

  • Magdalen
    2019-05-09 15:38

    ΕΚΠΛΗΚΤΙΚΟ !Οι"Νεκρές Ψυχές"είναι ένα τόσο ρεαλιστικό βιβλίο που ίσως να αγγίζει τα όρια του τρομακτικού. Αθεράπευτα επίκαιρο πόσο μάλλον για την Ελλάδα του 2017 και ο νοών νοείτο... Δεν νομίζω ότι χρειάζονται συστάσεις για το βιβλίο καθώς όντας κλασικό  η υπόθεση του είναι γνωστή. Η πένα του Γκόγκολ είναι από τις πιο αγαπημένες μου. Καυτηριάζει, ειρωνεύεται και δεν αφήνει τίποτα μα τίποτα ασχολίαστο! Σου πετάει την ασχήμια της ρωσικής κοινωνίας στο πρόσωπο και εσύ δεν έχεις παρά να γελάσεις με το ύφος του. Είναι ο Γκόγκολ του παλτου που είχα αγαπήσει και όχι τόσο του Ταρας Μπουλμπα. Οι χαρακτήρες του από την άλλη, γνήσιες καρικατούρες. Ο ένας χειρότερος και πιο άπληστος από τον άλλον...Άκρως ρεαλιστικοί! Όπως και να 'χει βέβαια μιλάμε για ένα μικρό διαμάντι. Και δεν δύναται να χωρεσει ο νους μου πως γίνεται να έχει κάψει την συνέχεια!Και επειδή αν δεν το πω θα σκάσω. Ο Πάβελ Ιβανοβιτς Τσιτσικοφ θα μπορούσε κάλλιστα και το τονίζω αυτό να είναι ο Παύλος Τσιτσικοπουλος του Ιωάννη, ένας Νεοέλληνας του 21ου αιώνα.

  • Tej
    2019-05-05 17:43

    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 all that is trash and sadly, maybe for the very reason that it is trash. The measure of cinema, at least here in my part of the world is by the millions that it rakes in irrespective of the nature of content, millions are proportional to the trash really or there is that noise which must be called music, not to mention the TV. We all are a part of that and beyond a point not willful perpetrators but just so hard pressed by life that there is little or no time to bother. It struck me the most, Gogol’s desire to produce something of significance, with a potential inclination towards inculcating the seeds of change among the individuals, indirectly goading and exhorting them and to somehow impact positively their lives and times. His self-assessed inability to achieve that coveted goal in writing, to an extent, led him to inflict self-damage by starvation and ultimate demise not to mention the burnings he carried out of his manuscript more than once. The first part of ‘Dead Souls’ leaves you most pleasantly dumbfounded and marveling at the precocious genius of this artist who paints human beings in prose, smiling and even positively laughing alone along with him and then, the second part of the same, incomplete and inconclusive, concluded his life journey quite literally. You wonder, why not just to continue writing with the kind of talent you were bestowed with? But then that is you talking in 2013 where ‘callings’ and ‘inner-voices’ are the last things to determine what and when you do what. Sadly I got to read Gogol saying this,“God had taken away ‘for a long time my ability to create’, as a result of which ‘I have tormented myself, forced myself to write, suffered painfully at the spectacle of my impotence, and several times have made myself ill with the strain and have been unable to accomplish anything, and everything has come out forced and bad.’ ”Pavel Ivanovich ‘Chichikov’, our heroic anti-hero cajoles us to accompany him, on pretty much aimless travels he has undertaken only driven by a supposedly ingenious yet untested and unproven idea of taking advantage of a loophole in the system, which putatively shall translate into real capital and a consequent plum life for his self. He is in fact on the mission to swindle bounty out of the system, keeping low and warding of the reach of law till he attains an un-approachable respectability in the society. He has the gumption to enshroud this trickery in a veil of un-burdening the prospective clients of the burden of ‘dead souls’ or the dead serfs, the tax one is obliged to pay because these serfs are counted as alive on the rolls with no chance of them being ticked of as dead until the subsequent census. He offers to even pay for them, peanuts that is, an item that exists only in thin air and aspires to mortgage them as real serfs while becoming a land-owner himself. Armed with an utterly ingratiating and ‘toady’ character, he ventures thus on his endeavours,“My life can be likened, as it were, to a barque amid the waves, Your Excellency. I was swaddled, and one could say, wrapped in forbearance, myself being, so to speak, forbearance itself.”……….“Somehow the new arrival was never at a loss for anything, and he came across as an experienced man of the world. Whatever the topic of conversation, he always knew how to hold up his end: if the talk was of stud farm, he too would talk of stud farms; if people were chatting of fine dogs, here too he would venture some very sensible observations; if the matter under consideration touched upon an investigation being conducted by the fiscal chamber, he showed that he was not ignorant of judicial hanky-panky; if the discussion turned to billiards, he didn’t let his end down when it came to billiards either; if people were talking about virtue, then he could discourse on virtue very well too, and even with tears in his eyes; if about the distilling of spirits, then he knew a lot about spirits as well; if about custom inspectors and officials, then he could also expiate on them as if he himself had been both an official and an inspector.”The rustic humor of the plot, in the dexterous hands of Gogol, is plied into a tragi-comic satire, one that embraces tightly, ingrained with a power to land hard blows with laughter. Gogol himself appears during the course of narration, monologues and casual talks flow, all of which happens in the ‘meanwhile’ in real time that is, which makes the text delightful. So much so, that even the carriage horses have their say at times. “With us it’s different: we have men so wise that with a landowner who has two hundred souls they will speak in an altogether different way than with one who has three hundred, and with one who has three hundred they will, again, speak otherwise than with one who has five hundred, and with one who has five hundred, again it will be otherwise than with one who has eight hundred; in a word, you can get upto a million, and shadings will still be found.”And then there is this landowner Chichikov meets in his quest to secure ‘dead souls’ whom he ends up describing thus,“His smile was alluring, his hair blond and his eyes light blue. In the first moment of conversation with him, you could not help but say, ‘What a pleasant and kind hearted man!’ The second moment you would say nothing, and the third you would say, ‘The devil only knows what sort of man he is!’ and you would move as far away from him as you could; if you didn’t move away, you would experience a feeling of deadly boredom.”Observing another lady in one of the landowner’s house, he goes ahead with,“And in boarding schools, as we know, three main subjects constitute the foundation of human virtues: the French language, which is indispensable for a happy family life; the piano, for affording one’s spouse some pleasant moments; and finally, in the specifically homemaking skills, the knitting of purses and other surprises.”Oscar Wilde famously said, “If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they’ll kill you” and Gogol epitomized that perfectly in trying to use comedy as a means towards perfecting individuals, one at a time with an ultimate aim to let that percolate and spread inside the entrails of the country, hopefully enlightening it as a whole. This contrasted starkly with the radicals trying to improve through systemic changes in social structures and government systems. So glaringly, this is the way to go even today and the need all the more acute.Flowing descriptions of the pulchritude of Russian countryside, adorn the second part where Gogol wields a different quill albeit without giving up his knack of humor a wee bit. At times the brilliance is much more vivid and writing candid here than the first part even but only to be rudely reminded of its incompleteness and then it strikes as a disjointed piece on the whole. Perhaps to achieve perspicacity, he forays into the uncharted and flounders, dabbling with morality here and sermons there which do not quite gel with the tone and tenor hitherto attained and that is tragic. “Like a tsar on the day of his solemn coronation, he was all aglow and it seemed as if rays of light were streaming from his face. Why, nowhere in the whole world will you find a delight to equal that. It’s precisely here that man imitates God. God reserved to himself the business of creation, as a delight second to none, and he demands of man that he too, in like measure, be the creator of prosperity all around him. And they call this boring work!”...... “Yes, nature loves patience, and this is a law given it by God himself, who smiles on those who are patient.” (Reminds of Tolstoy)In the final sections, which happen so strangely suddenly, if one is not aware of the fate of this text and its creator, one, to say the least can be left utterly dumbfounded. “….. Why such a fate? Why such blows? Was my life not like a barque amid the waves even without all that? Where is the justice of the heavens? Where is the reward for patience, for exemplary perseverance?”…….“I can see, I can sense….. That the life I’m leading is not right, but I fell no great revulsion towards vice; my nature has grown coarse. I have no love for the good, for that beautiful inclination for doing deeds that are pleasing to God, which becomes second nature, habit.”…….“The dishonest business of taking bribes has become a necessity and a need even for those who were certainly not born to be dishonest. I know by now it is almost impossible for many people to swim against the current.”My own naiveté as regards this work receded only gradually after the reading culminated and shoved me into an earnest quest to know the man himself. My only claims as to the knowledge of this work were cursory references of Dostoevsky and the likes, and I somehow expected it to be miles away from humour let alone comedy forming heart of the matter. I did not know what to expect and that was quite good actually. Gogol’s life and times are enshrouded in dense fog with only his prolific letter writing providing a glimpse into the man and the artist that he was. Pushkin, evidently regarded as a mentor of had a famous falling apart and the two did not talk until Pushkin died in a duel. According to Gogol, it was Pushkin who visualized the ‘plot’ of Dead Souls and decided not to use it himself, encouraging him to amplify and deepen it. And Pushkin argued and coaxed him saying that it was just sinful not to do so, given the ability of Gogol to put his finger on a person and represent him fully as a human being in just a few strokes. Moreover he pushed him to emulate Cervantes, to rise above the scope of smaller works which he was currently writing and produce a work of the character and stature of Don Quixote while overcoming the shortcomings that his frail and capricious health represented. Later Gogol is believed to have said, “ ‘Service’ to Russia, he said, was his abiding concern, and to that end he ‘wanted to present in my work primarily those higher qualities of the Russian nature, which have not yet been justly appreciated by all, and primarily those lower qualities which have not yet been sufficiently ridiculed and dispelled by all’.”Gogol, right from the time of his first writings had a difficult time with criticism, burning text after text even only at slightest behest. His eccentricity and quirkiness culminated with his own life but it can be safely construed that in the present day and age, when goals are secondary, his prodigious precocity as a tragi-comic painter of realities of existence would have levitated him to precipitous heights. Even without that, his role and place in the echelons of Russian or even world writing traditions is incontrovertible, the evidences are replete in Tolstoy, Gorky or Dostoevsky and even Chekhov, who became who they did because he had been…..

  • فهد الفهد
    2019-04-22 10:40

    الأنفس الميتة مات غوغول وقد أحرق الجزء الثاني من هذه الرواية، ومن سيقرأ سيرته سيقول: حسناً فعل!! فقد سيطرت على غوغول روح دينية في آخر أيامه، كما أثر فيه النقد الذي كان يكيله له الجميع، سواء كانوا من تيار السلافيين – الذي يريد الحفاظ على روسيا كما هي – أو الأوروبيين – الذين يريدون تغيير روسيا لتلحق بأوروبا -، فلذا قرر جعل الجزء الثاني تمجيداً وتبجيلاً للروح والمجتمع الروسي الذي تفنن في الجزء الأول في إظهار عيوبه وشخصياته الطريفة، ولكن الحصيلة كانت باهتة، فلذا أحرق المخطوطة ولم يفرغ منها بعد. نتعرف في (الأنفس الميتة) على شخصيات متعددة، يقودنا إليها بطلنا الغامض (بافيل تشيتشيكوف) والذي وصل إلى مدينة صغيرة وبدأ يزور الملاك فيها ليقدم لهم عرضاً غريباً، ففي تلك الفترة كانت روسيا لازالت تعمل بنظام القنانة أي وجود أقنان – عبيد - يمتلكهم الملاك ويعملون في حقوله ومزارعه، وكان الملاك الروسي يدفع للدولة مبلغاً عن كل قن من هؤلاء الأقنان، ولو مات القن فعلى الملاك الدفع عنه حتى موعد الإحصاء التالي، فلذا كان عرض تشيتشيكوف للملاك غريباً، فهو يريد منهم أن يعطوه أو يبيعوه إن استلزم الأمر هذه الأنفس الميتة، يستفيد الملاك من هذه الصفقة التخلص من عشرات الأقنان الذين ماتوا ولكن لازال يدفع عنهم للدولة، ولكن ما الذي سيستفيده تشتشيكوف؟ ما فائدة مئات الأقنان الميتين؟ أخذ غوغول فكرة الرواية من واقعة حقيقية كان بوشكين يخطط للكتابة عنها، ولكن غوغول طالب بها، فتنازل عنها بوشكين للكاتب الشاب، وللأسف لم يصدر الكتاب إلا متأخراً بعد مقتل بوشكين، وأظن أنه لو قرأه لأعجب به فقد تجلى غوغول في هذا النص ببراعة، وكشف لنا شخصيات روسية أصيلة، تجمع بين الغباء والخسة والذكاء والبخل واللامبالاة، رؤية شاملة للريف الروسي لا يمكن أن يلتقطها إلا فنان حقيقي، تكفي هذه الرواية مع قصة المعطف لتضعا غوغول في مصاف العظماء.

  • Richard Derus
    2019-05-11 16:41

    Rating: 4* of fiveThe 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' names from their landlords' poll tax lists hoping to mortgage them for profit and to reinvent himself as a gentleman.My Review: No one seems to have pinned this work down as of yet. 172 years on, Gogol still eludes the butterfly net of scholarship. No one seems to argue that the book is not wryly amusing. That seems not to be enough, for some reason, to the literati.Is it a satire? Hell, who cares! “You can't imagine how stupid the whole world has grown nowadays. The things these scribblers write!"--and--“However stupid a fool's words may be, they are sometimes enough to confound an intelligent man.” --and--“But wise is the man who disdains no character, but with searching glance explores him to the root and cause of all.” Satire? Maybe. Funny and snarky and ironic? Oh yes. I've read that some scholars compare the, to be kind, circularity of the plot to [The Odyssey]. Ummm, okay. Some offer Christian subtexts to the idea of buying and selling souls as a commentary on the...yech, whatever, the book is a fun and funny way to wile away a few hours.Gogol himself considered this a prose poem, and I suspect he called it that so he'd be free of the shackles of novelistic convention. Let him loose, don't lard in your expectations of what a text must or must not do, and smile:“The current generation now sees everything clearly, it marvels at the errors, it laughs at the folly of its ancestors, not seeing that this chronicle is all overscored by divine fire, that every letter of it cries out, that from everywhere the piercing finger is pointed at it, at this current generation; but the current generation laughs and presumptuously, proudly begins a series of new errors, at which their descendants will also laugh afterwards.”Yes, lawd, you sing it Brother Nikolai!This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

  • Inderjit Sanghera
    2019-05-01 13:39

    All stories, even those painted with the broadest strokes of realism are fairy tales. Some, however, are more fantastical than others and none more so than the phantasmagoria of Gogol’s fiction; characters with pumpkin shaped heads and preposterous dialogues, all of this is part of the magic of Gogol’s fiction, of his unique, surreal style. Gogol should not be read to gain an insight of human psychology; his weird and wonderful cast of characters are cardboard cut-outs, unintentional caricatures of Gogol’s neurotic social interactions. Instead Gogol should be read for the originality of his style, the long, fantastical metaphors and non-sequiturs, the random occurrences and divergences which constantly crop up. As Nabokov writes, Gogol was one of the first writers to rescue Russian literature from collective purblindness and along with the rambling metaphors, the colourful portraits of the Russian countryside with punctuate the novel are some of it’s most delightful passages, however Gogol’s most poetic descriptions are punctuated with a macabre beauty” ;“The united tops of trees that had grown wide in liberty spread above the skyline in masses of green clouds and irregular domes of tremulous leafage. The colossal white trunk of a birch-tree deprived of its top, which had been broken off by some gale or thunderbolt, rose out of these dense green masses and disclosed its rotund smoothness in midair, like a well proportioned column of sparkling marble; the oblique, sharply pointed fracture in which, instead of a capital, it terminated above, showed black against its snowy whiteness like some kind of headpiece or a dark bird…here and there the green thicket broke asunder in a blaze of sunshine and showed a deep unlighted recess in between, similarto dark gaping jaws; this vista was all shrouded in shadow and all one could discern in its black depth was: the course of a narrow footpath, a crumbling balustrade, a toppling summer-house, the hollow trunk of a decrepit willow, a thick growth of hoary sedge bristling out from behind it, an intercrossment and tangle of twigs and leaves that had lost their sap in this impenetrable wildwood…”Dead Souls follows the story of the garrulous philistine Chichikov and his inane-and ultimately banal-quest to purchase dead peasants from land-owners in order to become rich. Chichikov is a unique combination of superciliousness and ineptness; he constantly bumbles and fumbles his way through life, committing blunder after blunder, both social and financial, he is like a ghoulish version of the hapless failures who populate Chekhov’s novels, or the neurotic of Dostoevsky. However, the reader should reflect that both Chichikov and the secondary characters who populate the novel are fundamentally different facets of Gogol’s neurotic personality, they are not ‘people’ in the traditional sense, but more ghouls who haunt Gogol’s nightmarish world, delighting the reader with their weird and wonderful behaviours.

  • Bettie☯
    2019-05-10 11:30

    As precedent#1 goes around shouting "I see dead people", it seems a great time to re-engage with this.This is an unfinished novel, however do not let that put you off, nosiree! This visit is via Librivox/youtubeWiki description: Dead Souls (Russian: Мёртвые ду́ши, Myórtvyjye dúshi) 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 masterfully portrayed those defects through Pavel Ivanovich Chichikov (the main character) and the people whom he encounters in his endeavours. These people are typical of the Russian middle-class of the time. Gogol himself saw it as an "epic poem in prose", and within the book as a "novel in verse". Despite supposedly completing the trilogy's second part, Gogol destroyed it shortly before his death. Although the novel ends in mid-sentence (like Sterne's Sentimental Journey), it is usually regarded as complete in the extant form.5* Dead Souls4* The Overcoat4* The Nose4* Diary of a Madman4* The Inspector General3* Taras Bulba3* The Night Before Christmas

  • Carmo
    2019-05-09 15:40

    “Toda a Russia aparecerá no meu poema; será a minha primeira obra sofrível, aquela que há de salvar o meu nome do esquecimento.”Nikolai Gogol Salvou, e de que maneira. Hoje, Almas Mortas é considerado a obra mais emblemática de Gogol, mas aquando do seu lançamento a crítica amaldiçoou-o.- Porque profanava o sentido bíblico da alma que, sendo imortal, não poderia ser enunciada como mortal. - Porque consideravam a personagem principal, Chichikov, um mau exemplo capaz de instigar ao crime.- Porque era um ataque ao regime de servidão.Não terá sido essa a intenção do autor, mas a mordaz caricatura social foi infalível.Gogol foi implacável na forma como escarneceu do funcionalismo corrupto, como denunciou a miséria do campesinato, e ridícularizou a hierarquia e burocracia da administração e justiça russas.Nem os belíssimos rasgos patrióticos, carregados de melancolia e bucolismo, que tão bem caracterizam a alma dos russos na relação com a mãe pátria o salvaram da censura. Quanto mais era criticado por uns, mais era admirado por outros. Esta ambiguidade ter-lhe-á provocado um forte dilema moral, e em consequência a queima do segundo manuscrito.Ficou-nos este, e ainda bem. O tema pode parecer pesado, mas o sentido de humor satírico com que é contado é imperdível.

  • Parthiban Sekar
    2019-04-28 11:24

    What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? (Luke 9:25)DEAD SOULS: A PoemThis is not a new story which Gogol tries to say through his not good looking, but not uncomely in appearance either, not overly fat, not overly thin Hero Chichikov whose desire takes him in pursuit of buying dead souls from landowners affected by sickness, famine, and other misfortunes which may befall any man. But, the same old story being told time and again, only in different forms and with different faces and names, which tells about the fall of man who is predisposed to desire for more wealth by any means, direct or indirect. But, Our Hero’s (as Gogol calls him) intentions slightly unconventional…“Everything resembles the truth, everything can happen to a man.” Gogol put us in a bedraggled britzka along with our hero to see the serene beauty of Rus’ country side, ruined in some places because of lethargic landowners, drunken serfs, and embittered women. As the poplar trees gleefully wave, birch trees stubbornly stand and the rain occasionally interrupts the itinerary, his diminutive coachman takes us on the business of our hero to the secluded lands of various landowners who may be ennobled or corrupted or lackadaisical or reprehensible or rarely widowed. Their lands and serfs are as good as their owners are. The lands in the hands of the corrupted owner was so ruined that there was no hint of anything alive and everything was at a pitiful state which makes the ennobled owners bite their lips. While our hero is busy about his business, it is hard for someone not to fall in love with the vivid and eloquent, sometimes flowery, narrations of Gogol. Well, the legitimacy of our hero’s business is not indisputable, as it is mentioned already as unconventional. It cannot be refuted that there is a growing desire to acquire wealth behind his business visits. And at the same time, it can not be ignored that what our hero possesses is just as good as the dreams which any gentleman of his age might have: a flourishing land and a beautiful young wife. Can only the misfortunes make the man learn the lesson of abdicating frivolous dispositions in the hard way? When the very life of our hero was threatened and fortunately, somehow, saved, thanks to a virtuous liquor franchise, the desires he damned and disposed came back to him even before he was completely out of his misery. Such is the unfathomable nature of man. Yes! This great work of Gogol is incomplete. But, there is a beauty in it, and clarity. The very nature of country people thinking about leaving their homelands and vacuously dreaming about a lucrative life in the cities, without knowing that the real treasure is right under their feet and before their eyes, is vividly conveyed through his zany characters who would throw a dinner party even when his serfs are hungry for days. And this is where the story ends abruptly leaving us in such a surprising disappointment without knowing what the new interesting and virtuous characters would have to say and whether the brother of the new acquaintance would allow his brother on a trip with our hero and whether our hero would be freed from his unquenchable desire for lands and souls.If I am to summarize my understanding of the story so far in a line, it would be: “Keep not money, but keep good people's company.”

  • لونا
    2019-05-02 16:45

    غالباً ما يختبئ المؤلف أو الراوي خلف ستار إحدى شخصيات الرواية وتتولى تلك الشخصية بالنيابة عنه مهمة رواية الأحداث. إحساس القارئ بوجود المؤلف "فعلياً" قليل أو نادر الحدوث؛ هنا في الأنفس الميتة الوضع مختلف تماماً، الراوي خلق نوع من "النميمة" التي بطبعها تستدعي إحساس القارئ أنه جالس في جلسة مع متحدث لا تنقصه البراعةفي رسالة لبوشكين يقول غوغول: (بدأت أكتب الأنفس الميتة الموضوع امتد ليصير رواية طويلة جداً، واعتقد أنه مضحك جداً.....أحب أن أظهر في هذه الرواية جانباً واحداً على الأقل من روسيا)0الأنفس الميتة هي الوصية المقدسة لبوشكين الذي يمكن اعتباره عرّاب هذه الرواية، تابعها خطوه بخطوه وساهم ببعض أفكارها لكن لم يُكتب له أن يعيش ليقرأها كاملة. اختزل غوغول المجتمع الروسي بشخصية تشيتشيكوف التي تتمحور حوله الرواية. تشيتشيكوف يشترى النفوس الميتة والتي لا تزال مسجلّة في سجلات الدولة على أنها حيّة لماذا يا ترى؟ هذا السؤال هو محور الرواية لا أخفيكم أن التكهن بمجرى الأحداث ليس باليسير وخصوصاً أن أسلوب غوغول يتسم كما أسلفت بالنميمة والنميمة بطبعها ترتكز على توافه الأمور! أسلوب أقل ما يقال عنه أن تمويهي ليوجه تفكير القارئ في اتجاه معين، وبالفعل نجح في ذلكتشيتشيكوف شخصية سليمة من سياق الأحداث ولذلك توقعت كل شيء إلا أن يكون هدفه في النهاية "الهدف الذي كان". هنا يكمن مغزى الرواية الذي استفاض المؤلفبشرحه في نهاية الروايةملاحظة:الترجمة لعبد الرحيم بدر ممتازه

  • [P]
    2019-05-07 11:19

    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 never work]?The answer to this question would, I thought, not only tell you about your approach to watches but also reflect how you would feel about unfinished novels. I often see, as I meander around the internet, reviews and articles bemoaning the incomplete, the not-fully-unrealised. Books like The Castle, for example, or The Man Without Qualities, or The Good Soldier Svejk, or Nikolai Gogol’s Dead Souls. For a certain type of reader, these books are frustrating, unacceptably flawed; some even claim that they ought to be avoided altogether. Obviously, this is not an opinion I share. To return to my watch analogy, I am of the latter sort; I am happy to have these novels in their imperfect state, to take them on face value. A beautiful watch is still a beautiful watch even if it cannot tell the time. Indeed, I tend to find these incomplete, sometimes unedited, narratives charming, like a beautiful girl with a lisp.In terms of Dead Souls, what we have available to us is one complete volume and some bits and pieces of volume two. It is said that Gogol intended to write three volumes in all, but burned much of what he wrote after the publication of the first and then upped and died before he could put anything together that he was satisfied with. However, what is unusual about the book under review here is that volume one was finished, and is able to stand alone, so that if you were to read it without any knowledge of the intention to compose further volumes you would not feel as though you had been short-changed. In fact, I am not sure why publishers have taken to including volume two at all. It has, in my opinion, done much to compromise the reputation of the book, not because it is bad per se, in fact I like it rather more than most do, but because it feels tacked on. Moreover, and perhaps more importantly, the author had become a pious, ascetic man, and, as a result, his work was increasingly dogmatic and didactic; and so much of the zany playfulness and charm [which Gogol thought sinful] had been sucked out of the narrative. I should point out, then, before we continue, that this review is, in the main, only concerned with volume one.[Gogol Burning the Manuscript of the Second Part of Dead Souls by Ilya Repin]As the book begins, a britzka rolls into town, carrying within it a stranger, Pavel Ivanovich Chichikov, and his two lackeys. Gogol is keen to stress Chichikov’s ordinariness; he is, he writes, neither fat nor thin, neither attractive nor ugly. He is, then, on the surface, a middling sort, who, moreover, appears to have no discernible personality of his own. For example, when he has dinner with the landowner Manilov, who is emotional and over-friendly, Chichikov attempts to fall in with him, to mimic his behaviour and attitudes. One could, of course, interpret this ingratiating approach as a desire to be liked, but it quickly becomes apparent that our hero has a different aim in mind. This aim, this plan, is what gives the novel that evocative title [and what a title it is, by the way!], for Chichikov is intent on buying up, or being made a gift of, all the town’s dead souls or serfs.It is not until the end of volume one that it is revealed why he wants, or what he intends to do with the rights to the deceased serfs. He tells Nozdryov, another landowner, that he desires them in order to give the impression of wealth, and so to elevate his status in society, but he indicates, in his thoughts, that this was a lie. In any case, there is no doubt that he is up to no good [variations on the exclamation ‘what the Devil’ are frequently uttered throughout the text, which is clearly significant, for only the Devil ought to trade in souls] and that, far from being an ordinary man, Chichikov is actually an arch manipulator, who disdains the people who he is attempting to deal with. In light of this, it might be tempting to view Dead Souls as a kind of morality tale, wherein a bunch of unfortunate people are duped out of their property, or as a warning along the lines of: Be careful, good people, of strangers! Yet this would be a rather simplistic, or superficial, interpretation, because none of the landowners or townspeople are particularly sympathetic figures [except perhaps Manilov]; indeed, they are far less sympathetic than Chichikov himself.The more characters that are introduced the clearer it becomes that Gogol is poking fun at various Russian types and sections of society. Each of the people Chichikov encounters on his quest to buy up dead souls is a one-dimensional satirical portrait; for example, Plyushkin is a miser, Manilov a sentimental fool, Nozdryov a hedonist and bounder, the women are gossips, and so on. However, if this is all the book had to offer it would be funny, certainly, but would not be the great masterpiece that I believe it to be. What gives Dead Souls its depth, and the satire more of a sting, is how it engages with questions and issues concerning masters and slaves, poverty and wealth, power and corruption. To get to the heart of all this one must return to Chichikov’s scam: he is buying up souls from wealthy landowners; they are dead, of course, but still the two parties are engaged in a kind of slave trade. In Russia at the time, muzhiks, deceased or otherwise, were available for purchase and resettlement; souls or serfs were, therefore, in bondage, they were not free. If you are not free, you have, in a way, ceased to be human, or you are at least not being treated as such.I cannot say myself whether is was the case, but I have read that Gogol was not necessarily against serfdom, and certainly volume two [which speaks about responsibility towards one’s serfs] appears to back that up; and so one must be careful not to proclaim Dead Souls as being a total condemnation, but it is unarguable that its author was in sympathy with the poor. For example, there is a important, almost moving, passage in the novel when Chichikov is studying the names of the people he has acquired, and for the first time he starts to wonder who they were, how they lived and how they died; they are in this moment humanised.“When he looked at those sheets of paper, at the muzhiks who had in fact once been muzhiks, who had worked, ploughed, got drunk, driven wagons, deceived their masters, or maybe had simply been good muzhiks, he was possessed by a strange feeling that he himself did not understand.”Then there is the story of Captain Kopeykin, a wounded military man who seeks a pension from the government, but is repeatedly turned away despite his dire straits and the services he rendered to his country. We are also told stories, or anecdotes, about cover-ups, and references are made to bribes amongst officials. The poor, it is only fair to point out, aren’t left completely alone, do not totally escape the author’s critical eye, for they drink and are sometimes violent, but all that is dealt with almost in passing; most of the novel is concerned with the greed and idiocy of landowners, officials and, in general, those with money and in powerful positions.You might also want to consider what Chichikov’s negotiations say about capitalism, or specifically the principle that everything has a price, that something is worth what a certain person is prepared to pay for it. More than once the hero finds himself haggling, even arguing, with landowners who do not want to part with their dead souls [even though they are costing them money] because they believe that if he wants them, then they must be worth something. For instance, when Chichikov says to Sobakevich that a dead soul is something that is not needed by anyone, he replies that, au contraire, you need them! And so attempts to squeeze as much money out of him as possible. Depending on your sense of humour, you will find the negotiations either hilarious or repetitive and tedious. I am one of the former. There is something, for me, extremely amusing about a man trying to buy an apparently useless object, something that doesn’t even truly exist [or exists only on paper]; his frustration when faced with the seller’s inability to grasp that he is not only giving them money, but relieving them of a financial burden [tax must be paid on the souls until the next census is completed], is particularly entertaining.“Manilov was pleased by these final words, but he still couldn’t make sense of the deal itself, and for want of an answer, he began sucking his clay pipe so hard that it started to wheeze like a bassoon. He seemed to be trying to extract from it an opinion about this unprecedented business; but the clay pipe only wheezed and said nothing.”While the idea behind the work is clever and satisfying, and one can make much of the social-political elements, the most appealing aspect of Dead Souls is the style with which Gogol pulls the whole thing off. It has become a kind of cliché that Russian novels are all narrated by idiotic, slightly mad, almost feverish, men. It is not true of course, but there are notable examples of this sort in the work of Fyodor Dostoevsky [Notes from Underground, Demons], Andrei Bely [Petersburg], and others. In any case, Nikolai Gogol could be said to have invented this archetype, or, even if he didn’t, he was certainly one of the first and most famous to make use of it, and one could argue that he did it better than anyone else.His authorial voice is giddy, highly strung, unpredictable, and frequently absurd. He often speaks to his reader, winks at him, plays up to him, resembling a kind of circus ringmaster who has had one or two vodkas too many. Like a runaway britzka, Gogol’s narrative is constantly veering off in unexpected directions. He will be discussing, say, Chichikov’s attempts to buy souls from Nozdryov, will compare the stance of Nozdryov to a certain kind of military man, and then spend a good few paragraphs describing the personality and behaviour of this imaginary military man, well beyond the original point of comparison; or Gogol will describe a certain type of face and then give a kind of backstory to the people who have this type of face. It really is magical the way that he does this; it gives the book an even more impressive depth, makes it feel as though it is teeming with personalities. Furthermore, his imagery, his metaphors are some of the finest in all literature, even in translation. Cockroaches are described as being like prunes; a row of cups are like a line of birds along a shore; and, one of my favourites, some people are said to be not objects themselves, but like the specks on objects.It is worth noting that the novel is subtitled A Poem, and this might seem like false advertising at first, for it is certainly written in prose. However, there are undeniably poetic elements, so much so, in fact, that the book reminded me most of all of Homer or Dante’s The Divine Comedy. There are […][Here the review breaks off]

  • Fanis
    2019-05-12 11:26

    Ο μανιώδης αγοραστής νεκρών ψυχών κουβαλούσε κι ίδιος μέσα του μια νεκρή ψυχή, ίσως ο πραγματικός λόγος που αγόραζε νεκρές ψυχές να ήταν, επειδή, ήθελε να βασιλεύει σε μια αυλή νεκρών ψυχών.

  • Ahmed Oraby
    2019-05-06 18:21

    «ولكن الإنسان مخلوق غريب»تشيتشيكوڤالأنفس الميتة - جوجول تعد هذه الرواية من أهم وأعظم ما كتب في الأدب الروسي، ليس فقط من حيث القيمة الأدبية الهامة - ونظرًا لما تمتاز به من رابطة بين أديبين عظيمين كجوجول وبوشكين كذلك - ولكن من حيث كونها تأريخًا للمجتمع الروسي القيصري ما قبل الثورة.الرواية تحكي عن قيمة الإنسان في المجتمع المادي اللبرالي الإقطاعي الذي عاشته روسيا في القرن التاسع عشر، من خلال قصة بسيطة للغاية عن شخص، يصفه الراوي بكل ما للعمومية من معنى وصفات، هو شخص لا للنذل أقرب ولا للبطل، ولا هو بالملاك ولا الشيطان، شخص إن شئت تنصفه لقلت عنه أنه كان يبحث عن سعادته الخاصة، سعادته المتجلية في الأعمال والمال والقنانة.من خلال عدة رحلات يقوم بها تشيتتيكوف ألى مجموعة من الفلاحين والملاك والأسياد والقضاة ورؤساء المدن، يتجول بطلنا بحثًا عت النفوس. يتركك جوجول تائها قليلا إلى أن تدرك أن النفوس التي يقصدها ليست أنفس حقيقية بل هي أنفس على ورق، ويتركك تائها كثيرا إلى أن يبين لك غاية بطلنا من امتلاك هذه الأنفس.من خلال أول الأشخاص، وهو الفلاحة الثرثارة، إلى مانيكوف، تقريبا، الشخص المحبب اللطيف، إلى نوزدريف، السكير الحقير، إلى عدة شخوص أخرى أقل هامشية وأكثر ثرثرة، تقع هذه الرواية في هذه الأحداث.ماذا يريد جوجول؟ تعد الرواية بحث محاولة للمزج بين أدب الديستوبيا وأدب الواقع في مزيج أدبي شامل. شراء نفوس، لكن لا لم يصل الأمر بعد لهذا الأمر، هي نفوس ميتةحيث يتحول الإنسان إلى مادة للبيع والشراء والتجارة والتسجيل والملك والاحتكار والهرب والمساومة، وهو بالفعل ظل كذلك لحين من الزمن. يكتب جوجول عن تسليع الإنسان وتشيؤه قبل المسيري وزيجمونت باومان ربماما يعتبره البعض أن هذا هو غاية الرواية بحق، أن تنقل حال الإنسان الروسي المعاصر والمشتت كالعادة بين ما هو قديم وما هو حديث وآت من أوروبا وبين التراث والحداثة وبين التزمت والتفتحفي مقولة تنسب لدوستويفسكي تقوب بأننا جميعًا - كأدباء روس - خرجنا من معطف جوجول - والحمد لله أنهم خرجوا من معطفه لا من أنفسه. بالطبع هنالك ٣در من المبالغة، ففيسكي، مثلار نتاجه الأدبي وحده يعادل أضعاف ما أنتجه جوجول، وبالتأكيد لا يتوقف الأمر على مجرد فعل الكتابة والغزارة بل يفوقه حد التأثير. جوجول جيد وإن كان ممل، إنساني، ولو كان ساذج، مستشرف للمستقبل وإن كان نبي تائه. تمتاز الرواية كعادة الأدب الروسي بالإنسانوية والحساسية المفرطة، حيث يقبل الرجال بعضهم بعضًا بحب وعطف وشفقة شديدين، وحيث الأطفال يشغلون جانبا كبيرا، وحيث الحوار عن الأديان، وحيث الشخصيات الفقيرة المدمرة والحساسة الآنفة ذات الكبرياء العالية.وحيث يشغل القمار بالطبع جانبا ليس بالهين من حياة الشخصيات جميعهم.الخلاصة أن الرواية روسية بالكامل، وإن كانت حازت على صفات الأدب الروسي السيئة المبالغ فيها دون أن تمس جوانبه الأخرى الجميلة.بالتأكيد كانت قراءة سخيفة سمجة مملة بأشخاصها المزيفين وحواراتهم المفتعلة وسردياتهم المزعجة وتأملاتهم المستدامة السخيفة.تعليق آخر حول الترجمة: قام بها عبد الىحيم بدر وصدرت لأول مرة عن دار رادوغا بموسكو روسيا عام 1989وصدرت مؤخرا عن دار المدى وعدة دور أخرى - كالفارابي - بنفس الترجمة وترجمات أخرىلا أدري عن أي لغة نقلها بدر وإن كنت أرجح أنها عن الروسية، لأن غائب طعمه فرمان راجعها وهو الآهر يترجم عن الروسية. الترجمة جيدة وإن عابها عدة عيوب وغلطات. وعابها كذلك استخدام صاحبها مصطلحات وكلمات - كليشيهات - شائعة، وأمثال عربية، وجمل تتميز بها الحضارة العربية واللغة المحلية. مثل سكران طينة والكرم الطائي وغيرها.الترجمة نفسها كانت جميلة وفصيحة وتشبه ترجمات الأدب الروسي الجميل عموما بلغته الحميمة والشديدة في نفس الآن.أعتقد أني قلت كل ما مر بذهني أثناء القراءة وحتى الانتهاء منها، وإن كنت واثقا أني بالطبع نسيت كمًا لا بأس بها من السباب والوعيد الذي تعهدت بذكره هاهنا. رواية سيئة وأتمنى ألا أخوض تجربة أخرى مثيلة مع الأدب الروسي الذي افتقدته منذ زمن

  • Vanessa
    2019-04-29 15:21

    3.5 stars. I had my reservations about reading Dead Souls for years - the synopsis never had me sold really, but I know a couple of people who profess that this is one of their favourite books of all time, if not their number one favourite. So I finally picked this up on a buddy read, and I'm really glad I did!The story follows Chichikov, the anti-hero of the story, who attempts to cheat the system by buying up important landowner's 'dead souls', in order to make money off the government. And of course, things start to go awry with his crazy plan.I do sometimes struggle with the style of writing in Russian literature - from my experiences so far of reading various Russian authors, I always find that the author is very much present in the book, drawing attention to himself, and although that's amusing at times it does start to grate on me after a while. Sadly, this was the case with Dead Souls, and I can't say I'm a massive fan of Gogol's writing overall. However, there was a lot of humour to be found in the story - Chichikov's interactions with the various landowners he meets (all very different personalities) were genuinely surreal at times and laughable, and the dialogue was fun and full of personality. I also liked how you could begin to see Chichikov's inevitable downwards spiral, and it was mad to read.However, another main issue I had with this book was that it was unfinished. In the second section (which was the part that I enjoyed the most), much more frequently there would be sentences, pages, even whole chapters missing (as indicated by the translators), and it frustrated me. I wanted to know more, and I felt like I was missing out on massive parts of the plot, which ended up making the resolution of the story wrap up far too quickly for my liking. I kept feeling like I was missing some really stellar parts. Now this might not be an issue for most people, but it was an issue for me, so I couldn't for that reason rate it any more highly than I have.However, it was definitely worth a read, and I'm glad I finally decided to get to it because it was a fun experience and definitely not boring in the way I thought it would be!

  • James
    2019-04-28 14:37

    We can thank our lucky stars for writer's block, as we'd likely have set fire to the Dead Souls manuscript ourselves if Nikolai Gogol hadn't. Had he, overcome with religious fervor, forged ahead with his plan and complete this three-parter, separated into volumes each of crime, punishment, and redemption, and not starve himself to death, we might've had on our hands a literary misfire it seemed like he, previously so promising, wanted to unleash upon us expectant and unsuspecting masses. Fortunate is everyone, then, that the first (and undeniably best) volume, where Dead Souls plays out its main story, can be taken as more or less self-contained. The second one, while still dazzling in places with great writing, sparkles less so than its predecessor not only because of disjointed chapters, missing words, and lost pages, but also because hints of a crazier and preachier Gogol, already exasperating his friends and fans in real life, start to emerge then in the text. In his later years, he had at one point consoled a critic who had recently lost his wife by this bit of classiness: "Jesus Christ will help you to become a gentleman, which you are neither by education or inclination—she is speaking through me." Another instance: Gogol advised in letters to his readers that "[t]he peasant must not even know that there exist other books besides the Bible." Village priests, he recommended, should accompany them everywhere, and even be made their estate managers. Lovely! It's all a little odd and, considering the incense-smoky shrine to him I'd constructed in my mind after his short stories had so brain-tinglingly won me over, thoroughly disappointing. For all that, on the bright side, what Gogol lit on fire was at least none of the first volume, leading even Vladimir Nabokov to conclude, in his chapter of Lectures on Russian Literature on the author, that "[Gogol] was destroying the labor of long years" not to cleanse himself of the sins he thought his books were, but "because he finally realized that the completed book was untrue to his genius." After that, it's hard to be mad at the guy.Dead Souls is, give or take a few chapters, two-thirds finished. The occasional paragraph, as the pages dwindle nearer to the last, starts trailing off, ellipses replacing periods, with footnotes explaining that that part of the manuscript had been either torn off, burned away, or simply neglected because inspiration for Gogol had then not been forthcoming. The book wraps up in the middle of a character's speech. In the back of my mind did hover that suspicion, which later must've been totally forgotten because the abrupt ending startled me more than any ice-bucket challenge could have. What point could there be for anyone to invest their time in an unfinished work? That strange, self-flagellating class of completists, into which I was dragged screaming and crying from the womb, may answer that question with scandalized looks and resharpened pitchforks. Here's where that forgetfulness so habitual in me came in super-handy: by the time the wispy feeling that things were amiss gained solid form, I was already nose-deep in the thing and left no choice but to, as was already in my nature, push on and knock out the remaining percentages. At that point, whatever the book was, be it a satirical piece, historical-fictional work, or philosophical reflection, I was already thirsty for more. Gogol had me hook, line, and sinker, and all it took was the right combination of unpredictability and creativity to reel me in. "[Gogol], where are you racing to? Give answer! [He] gives no answer... the air rumbles, shattered to pieces, and turns to wind; everything on earth flies by, and, looking askance, other [readers] and [writers] step aside to make way." (Replace the subject, and re-adjust the subsequent changed words accordingly, with Russia, and you'll get part of the gist of what Gogol hoped to say with Dead Souls: that Russia is great, for one, or that it could be. Rather than overbearing, the dedication slots in so naturally alongside the story that both strengthen each other.)In yet another knock-out translation by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky (the last time I'll mention them, honestly, as it should be apparent by now that, where Russian literature matters, my policy is Pevear-Volokhonsky or bust), Gogol puts together a tale of corruption, greed, paranoia, and whatnot—the usual suspects. Chichikov, fat, middle-aged, and charismatic, rides into a town in a britzka one day looking to buy up what are called "dead souls," that is, dead servants who are still taxed as if they were alive because the census hasn't been updated yet. Landowners, Chichikov assumes, would eagerly get rid of such tax burdens, though there's an uphill battle ahead of him: they soon enough sign away their dead weights, but because Chichikov prefers the real reason for his wanting dead souls be kept secret, and because the practice is unprecedented, most of the landowners, each more scene-stealing and absurd than the last, doesn't make the task easy for our "hero." If superstition doesn't stymie his efforts, then either cutthroat business sense or good, old-fashioned suspicion would step in and upset his plans, causing me no end of schadenfreude. Yes, Chichikov has place of honor here as Dead Souls' protagonist, but it's shortly revealed that, really, he's a rainbow of jerk, brought up with dubious morals and self-serving in ways few would expect protagonists of books written in Gogol's time and place to be. The man himself, in one of his many pop-in appearances inside the text, acknowledges that because "the virtuous man has been so worn out that there is not even the ghost of any virtue left in him," it is high "time finally to hitch up a scoundrel" for us readers who "fear the deeply penetrating gaze" and "would prefer not to see human poverty revealed."But speak for yourself, Gogol, as in this day and age, bring on the gloomy truth and color none of it with bright, cheery paints. Ours is a happily cynical generation whose skin crackles and pops, like vampires' in the sun and bacon in the pan, when in proximity with disingenuously optimistic books and their sugary characters. Here, Gogol's characters, Chichikov most of all, are spared none of the harsh spotlight the author indiscriminately aims at them to reveal the ugly pockmarks of their worst traits and truest intentions. The landowners and town officials, from brownnosing Manilov, paranoid Korobochka, and lying Nozdryov to disillusioned Tentetnikov, incompetent Khlobuev, and bureaucratic Koshkarev—not to mention still more characters thrown at you from the myriad and tortuous metaphors only to be snatched away, their purpose served, in the next instant—are lightnings Gogol coaxes towards Dead Souls to electrify it into dancing, buzzing life. And in the center of all that stands Chichikov, whose picaresque antics had me cheering when he got stonewalled and impressed when he outdid himself yet again when it comes to lack of tact—the proper thing to do, dude, when a landowner has suffered a misfortune and lost their serfs is, as opposed to your knee-jerk reaction, not to look so happy about it in front of them. Dead Souls is not immune to slow spots, to be frank, especially where Gogol panders to his dendrological demographic and describes trees in exhaustive detail, though they can be forgiven because they're also brain candy for those who are equally aroused by well-done writing. Even without that, the giant question mark blocking from view the answer to what the dealio was up with Chichikov and his purchased nothings served well enough as the carrot dangling in front of me and powering my progress. "What was this riddle, indeed, what was this riddle of the dead souls? There was no logic whatsoever in dead souls. Why buy dead souls?" Cue petulant foot-stomping. So follows about fifty more questions from the various irritated town inhabitants expressing the same frustrated confusion readers at that point would be feeling. The mystery is fun to poke at and theorize about, but its significance feels tangential: Gogol appears more concerned with capturing that quintessential Russian spirit, not excluding even the pussy zits and bulby warts, encompassing everything from the natural beauty of the countryside and the cool hustle-bustle of industrial living to the quick and piercing wit of its people and their casual and unthinking prejudices. Sexism, ageism, and anti-Semitism are worn on everyone's sleeves. On the country itself, the book points out what we're all thinking: it's "poor, scattered, and comfortless," and "there['s] nothing to seduce or enchant the eye." Look at the majesty of London, the splendor of Paris, and the art of Rome, and what is there in Russia that can be submitted for consideration? Before anyone gives themselves a brain sprain in straining for an answer, Gogol presents his own as a series of striking questions: "But what inconceivable, mysterious force draws one to you?" "What calls, and weeps, and grips the heart?" "Is it not here that the mighty man is to be, where there is room for him to show himself and walk about?" Russia is self-explanatory.Like in his short stories, Gogol can't resist joining in on the action, dispersing writing advice and lamenting about his writerly lot in life on this page, raging against man's idiocy and championing the truth on that page. A lot of the times, it breaks up what could've been monotonous reading, and is all sorts of enlightening and entertaining to read besides. Then, before the page number started drawing my interest more than the book did, a timely sentence of the most pleasing creation and translation jumped out and hooked me back in anew. Dead Souls is even richer in comedy. Chichikov's interactions with the assorted landowners, plus his general shamelessness and amorality, are just up my alley which dead-baby and too-soon jokes, properly executed, have filled it with unexpected snorts. Running gags, too, fall under Gogol's area of easy expertise: "five or six pieces of soap for preserving the freshness of [Chichikov's] cheeks" and "his tailcoat of the flames and smoke of Navarino" are phrases I can't read anymore without breaking out into a grin. A joke that at first seems otherwise would run on for half a dozen pages before someone else interrupts it with the most brilliant of punchlines. A character who's a lawyer gives out legal advice that's illegal to implement. A game of checkers with a cheat goes pear-shaped. Hemorrhoids, for some reason, are constantly mentioned, sending me every time into a state of amused bafflement ("There's that word again.") Multiple times does Gogol emphasize the importance of truth that justifies the hardships writers are sure to face if they "[haven't] clouded people's eye... flattered them wondrously, concealing what is mournful in life, showing them a beautiful man," but boldly do the opposite and take a sledgehammer to their comfortable illusions. A shame he couldn't follow his own advice to the end.

  • Alan
    2019-05-13 14:45

    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 even more relevant today where tax evasion by the 1% is an industry supporting accountants and lawyers, supposed "business" experts who are really experts at short-changing the public.And American tax laws may now surpass those of 19th C Czarist Russia--in the loopholes provided for the rich--though in fact the loophole Chichikov exploits has not reemerged. Here it is: In Czarist Russia, wealth was not calculated by land. Anyone might own tens of thousands of hectares, or hundreds of square versts. You were not rich enough to marry unless you possessed the workers to till the land, the мужик. Of course, you owned them, but also, they had a right to till the land--not exactly like American slavery. Chichikov discovers a loophole in the tax law, so he plans to amass souls for his land, in order to marry well. The big house. The BMW, the коляска, the fancy carriage. Back when I was reading Russian under the tutelage of a Bolshoi violinist, I decided to purchase Gogol for my shelves, and drove the hour and a half to Harvard Square, to Shoenhof's Books. They had no Мертвые души, but they had a later work, hardbound in green. I vaguely knew Gogol had repented his best writing, but I didn't think of the implication. A later work...hmmm. When I got home and started reading it, it turned out to be a kind of spiritual autobiography, the title roughly, Meditations on the Divine Legacy. I do not object to religion, though I think the 28,000 years light takes to arrive from the center of our own Milky Way Galaxy a humbling even of, say, Judaism's 5,000 year, and certainly Christianity's 2,000. I do not object, I just prefer not to read such personal submersion. Give me Rousseau, or Gogol before his conversion. In brief, we have outgrown Gogol on tax evasion and on slavery--NOT. I have always told my classes about Chaucer's attitude toward the alchemist who briefly joins the pilgrims, before he is "outed" as a fraud.Here 'tis: Mankind is not bright enough to muck around with chemistry and atoms. Why, we might blow ourselves up! I would add, Of course, Chaucer was Wrong--NOT. Now nobody reads Gogol's coversion rhetoric, but they read his great lit. Viva Gogol! Viva lit!

  • Hanneke
    2019-05-10 14:38

    De eerste 100 pagina's waren zeker aangenaam om te lezen door de spot die Gogol drijft met alles en iedereen die Tchitchikov op zijn zoektocht ontmoet. Maar op een bepaald moment wil je toch een inkijkje krijgen in het karakter en de echte drijfveren van de hoofdpersoon. Pas op de laatste bladzijden kom je wat te weten over het doel van al die opgekochte zielen, maar de persoon Tchitchikov blijft een schimmig personage en wordt nooit interessant.

  • Soycd
    2019-05-03 10:32

    “Countless as the sands of sea are human passions, and not all of them are alike, and all of them, base and noble alike, are at first obedient to man and only later on become his terrible masters.” Dead Souls follows the story of Pavel Ivanovich Chichikov, an ambitious and seemingly unscrupulous man who travels across Russia's countryside to buy dead serfs from landowners to relieve them from tax payment, making himself a wealthy man in the process. This novel has a slow start, with Chichikov repeatedly visiting landowners and displaying his cunning ploy to achieve his goal, but soon the reader becomes witness of this book's greatest accomplishment: Gogol's vivid depiction of the daily life of Russian middle and lower classes of the time. The idiosyncrasy and yearnings of Russian men are masterfully portrayed in these pages.I came into this novel expecting a bleak and serious account of 19th-century Russia but instead I found a very creative and comical story. Gogol's humorous side really shines through at times. What transforms this story into a masterpiece is the perfect mix of those funny moments with the more serious digressions of the author where Gogol's love for Russia is made clear. Dead Souls is also a novel that warns about the dangers of living in greed and selfishness and a critique of bureaucracy. This book is a landmark of Russian literature and is usually regarded as Gogol's greatest artistic achievement. He was a great influence on other Russian writers like Nabokov and Dostoevsky. I can definitely see a little of him the latter, though not as humorous or lighthearted, Dostoevsky has taken a lot after him and you can appreciate a lot of similarities in their work. Gogol had a religious conversion in the last years of his life which led him to have a personal crisis during which he burned a part of the manuscript of this novel. This book remains unfinished and the second part is a little disjointed as a result but it is nevertheless a rewarding experience. It is my second book by Gogol after the short story The Overcoat and I think lovers of Russian literature will find something to appreciate in here.

  • Maru Kun
    2019-04-27 15:45

    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 only night-club to hotel suite where he would “execute transactions” with “counterparties”, each deal bigger and more grotesque than the last.Mexican immigrants working in hundred degree restaurant kitchens would prepare Fabulous Chichikov Michelin-starred molecular gastronomy while bartending Humanities MAs mix his Negronis. But these attendants to Fabulous Chichikov’s whims are as irrelevant to this story as any of Gogol’s muzhiks to the original Chichikov.Sobakevich is the subtle hedge fund manager, promising his regulator that every loan he sold to Fabulous Chichikov was good. Manilov is inherited wealth, inviting Fabulous Chichikov to his Upper East side apartment to dine with his trophy wife. The Widow Korobochka is the dim-witted insurance company executive, unsure whether or not to buy into one of Fabulous Chichikov’s deals. Nozdrev is the the coked-out dealer looking for his last big trade.But the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations is on our hero’s tail. A new administration is asking questions. Senators are meeting with their lawyers.Fabulous Chichikov e-mails his girlfriend: “As more and more leverage enters the system the whole building is about to collapse! The only potential survivor is the Fabulous Chichikov, standing in the middle of all the complex highly leveraged exotic trades I created without necessarily understanding all of the implications...”.It’s time for our hero to take a limousine to Teterboro airport. He can board his private jet (all Americans who can afford one love to ride in private jets) and slumber at thirty thousand feet, dreaming the great American Dream.

  • Simon A. Smith
    2019-05-06 13:26

    I didn't enjoy this novel nearly as much as I enjoyed Gogol's short stories. A couple of things...1. Several times throughout, the text breaks off and a line is inserted that reads something like, "and here there are many pages missing..." and then the story picks back up in the middle of nowhere again. I didn't know that going in and it was a little confusing.2. The first 100 pages are very funny and highly engrossing. Starting on about 150 there begins the most monotonous passages. All the background comes here. The next 100 pages are essentially one continuous paragraph (and quite nearly one continuous sentence.) I literally felt short of breath, trying to wade my way through. In these 100 pages you'll be lucky to find two small bits of fragmented dialogue and perhaps 10 paragraph indentations... aside from that, you're staring down the barrel at extremely dense blocks of text without any letup.The last 50 pages are great, but I nearly suffocated under the weight of the middle. I suggest reading his short stories. "The Nose," "The Overcoat" and "Diary of a Madman" are some of the most brilliant short stories I've ever read.