Sunday 18 February 2024

Book Review: The Collected Tales of Nikolai Gogol (Classics - Short Stories)

Title: The Collected Tales of Nikolai Gogol
Author: Nikolai Gogol
Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: 1999
Pages: 435
Format: Paperback
Genre: Classics - Short Stories
Source:Xmas Gift

When Pushkin first read some of the stories in this collection, he declared himself "amazed."  "Here is real gaiety," he wrote, "honest, unconstrained, without mincing, without primness. And in places what poetry! . . . I still haven't recovered."

More than a century and a half later, Nikolai Gogol's stories continue to delight readers the world over. Now a stunning new translation--from an award-winning team of translators--presents these stories in all their inventive, exuberant glory to English-speaking readers. For the first time, the best of Gogol's short fiction is brought together in a single volume: from the colorful Ukrainian tales that led some critics to call him "the Russian Dickens" to the Petersburg stories, with their black humor and wonderfully demented attitude toward the powers that be. All of Gogol's most memorable creations are here: the minor official who misplaces his nose, the downtrodden clerk whose life is changed by the acquisition of a splendid new overcoat, the wily madman who becomes convinced that a dog can tell him everything he needs to know.

These fantastic, comic, utterly Russian characters have dazzled generations of readers and had a profound influence on writers such as Dostoevsky and Nabokov. Now they are brilliantly rendered in the first new translation in twenty-five years--one that is destined to become the definitive edition of Gogol's most important stories.

-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
-Nevsky Prospect
-The Diary of a Madman
-The Nose
-The Carriage
-The Portrait
-The Overcoat


The Collected Tales of Nikolai Gogol is a wonderful collection incorporating many of the best of his short stories. About a third of the Petersburg stories I had already come across and read elsewhere, but the Ukrainian tales were all new to me and I enjoyed them greatly with their witchcraft, devils and humour. Whether you are new to Gogol's writing (in which case these short stories would be an excellent place to start) or already a fan, this is a book any reader of the classics would wish to add to their collection. The translations flow seamlessly and the entire collection has been well thought out. I am giving it 5 stars.

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