Dead Souls

Dead Souls


Brought to you by Penguin.

This Penguin Classic is performed by Allan Corduner, best known for his extensive stage and screen credits including Homeland, Da Vinci's Demons and portraying Sir Arthur Sullivan to Jim Broadbent's Gilbert in Mike Leigh's Topsy-Turvy. This definitive recording includes an introduction by Robert A. Maguire.

Chichikov, a mysterious stranger, arrives in the provincial town of 'N', visiting a succession of landowners and making 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 'dead souls' as collateral to re-invent himself as a aristocrat. In this ebullient picaresque 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. Dead Souls (1842), Russia's first major novel, is one of the most unusual works of nineteenth-century fiction and a devastating satire on social hypocrisy.

'Gogol was a strange creature, but then genius is always strange'
Vladimir Nabokov

'I admire the way in which Maguire has kept his own brilliantly variegated vocabulary away from 20th-century phrases, without ever looking parodic or antiquarian'
A.S. Byatt, author of Possession

© Robert A. Maguire 2004 (P) Penguin Audio 2021

About the author

Nikolay Gogol

Learn More

Sign up to the Penguin Newsletter

For the latest books, recommendations, author interviews and more