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

Nikolai Gogol , Richard Pevear , Larissa Volokhonsky
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $17.00
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Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

Using, or rather mimicking, traditional forms of storytelling Gogol created stories that are complete within themselves and only tangentially connected to a meaning or moral. His work belongs to the school of invention, where each twist and turn of the narrative is a surprise unfettered by obligation to an overarching theme.

Selected from Evenings on a Farm near DikankaMirgorod, and the Petersburg tales and arranged in order of composition, the thirteen stories in The Collected Tales of Nikolai Gogolencompass the breadth of Gogol's literary achievement. From the demon-haunted “St. John's Eve ” to the heartrending humiliations and trials of a titular councilor in “The Overcoat,” Gogol's knack for turning literary conventions on their heads combined with his overt joy in the art of story telling shine through in each of the tales.

This translation, by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, is as vigorous and darkly funny as the original Russian. It allows readers to experience anew the unmistakable genius of a writer who paved the way for Dostevsky and Kafka.

Editorial Reviews

From The New Yorker

...a superb ... translation...

From Kirkus Reviews

Pevear and Volokhonsky continue their remarkable conquest of 19th-century Russian fiction with this lively new translation of 13 of ``the Russian Dickens's'' wildest and finest stories. Excluding only lesser pieces from Gogol's earliest volumes (though one misses the madly romantic novella ``Taras Bulba''), this selection offers richly colloquial versions (which sound like spoken narrative) of such classic ``Ukrainian Tales'' as the imperturbably melodramatic ``The Terrible Vengeance'' and the memorably lurid vampire tale ``Viy,'' and also ``Petersburg Tales'' like the deliriously surrealistic ``The Nose'' and that uniquely dreamlike, and seminal, portrayal of a timid clerk's acquisition and loss of his only meaningful possession: ``The Overcoat.'' Pevear's informative Preface persuasively emphasizes the personal, nonpolitical, and, to some degree, haphazard nature of the distinctive alchemy by which a deeply flawed and troubled soul managed to create some of the most colorful and haunting fiction of his century. -- Copyright ©1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1426 KB
  • Print Length: 463 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0375706151
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (August 17, 2011)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005EM8NVC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #121,417 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
125 of 131 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A splendid translation of a splendid author July 14, 2000
This collection brings together almost all of Gogol's notable short stories, from his first surviving piece, St. John's Eve, to his last and most acclaimed short piece, The Overcoat. The first seven stories come from Gogol's earlier period (1830-1835) during which he set his tales in the Ukraine, while the last six, written between 1835 and 1842, are all set in Petersburg.
Critics still disagree to some extent over the quality of Gogol's Ukrainian tales and the extent to which they reflect the artistic vision found in his later, most famous pieces. I would acknowledge that there aren't any absolute masterpieces among these stories, but the world he creates through the lot of them, with the constant presence of the supernatural (probably best seen in "The Night Before Christmas" and "Viy") and a charming provincial sense of humor (at its height in "The Story of How Ivan Ivanovich Quarreled with Ivan Nikiforovich"), is really quite memorable. Also, it's very interesting to see how the simple country folk of the Ukrainian tales evolve into the often equally naive clerks found in the Petersburg tales, and how the demons and ghosts of Gogol's earlier pieces anticipate the haunted portraits and phantoms of departed eternal titular councillors that would later win Gogol lasting fame.
It is, however, the Petersburg tales that are really the centerpiece of the collection. Though it would be a mistake (one that has tempted many a socially-minded critic over the years) to portray these stories as representing a profound sympathy on Gogol's part for plight of the little man, Gogol uses humble copying clerks, struggling artists, and their ilk to paint a wondrously alive picture of the bustling imperial capital.
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38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Rave with a Caveat November 25, 2008
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The reborn Everyman's Library is so uniquely head and shoulders above every other publishing venture available today that it seems ungrateful to append even a small caution about this newest title in the series. Especially so as the fresh translation really is a miraculous breakthrough--a huge improvement over previous efforts. What then is the problem? Simply that this is NOT a "collected" tales in the common understanding of that term, but a "selected" one. Not a great problem unless one is seeking a particular omitted piece, but it does raise some question about at least one link in the editorial chain--a failure of oversight that has marred certain series titles irretrievably and that is uncomfortably disrespectful to the quality of the project overall.
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39 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sheer Genius (and a good translation) December 31, 2003
This is the kind of writing that makes me questions why movies even exist. The style, the sentences, the humor, the feel is all something unique, unpredictable, and unmistakable. These plots are bizarre, intriguing and it is nearly impossible to guess the endings. All this coming from a translated work is a success for the writer and the translators.
The Overcoat, Diary of a Madman, & the Nose are some examples of Gogol's short story brilliance. These stories are realistic yet surreal, imaginative and impressive. Gogol shows you the roots of what Russian writers continued to excel at later with works like Metamorphosis (Kafka). He calls his stories tales (there are the Ukrainian Tales and the Petersburg Tales), and they most definitely are tales. They are the kind of stories you can tell around the campfire -- they are that unnerving and exhilarating. Yet they are social commentaries as well. These stories work on many levels because they are detailed, feature fantastic characters, and delve into fantasy. All the while you find unexpected twists and occurrences. It's sheer genius.
This book is a fabulous introduction to both Russian literature and the works of this unique genius.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The first modern Russian writer November 17, 2010
Nikolai Gogol wrote the stories included in this volume between 1831 and 1842, yet many of them are so modern that one could readily believe that they had been written between 1931 and 1942. Given their 19th-Century vintage, some of these tales are indeed classics of literature.

It might be useful to specify which tales are included in this volume and who the translators are. Despite the "collected" of the title, this volume does not gather together ALL of Gogol's tales. Instead, it offers seven "Ukrainian Tales" and six "Petersburg Tales", presented in the order of their composition.

The seven Ukrainian Tales are:
St. John's Eve
The Night Before Christmas *
The Terrible Vengeance
Ivan Fyodorovich Shponka and His Aunt *
Old World Landowners
The Story of How Ivan Ivanovich Quarreled with Ivan Nikiforovich *

The six Petersburg Tales are:
Nevsky Prospect *
The Diary of a Madman *
The Nose
The Carriage
The Portrait
The Overcoat *

(The asterisks denote the stories that are classics in my personal pantheon.) The most conspicuous omission from this volume is "Taras Bulba".

The translators are Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, who seem to have made it their mission to translate into English all of the major works of 19th-Century Russian Literature. Their "style" has been criticized by some, but I (though not at all literate in Russian) suspect it well-suited to the informal, irreverent, even madcap prose of Nikolai Gogol. Over the years I ended up with three other collections of Gogol's tales and I sense that the P&V translations are more appropriate for Gogol than those by Constance Garnett and pretty much on a par with those by David Magarshack.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent collection of Gogol tales from Ukrainian villages to St....
A very good selection of Gogol's tales, some inspired by Ukrainian village life and folk traditions and others by Gogol's own experience in the
capital city dealing with... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Joyce Lawrence
5.0 out of 5 stars A must for any home library
Gogol tells a perfect story. He is Ukraine in the stories. This collection will delight any serious reader. I love the short story and this one is at my bed side.
Published 9 months ago by Nora M Qudus
5.0 out of 5 stars Well presented
Of all the stories, the one enjoyed most was THE DIARY OF A MAD MAN. It is an insightful story by Gogol that is full of humor, sadness, tragedy and hope. Read more
Published 11 months ago by John T C
4.0 out of 5 stars Russian literature
The author set the stage for Tolstoy and later Russian writers. A good translation which makes for easy reading. Finito.
Published 11 months ago by John Fennelly
5.0 out of 5 stars Brief Glowing Review
The Portrait continues to be my favorite. This collection is an excellent addition to my library and I feel I will revisit it until the day I die. Read more
Published 12 months ago by John Sennett
1.0 out of 5 stars Book for school
This book was miserable. I would never wish it upon anyone to have to read. Should be title collected tales of boredom.
Published 19 months ago by Ja'Michael
3.0 out of 5 stars Great stories -- weak translation
I took 3 years of Russian in college and enjoyed reading a couple of these "tales" in the original then, but hey would take too much effort for me to read now, after 55... Read more
Published 21 months ago by Dana Quade
5.0 out of 5 stars Too good for words
Thank you Gogol wherever you are. Thank you thank you thank you. What else is there to say? Bye now.
Published 22 months ago by Brian J. Klam
3.0 out of 5 stars A Legands Short Stories
This book contains the short works of a legendary Russian writer. I was disapointed by these works. They were not entertaining or worth the time to read them.
Published on April 28, 2012 by Tony Marquise Jr.
5.0 out of 5 stars The Collected Tales of Gogol in the Everyman edition is a delight to...
He emerges out of the chill, fog covered streets of old St. Petersburg. Perhaps he is wearing a coat frayed at the collar or flying through the streets in a troika or swirling... Read more
Published on April 18, 2011 by C. M Mills
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