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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 nothingthan 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. 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 [Free Book] ♖ Шинель ♟ Four Works By Great Th 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 Downloaded The Overcoat to better understand Jhumpa Lahiri s The Namesake , and discovered several other brilliant stories in the process. 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. 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. 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. 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. I d heard from people in my English class to avoid this collection because it allegedly was too pretentious and difficult, but after reading it myself I can honestly say I haven t the slightest Idea what they were talking about I found this book really engaging and easy to follow the writing was beautiful and powerful all at once, not snooty or pretentious at all It was original, deep, enlightening and timeless, especially in that it never tries to focus on trends or fads, but rather lifestyles that continue to prevail in various points throughout history A reflection of Russia s cultural beauty and portraits of peculiar people, The Overcoat and Other Short Stories never tries to be something it isn t and it s strangely familiar and complex in its simplicity. I wanted to read Nikolai Gogol his Dead Soul is among my purchased books But then 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 furrow His name was Akaki Akakievitch, who became titular councillor How and who appointed him Nobody knows He knew only the work of copying documents and nothing else Even when walked in 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,did he observe 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 bought a new cloak Then 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.Then got many suggestions and ideas finally went to 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 good manner, due to the arrogance of post and a kind of dizzy self intoxication.Gogol has beautifully written many minute observations and 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 definitely going to readof Gogol after this first try The Nose is next for me