The Nose

The Nose

by Nicholai Gogal, Kevin Hawkes
     
 

The Nose, one of Nikolai Gogol's most important and influential tales, is now available in this gorgeously produced volume, illustrated with photographs by British artist Rick Buckley. Taking on a life of its own, the nose of a St Petersburg official leaves its rightful place to cause havoc in the city. The novel ends with the author seemingly addressing theSee more details below

Overview

The Nose, one of Nikolai Gogol's most important and influential tales, is now available in this gorgeously produced volume, illustrated with photographs by British artist Rick Buckley. Taking on a life of its own, the nose of a St Petersburg official leaves its rightful place to cause havoc in the city. The novel ends with the author seemingly addressing the reader directly, refusing to resolve the story he has narrated. Written between 1835 and 1836, and a key precursor to absurdist and Magical Realist strains in 20th-century fiction, this fantastic tale is extended in Buckley's photographs, which document a Gogol-inspired street intervention for which he fixed plaster noses on to buildings all over London. This edition of The Nose is part of the Four Corners Familiars series, in which contemporary artists produce a new edition of a classic novel or short story.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Spirin's ( Snow White and Rose Red ; Boots and the Glass Mountain ) painstakingly detailed, gilt-flecked artwork has earned him a reputation for elegance, a quality that permeates his sumptuous rendering of the absurdist classic by his compatriot Gogol. This time, however, Spirin's offering seems best suited to adults who can appreciate the rich and subtle irony of the story; even in this adapted form, Gogol's deadpan tone and devilishly deliberate pacing may not be to children's tastes. The nuances of the text are enhanced by a lavish visual presentation: the eponymous proboscis cuts a debonair figure, bedecked in a stylish cutaway jacket, hip boots, powdered wig and tricornered hat, and it exudes a haughtiness to match. In contrast, the ``very punctilious and slightly pompous'' civil servant who has been robbed of his snout appears crude, almost pig-like, his ungainly figure looming awkwardly on the page. Intricate borders featuring the stately classical architecture of 19th-century St. Petersburg wrap around the boxed text, so that buildings crawl up one side of the page and down the other, overlapping at the corners. In several, the massive nose can be seen squired about town in a tiny, ornate carriage. Collectors may bury their own noses in this one. All ages. (May)
Children's Literature - Judy Katsh
A nose, unintentionally separated from the face of the Deputy Inspector of Reindeer, assumes a life of its own in this retelling of an original story by Russian author Nikolal Gogol. Originally written in the l800's as a satire, this modern retelling can be enjoyed as an increasingly outlandish adventure in the absurd. The satire, however, may not be obvious to young, modern readers. The ending is abrupt and therefore, unsatisfying. The full-page paintings that accompany the text do much to make the presentation attractive, but do little to illuminate the text.
School Library Journal
Gr 1-4-A barber breaks open a loaf of bread and finds a nose baked into it. It's not just any nose, either. It belongs to the Deputy Inspector of Reindeer. When the Deputy Inspector awakens to find his nose missing, he searches everywhere until he finds it masquerading as a General and Glorious Governor of Games. When he requests that it resume its proper place, it refuses and hurries away. The man is in despair until a policeman returns the nose. It will not stick to his face at first, but after a few days it is properly restored. Cowan has made a brave attempt at paring Gogol's short story into a form accessible to children, but she is not entirely successful. While her writing captures the cadence of Russian literature, the transitions are abrupt and often confusing. There is a sense of something missing. Furthermore, Gogol's story is satire, which may be entirely lost on the young children. Hawkes's acrylic paintings are slightly skewed in perspective, as if seen through a glass, and reflect an off-beat humor. The artist has a good eye for detail: the Deputy Inspector's wallpaper is patterned with reindeer and most of the pages containing text are bordered with a frame decorated with appropriate motifs. The vivid illustrations carry the story where the text falters. A well-intentioned attempt that falls a little short of its goal.-Donna L. Scanlon, Lancaster County Library, PA
Carolyn Phelan
One of the more unusual picture books of the season, this takes as its text Gogol's short story "The Nose." When a barber finds a nose in his morning bread, he surreptitiously throws it into the river. Meanwhile, on the other side of town, a civil servant named Kovaliov awakens to find his face noseless. Spotting his nose (dressed as a fine officer) stepping out of a carriage and marching into a cathedral, Kovaliov accosts it and invites it to return to his face. The nose refuses, saying, ""Nonsense". . . . I am an independent individual." Later, a police officer returns the nose (now normal-sized and relatively inanimate) to its owner, but Kovaliov can't make it stick on his face. Finally, he awakens one morning to find the nose back where it belongs. "Because absurd things happen--not often, perhaps, but believe me they "do" happen." Spirin's artwork suits the tale well, combining handsome architectural drawings of old Russian streets and harbors with hazy, romantic scenes from the story. His intricately detailed, matter-of-fact presentation of absurdity makes it all the more believable. Although it would be a disturbing addition to preschool picture-book shelves, this might find an audience in schools where teachers use short, illustrated books with older students. It might also bolster a Russian or literature curriculum.
Linda Callaghan
Gogol's satirical short story of an ambitious nose that asserts its independence receives another picture-book adaptation (see Gogol ). Cowan casts Gogol's petty bureaucrat as the Deputy Inspector of Reindeer who awakes one morning to find his nose riding about town as the Grand and Glorious Governor of Games. Her simplified text retains the essence of Gogol's absurdist plot twists and deadpan delivery while removing all direct references to the original setting. It is in Hawkes' paintings that allusions to Gogol's nineteenth-century Russia appear through architecture and costume. The tale's absurdist tone is reflected in Hawkes' exaggerated perspectives: walls bulge, furniture curves, and buildings bow out from the street as if reflected in a fun-house mirror. The text is bordered in gilded frames embellished with flying noses, miniatures of the Deputy Inspector, and even, in tribute to the Nose's new identity, marbles, chess pieces, and dice. Cowan and Hawkes succeed in sculpturing the tale's humor for a younger audience, though the subtle irony may be appreciated more fully by older readers.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780688104658
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
09/01/1994
Edition description:
38888 Harper
Pages:
24
Product dimensions:
9.58(w) x 11.49(h) x 0.60(d)

Meet the Author

NIKOLAI GOGOL was born in 1809 in the Ukrainian Cossack village of Sorochintsy. Seeking literary fame, he went to St. Petersburg at 18 to self-publish an epic poem, which was so ridiculed that he fled the city. He eventually returned and began writing stories influenced by Ukrainian folklore. Collected asEvenings on a Farm Near Dilanka, they were an enormous success. New friends including Pushkin encouraged him, and in stories such as "The Overcoat" and "The Nose," and novels such as Dead Souls, Gogol developed a bitter realism mixed with ironic humor and surprisingly prescient surrealism. In 1836, fearing he'd offended the tsar with his satirical play "The Inspector General," Gogol left Russia for a twelve-year European hiatus. Upon returning he published an essay collection supporting the government he'd always criticized, and was so mercilessly attacked by former admirers that he became despondent. Falling into a state of questionable sanity, he renounced writing as an immoral activity, and in 1852 burned his last manuscript, a sequel to Dead Souls, just days before dying of self-imposed starvation.

IAN DREIBLATT has translated Tolstoy's The Death of Ivan Ilych and Nikolai Leskov's The Enchanted Wanderer for The Art of the Novella series.

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