Nikolai Gogol

Dead Souls

Dead Souls is Nikolai Gogol’s last novel, and follows the tale of Pavel Chichikov, a down-on-his-luck gentleman determined to improve his lot in life. The story charts his scheme to purchase dead souls—the titles of deceased serfs—from wealthy landowners.
The novel’s satirical take on the state of Russian society at the time leads Chichikov into increasingly difficult circumstances, in his attempts to cheat the both the system and the cavalcade of townspeople he meets along the way.
Originally planned as a trilogy, Gogol apparently only completed the first two parts, and destroyed the latter half of the second part before his death. The novel as it stands ends in mid sentence but is regarded as complete.
529 printed pages

Other versions

Have you already read it? How did you like it?
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Impressions

    Heine Melkevikshared an impression6 years ago
    👍Worth reading
    🎯Worthwhile
    🚀Unputdownable

    The masterpiece of Gogol - until 90% into the book it is truly amazing and then the growing lunacy of Gogol can be seen and the book fall a bit apart.

    Leenashared an impressionlast year
    👍Worth reading

Quotes

    Lev Volkhas quotedlast year
    “You seem to get great store upon views and beauty,” re­marked Kostan­zho­glo with re­proof in his tone. “Should you pay too much at­ten­tion to those things, you might find your­self without crops or view. Util­ity should be placed first, not beauty. Beauty will come of it­self. Take, for ex­ample, towns. The fairest and most beau­ti­ful towns are those which have built them­selves—those in which each man has built to suit his own ex­clus­ive cir­cum­stances and needs; whereas towns which men have con­struc­ted on reg­u­lar, string-taut lines are no bet­ter than col­lec­tions of bar­racks. Put beauty aside, and look only to what is ne­ces­sary.”
    Lev Volkhas quotedlast year
    But may I ask whether the great for­tune of which you speak has been ac­quired through hon­est means?”
    “Yes; through means of the most ir­re­proach­able kind—through the most hon­our­able of meth­ods.”
    “Yet so im­prob­able does it seem that I can scarcely be­lieve it. Thou­sands I could un­der­stand, but mil­lions—!”
    Lev Volkhas quotedlast year
    ish meas­ures to be ad­op­ted which, in the end, are bound to de­prave and cor­rupt our un­for­tu­nate masses. I my­self am de­term­ined never to es­tab­lish any man­u­fac­ture, how­ever prof­it­able, which will give rise to a de­mand for ‘higher things,’ such as sugar and to­bacco—no not if I lose a mil­lion by my re­fus­ing to do so. If cor­rup­tion must over­take the mir, it shall not be through my hands. And I think that God will jus­tify me in my re­solve. Twenty years have I lived among the com­mon folk, and I know what will in­e

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