This rich selection of four short stories by the great 19th-century Russian author of Dead Souls includes "The Nose," a savage satire of incompetent bureaucrats and the snobbery and complacency of the Russian upper classes; "Old-Fashioned Farmers," a sketch depicting an elderly couple who live a happy but simple life in rustic seclusion; "The Tale of How Ivan Ivanovich Quarrelled with Ivan Nikiforovich," and of Gogol's most famous comic stories; and "The Overcoat," an exceptionally moving tale — considered a masterpiece of the form — about a poor and much-ridiculed St. Petersburg official. Includes a selection from the Common Core State Standards Initiative: "The Nose."
"To the door of an inn in the provincial town of N. there drew up a smart britchka—a light spring-carriage of the sort affected by bachelors, retired lieutenant-colonels, staff-captains, land-owners possessed of about a hundred souls, and, in short, all persons who rank as gentlemen of the intermediate category.
In the britchka was seated such a gentleman—a man who, though not handsome, was not ill-favoured, not over-fat, and not over-thin. Also, though not over-elderly, he was not over-young. His arrival produced no stir in the town, and was ac-companied by no particular incident, beyond that a couple of peasants who happened to be standing at the door of a dramshop exchanged a few comments with reference to the equipage rather than to the individual who was seated in it. "Look at that carriage," one of them said to the other. "Think you it will be going as far as Moscow?"
"I think it will," replied his companion. "But not as far as Kazan, eh?" "No, not as far as Kazan." With that the conversation ended. Presently, as the britchka was approaching the inn, it was met by a young man in a pair of very short, very tight breeches of white dimity, a quasi-fashionable frockcoat, and a dickey fastened with a pistol-shaped bronze tie-pin.
The young man turned his head as he passed the britchka and eyed it attentively; after which he clapped his hand to his cap (which was in danger of being removed by the wind) and resumed his way.."
This collection offers an excellent introduction to the author's works. Opening a door to his bizarre world of broad comedy, fantasy, and social commentary, the title story portrays a petty official's mental disintegration as he struggles for the attention of the woman he loves. Set during the repressive rule of Nicholas I, it satirizes the bureaucratic excesses of the era. Additional tales include "The Nevski Prospect," a portrayal of the feverish pace of St. Petersburg street life, and "The Portrait," a gripping depiction of a soul's perdition.
Dead Souls was first published by Nikolai Gogol in 1842, and is widely regarded as one of the best known Russian political satires. Written in the style of Dante’s Inferno, Dead Souls was meant to be the first of a trilogy that introduced a solution to this ailing system, although Gogol did not complete the following two novels.
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Into a small Pennine town a mysterious stranger is mistaken for a government inspector. Fearing discovery of their corrupt goings-on, the town's unscrupulous councillors attempt to ingratiate themselves. Bribes, backhanders and brown envelopes abound, and the young chap, who has an eye for a quick buck, takes full advantage with hilarious results.
Deborah McAndrew's version of A Government Inspector goes beyond literal translation, but is absolutely faithful to Gogol's stated intention to peel away the surface layers of ordinary people and expose the corruption beneath. It's exuberant, brilliantly witty and original, and audiences will revel in the references to government officials' expenses claims and women's beach volley ball...
Northern Broadsides, one of the country's finest and best-loved touring theatre companies, breathes life and vigour into this nearly 200-year-old story. Absurdly funny, clever and strangely familiar, this feels to be the next One Man Two Guvnors.
The production premieres at Harrogate Theatre from 7 - 22 September before embarking on an English national tour until December 1st.