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Nikolai Vasilevich Gogol was born in 1809; his family were small gentry of Ukrainian cossack extraction, and his father was the author of a number of plays based on Ukrainian popular tales. He attended school in Nézhin and gained a reputation for his theatrical abilities. He went to St Petersburg in 1829 and with the help of a friend gained a post in one of the government ministries. Gogol was introduced to Zhukovsky, the romantic poet, and to Pushkin, and with the publication of Evenings on a Farm near Dikanka(1831) he had an entrée to all the leading literary salons. He even managed for a short period to be Professor of History at the University of St. Petersburg (1834-5).
Diary of a Madman and The Story of the Quarrel between Ivan Ivanovich and Ivan Nikiforovich appeared in 1934, The Nose in 1836, and The Overcoat in 1842. Gogol also wrote the play The Inspector (1836), Dead Souls (1842), and several moralizing essays defending the Tsarist regime, to the horror of his liberal and radical friends. He lived a great deal abroad, mostly in Rome, and in his last years became increasingly prey to religious mania and despair. He made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem in 1848, but was bitterly disappointed in the lack of feeling that the journey kindled. He returned to Russia and fell under the influence of a spiritual director who told him to destroy his writings as they were sinful. He burned the second part of Dead Souls, and died in 1852 after subjecting himself to a severe regime of fasting.
I am not sure however that the humor and the delight translate very well to English.
There was no contradicting information about the translator, so I bought expecting the Kindle version of the Maguire translations.
Two characters are deadlocked at a doorway for a good ten minutes, each trying to be deferential to let the other pass first.
This book in its original Russsian is a masterpiece, as beautiful inetersting to read today as it was 150 years ago. It's so well written you don't feel it's aged. Read morePublished 12 months ago by sashatagger
I am a student and purchased the Penguin Classics edition for my lit class in May, so it was warm enough I could read the book outside. Read morePublished 19 months ago by laq
This is a very good translation of a Russian classic. The novel, which Gogol calls a poem, follows the life and schemes of a 19th century grifter named Pavel Ivanovich Chichikov. Read morePublished on September 30, 2012 by Ron Webb
Just wanting to let others know that the Kindle Edition is now the correct Penguin Classics translation by Robert Maguire. Read morePublished on July 25, 2012 by Michael
he most interesting feature of this book, in my opinion, is its special type of satirical language, mastered by Gogol and very much in chemistry with the story. Read morePublished on November 29, 2011 by Mehdi Jamei
my review is limited to the kindle version of the penguin edition. there is a map in this version which i cannot read on my kindle 3 even with the zoom feature. Read morePublished on August 15, 2011 by Diligent Reader
The Russian author, Nikolai Gogol (1809 -1852), was a name vaguely familiar to me, and as part of my years'-long project of reading notable authors whom I had never read, I decided... Read morePublished on May 20, 2011 by Buzz
As a narrater Gogol was a genius. This is without a doubt his masterpiece and one of the greatest depictions of russian society ever written. Read morePublished on March 27, 2010 by Zarathustra
Travel through the richness and depth of the Russian soul, through suckling pig and sour cream, pies stuffed with fat juicy catfish tails, poppy seed cakes, pancakes dripping with... Read morePublished on July 12, 2009 by Hnin Dehn