Dead Souls is one of the most unusual works of nineteenth-century fiction and a devastating satire on social hypocrisy. Chichikov, a mysterious stranger, arrives in a provincial town and visits a succession of landowners to make each a strange offer. He proposes to buy the names of dead serfs still registered on the census, saving their owners from paying tax on them, and to use these souls as collateral to reinvent himself as a gentleman. In this ebullient masterpiece, Gogol created a grotesque gallery of human types, from the bear-like Sobakevich to the insubstantial fool Manilov, and, above all, the devilish con man Chichikov.
In his introduction, translator and Gogol scholar Robert Maguire discusses the protracted and troubled story of the novel's composition, Gogol's narrative technique, and his place in the Russian and European literary traditions
Includes a chronology, suggestions for further reading, appendices, glossary, map, and notes.
About the Author
Charles Boeckman's biography often reads like the stuff of pulp fiction. He left home in the early 1940s and became a jazz musician, traveling the country, kicking around between New York City and New Orleans. In between gigs, he purchased a used typewriter and began pounding out hardboiled stories. Eventually, the legendary Popular Publications editor Mike Tilden purchased one of his stories for Detective Tales. After that accomplishment, Boeckman began appearing in Dime Detective, Manhunt, Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, and many others. For ProSe Press, he developed the Johnny Nickle jazz-detective series. Today, he cranks out stories from his Texas home, along with his wife Patti, a formidable author in her own right.
Gogol was a strange creature, but then genius is always strange. (Vladimir Nabokov)"