Dead Souls is one of the most unusual works of nineteenth-century fiction and a devastating satire on social hypocrisy. Chichikov, a mysterious stranger, arrives in a provincial town and visits a succession of landowners to make each a strange offer. He proposes to buy the names of dead serfs still registered on the census, saving their owners from paying tax on them, and to use these "souls" as collateral to reinvent himself as a gentleman.-Amazon.com.
Publisher: Champaign, Ill. : Project Gutenberg, [199-?]
Characteristics: 1 online resource
Alternative Title (Original Script): Мертвые души

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olpastel
Sep 06, 2012

Very interesting Russian novel, Gogol's narration is quite characteristic. He reminds the reader of his presence throughout the tale of Chichikov, interjecting praises of Russia and troikas, the open road, and plenty of insightful musings on social relations. Reminded me mostly of Sterne's "Tristram Shandy," though the well-written translator's introduction rules out Sterne's influence. Also reminded me of Rabelais in humor and the long lists.
I think I had a tough time getting into the book, but I know it really picked up and hooked me with a great passage in the 7th chapter on the fate of writers who pander to mass opinion vs. those who try to speak truthfully about their society, warts and all. From there on out, I felt for the man, and enjoyed his perspective. We had quite a few laughs. A really good work.

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