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If someone brand new to 19th century Russian literature asked me for a starter recommendation, I would propose this and Tolstoy's short stories as tasters.
I'm fairly new to classics in general and Russian Lit in particular (I've read some Tolstoy and Dostoevsky). Anywhoo, what other works of Gogol can you recommend? My TBR pile is hovering around 200, but I'll ask anyway!
Thanks for asking. Unfortunately perhaps most of Gogol's work is short stories. I'd recommend reading as many of these as you can. Taras Bulba in my mind is indispensable, I am sure others would recommend other stories. One good long book with multiple stories would be good.
I enjoyed the background on the protagonist, provided at the end of the book.
Thanks so much for the suggestions.
Well, see if you can pick up a collection of his short stories. The Nose and The Overcoat are his strongest, in my opinion, and in that order.
His earlier works demonstrate remarkable descriptive powers (Taras Bulba, The Sorcerer) but don't hold a candle to his later output.
Nabokov wrote a wonderful short biography of Gogol. It is worth looking for.
Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky have translated some of the stories: some Ukrainian tales, and some of the city tales like the overcoat and the nose. It is called collected stories but it is not the complete set of stories. There is a paperback set of those in two volumes.
For me, his story "Ivan Shponka and his Aunt" is among the best. It throws us off balance from the beginning and we never regain it. The conceit of the unfinished story adds to its appeal, as does the unreliable narrator. It is sublimely humorous without his usual mordant strain.
Seconded with enthusiasm.
Yes indeed: Nikolai Gogol. Nabokov single-handedly created the critical climate in which Gogol could be appreciated properly in the English-speaking world (ironically, more so than in the Russian world, which was in thrall to the idiotic "realist" view of Gogol promoted by Belinsky and his successors).
"Dead Souls is nice, but as far as Gogol goes, inferior." "Dead Souls stumbles..."
Dead Souls does not stumble, and it is not in any sense inferior! People who feel that way do not understand what they are reading (hint: it is *not* a discussion of serfdom and Russian society!), and should read the Nabokov bio cited above. It is one of the great novels of all time.
"Taras Bulba in my mind is indispensable" "Taras Bulba is my favorite of his short stories"
Not this again! See my comments in this thread:
(Presumably LisaStens read an abridged version, since the original is far too long to be described as a "short story.")
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