Dead Souls


He does not tell the owners why he wants the souls, but one can imagine that his plans are somewhat twisted The novel is ultimately a social and political commentary involving exaggerated characters.

View all 4 comments. An absurd and brilliant satire. To think I avoided reading this novel for years because I thought it was going to be depressing. Gogol captures the absurdity of the midth century Russia. Anyway, An absurd and brilliant satire. Anyway, the writing was amazing and the Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky's translation was fantastic. View all 3 comments. Debits and credits would flit in and out of his trading book as ephemeral as any Dead Soul. Mexican immigrants working in hundred degree restaurant kitchens would prepare Fabulous Chichikov Michelin-starred molecular gastronomy while bartending Humanities MAs mix his Negronis.

Sobakevich is the subtle hedge fund manager, promising his regulator that every loan he sold to Fabulous Chichikov was good. Manilov is inherited wealth, inviting Fabulous Chichikov to his Upper East side apartment to dine with his trophy wife. Nozdrev is the the coked-out dealer looking for his last big trade.

A new administration is asking questions. Senators are meeting with their lawyers. Fabulous Chichikov e-mails his girlfriend: The only potential survivor is the Fabulous Chichikov, standing in the middle of all the complex highly leveraged exotic trades I created without necessarily understanding all of the implications He can board his private jet all Americans who can afford one love to ride in private jets and slumber at thirty thousand feet, dreaming the great American Dream.

Aug 18, Jan-Maat added it Recommends it for: For those who've enjoyed Gogol's short stories. What is this book? I can't remember any more if Gogol described it as a Poem or an Epic, maybe it doesn't matter what he called it since he had great chunks of the manuscript fed into the fire on the advice of his religious advisor.

So we are left with part one, some bits of part two and an outline of the three part whole of the work, the rest having gone up in smoke. What there is of the first part is generally read as a comedy.

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It is funny, but bear in mind that the first part is about a young ma What is this book? It is funny, but bear in mind that the first part is about a young man travelling around in rural Russia in the s buying the souls of dead peasants from their masters. This isn't that kind of a supernatural book though, buying dead souls the title was originally censored because as the Church teaches souls are immortal and can't be dead was a reasonable financial undertaking at the time.

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Dead Souls is a novel by Nikolai Gogol, first published in , and widely regarded as an exemplar of 19th-century Russian literature. The purpose of the novel. Dead Souls is eloquent on some occasions, lyrical on others, and pious and reverent elsewhere. Nicolai Gogol was a master of the spoof. The American.

Serfs could be mortgaged by their owners. Censuses in Imperial Russia were only undertaken once every twenty-five years and peasants who had died since the last one enjoyed a strange half-life in which they could still be mortgaged even though as assets they were completely non-liquid at least financially speaking since they were securely lodged in the graveyard. So we find our hero, or "hero", travelling about, meeting various members of the nobility and attempting to buy their dead souls from them.

If you've read some of Gogol's short stories you'll have some idea of what to expect when a man meets various members of the nobility and attempts to acquire legal title to their dead serfs. If you haven't read some of his short stories - that's probably the best place to start In the three part scheme there would have been a return to moral grace, but since this was burnt, with in the background as Nabokov describes the still youngish but dying Gogol with leeches hanging off his long nose, we're left instead with the tale of a wheeler dealer coaching round the bizarre and comical landowners that populated the imagined Ukraine of Gogol's pen.

View all 8 comments. View all 21 comments. Jun 08, Daniela rated it really liked it. After several attempts to grow rich and live a life of comfort, Chichikov comes up with a scheme of buying non-existent peasants in order to get a state loan on them, and, thus, making easy money out of nothing. They are those serfs who have already 4. They are those serfs who have already died but are counted as alive in the official lists since new census have not yet been made.

The macabre use of these dead serfs is brilliant as it underlines the inhumanity of feudal Russia. The way I see it, Dead Souls is much more than a biting satire of a corrupted society. It is a criticism of a whole System of power in which corruption is only one of the many nefarious side-effects.

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This historical novel covers the destruction of Yugoslavia during World War Two, and how the world powers decided its fate. From the day he saw it, when he began to realize it, to think of himself, his vision of the world and the conception of his own life revolve around this pole; the work becomes the symbol of man, his message. Original edition published in Anyway, An absurd and brilliant satire. The authorial voice, asking the same question about the hero - what is he, is he moral or immoral?

And as it usually happens in such societies, it corrupts even industrious, hard working men. The fact that he chooses to be dishonest and apply his qualities to shady schemes says much more of the environment that surrounded him rather than an inborn bad faith. The weather was hot and humid and conducive for only one thing, sleeping.

However, the pull towards another Russian, a Russian that D admired and a book and its characters that D referred to consistently in his book was just too much of a temptation to me. I had to read the book and understand why D, one of my favourite authors, felt so moved and inspired The weather was hot and humid and conducive for only one thing, sleeping.

I had to read the book and understand why D, one of my favourite authors, felt so moved and inspired by it. Like a moth to a flame, almost sensuously attracted, without a thought of my own in my mind, I just knew that I had to read this one. Without feeling any guilt or any kind of remorse for not continuing the books that I had already started, I started my journey with Gogol and his topic of Dead Souls.

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Every author at some point in his life wants to write a book or does write one where he puts in his heart and soul and talks about everything that he has always wanted to talk about but refrained from doing so in his earlier works. And it is a good thing that he did write this one for it is truly a brilliant book and its brilliance lies not only in the thoughts that he has shared but also in the approach he took while sharing them. Gogol introduces us to hero, describing his entrance in the town, which remains unnamed and the other characters of the town in this poem, as he calls it, with a satirical tone that makes for many a laugh as you progress.

Our hero, Chichikov, enters the town with very little splash but soon makes up for it when he goes around paying his respect to the various key members of the town. The town and its people embrace him heartily and welcome him with love and affection, little do they know of the devious nature of our hero. Chichikov becomes one of theirs and he slowly reveals his real intention to visiting their town, which was to purchase dead souls.

A poll tax of souls

In old Russia, peasants were treated as souls who could be bought and sold and even mortgaged along with the land. This practice I believe, has been long abolished, but was still prevalent when Gogol wrote this book. What follows once our hero attempts to acquire these dead souls is a tale that reveals at once the fallacies of humans along with their naivete, the depths to which some would fall in their greed for making money, the ambiguous nature of laws prevalent in those days, the politics of the country and finally the vivacity of the Russian society.

Every character, irrespective of how big or small his or her role is, is perfectly rounded and reflects the diverse types of people you would encounter if you were to travel around Russia. And for that matter, why only Russia, am sure you would encounter such people everywhere in the world, except for the fact that instead of vodka and zakuskis you would find something else that binds them together.

The second part, which unfortunately has many pages missing, is written quite differently by Gogol. Where satire marked the entire first part, this one is less satirical and more honest and rich in its descriptions of the Russian countryside. Majestically they soared above the endless stretches of plains, now in escarpments, sheer walls of lime and clay fretted by gullies and cavities, now in gracefully rounded green swellings cloaked in lambskin like young brushwood springing from the felled trees, now, finally in dark thickets of woodland, so far spared the axe by some miracle.

A river, true to its banks, now followed them in turns and twists, now left them for the meadows, then, bending itself into several bends, flashed fire like in the sun, hid itself in groves of birch, aspen and alder, and ran forth from them in triumph, attended by bridges, mills and weirs, which seemed to chase after it at every turn. Chichikov, as is his due, meets with a variety of landowners in this part as well. His character gets more rounded as we go through the story and we can see his thoughts getting more definition and his acts becoming more brazen.

However, before we can truly sink into this, we are abruptly asked to move onto the third part. The third part is more of a concluding chapter that was written based on the guidelines that were found for taking the story forward. Therefore, while this part can be called a part where the hero seeks redemption for all his sins, it is too jumpy a text for us to truly make out whether the hero truly sought redemption or does his behavior change momentarily because of the circumstances that he found himself in. The turn of mind towards Christianity that was forged during the years when he wrote, burned, rewrote the second and third part can be seen strongly through his language, ideas and choice of words.

It was a different Gogol who wrote it. Was he a better Gogol?

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What you cannot do is deny the intelligence of that mind and his far reaching, often visionary thoughts. In short, irrespective of whether the book has a full second and third part or not, its brilliance is such that you cannot deny it. This book contains all that you can ever encounter, whether it is the depths of their depravity or the heights of their innocence, their insouciance and laissez faire attitude in some areas or their involvement and their propensity for gossip in other areas; you come across all this and more when reading this poem.

The overt and subtle sarcasm that fills this book makes you think and feel all those things that are usually left best swept under the carpet, to be looked at some other day, a day which hopefully never arrives. View all 7 comments. Russians who own gold chains. Here's a Russian douchebag. This is called poshlust, an untranslatable word referring to a kind of banal tackiness special to Russia.

Here's another Russian douchebag: The stereotype goes all the way back to and Gogol's great antihero dandy grifter Chichikov, with his Navarino smoke-and-flame silk frock coat and his violet-scented snuffbox, and according to Nabokov poshlust is the great theme of this book, a definition of an essential theme of Russian character. Chichikov That's not what Gogol Here's a Russian douchebag. Chichikov That's not what Gogol thought Dead Souls was about.

He thought he was recreating the Divine Comedy; a morality tale, with three books corresponding to Inferno, Purgatory and Paradise. He only finished the first one: Lucky for us, Inferno is always the good part. This is the thing about tales of redemption: But it's the first great Russian novel, and you can see prototypes here for Raskolnikov and Tolstoy's great conflicted landowner Levin.

Book One of Dead Souls, which is about two thirds of what we have, is awesome. Vivid, surreal, funny, almost silly, as Gogol is. He's dead serious under that, of course, as they always are. Here's close enough to a mission statement: Some wondrous power has doomed me for a long time to walk hand in hand with my strange heroes, to survey in its entirety life that rushes along so massively, to survey it through laughter that is visible to the world and through tears which the world cannot see and does not know. Unfinished books are always frustrating, and I didn't enjoy the fragments after Book One.

But that first bit is one of my favorite reading experiences this year.

Dead Souls

This is the great epic of Russian douchebaggery. Unbutton the top four buttons of your silk shirt and get psyched. Dec 13, Tej rated it really liked it Recommends it for: As it is, we often have occasion to see things that are far from comforting. Better that we should forget ourselves!

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The measure of cinema, at least here in my part of the world is by the millions that it rakes in irrespective of the nature of content, millions are proportional to the trash really or there is that noise which must be called music, not to mention the TV. We all are a part of that and beyond a point not willful perpetrators but just so hard pressed by life that there is little or no time to bother. His self-assessed inability to achieve that coveted goal in writing, to an extent, led him to inflict self-damage by starvation and ultimate demise not to mention the burnings he carried out of his manuscript more than once.

You wonder, why not just to continue writing with the kind of talent you were bestowed with? He is in fact on the mission to swindle bounty out of the system, keeping low and warding of the reach of law till he attains an un-approachable respectability in the society.

Sopor Aeternus - Dead Souls - subtitulado al espaƱol

He offers to even pay for them, peanuts that is, an item that exists only in thin air and aspires to mortgage them as real serfs while becoming a land-owner himself. I was swaddled, and one could say, wrapped in forbearance, myself being, so to speak, forbearance itself. Whatever the topic of conversation, he always knew how to hold up his end: So much so, that even the carriage horses have their say at times. This contrasted starkly with the radicals trying to improve through systemic changes in social structures and government systems. So glaringly, this is the way to go even today and the need all the more acute.

Flowing descriptions of the pulchritude of Russian countryside, adorn the second part where Gogol wields a different quill albeit without giving up his knack of humor a wee bit. At times the brilliance is much more vivid and writing candid here than the first part even but only to be rudely reminded of its incompleteness and then it strikes as a disjointed piece on the whole. Perhaps to achieve perspicacity, he forays into the uncharted and flounders, dabbling with morality here and sermons there which do not quite gel with the tone and tenor hitherto attained and that is tragic.

Why, nowhere in the whole world will you find a delight to equal that. God reserved to himself the business of creation, as a delight second to none, and he demands of man that he too, in like measure, be the creator of prosperity all around him. Jong-su, a part-time worker, bumps into Hae-mi while delivering, who used to live in the same neighborhood.

Hae-mi asks him to look after her cat while she's on a trip to Africa. Furiously developing Eastern China has been inhabited by enlarging number of immigrants.

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