FACTOID # 26: Delaware is the latchkey kid capital of America, with 71.8% of households having both parents in the labor force.
 
 Home   Encyclopedia   Statistics   States A-Z   Flags   Maps   FAQ   About 
   
 
WHAT'S NEW
 

SEARCH ALL

FACTS & STATISTICS    Advanced view

Search encyclopedia, statistics and forums:

 

 

(* = Graphable)

 

 


Encyclopedia > Dead Souls
Dead Souls
Image:Dead Souls.jpg
Random House cover of Dead Souls
Author Nikolai Gogol
Original title (if not in English) Мёртвые души
Translator Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky
Country Russia
Language Russian
Genre(s) Political, Satire
Publisher
Released
Media Type Hardback and paperback
ISBN ISBN 0-451-52308-3

Dead Souls (Russian: Мёртвые души, Myortvyye dushi) is a satirical prose narrative, subtitled poema ("an epic poem"), by the Russian author Nikolai Gogol. The first part of a projected trilogy, it was published in 1842 under the title, imposed by the censorship, of The Adventures of Chichikov. Image File history File links Dead_Souls. ... Nikolai Gogol Gogol redirects here. ... Richard Pevear is an American-born poet and translator who frequently collaborates with his wife, Larissa Volokhonsky, on translations of Russian novels. ... Politics is the process by which decisions are made within groups. ... 1867 edition of the satirical magazine Punch, a British satirical magazine, ground-breaking on popular literature satire. ... A hardcover (or hardback or hardbound) book is bound with rigid protective covers (typically of cardboard covered with cloth or heavy paper) and a stitched spine. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article may require cleanup. ... Dead Souls is a novel by the Russian author Nikolai Gogol. ... 1867 edition of the satirical magazine Punch, a British satirical magazine, ground-breaking on popular literature satire. ... Nikolai Gogol Gogol redirects here. ... A trilogy is a set of three works of art, usually literature or film, that are connected and can generally be seen as a single work as well as three individual ones. ... 1842 was a common year starting on Saturday (see link for calendar). ...


Referred to by its author as an "epic poem in prose", and within the book as a "novel in verse", Dead Souls is loosely based on the plot suggested to Gogol by Pushkin. Despite having supposedly completed the trilogy's second part, Gogol destroyed it shortly before his death at the urging of a religious fanatic. Although the novel ends in mid-sentence (like Sterne's Sentimental Journey), it is usually regarded as complete in the extant form.[1] Pushkin may refer to: People Aleksandr Pushkin - a famous Russian poet Apollo Mussin-Pushkin - chemist and plant collector Aleksei Musin-Pushkin - statesman, historian, art collector Other Pushkin, a town in Russia Pushkin Square - square in Moscow Pushkin Museum - fine arts museum in Moscow This is a disambiguation page — a... Laurence Sterne Laurence Sterne (November 24, 1713 – March 18, 1768) was an Anglo-Irish novelist and clergyman. ... The Monk of Calais (1780) by Angelica Kauffman, depicting Pastor Yorick exchanging snuffboxes with Father Lorenzo ..having a horn snuff box in his hand, he presented it open to me. ...

Contents

Title

In Russia prior to 1861, landowners were permitted to own serfs to farm their land. These serfs were for most purposes considered the property of the landowner, and could be bought, sold, or mortgaged against, as any other chattel. To count serfs (and people in general), the measure word "soul" was used: e.g., "six souls of serfs". The plot of the novel relies on "dead souls" (i.e., "dead serfs") which are still accounted for in property registers. On another level, the title refers to the "dead souls" of Gogol's characters, all of which visualise different aspects of poshlost' (an untranslatable Russian word which is perhaps best rendered as "self-satisfied inferiority", moral and spiritual, with overtones of middle-class pretentiousness, fake significance and philistinism). The Emancipation reform of 1861 in Russia performed by tsar Alexander II of Russia amounted to liquidation of serf dependence of Russian peasants. ... Landowner or Landholder is a holder of the estate in land with considerable rights of ownership or, simply put, an owner of land. ... Costumes of Slaves or Serfs, from the Sixth to the Twelfth Centuries, collected by H. de Vielcastel, from original Documents in the great Libraries of Europe. ... Property designates those things that are commonly recognized as being the possessions of a person or group. ... A mortgage is a method of using property (real or personal) as security for the payment of a debt. ... Personal property is a type of property. ... Measure words, in linguistics, are words (or morphemes) that are used in combination with a numeral to indicate the count of nouns. ... The soul, according to many religious and philosophical traditions, is a self-aware ethereal substance particular to a unique living being. ... Poshlost is a Russian word (пошлость) defined by the critic Vladimir Alexandrov as a kind of petty evil or self-satisfied vulgarity. The first examinations of poshlost in literature are in the work of Nikolai Gogol. Gogol wrote, referring to Pushkin, He used to say of me that no other writer...


Background

The first part of the novel was intended to represent the Inferno of the modern-day Divine Comedy. Gogol revealed to his readers an encompassing picture of the ailing social system in post-Napoleonic Russia. As in many of Gogol's short stories, the social criticism of Dead Souls is communicated primarily through absurd and hilarious satire. Unlike the short stories, however, Dead Souls was meant to offer solutions rather than simply point out problems. This grander scheme was largely unrealized at Gogol's death; the work was never completed, and it is primarily the earlier, darker part of the novel that is remembered. Dante shown holding a copy of The Divine Comedy, next to the entrance to Hell, the seven terraces of Mount Purgatory and the city of Florence, in Michelinos fresco. ... ...


In their studies of Gogol, Andrey Bely, D.S. Mirsky, Vladimir Nabokov, and other modernist critics rejected the commonly held view of Dead Souls as a reformist or satirical work. For instance, Nabokov regarded the plot of Dead Souls as unimportant and Gogol as a great writer whose works skirted the irrational and whose prose style combined superb descriptive power with a disregard for novelistic clichés. True, Chichikov displays a most extraordinary moral rot, but the whole idea of buying and selling dead souls is, to Nabokov, ridiculous on its face; therefore, the provincial setting of the novel is a most unsuitable backdrop for any of the progressive, reformist or Christian readings of the work. Boris Budaev Andrei Bely (Андрей Белый) was the pseudonym of Boris Nikolaevich Bugaev (1880 - 1934), a Russian novelist, poet, theorist, and literary critic. ... Bookcover of the biography of Dmitry Mirsky D.S. Mirsky is the English pen-name of Dmitry Petrovich Mirsky (1890–1939), a Russian political and literary historian who promoted the knowledge and translations of Russian literature in Britain and of the English literature in Soviet Russia. ... Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov (Russian: Влади́мир Влади́мирович Набо́ков, pronounced ) (April 22, 1899 [O.S. April 10], Saint Petersburg – July 2, 1977, Montreux) was a Russian-American author. ...

Chichikov in the house of M-me Korobochka.
Chichikov in the house of M-me Korobochka.

Image File history File linksMetadata Korobochka. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Korobochka. ...

Style

The structure of the novel follows a circle, as Chichikov visits the estates of landowners living around the capital of a guberniya. Although Gogol aspired to emulate the Odyssey, many critics derive the structure of Dead Souls from the picaresque novels of the 16th and 17th centuries in that it is divided into a series of somewhat disjointed episodes, and the plot concerns a gentrified version of the rascal protagonist of the original picaresques. Guberniya (Russian: ) (also gubernia, guberniia, gubernya) was a major administrative subdivision of the Imperial Russia, usually translated as governorate or province. ... Odysseus and Nausicaä - by Charles Gleyre The Odyssey (Greek: , Odusseia) is one of the two major ancient Greek epic poems attributed to the poet Homer. ... The picaresque novel (Spanish: picaresco, from pícaro, for rogue or rascal) is a popular subgenre of prose fiction which is usually satirical and depicts in realistic and often humorous detail the adventures of a roguish hero of low social class who lives by his or her wits in a...


Konstantin Aksakov was the first to bring out a detailed juxtaposition of Gogol's and Homer's works: Gogol's epic revives the ancient Homeric epic; you recognize its character of importance, its artistic merits and the widest scope. When comparing one thing to another, Gogol completely loses himself in the subject, leaving for a time the occasion that gave rise to his comparison; he will talk about it, until the subject is exhausted. Every reader of the Iliad was struck by this device, too. Nabokov also pointed out to the Homeric roots of the complicated absurdist technique of Gogol's comparisons and digressions. Konstantin Sergeyevich Aksakov (1817 - 1860) was a Russian critic and writer, one of the earliest and most notable Slavophiles. ...


Characters

Of all Gogol's creations, Chichikov stands out as the incarnation of poshlost. His psychological leitmotiv is complacency, and his geometrical expression roundness. He is the golden mean. The other characters — the squires Chichikov visits on his shady business — are typical "humors" (for Gogol's method of comic character drawing, with its exaggerations and geometrical simplification, is strongly reminiscent of Ben Jonson's). Sobakevich, the strong, silent, economical man, square and bearlike; Manilov, the silly sentimentalist with pursed lips; Mme Korobochka, the stupid widow; Nozdryov, the cheat and bully, with the manners of a hearty good fellow — are all types of eternal solidity. Plyushkin, the miser, stands apart, for in him Gogol sounds a note of tragedy — he is the man ruined by his "humor"; he transcends poshlost, for in the depth of his degradation he is not complacent but miserable; he has a tragic greatness. The elegiac description of Plyushkin's garden was hailed by Nabokov as the pinnacle of Gogol's art. Dead Souls (Russian: ) is a satirical prose narrative, subtitled poema (an epic poem), by the Russian author Nikolai Gogol. ... A leitmotif (also spelled leitmotiv) is a recurring musical theme, associated within a particular piece of music with a particular person, place or idea. ... Benjamin Jonson (circa June 11, 1572 – August 6, 1637) was an English Renaissance dramatist, poet and actor. ...


The second part of the great epic, to judge by what has been left of it, was a distinct decline. The objectively drawn, good-and-bad-mixed characters are comparatively lifeless, and the ideal characters of the good publican and the virtuous governor quite unconvincing and hollow. Arguably, Gogol is more successful showing the errors than the corrections, perhaps because errors and immorality are more fun and interesting to write about, than to preach and show good by example.


Plot overview

The story follows the exploits of Chichikov, a young gentleman of middling social class and position. Chichikov arrives in a small town and quickly tries to make a good name for himself by impressing the many petty officials of the town. Despite his limited funds, he spends extravagantly on the premise that a great show of wealth and power at the start will gain him the connections he needs to live easily in the future. He also hopes to befriend the town so that he can more easily carry out his bizarre and mysterious plan to acquire "dead souls."

Chichikov and Nozdryov.
Chichikov and Nozdryov.

The government would tax the landowners on a regular basis, with the assessment based on how many serfs (or "souls") the landowner had on their records at the time of the collection. These records were determined by census, but censuses in this period were infrequent, far less so than the tax collection, so landowners would often find themselves in the position of paying taxes on serfs that were no longer living, yet were registered on the census to them, thus they were paying on "dead souls." It is these dead souls, manifested as property, that Chichikov seeks to purchase from people in the villages he visits; he merely tells the prospective sellers that he has a use for them, and that the sellers would be better off anyway, since selling them would relieve the present owners of a needless tax burden. Image File history File linksMetadata Nozdrev. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Nozdrev. ... A tax (also known as a duty) is a financial charge or other levy imposed on an individual or a legal entity by a state or a functional equivalent of a state (e. ... // Definition of assessment Assessment is the process of documenting, usually in measurable terms, knowledge,skills, attitudes and beliefs. ... 1870 US Census for New York City A census is the process of obtaining information about every member of a population (not necessarily a human population). ...


Although the townspeople Chichikov comes across are gross caricatures, they are not flat stereotypes by any means. Instead, each is neurotically individual, combining the official failings that Gogol typically satirizes (greed, corruption, paranoia) with a healthy set of personal whims. Furthermore, everything in the house seems to mirror the character of its owner: for instance, every piece of furniture in the house of Sobakevich is described as a miniature version of its owner.


Chichikov's macabre mission to acquire "dead souls" is actually just another complicated scheme to inflate his social standing (essentially a 19th century Russian version of the ever popular "get rich quick" scheme). He hopes to collect the legal ownership rights to dead serfs as a way of inflating his apparent wealth and power. Once he acquires enough dead souls, he will retire to a large farm and take out an enormous loan against them, finally acquiring the great wealth he desires. Costumes of Slaves or Serfs, from the Sixth to the Twelfth Centuries, collected by H. de Vielcastel, from original Documents in the great Libraries of Europe. ... A loan is a type of debt. ...


Setting off for the surrounding estates, Chichikov at first assumes that the ignorant provincials will be more than eager to give their dead souls up in exchange for a token payment. The task of collecting the rights to dead people proves difficult, however, due to the persistent greed, suspicion, and general distrust of the landowners. He still manages to acquire some 400 souls, and returns to the town to have the transactions recorded legally.


Back in the town, Chichikov continues to be treated like a prince amongst the petty officials, and a celebration is thrown in honour of his purchases. Very suddenly however, rumours flare up that the serfs he bought are all dead, and that he was planning on eloping with the Governor's daughter. In the confusion that ensues, the backwardness of the irrational, gossip-hungry townspeople is most delicately conveyed. Absurd suggestions come to light, such as the possibility that Chichikov is Napoleon in disguise or the notorious and retired 'Captain Kopeikin' who lost an arm and a leg during war. The now disgraced traveller is immediately ostracized from the company he had been enjoying, and has no choice but to flee the town in disgrace.

Opera

The extant sections of Dead Souls were made into an opera in 1976 by Russian nationalist composer Rodion Shchedrin (b. 1932). In the opera, Shchedrin captures the different townspeople that Chichikov deals with in isolated musical episodes, each employing a different musical style to evoke the characters' particular personalities. Rodion Konstantinovich Shchedrin (born December 16, 1932) is a Russian composer. ...


Radio adaptation

In 2006 the novel was dramatised in two parts by the BBC and broadcast on Radio 4. It was played more for comic than satirical effect, the main comedy deriving from the performance of Mark Heap as Chichikov, and from the original placing of the narrator. Michael Palin narrates the story, but is revealed actually to be following Chichikov, riding in his coach for example, or sleeping in the same bed, constantly irritating Chichikov with his running exposition. For other uses, see BBC (disambiguation). ... Mark Heap as Dr. Alan Statham in Green Wing. ... Michael Edward Palin, CBE (born May 5, 1943) is an English comedian, actor and television presenter best known for being one of the members of the comedy group Monty Python and for his travel documentaries. ...


References

This article incorporates text from D.S. Mirsky's "A History of Russian Literature" (1926-27), a publication now in the public domain. Bookcover of the biography of Dmitry Mirsky D.S. Mirsky is the English pen-name of Dmitry Petrovich Mirsky (1890–1939), a Russian political and literary historian who promoted the knowledge and translations of Russian literature in Britain and of the English literature in Soviet Russia. ... The public domain comprises the body of all creative works and other knowledge—writing, artwork, music, science, inventions, and others—in which no person or organization has any proprietary interest. ...

  1. ^ "Thus, Susanne Fusso compellingly argues in her book Desinging Dead Souls that Dead Souls is complete in Part One, that there was never meant to be a Part Two or Part Three, and that it is entirely consistent with Gogol's method to create the expectation of sequels, and even to break off his narrative in mid-story, or mid-sentence, and that he was only persuaded to embark on composition of the second part by the expectation of the Russian reading public". Quoted from: Dead Souls. Oxford University Press, 1998. ISBN 0-19-281837-6. Page 435.

External links

  • Wikiquote - Quotes from Dead Souls
  • Dead Souls, available freely at Project Gutenberg — D. J. Hogarth's English translation.
  • Full text of Dead Souls in the original Russian

  Results from FactBites:
 
Dead Souls at AllExperts (910 words)
Dead Souls'' is a satirical novel by the Russian author Nikolai Gogol.
The style of the novel is somewhat antique and has been compared to the picaresque novels of the 16th and 17th centuries in that it is divided into a series of somewhat disjointed episodes, and the plot concerns a gentrified version of the rascal protagonist of the original picaresques.
Once he acquires enough dead souls, he will retire to a large farm and take out an enormous loan against them, finally acquiring the great wealth he desires.
Dead Souls: Information from Answers.com (1475 words)
Dead Souls (Russian: Мертвые души) is a satirical prose narrative, subtitled poema ("an epic poem"), by the Russian author Nikolai Gogol.
On another level, the title refers to the "dead souls" of Gogol's characters, all of which visualise different aspects of poshlost (an untranslatable Russian word which is perhaps best rendered as "self-satisfied inferiority", moral and spiritual, with overtones of middle-class pretentiousness, fake significance and philistinism).
Although Gogol aspired to emulate the Odyssey, many critics derive the structure of Dead Souls from the picaresque novels of the 16th and 17th centuries in that it is divided into a series of somewhat disjointed episodes, and the plot concerns a gentrified version of the rascal protagonist of the original picaresques.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

COMMENTARY     


Share your thoughts, questions and commentary here
Your name
Your comments

Want to know more?
Search encyclopedia, statistics and forums:

 


Press Releases |  Feeds | Contact
The Wikipedia article included on this page is licensed under the GFDL.
Images may be subject to relevant owners' copyright.
All other elements are (c) copyright NationMaster.com 2003-5. All Rights Reserved.
Usage implies agreement with terms, 1022, m