Dead Souls (Pevear / Volokhonsky translation)

Overview

Since its publication in 1842, Dead Souls has been celebrated as a supremely realistic portrait of provincial Russian life and as a splendidly exaggerated tale; as a paean to the Russian spirit and as a remorseless satire of imperial Russian venality, vulgarity, and pomp. As Gogol's wily antihero, Chichikov, combs the back country wheeling and dealing for "dead souls"—deceased serfs who still represent money to anyone sharp enough to trade in them—we are introduced to a Dickensian cast of peasants, landowners, ...

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Dead Souls: A Novel

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Overview

Since its publication in 1842, Dead Souls has been celebrated as a supremely realistic portrait of provincial Russian life and as a splendidly exaggerated tale; as a paean to the Russian spirit and as a remorseless satire of imperial Russian venality, vulgarity, and pomp. As Gogol's wily antihero, Chichikov, combs the back country wheeling and dealing for "dead souls"—deceased serfs who still represent money to anyone sharp enough to trade in them—we are introduced to a Dickensian cast of peasants, landowners, and conniving petty officials, few of whom can resist the seductive illogic of Chichikov's proposition. This lively, idiomatic English version by the award-winning translators Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky makes accessible the full extent of the novel's lyricism, sulphurous humor, and delight in human oddity and error.

From the award-winning translators of The Brothers Karamazov and Crime and Punishment comes a magnificent new translation of Gogol's final masterpiece. For the first time, Chichikov, Gogol's trafficker in "souls" peasants who can be bought, sold, and mortgaged by landowers is brought to life in an English edition that captures the writer's virtually comic and lyrical style.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Praise for previous translations by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, winners of the PEN/Book-of-the-Month Club Prize

The Brothers Karamazov
“One finally gets the musical whole of Dostoevsky’s original.” –New York Times Book Review

“It may well be that Dostoevsky’s [world], with all its resourceful energies of life and language, is only now–and through the medium of [this] new translation–beginning to come home to the English-speaking reader.” –New York Review of Books

Crime and Punishment
“The best [translation] currently available…An especially faithful re-creation…with a coiled-spring kinetic energy… Don’t miss it.” –Washington Post Book World

“Reaches as close to Dostoevsky’s Russian as is possible in English…The original’s force and frightening immediacy is captured…The Pevear and Volokhonsky translation will become the standard version.” –Chicago Tribune

Demons

“The merit in this edition of Demons resides in the technical virtuosity of the translators…They capture the feverishly intense, personal explosions of activity and emotion that manifest themselves in Russian life.” –New York Times Book Review

“[Pevear and Volokhonsky] have managed to capture and differentiate the characters’ many voices…They come into their own when faced with Dostoevsky’s wonderfully quirky use of varied speech patterns…A capital job of restoration.” –Los Angeles Times

With an Introduction by Richard Pevear

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780679776444
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 3/28/1997
  • Series: Vintage Classics
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 239,064
  • Product dimensions: 5.16 (w) x 7.99 (h) x 0.89 (d)

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Sort by: Showing all of 14 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 19, 2005

    A distinctively Russian classic

    One of the finest works of Russian literature, Gogol¿s DEAD SOUL epitomizes Russian soul at its purest, funniest, finest, richest, dreaririest, most charming and most hopeless state. Gogol utterly ridicules the Russian gentry in the middle of the 19th century in this story, centering on some dreadfully banal people who are trying to pull off a fraud. Exemplified by Chichikov who may be dividedly considered a scoundrel and a hero, Gogol portrayed to what length people can go to secure interests or benefits against over fellow humans considered to be of a lesser class. It is unfortunate that Gogol never finished this story. Overall, this amazingly entertaining classical novel deserves the highest of respects. In addition to UNION MOUJIK, TARAS BULBA, I also recommend classic Russian Stories like DEMONS, FATHERS AND SONS, and THE CHERRY ORCHARD. Once you get into Russian literature, you get to appreciate its supremacy.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 7, 2000

    Gogol speaks to the paper wealth of Modernity.

    This is a funny, touching novel. I picked it up as a lark because I have enjoyed the Pevear/Volkhonsky translations of Dostoyevsky works. Dead Souls is a deeply human story that speaks to our desire for social status even when we lack the means. Chichikov's insane plans seem to make more sense against the modern background of dime-a-dozen 'Internet Millionaires' and get-rich-quick schemes. This translation manages somehow to be laugh-out-loud funny, gut-wrenchingly tragic, and surprisingly fresh. A must-read for any Dostoyevsky fan.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2014

    Neko

    He smiled and waved. "Hi, DC..."

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2014

    East

    Actually, gtg eat dindins. Bye...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2014

    Death Count

    She whirls, finding intruders. Her eyes widen behind her mask. "Why'd you bring /him/ here?!" She narrows her eyes. "Basement. Yes."

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2013

    Trua

    Nuymuyidjwetijkeueu.eidj.,b .sj
    Mzuouisj
    Uiun

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2001

    Great book, but no ending

    A little more than halfway through this book, there's a line so funny, I gaurantee you'll laugh aloud when you come across it. I'm also sure you'll enjoy the entire book. You might think it's a serious book by reading the title 'Dead Souls,' but really it's not--it's funny. It's not all laughs though either. Near the end Gogol does get serious, and I wanted so much to hear him through, but his book is cut short! The most important part is taken away! But despite not having an ending, I still feel 'Dead Souls' is great and more than worth your while.

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    Posted November 8, 2011

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