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Plays and Petersburg Tales: Petersburg Tales, Marriage, The Government Inspector (Oxford World's Classics) Paperback – 18 Feb 1999

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Paperback, 18 Feb 1999
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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford Paperbacks; New edition edition (18 Feb. 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0192835521
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192835529
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 2 x 12.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,843,380 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description


"Te best Gogol is here, in new and splendid translations by Christopher English."--The Sunday Telegraph

About the Author

Christopher English is a translator for the UN; Richard Peace is Professor Emeritus of Russian at the University of Bristol. Together they collaborated on Village Evenings near Dikanka and Mirgorad. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This excellent collection contains, among other excellent works, three towering masterpieces - the short stories 'The Nose' and 'The Overcoat', and the play 'The Government Inspector' which is currently being performed in a modernized version on the London stage. 'The Nose' and 'The Government Inspector' are both very funny, which is perhaps the most surprising thing when you approach them as Russian literature, which can be intimidating to some readers, and isn't known for its humour. 'The Overcoat' on the other hand, is a tragic, perfectly formed little story, which Dostoyevsky said had hugely influenced all the great nineteenth century Russian writers after Gogol.
Without giving too much away about the blackly comic and absurdist story 'The Nose', the basic premise is that a vain, ambitious official wakes up one morning to discover that his nose has disappeared. It is later spotted out and about in St Petersburg, taking carriages and attending functions. This simple, silly little story works on many levels and any number of themes and inferences can be seen in it. Although I personally love Carver, Chekhov, etc, I think this is the greatest short story I have ever read.
This collection is worth recommending for its clear and readable English translations, and the fact that it has the stories published by Penguin Classics, plus Gogol's plays. Recommended for all readers looking for a rewarding, complex, unusual read.
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By b on 15 Jun. 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x9a4dee7c) out of 5 stars 2 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9a4e4720) out of 5 stars Excellent translations 13 April 2013
By David Auerbach - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a very nice selection of Gogol's greatest stories and plays, capably translated by Christopher English. The translations read far better than other recent versions by Wilks (for Penguin) and Pevear and Volokhonsky (for Vintage). Pevear and Volokhonsky are fine translators, but their more literal approach works better for Dostoevsky and Tolstoy than it does for Gogol. Christopher English translates with a more flowing and rhetorical style that matches the satirical insanity of Gogol. "Diary of a Madman" reads particularly well.

Btw, Robert Maguire did the sterling Penguin Dead Souls, but to the best of my knowledge he never translated Gogol's stories.
HASH(0x9bee7510) out of 5 stars Being in the world 28 July 2016
By HH - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This volume would be an excellent choice for anyone looking to get an introduction to Russian literature and Russian realism / existentialism more generally. For this reviewer, highlights include "The Government Inspector", and from the Petersburg Tales, "Nevsky Prospect" and "The Overcoat".

"The Government Inspector" gives a humorous look at corruption in the Russian provinces during the mid-19th century. Reading this play you’ll feel like the plot is something you’ve read or seen before and that’s probably the case, but Gogol was the first to write such a tale. "The Overcoat" as deals with a Petersburg bureaucrat and the one thing that makes his life worth living; a coat. "Nevsky Prospect" highlights two ways in which to deal with the reality of pursuing women romantically. It gives a detailed and unique perspective of two men lusting after two different women. One man’s approach ends in death, the other man’s a near death; fascinating to say the least!

Some readers may grow impatient with Gogol's plots, for they typically unfold at a slow pace. For patient readers, however, they'll likely find Gogol's plots thought-provoking in their underlying statements about perception and how much it relates to one's overall sense of being in the world.
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