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Dead Souls (Wordsworth Classics)

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9781840226379: Dead Souls (Wordsworth Classics)
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With an Introduction by Anthony Briggs. Translated by Isabel F. Hapgood.

Russia in the 1840s. There is a stranger in town, and he is behaving oddly. The unctuous Pavel Chichikov goes around the local estates buying up 'dead souls'. These are the papers relating to serfs who have died since the last census, but who remain on the record and still attract a tax demand. Chichikov is willing to relieve their owners of the tax burden by buying the titles for a song. What he does not say is that he then proposes to take out a huge mortgage against these fictitious citizens and buy himself a nice estate in Eastern Russia. Will he get away with it? Who will rumble him? Does this narrative contain a deeper message about Russia itself or the spiritual health of humanity?

There is much interest and some suspense in considering these issues, but the real pleasure of this story lies elsewhere. It is an enjoyable comic romp through a retarded part of a backward country, a picaresque series of grotesque portraits, situations and conversations described with Gogolian humour based mainly on hyperbole. This is, quite simply, the funniest book in the Russian language before the twentieth century.

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About the Author:

Nikolay Vasilievich Gogol (1809 - 1852) was a Russian dramatist, novelist and short-story writer, whose satirical works on Russian life in general, and political corruption in particular eventually led to his exile. His best works, including 'Dead Souls' and 'The Nose', make him one of the funniest, yet profound, writers in literature.

From the Inside Flap:

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 translator Robert A Maguire makes accessible the full extent of the novel's lyricism, sulphurous humor, and delight in human oddity and error.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780451523082: Gogol Nikolai : Dead Souls (Sc) (Signet classics)

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ISBN 10: 0451523083 ISBN 13: 9780451523082
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd, 1961
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9780331736212: Dead Souls (Classic Reprint)

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9781604447613: Dead Souls (Myortvyjya Dushi) [Language: Russian]

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Book Description Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. With an Introduction by Anthony Briggs. Translated by Isabel F. Hapgood.Russia in the 1840s. There is a stranger in town, and he is behaving oddly. The unctuous Pavel Chichikov goes around the local estates buying up 'dead souls'. These are the papers relating to serfs who have died since the last census, but who remain on the record and still attract a tax demand. Chichikov is willing to relieve their owners of the tax burden by buying the titles for a song. What he does not say is that he then proposes to take out a huge mortgage against these fictitious citizens and buy himself a nice estate in Eastern Russia. Will he get away with it? Who will rumble him? Does this narrative contain a deeper message about Russia itself or the spiritual health of humanity?There is much interest and some suspense in considering these issues, but the real pleasure of this story lies elsewhere. It is an enjoyable comic romp through a retarded part of a backward country, a picaresque series of grotesque portraits, situations and conversations described with Gogolian humour based mainly on hyperbole. This is, quite simply, the funniest book in the Russian language before the twentieth century. Seller Inventory # AAZ9781840226379

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