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Dead Souls


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About the Author

Nikolai Gogol (1809-1852), Russian short-story writer, novelist, and playwright, is best known for his novel Dead Souls, his play The Inspector-General, and stories such as "The Nose" and "The Overcoat." Bernard Guilbert Guerney (1894-1979) was a bookstore owner, fiction writer, and translator of Russian literature. Susanne Fusso is associate professor of Russian at Wesleyan University. She is the author of Designing Dead Souls: An Anatomy of Disorder in Gogol.


"Bernard Guilbert Guerney . . . created the first translation sufficiently precise to meet the approval of the exacting Vladimir Nabokov. This 1942 edition breathes vitality and humour and stood as the most accurate to date. For good reason, then, Susanne Fusso chose to revise this version. Guerney's philosophy of translation entailed capturing the spirit rather than the letter of the text. . . . This updated and admirable accurate translation is the more poetic and elevated version, with more consistently formal and complex English. The result is a refined and faithful rendition."-Zenon M. Feszczak, Slavic and East European Journal

"I am delighted that Guerney's translation of Dead Souls [is] available again. It is head and shoulders above all the others, for Guerney understands that to 'translate' Gogol is necessarily to undertake a poetic recreation, and he does so brilliantly."-Robert A. Maguire, Columbia University

"The Guerney translation of Dead Souls is the only translation I know of that makes any serious attempt to approximate the qualities of Gogol's style-exuberant, erratic, 'Baroque,' bizarre."-Hugh McLean, University of California, Berkeley

"A splendidly revised and edited edition of Bernard Guerney's classic English translation of Gogol's Dead Souls. The distinguished Gogol scholar Susanne Fusso may have brought us as close as the English reader may ever expect to come to Gogol's masterpiece. No student, scholar, or general reader will want to miss this updated, refined version of one of the most delightful and sublime works of Russian literature."-Robert Jackson, Yale University

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