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The Overcoat and Other Short Stories

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Four works by great 19th-century Russian author - "The Nose," a savage satire of Russia's incompetent bureaucrats; "Old-Fashioned Farmers," a pleasant depiction of an elderly couple living in rustic seclusion; "The Tale of How Ivan Ivanovich Quarrelled with Ivan Nikiforovich," one of Gogol's most famous comic stories; and "The Overcoat," widely considered a masterpiece of Four works by great 19th-century Russian author - "The Nose," a savage satire of Russia's incompetent bureaucrats; "Old-Fashioned Farmers," a pleasant depiction of an elderly couple living in rustic seclusion; "The Tale of How Ivan Ivanovich Quarrelled with Ivan Nikiforovich," one of Gogol's most famous comic stories; and "The Overcoat," widely considered a masterpiece of form.


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Four works by great 19th-century Russian author - "The Nose," a savage satire of Russia's incompetent bureaucrats; "Old-Fashioned Farmers," a pleasant depiction of an elderly couple living in rustic seclusion; "The Tale of How Ivan Ivanovich Quarrelled with Ivan Nikiforovich," one of Gogol's most famous comic stories; and "The Overcoat," widely considered a masterpiece of Four works by great 19th-century Russian author - "The Nose," a savage satire of Russia's incompetent bureaucrats; "Old-Fashioned Farmers," a pleasant depiction of an elderly couple living in rustic seclusion; "The Tale of How Ivan Ivanovich Quarrelled with Ivan Nikiforovich," one of Gogol's most famous comic stories; and "The Overcoat," widely considered a masterpiece of form.

30 review for The Overcoat and Other Short Stories

  1. 5 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    The Overcoat = The Cloak, Nikolai Gogol The Overcoat is a short story by Ukrainian-born Russian author Nikolai Gogol, published in 1842. The story and its author have had great influence on Russian literature, as expressed in a quote attributed to Fyodor Dostoyevsky: "We all come out from Gogol's 'Overcoat'." The story has been adapted into a variety of stage and film interpretations. The story narrates the life and death of titular Councillor Akaky Akakievich Bashmachkin, an impoverished governm The Overcoat = The Cloak, Nikolai Gogol The Overcoat is a short story by Ukrainian-born Russian author Nikolai Gogol, published in 1842. The story and its author have had great influence on Russian literature, as expressed in a quote attributed to Fyodor Dostoyevsky: "We all come out from Gogol's 'Overcoat'." The story has been adapted into a variety of stage and film interpretations. The story narrates the life and death of titular Councillor Akaky Akakievich Bashmachkin, an impoverished government clerk and copyist in the Russian capital of St. Petersburg. Akaky is dedicated to his job, though little recognized in his department for his hard work. Instead, the younger clerks tease him and attempt to distract him whenever they can. His threadbare overcoat is often the butt of their jokes. Akaky decides it is necessary to have the coat repaired, so he takes it to his tailor, Petrovich, who declares the coat irreparable, telling Akaky he must buy a new overcoat. ... تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز هشتم ماه آوریل سال 1991 میلادی عنوان: شنل و داستانهای دیگر؛ اثر: گوگول؛ مترجم: مهین دانشور؛ تهران، چکامه، 1369؛ در 240 ص؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان روسیه - سده 19 م عنوان: شنل؛ اثر: گوگول؛ مترجم: محمد آسیم؛ تهران، گام، 1352؛ در 27 ص؛ چاپ دیگر: تهران، ادیسون، 1392؛ در 32 ص؛ عنوان: شنل؛ اثر: گوگول؛ مترجم: صادق سرابی؛ تهران، سیمیندخت، 1383؛ در 23 ص؛ فئودور داستایفسکی، گفته: «ما همه از شنل گوگول درآمده‌ ایم». بر پایه ی این داستان، نمایش‌نامه‌ ها و فیلم‌های گوناگونی ساخته شده‌ است. داستان «شنل»، به مقایسه ی افتادگی، و بردباری، با اخلاق خارج ار نزاکت افراد بلند پایه، می‌پردازد. شخصیت اصلی، «آکاکی آکاکیویچ باشماچکین»، یک کارمند دون‌پایه ی دولت است، که داستان خرید «شنل» نو، از سوی او، و دزدیده شدن آن، استخوانبندی داستان را شکل می‌دهد. عناصر اصلی این داستان، با شیوه ی کار «گوگول»، که گاهی واقع‌ بینانه، و گاه خیال انگیز مینویسند، مطابقت دارد. «داستایفسکی» این داستان را، منشأ کل ادبیات نوآور روسی، می‌دانستند. ارزش این داستان نیز، همچو: «بازرس»، و «نفوس مرده»، در واکاوی ژرف رخدادهای آن، نهفته است. از آندم که قهرمان داستان، متوجه پارگی «شنل» کهنه ی خویش، می‌شود، و آنرا نزد خیاط می‌برد، و خیاط نیز به او می‌گوید، که: «پارچه، آنقدر پوسیده است، که جای سوزن زدن ندارد»، همه ی رخدادها، به نحو جالب توجهی صورت می‌گیرند. قهرمان، برای تهیه ی پول شنل تازه، دردسرهای بسیاری را به جان می‌خرد: شبها چراغ روشن نمی‌کند، چند وعده غذا، و بسیاری چیزهای دیگر را، حذف می‌کند. تمام این رخدادها، کاملاً طبیعی بیان شده اند. واقع قضیه این است، که «شنل» نوعی «کمال مطلوب» را، مجسم می‌کند، که وقتی قهرمان، موفق به تحقق بخشیدن آن، می‌شود، به نظرش می‌آید، که هاله‌ ای از نور، دور سرش را گرفته است. ولی افسوس، که این سعادت دیری نمی‌پاید. در جریان شامی، که دوستان، به مناسبت این «رخداد»، برایش ترتیب داده‌ اند، «شنل» به سرقت می‌رود. این داستان واقع‌ بینانه، با پایانی تخیلی، و ناراحت‌ کننده، پایان می‌پذیرد. البته، خوانشگر، با توجه به بعضی قسمتهای خنده‌ آور داستان، آماده ی پذیرش صحنه ی پایانی هست، ولی شاید این پایان، برهانی هم داشته باشد، به نویسنده ی اثر، امکان ارائه ی طرحی اخلاقی، و خلاقانه را می‌دهد. شاید ظاهر شدن شبح «آکاکی آکاکیویچ» نیز، موجب بهبود رفتار رئیس مورد بحث، نسبت به دیگر کارمندان بشود. تأثیر داستان «شنل»، در ادبیات «روسیه»، پس از «گوگول» نیز، بیشتر به جهت جنبه ی واقع‌ بینانه، و روان‌شناختی داستان، بوده است. مدتها بعد بود، که معنی ژرف، و انسانی عناصر خنده‌ آوری که نویسنده، در اغلب نوشته‌ هایش آورده، آشکار گردید. ا. شربیانی

  2. 5 out of 5

    Paul Bryant

    You might think that a book called Evenings on a Farm Near Dinanka was not a guaranteed bestseller but that’s because you aren’t from 19th century Russia. They were gagging for evenings on a farm in 1832 in Moscow so Gogol’s first book made him famous at age 22 and he was on all the chat shows and was seen throwing shapes in all the best night spots. Then he wrote "The Nose" and a bunch of other stuff, he was firing on all cylinders, and then a play The Government Inspector which made all actual You might think that a book called Evenings on a Farm Near Dinanka was not a guaranteed bestseller but that’s because you aren’t from 19th century Russia. They were gagging for evenings on a farm in 1832 in Moscow so Gogol’s first book made him famous at age 22 and he was on all the chat shows and was seen throwing shapes in all the best night spots. Then he wrote "The Nose" and a bunch of other stuff, he was firing on all cylinders, and then a play The Government Inspector which made all actual government inspectors hate him unto death and he became the right wing press’s favourite hate figure so he legged it to Italy and wrote Dead Souls and "The Overcoat", two more smash hits. But he had some funny ideas. He thought God had appointed him to improve Russian society by means of satire but then he got writer’s block and thought that God was tired of him writing funny stuff and wanted him to be meaner so his next book was Selected Passages from Correspondence with My Friends (he had such a way with titles) and it turned out that (surprise!) he had become a conservative and was now supporting all the authority types he used to slag off. But this is quite normal, young firebrands always turn into reactionaries, look at Elvis. Anyway everyone hated this new version of Gogol. By then the God thing had started to ruin Gogol’s brain to the point where it was impossible to tell if he went mad because of religion (the kind that makes you think everything is the work of the Devil), or got his crazy version of religion because he was mad. He wrote Dead Souls 2 : Deader than Ever but then he decided it was evil or something and he burned it up and died age 42. *** “The Nose” is really something. This is a Monty Python sketch 133 years before Monty Python. A guy wakes up one day and his nose has vanished. He looks for it all over the place, can’t find it, tries to put an advert in the paper asking for information leading to the recapture of the nose, then the nose is seen here and there in the town, all dressed up in fancy clothes. This is far out humour. “The Overcoat” delivers a gut punch I was not expecting. The first half is forlorn and pathetic and funny too, but then it turns savage and bites the reader in the soft parts. And right at the end Gogol adds a paragraph trashing his story and pointing out all its absurdities. I wasn’t expecting that either. Note : the very famous 1001 Books You Must Read before the Second Wave of Corona includes "The Nose" but it’s not a book, not a novel, it’s a short story. So if they’re going to list one great short story, what about all the others. 1001 Books editorial policy can drive you slightly crazy.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Praveen

    I wanted to read Nikolai Gogol. his "Dead Soul" is among my purchased books. Meanwhile, I found this collection of stories, and to have his first-time experience, read one of its story "The Mantle" and very much liked it. This is a story of a short man, bald in front, face marked with smallpox and whose forehead and cheeks were deeply lined with a furrow. His name was Akaki Akakievitch, who became a titular councilor... How and who appointed him? Nobody knows! He knew only the work of copying doc I wanted to read Nikolai Gogol. his "Dead Soul" is among my purchased books. Meanwhile, I found this collection of stories, and to have his first-time experience, read one of its story "The Mantle" and very much liked it. This is a story of a short man, bald in front, face marked with smallpox and whose forehead and cheeks were deeply lined with a furrow. His name was Akaki Akakievitch, who became a titular councilor... How and who appointed him? Nobody knows! He knew only the work of copying documents and nothing else. Even when he walked in the streets, he never took notice of anything. He walked always in thoughts of his clean and regular lines of copies. Only when he collided suddenly with a horse's nose which blew its breath noisily in his face, he observed that he was not sitting at his writing-table but walking in the street. And then ...this is the story of his Cloak ...whose collar was getting smaller every year, for he had taken a piece of it every time to repair some part of  the cloak. One day when he found it very worn out, he went to a  tailor and discussed the possibility of its repair. Taylor said, " No! That is a wretched rag! It's beyond repair! So to purchase a new Cloak he suffered his body from abstinence, for months, by leaving his supper, to save some money..... Then he bought a new cloak......enjoyed a party given by his superior and while coming back from it, got robbed of his cloak.  Feeling frozen to the marrow, he shouted with all his might ...but all in vain. He got many suggestions and ideas...  finally went to the superintendent where he got a severe reprimand which became decisive for this strange man's existence. Then ....there emerges a new story from within this story and he gets back his cloak... Leaving a message for many! This story has depicted how even during those days, superior officials took things for granted and how they were misusing their authorities by not treating petitioners in a good manner, due to the arrogance of post and a kind of dizzy self-intoxication. Gogol has beautifully written many minute observations. I enjoyed some very natural conversations between a strange man and his tailor, as this diabolical tailor took a special pleasure in embarrassing his customers and watching the expression of their faces with his squinting single eye. I am going to read more of Gogol after this first try. "The Nose" is next for me!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Fionnuala

    Downloaded 'The Overcoat' to better understand Jhumpa Lahiri's 'The Namesake', and discovered several other brilliant stories in the process. Downloaded 'The Overcoat' to better understand Jhumpa Lahiri's 'The Namesake', and discovered several other brilliant stories in the process.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Mecham

    The Overcoat is my favorite story by Gogol. He writes in the absurd genre so sometimes it seems weird, but he also draws out human emotions to make his characters seem so real and makes such great commentary on life that he makes me want to read and re-read his books. There is a paragraph that talks about how all the people in Akaky's (yep, that's his name!) office mock him that stands out as one those passages that sticks with a person for the rest of their life: "Only when the jokes were too un The Overcoat is my favorite story by Gogol. He writes in the absurd genre so sometimes it seems weird, but he also draws out human emotions to make his characters seem so real and makes such great commentary on life that he makes me want to read and re-read his books. There is a paragraph that talks about how all the people in Akaky's (yep, that's his name!) office mock him that stands out as one those passages that sticks with a person for the rest of their life: "Only when the jokes were too unbearable, when they jolted his arm and prevented him from going on with his work, he would bring out: "Leave me alone! Why do you insult me?" and there was something strange in the words and in the voice in which they were uttered. There was a note in it of something that aroused compassion, so that one young man, new to the office, who, following the example of the rest, had allowed himself to mock at him, suddenly stopped as though cut to the heart, and from that time forth, everything was, as it were, changed and appeared in a different light to him. Some unnatural force seemed to thrust him away from the companions with whom he had become acquainted, accepting them as well-bred, polished people. And long afterward, at moments of the greatest gaiety, the figure of the humble little clerk with a bald patch on his head rose before him with his heartrending words: "Leave me alone! Why do you insult me?" and in those heartrending words he heard others: "I am thy brother." And the poor young man hid his face in his hands, and many times afterwards in his life he shuddered, seeing how much inhuminity there is in man, how much savage brutality lies hidden under refined, cultured politeness, and my God! even in a man whom the world accepts as a gemtleman and a man of honor..."

  6. 5 out of 5

    Adam Floridia

    "The Overcoat," "The Nose," and "The Tale of How Ivan Ivanovich Quarreled with Ivan Nikiforovich" are all about the most bland and/or odd subjects: a guy gets a new coat, someone's nose runs away, two guys become enemies over a silly insult. The fact that each story managed to keep me reading and chuckling until the end speaks to Gogol's quality as an author. It isn't what he writes about; it is how he writes that is so pleasing. Everything I have read by him is relayed through a tongue-in-cheek "The Overcoat," "The Nose," and "The Tale of How Ivan Ivanovich Quarreled with Ivan Nikiforovich" are all about the most bland and/or odd subjects: a guy gets a new coat, someone's nose runs away, two guys become enemies over a silly insult. The fact that each story managed to keep me reading and chuckling until the end speaks to Gogol's quality as an author. It isn't what he writes about; it is how he writes that is so pleasing. Everything I have read by him is relayed through a tongue-in-cheek narrator with an aptitude for characterization. I'm not sure I'm completely satisfied with the ends of these stories, but they weren't bad. My favorite lines: "All at once Ivan Ivanovich uttered an exclamation, and became petrified with fear: a dead man appeared to him; but he speedily recovered himself on perceiving that it was a goose , thrusting its neck out at him." "Whichever way you look at it, this is an impossible occurrence. After all, bread is something baked, and a nose is something altogether different." "His name was Akakii Akakievich. It may strike the reader as rather singular and far-fetched; but he may feel assured that it was by no means far-fetched, and that the circumstances were such that it would have been impossible to give him any other name; and this is how it came about."

  7. 4 out of 5

    Michael Finocchiaro

    Gogol was one of Russia's greatest short story writers and this is an excellent introduction to his writing before you attack Dead Souls which is his masterpiece. Gogol was one of Russia's greatest short story writers and this is an excellent introduction to his writing before you attack Dead Souls which is his masterpiece.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Ben

    I'm not going to comment on any of the stories in this collection individually, as I wrote reviews for each story, but I will only say that this was a most enjoyable read. This collection contains four works: "Old-Fashioned Farmers," "How the Two Ivans Quarreled," "The Nose" and "The Overcoat." Having now read these in addition to Dead Souls I've made the following observations about Nikolai Gogol: 1) He is very funny. There is humor to be found in all of these stories, and in Dead Souls, often I'm not going to comment on any of the stories in this collection individually, as I wrote reviews for each story, but I will only say that this was a most enjoyable read. This collection contains four works: "Old-Fashioned Farmers," "How the Two Ivans Quarreled," "The Nose" and "The Overcoat." Having now read these in addition to Dead Souls I've made the following observations about Nikolai Gogol: 1) He is very funny. There is humor to be found in all of these stories, and in Dead Souls, often laugh-out-loud sort of funny. 2) His style is playful. Throughout Gogol reminds us that there is an author and/or a narrator telling a story, that what we are reading may not be reliable, that if a character is to be described it is only because it is customary and not because it is necessary, justifying the incredible. He is part Cervantes, part Laurence Sterne and a whole lot of fun to read, often incorporating the fantastic and the absurd into his tales. 3) He loves writing about food. I don't know much about the life of Gogol the writer, but one would guess that he was (like Balzac) a bit of a gastronome. In almost every story he dedicates a good chunk to the discussion and description of foods, which can cause the reader's mouth to water. 4) He did not view bureaucracy kindly. Many writers (fiction and nonfiction) have taken aim at the slow-turning wheels of bureaucracy, from Kafka to Max Weber, but few have done so quite as humorously as Gogol. 5) He was a king of social satire. It may not need a point of its own, as it ties in to points 2 and 4 above, but Gogol's satire is always acerbic. He holds up a mirror to Russian society (and maybe we, as readers, can all see our reflections shining back at us, sometimes disgusted by what we see, but often laughing all the same, for Gogol dealt with Russian society, but there is something universal in his writing). 6) The detail! Even in his short stories there is often so much detail and it is not surprising that Gogol is often considered to be the Father of Realism in Russian Literature. Just as fresh as ever, 175 (or so) years on, I would recommend Gogol without hesitation to anyone. And I'm sure that I will be visiting these works again in due time.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Alan

    Gogol, who lived from 1809-1852, was decades if not a whole century ahead of his time. His clever, sardonic, cynical stories satirize the world of self-important bureaucrats in ways that still seem eerily relevant. In "The Overcoat," a humble clerk who spends his days copying documents, is shaken out of his routine when he suddenly acquires a splendid new coat. Suddenly, all his repressed desires come to the surface. I won't reveal the end of the story except to say that it is both funny and sad Gogol, who lived from 1809-1852, was decades if not a whole century ahead of his time. His clever, sardonic, cynical stories satirize the world of self-important bureaucrats in ways that still seem eerily relevant. In "The Overcoat," a humble clerk who spends his days copying documents, is shaken out of his routine when he suddenly acquires a splendid new coat. Suddenly, all his repressed desires come to the surface. I won't reveal the end of the story except to say that it is both funny and sad. In "The Nose" Gogol reveals himself as an unequalled satirist with a weird, surrealistic imagination -- and this was way before the invention of surrealism. Again, he's able to put himself inside the heads of government busybodies and low-level officials with uncanny realism. Great, though-provoking reading.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Bookbringer

    Enjoyed the last novella quite a bit, but not the other three.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Shom Biswas

    Akaky Akakievitch Bashmachkin is a tiny, nondescript, unremarkable man. He was born in St. Petersburg. He works as a clerk at some unremarkable (but nonetheless, let’s have no names) government office in his hometown, and gets paid 400 rubles every year for his efforts. There is nothing especially distinguishable or memorable about him, nothing that can be worth a story. But his is the story, written by Nikolai Gogol, which is the subject of the memorable quote ‘We all come out of Gogol’s Overco Akaky Akakievitch Bashmachkin is a tiny, nondescript, unremarkable man. He was born in St. Petersburg. He works as a clerk at some unremarkable (but nonetheless, let’s have no names) government office in his hometown, and gets paid 400 rubles every year for his efforts. There is nothing especially distinguishable or memorable about him, nothing that can be worth a story. But his is the story, written by Nikolai Gogol, which is the subject of the memorable quote ‘We all come out of Gogol’s Overcoat’ – famously attributed to Turgenev, Dostoevsky and other later Russian literary greats. Bashmachkin is a copying clerk, he likes his job the way you like any regular routine of yours – it is what you do, and you are comfortable doing it. He is good at his job apparently, and is glad to do nothing more than this specific job of his. He earns about four hundred rubles a year, which allows him a merely existential standard of living, alone in a small room in the shabbier parts of town. He is content, however, in this small life of his; and the only bit of sadness in his life is the condition of his overcoat – much-used, much-repaired and much-patched-up. When the bitter Russian cold comes along again that year, Bashmachkin takes his overcoat to the tailor, Petrovich, who pronounces the overcoat irreparable, and that Bashmachkin will now have to get another coat. But where will the money come from? Petrovich suggested that a new overcoat would cost a-hundred-and-fifty rubles, but Bashmachkin could understand that eighty rubles would give him a serviceable one. Still too much money. As fate would have it though, Bashmachkin gets a gratuity from office, and this enables him to buy …. yes … his new overcoat! Was Bashmachkin ever so happy! What follows is the tragedy of Bashmachkin losing his overcoat in a street mugging, and the futility in his trying to register his case with the authorities, and even being rebuked by a ‘Person of Consequences’ for bringing in such a meagre matter to his attention – to eventually his death, brought about equally by the loss of his overcoat, the sadness about his loss, the shame of the rebuke and the bitterness of the Russian winter. Oh and there is a denouement to the story too – which neatly completes the story and leaves the reader, and Bashmachkin with a sense of closure. On the surface, this is a simple story of an everyman, his tribulations, and a final denouement. But when you go deeper, you’ll see a satire of the conditions of Russia in the early 1800s, and a parable of the yoke of feudalism and how it crushes individuality. Bashmachkin is the representation of the common man that is victimized under a feudal command system and its social and economic structure – he is a man who has no grasp at all of the true meaning of freedom. And Gogol expresses it through the fabric of a simple, everyday story of that nondescript copying clerk. Gogol is considered the father of realism in Russian literature, and he, along with Pushkin brought about the emergence of Russian literature as we know it. He wrote about the people on the ground, his protagonists are everyday people, their troubles are your troubles and mine. The Overcoat is essential reading. Previously published at the New Indian Express.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Tejas Nair

    Out of the four short stories in this collection, I was blown away by three: The Nose, The Squabble, and The Overcoat. The fourth one - Old-Fashioned Farmers - was slightly difficult to read but it still aligns with Nikolai Gogol's general satirical views on regular life of men in the early 1800s of Russia. But more than that quality, it is his ability to draw humour out of regular actions as well as the power to imagine the grotesque (that also reminded me of Kafka) that is going to make me exp Out of the four short stories in this collection, I was blown away by three: The Nose, The Squabble, and The Overcoat. The fourth one - Old-Fashioned Farmers - was slightly difficult to read but it still aligns with Nikolai Gogol's general satirical views on regular life of men in the early 1800s of Russia. But more than that quality, it is his ability to draw humour out of regular actions as well as the power to imagine the grotesque (that also reminded me of Kafka) that is going to make me explore more of his works. A fascinating personality, which I already knew from The Namesake and its film adaptation. TN.

  13. 4 out of 5

    MJD

    I like Gogol's style. It reminds me of Lu Xun and Kafka. The stories themselves in this collection rang from the absurd (in the story about a nose) to the sentimental (in the story of the old farm couple). I like Gogol's style. It reminds me of Lu Xun and Kafka. The stories themselves in this collection rang from the absurd (in the story about a nose) to the sentimental (in the story of the old farm couple).

  14. 4 out of 5

    Ram Kaushik

    Superb collection of one of the great Russian writers. The stories brilliantly capture the atmosphere of the time. Gogol was a master at capturing the ordinary travails of ordinary people and the stories evoke a sense of tragedy and a wry bitter sense of humor. Highly recommended!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ash

    An odd collection. I had no preconceptions coming into my first experience of Gogol's work, which probably worked in my favour. There's something appealing about the way he handles the narrator, like he's present in the story even when the 'I' isn't. He passes judgement on his characters, describes each in enjoyable detail, revelling in conventions at the same time as he makes fun of them. The first story, 'Old-Fashioned Farmers', works as a good introduction to his style. I certainly found it we An odd collection. I had no preconceptions coming into my first experience of Gogol's work, which probably worked in my favour. There's something appealing about the way he handles the narrator, like he's present in the story even when the 'I' isn't. He passes judgement on his characters, describes each in enjoyable detail, revelling in conventions at the same time as he makes fun of them. The first story, 'Old-Fashioned Farmers', works as a good introduction to his style. I certainly found it well written, but it is not much more than that. A sketch, as the blurb calls it, heavy on description while light on everything else. Still, I kept reading, although admittedly it takes quite a lot to stop me. The second story, 'The Tale of How Ivan Ivanovich Quarrelled with Ivan Nikiforovich', I found my favourite of the collection. After a laborious set-up, the payoff is well worth it, deftly hilarious in several unexpected ways. The third and fourth stories, 'The Nose' and 'The Overcoat', blend elements of the supernatural with the mundane, crafting moments of bizarre comedy. While not as packed with humour as the second story, their satire is clearly present and well-handled, the author's narrative voice giving the stories an extra edge that they otherwise might not have. I found Gogol not always interesting or engrossing, but his style lifts his stories up to something else, something delicately enjoyable.

  16. 4 out of 5

    David

    The four stories in this slim volume may indeed be 'masterpieces of the form', but they left me as cold as Akakii Akakievich, the unfortunate protagonist of the title story. Gogol has a fine time skewering petty bureaucrats of every stripe, but after a couple of pages it gets old, frankly. Perhaps if I had a better understanding of the relative ranks of a collegiate assessor, a procurement officer, a major, a senate chief clerk, a field officer, a state councillor, a police inspector, and a dist The four stories in this slim volume may indeed be 'masterpieces of the form', but they left me as cold as Akakii Akakievich, the unfortunate protagonist of the title story. Gogol has a fine time skewering petty bureaucrats of every stripe, but after a couple of pages it gets old, frankly. Perhaps if I had a better understanding of the relative ranks of a collegiate assessor, a procurement officer, a major, a senate chief clerk, a field officer, a state councillor, a police inspector, and a district judge in czarist Russia, it might have been easier to appreciate Gogol's satire in "The Nose". Absent appreciation of these finer distinctions, the satire remains very broad indeed. Similarly, starting "The Overcoat" as follows just strikes me as irritating: In the department of ...... but it is better not to name the department. .... So, in a certain department serves a certain official ... Based on the four stories in this book, next time I'm looking for a story which pokes fun at bureaucrats and the bourgeoisie I'll take de Maupassant over Gogol any day. Onward and upward: Chekhov, Tolstoy, Turgenev and Dostoyevsky await!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Charity

    4.5 Stars Stories include: - Old-Fashioned Farmers (aka The Old-World Landowners): Very, very touching story of love and loneliness...or, at least, I think so. 4 stars - The Tale of How Ivan Ivanovich Quarreled with Ivan Nikiforovich: What happens when hurt-feelings, pride, and nonsense mess with a life-long friendship...hilarity, that's what! (Note to self: Refrain from using the word goose. Not safe in all company.) Very, very good story. Although, it really reminded me of something I might have 4.5 Stars Stories include: - Old-Fashioned Farmers (aka The Old-World Landowners): Very, very touching story of love and loneliness...or, at least, I think so. 4 stars - The Tale of How Ivan Ivanovich Quarreled with Ivan Nikiforovich: What happens when hurt-feelings, pride, and nonsense mess with a life-long friendship...hilarity, that's what! (Note to self: Refrain from using the word goose. Not safe in all company.) Very, very good story. Although, it really reminded me of something I might have heard or seen before (possibly in a cartoon?)...but damned if I can remember. 5 stars - The Nose: I really enjoyed the perfect absurdity of the story. Bumbling bureaucrats! Are there really any other kind? 4 stars - The Overcoat: Wow! I really wasn't expecting such a magical story. I mean, I just knew that something was coming involving the overcoat (the foreboding was overwhelming), but what I got?....Wow! Not at all what I was expecting. Amazing! This story alone might be enough to make me a Gogol fan. 5 stars

  18. 4 out of 5

    Frank

    Gogol claims he wishes he could use words the way that artists use paint. Regardless, his words are more than sufficient to fill these tales of 19th-century Russian folk life with acute observations. The stories are not too long and not too short. I got a sense of Russian life and personalities. And it seems that human personalities and foibles have not changed much in the 150 years since he wrote. 'The Overcoat' deserves to be called a classic in my humble opinion. Gogol claims he wishes he could use words the way that artists use paint. Regardless, his words are more than sufficient to fill these tales of 19th-century Russian folk life with acute observations. The stories are not too long and not too short. I got a sense of Russian life and personalities. And it seems that human personalities and foibles have not changed much in the 150 years since he wrote. 'The Overcoat' deserves to be called a classic in my humble opinion.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sophy H

    As there are so many different versions of this book, it's hard to find the right one. The paperback version I read has the stories The Overcoat, The Nose, The Diary of a Madman, A May Night & The Viy. It has the front cover as above. A fabulous collection of short stories which are more like peasant folklore. Hilarious, silly, creepy, profound, delightful. Took me around 1.5 hours to read the whole book; a good little distraction for a Monday evening! As there are so many different versions of this book, it's hard to find the right one. The paperback version I read has the stories The Overcoat, The Nose, The Diary of a Madman, A May Night & The Viy. It has the front cover as above. A fabulous collection of short stories which are more like peasant folklore. Hilarious, silly, creepy, profound, delightful. Took me around 1.5 hours to read the whole book; a good little distraction for a Monday evening!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Anders

    Finally reading these famous short stories of Gogol's. My dad read them in the past few years and rather enjoyed them so I had had them on the backburner for a while--No more! They were pretty good. I had a nice little discussion with my dad about their similarities with Kafka and how I thought Gogol was doing something different. More folktale than absurdity. Lots of Russian character to get into. I think the Ivans was my favorite. Finally reading these famous short stories of Gogol's. My dad read them in the past few years and rather enjoyed them so I had had them on the backburner for a while--No more! They were pretty good. I had a nice little discussion with my dad about their similarities with Kafka and how I thought Gogol was doing something different. More folktale than absurdity. Lots of Russian character to get into. I think the Ivans was my favorite.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Anthe

    Mystic/satiric short stories where the author himself can’t even explain how the events possibly could have happened. Such as The Nose, where a nose removes itself from someone’s face and passes itself off as a State counselor in Russia.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Barbara McEwen

    3.5 stars

  23. 4 out of 5

    Irmak ☾

    Old-Fashioned Farmers - 4 stars. The Tale of How Ivan Ivanovich Quarrelled with Ivan Nikiforovich - 3.5 stars. The Nose - 4 stars. The Overcoat - 4 stars.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Conor Ahern

    These did nothing for me, I must say. I think this is too remote--culturally and chronologically--for it to really resonate with me. Interesting to see the foretaste of much of what characterizes Soviet bureaucracy and misery preceding the Revolution, though, and to think that they may have been less creations than innate causes of their future manifestations.

  25. 5 out of 5

    C. J. Scurria

    A fantastic piece of literature. Nikolai was a wonder and this was the first work by him that I had read. He seems to delve in satire, surrealism, and just craft well-made, fun stories. "Old-Fashioned Farmers" stars a bickering couple who seem to enjoy ribbing and poking fun at each other until a small event leads to tragic consequences. "The Tale of How Ivan Ivanovich Quarrelled with Ivan Nikiforovich" is about two similarly named once called friends who only relate in their feud with each other a A fantastic piece of literature. Nikolai was a wonder and this was the first work by him that I had read. He seems to delve in satire, surrealism, and just craft well-made, fun stories. "Old-Fashioned Farmers" stars a bickering couple who seem to enjoy ribbing and poking fun at each other until a small event leads to tragic consequences. "The Tale of How Ivan Ivanovich Quarrelled with Ivan Nikiforovich" is about two similarly named once called friends who only relate in their feud with each other and seems to draw on how futile it is to quarrel with ones (especially over long periods of time). "The Nose" is a wonderfully fun work detailing how the nose quite literally makes a Russian man and his quest to solve his strange medical problem. Great satire in my opinion. And all of these detail one of my favorite subjects to learn about. Other cultures. I love getting into other "worlds" when it comes to hearing of food and clothes that come from other parts of the world, away from where I live. I think that if you are interested you should get into reading Nikolai too. Also I admit I have had an unusual experience trying this book. My dad bought this either at a church sale or other place and it came with a fun little bonus: it had a clip-on type of "cat" book-mark. What made that fun was it was like a tease about the first story about the couple and their cat! This seems to be a great introduction to a well-loved writer. Get it if you have the chance.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Chuddchutney Buana

    Wandering around through pages of The Overcoat is simply not an easy task. The language that Gogol use is just so old school literature, very hard to chew every words. That's why it took more than a month for me to finish this book ( While the pages are quite thin, only lingering about no more than 200 pages). But, this is a kind of book, that while you might not enjoyed reading it, but the impact resides in you long after you read it. The short stories that Gogol told, either it's the mistifyin Wandering around through pages of The Overcoat is simply not an easy task. The language that Gogol use is just so old school literature, very hard to chew every words. That's why it took more than a month for me to finish this book ( While the pages are quite thin, only lingering about no more than 200 pages). But, this is a kind of book, that while you might not enjoyed reading it, but the impact resides in you long after you read it. The short stories that Gogol told, either it's the mistifying satirical The Nose, or the Titular tragic The Overcoat, is so great that it keeps haunting the minds.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    Another testament to Russian literature. Incredibly descriptive, perceptive, hilarious, and thought provoking at the same time. While some of his short stories in this volume are surreal and slightly dark (still with strings of humor woven in), I found his descriptions of the Ukrainian countryside and quiet life of the people who live there really quite endearing.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Maddie

    Four short stories exemplifying the tragedy and absurdity of life in Russia/Ukraine in the early 1800s. What I learned: Be grateful that you weren’t living in Russia/Ukraine in the early 1800s. Also, Gogol is surprisingly funny. Ivan Ivanovich’s letter justifying his complaints about the other Ivan was fantastic!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Gordan Karlic

    Overcoat - 5 Nevsky Prospekt - 3 Nose - 3 Diary of a Madman - 3 Fortunately Overcoat was so good, but unfortunately, rest of the stories weren't. I like what Gogol is trying to say but don't really like his writing style it is dry and boring at least to me. Overcoat - 5 Nevsky Prospekt - 3 Nose - 3 Diary of a Madman - 3 Fortunately Overcoat was so good, but unfortunately, rest of the stories weren't. I like what Gogol is trying to say but don't really like his writing style it is dry and boring at least to me.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

    I read this for my Russian Literature class. Russian books are generally really great because they're so dark. Gogol is dark, but also super funny. I like that. I read this for my Russian Literature class. Russian books are generally really great because they're so dark. Gogol is dark, but also super funny. I like that.

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