THE COMPLETE GREATEST WORKS OF NIKOLAI GOGOL
[Authoritative and Unabridged Edition for NOOK]
The Greatest Russian Literary Masterpieces by Gogol, including DEAD SOULS, THE NOSE, THE GOVERNMENT INSPECTOR, NEVSKY PROSPEKT, THE OVERCOAT / THE CLOAK and More!
PARTIAL TABLE OF CONTENTS
THE INSPECTOR-GENERAL A COMEDY IN FIVE ACTS
EVENINGS ON A FARM NEAR DIKANKA
HOW THE TWO IVANS QUARRELLED (The Tale of How Ivan Ivanovich Quarreled with Ivan Nikiforovich)
MEMOIRS OF A MADMAN
THE CLOAK / THE OVERCOAT
THE MYSTERIOUS PORTRAIT
EXCERPT FROM THE CLOAK / THE OVERCOAT
"There is nothing more irritable than departments, regiments, courts of justice, and, in a word, every branch of public service. Each individual attached to them nowadays thinks all society insulted in his person. Quite recently a complaint was received from a justice of the peace, in which he plainly demonstrated that all the imperial institutions were going to the dogs, and that the Czar’s sacred name was being taken in vain; and in proof he appended to the complaint a romance in which the justice of the peace is made to appear about once every ten lines, and sometimes in a drunken condition. Therefore, in order to avoid all unpleasantness, it will be better to describe the department in question only as a certain department.
So, in a certain department there was a certain official — not a very high one, it must be allowed — short of stature, somewhat pock-marked, red-haired, and short-sighted, with a bald forehead, wrinkled cheeks, and a complexion of the kind known as sanguine. The St. Petersburg climate was responsible for this. As for his official status, he was what is called a perpetual titular councillor, over which, as is well known, some writers make merry, and crack their jokes, obeying the praiseworthy custom of attacking those who cannot bite back.
His family name was Bashmatchkin. This name is evidently derived from “bashmak” (shoe); but when, at what time, and in what manner, is not known. His father and grandfather, and all the Bashmatchkins, always wore boots, which only had new heels two or three times a year. His name was Akakiy Akakievitch. It may strike the reader as rather singular and far-fetched, but he may rest assured that it was by no means far-fetched, and that the circumstances were such that it would have been impossible to give him any other.
This is how it came about."
About the Author
Considered by his contemporaries one of the preeminent figures of the natural school of Russian literary realism, later critics have found in Gogol's work a fundamentally romantic sensibility, with strains of Surrealism and the grotesque ("The Nose", "Viy", "The Overcoat," "Nevsky Prospekt").
His early works, such as Evenings on a Farm Near Dikanka, were influenced by his Ukrainian upbringing, Ukrainian culture and folklore. His later writing satirised political corruption in the Russian Empire (The Government Inspector, Dead Souls), leading to his eventual exile. The novel Taras Bulba (1835) and the play Marriage (1842), along with the short stories "Diary of a Madman", "The Tale of How Ivan Ivanovich Quarreled with Ivan Nikiforovich", "The Portrait" and "The Carriage", round out the tally of his best-known works.
Gogol's impact on Russian literature has been enduring, yet his works have been appreciated differently by various critics. Nabokov especially admired Dead Souls, The Government Inspector, and The Overcoat as works of genius, proclaiming that "when, as in his immortal ‘The Overcoat,’ Gogol really let himself go and pottered happily on the brink of his private abyss, he became the greatest artist that Russia has yet produced.” The Overcoat was traditionally interpreted as a masterpiece of "humanitarian realism", but Nabokov and some other attentive readers argued that "holes in the language" make the story susceptible to interpretation as a supernatural tale about a ghostly double of a "small man."
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Brilliant writings by a true master.
This is the only Russian man I have ever heard of actually named Nikolai. It's really sad nowadays; those of the United States think that all Russians are murdurous, out of control Soviet alchoholics named either Nikolai or Sergei, with the surname of Sokolov. ....I really do hate this new generation.