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The Collected Tales of Nikolai Gogol (Vintage Classics) [Paperback]

Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol , Richard Pevear , Larissa Volokhonsky
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
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Book Description

1 July 1999 Vintage Classics

Collected here are Gogol’s finest tales—stories that combine the wide-eyed, credulous imagination of the peasant with the sardonic social criticism of the city dweller—allowing readers to experience anew the unmistakable genius of a writer who paved the way for Dostoevsky and Kafka. All of Gogol’s most memorable creations are here: the minor official who misplaces his nose, the downtrodden clerk whose life is changed by the acquisition of a splendid new overcoat, the wily madman who becomes convinced that a dog can tell him everything he needs to know. The wholly unique blend of the mundane and the supernatural that Gogol crafted established his reputation as one of the most daring and inventive writers of his time.

From the acclaimed translators of War and Peace, Crime and Punishment, and The Brothers Karamazov, a brilliant translation of Nikolai Gogol’s short fiction.

(Book Jacket Status: Jacketed)

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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The Collected Tales of Nikolai Gogol (Vintage Classics) + Russian Short Stories from Pushkin to Buida + Russian Magic Tales from Pushkin to Platonov (Penguin Classics)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 462 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Books; Vintage Classics ed edition (1 July 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375706151
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375706158
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 13.4 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 207,662 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'Gogol is strangely timeless’ -- Guardian

‘This new translation is a testimony to Gogol’s gift for comedy, absurdity and fabulism’ -- Good Book Guide --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Nikolai Gogol (1809-1852) was one of the masters of 19th Century Russian literature, and was the author of numerous stories and a novel, Dead Souls. Together, Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky have translated Dostoevsky's Dead Souls, Crime and Punishment, Notes from Underground, Demons and The Brothers Karamazov, for which they were awarded the PEN Book-of-the-Month Club Translation Prize. Their translation of Dostoevsky's The Idiot is also published by Granta Books. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sorcerer! 10 Aug 2008
By demola
The version I read is in two parts: Part I is composed of 8 short stories based on Ukrainian folktales. All of the stories are weird, sport something of the macabre, are funny and insensibly wonderful. The Story of How Ivan Ivanovich Quarreled With Ivan Nikiforovich and The Night Before Christmas are favourites. Viy can easily be the inspiration for a horror movie. Some of these tales reminded me of Bulgakov though he came later. Part II is 7 stories set in St Petersburg. They are not as engaging and magical as part one but they do have spine-chilling twists too. The Nose is reminiscent of Kafka but again Kafka came later.

This was my first introduction to Gogol and he impresses mightily. This is gather around the candlelight storytelling and you know you're going to have nightmares afterwards - sorcerers and witches and the devil himself. Timing is exquisite and Gogol knows how to lead the reader by the nose up until the point you really want to skip a few pages just to see if there's a happy ending. Don't!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gogols best work 8 Nov 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
An excellent well written collection of tales that would serve as a good introduction to Russian literature ,or even early European existentialism.The book is in two halves the first consisting of folk based tales and the second made up of urban stories with at times a dark surreal edge to them.I'm not in a position to comment on the efficacy of the translation but it read well for a piece of literature from 150 years ago.In my opinion these stories are of a much better quality both in structure and prose than the unfinished Dead Souls or the overly romantic heroism of Taras Bulba.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mad, Maniacal and Magnificent 20 Feb 2010
For sheer energetic exuberance, vivid and colourful language not to mention satire with more than a hint of madness there is no one quite like Nikolai Gogol. This collection translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky and published by Granta includes thirteen of his tales. The first part of the book deals with those that are set in the Ukraine and have strong elements of folk tales as well as the supernatural but written in Gogols unmistakable style. The best Ukrainian tales are those where the supernatural element is minimal or absent, in particular the beautiful "Old World Landowners" and "The Story of How Ivan Ivanovich Quarreled with Ivan Nikiforovich".

In the second section the tales are situated in St Petersburg. With the exception of the rather whimsical and slightly flat "The Diary of a Madman" the quality of those stories are fantastic. My particular favourite is "The Nose" in which the unfortunate collegiate assessor Kovalev wakes up one morning absent his nose, which is apparently on the loose in St Petersburg in the guise of a Privy Councilor. Sounds ridiculous, but part of the fun in Gogol is in the matter of fact way the narrative runs. On the surface he takes these surreal facts at face value while having tremendous fun with the twists and turns in the telling. It has me chuckling away to myself at any rate. There are darker more uncomfortable stories in particular "The Portrait" which is a singular and sinister story of the artist squandering his talents for worldly fame. "The Overcoat" falls in part between the two, being dark as well as amusing.

Gogol is always a joy to read, and this is as comprehensive collection of his shorter works as I've seen. If you've got thus far without reading him then perhaps the Dover Classics edition of The Overcoat (it includes "The Nose") is the best place to start.
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