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*Read Epub ñ The Collected Tales of Nikolai Gogol è 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 KnowThese 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 Even if he had published nothing but Dead Souls, Gogol would still have a claim to be one of Ukraine s all time greatest novelists Luckily for us, he kept writing, and these excellent short stories show that his transition to becoming aRussian writer did not dampen his humor or invention one bit This collection shows off both sides of Gogol s output first, the strange, magical Ukrainian stories full of drunken peasants, quarreling landowners, hilarious religious bigotry, and fantastical adventures that he wrote to exoticize his homeland to his new Russian friends Second, there s theconceptual St Petersburg stories, which haverealist settings but no less surreal plots, with maddening bureaucracies, inexplicable transformations, and copious humiliations for the unfortunate denizens of the Russian capital The second half has thefamous stories like The Nose and The Overcoat, which show Gogol s gift for presenting absurd situations in a straightforward, even poignant way, but even the earlier stories have their touches of genius, often coming across as minor theatrical masterpieces or as undiscovered fairytales Almost no one was better at taking a mundane scene, adding an outlandish twist, and then following that wherever it led to emerge on the other side as a savage social critique. We all came from Gogol s overcoat Fyodor DostoevskyDuring my childhood, like many other kids, I was also in the habit of listening to bedtime stories They were usually told by my father or my grandmother My granny stuck to stories she knew already, either related to her life in her village or some anecdotes related to Hindu Mythology where there is no dearth of tales My father however had to come up with a new story every time in an on the spot manner These stories used to be sweet, simple, at times illogical but enjoyable nevertheless The topics used to vary but the purpose was the same, to put me to sleep with sweet thoughts in my head to carry forward to the dream world These are the luxuries one enjoys being a child but soon our dependence on such stories fades away and inadvertently we start finding solace in acomplicated network of words to excite us Lately I ve been reading some twisted literature and enjoy it too but thanks to Italo Calvino, I also became particularly inclined to short stories and started looking for some good collection by other writers and thereupon came across Nikolai Gogol Initially his simple introduction that I encountered wasRussian writer who introduced realism to Russian literature 1809 1852.Later after reading few of his stories, I searched a littleand found this extended introductionNikolai Vasilievich Gogol was a Ukrainian born Russian dramatist, novelist and short story writer.Considered by his contemporaries one of the preeminent figures of the natural school of Russian literary realism, later critics have found in Gogol s work a fundamentally romantic sensibility, with strains of Surrealism and the grotesque.But to be honest, I just don t want to objectify him with any of that literary jargon For me he is just a story teller who knew his gift very well and wanted his readers to enjoy his beautifully crafted tales with that child like excitement and curiosity For most of the time, I felt like being present at this imaginary set up consisting of a full moon night, with bonfire burning in the middle of a beautiful meadow in a nice country place, and a wise old village patriarch is reciting stories that his old eyes had long witnessed in his wondrous life The only difference is that those stories are not for children.This bizarre collection has generous use of outlandish and idiosyncratic elements conveying dark humor in its highest form making each single story worth reading and re reading Though of course there are some which are better than others namely The Nose, The Overcoat and The Diary of a Madman, which are mainly in the same league of brilliance covering themes such as alienation in society and status class anxiety imbued with ruthless satire These stories are heavily based on nonsensical musings and that s the very thing that would strike a chord with its readers i.e enjoying the supposed nonsense and making out logical interpretations of the same Some sources have revealed baffling implications of certain props Gogol applied to his works He definitely had a fixation with human Nose which features in most of these stories view spoiler As suggested by wikiThe critic Yermakov offers a Freudian interpretation of Gogol s fixation on noses as a form of castration anxiety Yermakov contends that Kovalev s missing part in The Nose represents his fragile masculinity In The Diary of a Madman , Poprishchin discusses how noses live on the moon and says, And when I pictured how the earth is a heavy substance and in sitting down may grind our noses into flour, I was overcome with such anxiety I hurried to the state council chamber to order the police not to allow the earth to sit on the moon Many of the nonsensical comments reveal his repressed castration anxiety as he constantly worries how forces outside of his control could emasculate him Another notable example occurs while he is being tortured by the grand inquisitor, when he randomly interjects, However, all this has been rewarded by my present discovery I ve learned that every rooster has his Spain, that it s located under his feathers In this passage, he equates the country of Spain to a rooster s genitalia obscured by his feathers This bizarre comment offers revealing insight into Poprishchin s Spanish fantasy as an attempt to protect his fading masculinity and sexual virility. hide spoiler
Do you remember that bit in Through the Looking glass where the Red Queen turns into a sheep Oh, much better cried the Queen, her voice rising into a squeak as she went on Much be etter Be etter Be e e etter Be e ehh The last word ended in a long bleat, so like a sheep that Alice quite started.She looked at the Queen, who seemed to have suddenly wrapped herself up in wool Alice rubbed her eyes, and looked again She couldn t make out what had happened at all Was she in a shop And was that really was it really a sheep that was sitting on the other side of the counter When I was a kid I was obsessed by this passage That a writer should make things up was something I accepted instinctively nothing could benatural than to invent incidents, people, even whole species, for a story But that the basic preconditions of reality the laws of physics, the relationship between senses and experience that these could be simply ignored, or blended at will that a queen could become a sheep, mid sentence, with no explanation considered necessary that just blew my mind.I reread this little section endlessly, amazed by how I would fall for the sleight of hand even while aware of it And that nonsensical line of speech Be etter Be e e etter Be e ehhis, silly as this sounds, one of the most talismanic in all literature for me It represents something fiction can do that cannot be done by any other medium A Terrible RevengeCarroll had the device down perfectly, and I reckon that s why the Alice books, despite being written for children, have such a hold over literary history It is easy to see that a queen becoming a sheep in 1871 is not far away from a salesman waking up as a giant insect forty four years later Reading Gogol s The Nose was therefore a bit of a join the dots moment for me, because here we have the literary ancestor of all such techniques I especially loved that exquisite moment where our noseless narrator first glimpses a familiar figure in the streets of Petersburg Something inexplicable took place before his eyes a carriage was stopping at the entrance, the carriage door flew open a gentleman in uniform, bending down, sprang out and ran up the steps What was the horror and at the same time amazement of Kovalyov when he recognised that this was his own nose At this extraordinary spectacle it seemed to him that everything was heaving before his eyes he felt that he could scarcely stand but he made up his mind, come what may, to await the gentleman s return to the carriage, and he stood trembling all over as though in fever Two minutes later the nose actually did come out He was in a gold laced uniform with a big stand up collar he had on chamois leather breeches, at his side was a sword From his plumed hat it might be gathered that he was of the rank of a civil councillor Everything showed that he was going somewhere to pay a visit He looked to both sides, called to the coachman to open the carriage door, got in and drove off.What makes this so wonderful is the matter of fact prose Kovalyov may be astonished, but the narrator is not In the unlikely event that such a scene would even occur to any other writer, it s very easy to see that, in less skilful hands, paragraphs of description might be dedicated to convincing you of how a two inch nose can have become a six foot personage capable of wearing clothes and of moving of its own accord Gogol makes no attempt whatever to convince, to persuade He just relates the impossible.For him, clearly, this epistemological malleability is something that has been inherited from folktales The earliest stories in this collection are basically Ukrainian folk stories, and I found them mostly tiresome and overblown Only later, when you get to the good stuff, do the earlier stories becomeinteresting in retrospect, because you can see where a lot of his techniques originated St John s EveThe unrestrained demonic hijinks of his earlier stories are gradually brought under control and funnelled into specific themes and ideas as in The Portrait , for instance, where a strong element of supernaturalism is used as a means to comment on artistic integrity Even in the straighter stories, though, an underlying uncertainty bubbles up into a sense of genuine weirdness, especially in the later works there s an almost Nervalian, unhinged quality that manifests itself in odd little unexplained narrative devices There is certainly something eerily convincing about A Madman s Diary , with its progressively insane dating system I don t remember the date, one entry is headedThere was no month eitherThe Nevsky ProspectThis collection culminates in the very influential The Overcoat , a story that oozes with proto Freudianism and that seems, despite its comic philosophical flourishes, to be papering over some underlying terror Neverthless, The Nose remains my favourite piece It is just so odd, so resistant to any satisfactory interpretation, and the idea that it might just be intended at face value is almost frightening What is utterly nonsensical, Gogol asserts with appealing simplicity, happens in this world This particular edition from the Folio Society comes with eleven beautiful iconographic illustrations from Peter Suart, a few of which are scattered above They complement Gogol s brand of formal weirdness perfectly. First this is not The Complete Tales The unlearned distinction between Collected Complete has angered completists the world over Collected means incomplete a mixtape of works that constitute, critically, the best this writer has to offer Complete means the totted up totality, depending upon what is being completed, i.e Complete Works is ambiguous and open to omissions, depending on what is classed as a work prose plays Just assume a fuller completion when it s Complete, not Collected Except in those rare moments when Collected means Complete In the case of Gogol, Yale U Press have the one Complete Tales in print, in two volumes, incorrectly lumped with the Collected Tales eds This beautiful Everyman s hardcover edition and, presumably, the paperback equivs omit a slab of material from Evenings on a Farm Near Dikanka, which only exists as an old Oxford paperback conflated with Mirgorod stories, suggesting the work is so lacklustre it doesn t bear reprinting For the sake of tedious exactitude, this edition omits all the story fragments, and, from Evenings The Fair at Sorochints , May Night or the Drowned Maiden, The Lost Letter, A Bewitched Place From Mirgorod, Taras Bulba is omitted available as a separate book from the Modern Library These tales, presumably, are found in Yale s Complete Tales The tales in this Collected Tales perform the Gogol mixtape function perfectly, from the rambling horror of Viy and The Night Before Christmas to the hilarious sinister satire of The Nose and The Overcoat Not all the tales spark and sizzle, like the slight St John s Eve and Old World Landowners, but the best of these, the bestest, are, at their bestestest, some of the premier examples of the Russian short story chilling and macabre, thigh splitting and mad.