Marriage: An Absolutely Incredible Event in Two Actsby Nikolai Gogol, Barbara Field
Deciding that it is time he was married, Podkoliosin, a long-time bachelor (and minor court councillor), engages a matchmaker, Fiolka, to find him a wife of suitable social status�not to mention fortune. Fiolka comes up with Agafya, the spinster daughter of a wealthy merchant, who is seeking a husband of demonstrably higher social position. Podkoliosin deigns to visit the charming Agafya, only to discover that the bustling Fiolka has rounded up four other suitors as well, which leads to some unseemly�and hilarious�bickering among the preening competitors. The suitors are all quite different (one enormously fat, one painfully skinny, one terribly tiny, another notoriously prissy), which enriches the farcical contretemps that result�and adds to the relish with which Podkoliosin's sidekick, the scheming Kochkariev, sets about winning Agafya for his friend. In the end he succeeds, but perhaps too well, as he also provides Podkoliosin with a glimpse of what marriage really entails and, as the curtain falls, the terrified would-be suitor makes his escape�leaping unceremoniously from a second story window and back to the comforting routine of blissful bachelorhood.
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Meet the Author
Novelist, dramatist, and satirist Nikolai Gogol (1809-1852) was a Russian writer of Ukrainian ancestry whose works deeply influenced later Russian literature through powerful depictions of a society dominated by petty bureaucracy and base corruption. Gogol’s best-known short stories — "The Nose" and "The Overcoat" — display strains of Surrealism and the grotesque, while his greatest novel, Dead Souls, is one of the founding books of Russian realism.
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