Since its publication in 1842, Dead Souls has been celebrated as a remorseless satire of imperial Russian venality, vulgarity, and pomp. As Gogol's scheming antihero Chichikov combs the back country wheeling and dealing for "dead souls" i.e. deceased serfs who still represent money to anyone sharp enough to trade in them, we are introduced to a Dickensian cast of conniving petty officials, landowners and peasants, few of whom can resist the seductive illogic of Chichikov's ludicrous propositions.
NIKOLAI GOGOL (1809-1852) was a Ukrainian novelist, short story writer and dramatist, considered by his contemporaries one of the preeminent figures of Russian literary realism and a master of the grotesque. His plots are bizarre and intriguing, his humor unique and unmistakable. Among his masterworks are Diary of a Madman, The Overcoat, Taras Bulba, and The Government Inspector.