Just a quick reminder to any/all interested parties that I'll be hosting a group read of Nikolai Gogol's Dead Souls,
the "Greatest Novel of the First Half of the 19th Century"
according to a nearly five-year old post from our opinionated friend Tom of Wuthering Expectations
, during the last few days of this month as part of my 2013 Russian Reading
escapades. At least, I hope it'll be a group read; so far it's just me and two maybes if I'm not mistaken. I'll be soldiering on regardless, though, so please don't hesitate to read along or just argue with me at the end of the month--whichever appeals to you more. Until then, I'm glad we talked.
I read, and loved, this book a couple of years ago, so I won't be joining the read-a-long. I will stop by and throw my two cents in if I can.ResponderBorrar
I would not presume to argue with Tom, he is much more well read than I am, and you'll find out soon enough. There is much that is wonderful in Dead Souls, especially in the first part of the book, but on the other hand....
James, I actually read Dead Souls years and years ago but unfortunately remember virtually nothing about it other than that I loved Gogol's sense of humor. Still, encouraged by folks' like yours and Tom's enthusiasm for the novel and will appreciate partaking of your two cents' worth later on if you have the time.Borrar
I will acknowledge that there are other internally consistent aesthetic positions that will pick different books for that title.ResponderBorrar
Still, ah, it is so good.
Maybe I will also mention that what I am calling Dead Souls is a text that does not include the unfinished Part II, which is or would have been a sequel, a separate book.
Despite my little needling of you, Tom, I trust your judgement on this one--and it's not like you've steered me wrong very often that I can think of. That being said, I'm glad to be reminded in advance that the finished nature of Part I of Dead Souls is so very different from Part II; that's the sort of "little" thing that I'd totally forgotten about after having last read the book as a freshman or sophomore in college. In any event, I look forward to getting reacquainted with Gogol after such a long time since our last meeting.Borrar
Personally, I love the idea of a group read with just one person! It's a great PoMo statement about our multifaceted natures! :--)ResponderBorrar
Jill, you may get your wish--"great PoMo statement" or not. Anyway, thanks for your continuing support of my solipsistic reading/writing efforts!Borrar
I would love to revisit this--it's been too long. Has anyone commented (elsewhere) about preferred translations? I'm not sure I still have the 1960s Norton Critical Editions I had picked up used many years ago.ResponderBorrar
Dwight, it'd be great to have you join me/us for this if you can. I have the newish P&V translation to check out, both both Tom and Nabokov seemed to enjoy the Guerney or Guerney/Fusso translation once published by Yale University Press. I think the first version I read was prob. a Penguin edition, but that's just a guess at this remove in time.Borrar
I'll see what I can do. I'm having to travel soon for less than fun reasons, which has been taking up the better part of my time lately. At least I should have plenty of time to read while I'm in transit!ResponderBorrar
Sorry to hear about the "less than fun" part of the travel equation, but your plan sounds like a good way to turn a lemon into lemonade as it were. Eh, did I just mix metaphors? Anyway, will be nice to have you join us if time allows and you and I still have that Platonov to look forward to as well. Cheers!Borrar
I'm in! I've read Gogol's short stories, but somehow never Dead Souls. We have it on the shelf at home and I keep thinking it's a collection of stories. "'The Overcoat' is so good," I mumble, and pass the book by once again. Not this time!ResponderBorrar
Scott, wonderful--look forward to your participation! Loved your short story anecdote even though it kind of made me squirm when I realized that Dead Souls, which I remember liking quite a bit, might have been the last thing by Gogol I ever read even multiple decades later. How can that be when everybody's always talking about how great his short stories and novellas are? Uh... By the way, welcome to the blog! I rudely lurk over at yours from time to time--sorry for not saying hi before.Borrar
I haven't read any Gogol in about seven years, since I had the urge to revisit "The Nose" and "The Overcoat." So this should be fun. Like Seraillon says below, it will be a struggle to make the time but I will make the time. I will try to get ma femme to join the readalong. She's a tremendous fan of the Russians.Borrar
Scott, thanks again for taking the plunge on short notice despite time pressures and for your recruiting efforts regarding your wife's possible participation in the readalong. The more the merrier especially where "tremendous" fans of the Russians are concerned!Borrar
How eager I am to jump in but my damn job wouldn't ease up! I see what I can do. Dead Souls in my 5-year 50 classics list. Perhaps now is the time.ResponderBorrar
JoV, work!!! What can one do about that? But the Dead Souls group's looking more and more interesting each day for discussion purposes, so I hope that you can find the time to join in somehow (the timeline for posting is just a target, by the way--no worries if you're a little late to the party).Borrar
I know I said it on Twitter yesterday, but this is more permanent: I'm in!ResponderBorrar
Nicole, this is almost a legally binding contract now. Almost. Of course, I'm very pleased about the forcefulness of your decision-making in this matter whatever the legal ramifications might be!Borrar
I would love to revisit this too. It will be a struggle to find the time. It is always a struggle to find the time. I will find the time, please, yes.ResponderBorrar
Way to go, Scott--and I'll consider it a personal bonus that you were able to persuade yourself to overcome the lack of time so, um, persuasively! P.S. If I haven't told you this recently, you are a gentleman and a scholar. :DBorrar
Let me see what my calendar looks like. I might be able to get in on this.ResponderBorrar
Richard, it'd be great to add you to the mix if you're able to join. For peer pressure purposes, please see how Scott of seraillon just resolved the dilemma of not enough time in terms of his own personal calendar. An exemplary action!Borrar
I will order from library and hope to join in as I ve time now cleared last IFFP book for this year ,I ve yet to read this have read his short stories so this give me a perfect chance to try it ,all the best stuResponderBorrar
Stu, sorry for the delay in getting back to you, but it'd be awesome if you could join us--hope the library doesn't let you down! P.S. I need to read some of/all of Gogol's short stories one of these days.Borrar
I'd be interested in joining in. When do you intend to start?ResponderBorrar
(And as for Tom's accolade ... I suppose the other contenders for the title would be - as far as I have read, at least - "Persuasion", "Confessions of a Justified Sinner", "Le Rouge et le Noir", "Illusions Perdues", "The Three Musketeers", "The Scarlet Letter", "Pickwick Papers", "Vanity Fair", and "Wuthering Heights". I think I'll be cheering on "The Three Musketeers" myself, but it should be quite a contest! :)
Himadri, that'd be wonderful if you could join us! I'm planning on starting Dead Souls tonight since you asked, but the target for posting on the novel and/or just joining in on the discussions of the work is anytime during the last few days of the month--no need to rush if you have other reading obligations. By the way, I have no horse in the race in the best of the first half of the 19th century since that's not my favorite half century of choice. However, those 50 years do have lots of stuff I'd love to read (inc. Goethe's non-novel Faust) and all your choices (except for Jane Austen, who doesn't interest me) look like appetizing reads or rereads--I should try to get to the many I still haven't read. Cheers!Borrar