Nikolai Gogol spent most of his literary career writing short stories, drawing inspiration from his childhood in Ukraine and his adult life in St. Petersburg. His stories are filled with larger than life yet relatable characters and perfectly described locations, and span many genres from historical epics to early horror and surrealism.
His influence on Russian literature cannot be understated: Fyodor Dostoevsky is quoted as saying “We all come out from Gogol’s ‘Overcoat,’ ” (presented here as “The Mantle”) and mentioned him by name in Crime and Punishment; Mikhail Bulgakov stated that “no-one can compare with him,” and Vladimir Nabokov wrote a full biography. Many of the stories in this collection have been adapted for stage and film, including “The Nose” as an opera by Dmitri Shostakovich.
Collected here are all of the public domain translations into English of Gogol’s short stories, in chronological order of the original Russian publication. They were translated by Claud Field, Isabel F. Hapgood, and Vizetelly and Company.
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