❰PDF❯ ✅ Шинель Author Nikolai Gogol – Tshirtforums.co.uk

  • Paperback
  • 57 pages
  • Шинель
  • Nikolai Gogol
  • English
  • 06 January 2019
  • 9781419176524

10 thoughts on “Шинель

  1. says:

    It is a simple tale, on the surface. Akaky Akakievich (literally "Harmless Son-of-Harmless," but which might sound like "Poopy Pooperson” to a child), an impoverished civil servant and scrivener, must maintain his respectability by possessing a decent overcoat. How he gains a new overcoat, loses that overcoat, and seeks to have the overcoat restored to him constitutes the whole of our story.

    Dostoevsky has been quoted as saying, “We all come from under Gogol's Overcoat", and it is true that much of Russian literature can be glimpsed in this single short story: it is a satire ranging from buffonery to social commentary, a realist work rooted in naturalistic detail that sometimes descends to the grotesque and the surreal, and yet remains compassionate, maintaining its sympathy for all of us humans and our tragic and ludicrous plight. Not bad for a story slightly more than twelve thousand words in length.

    Which brings us to the distinctive characteristic of Gogol: he is a literary conjurer, with an extraordinary ability to shift from tone to tone. The Overcoat begins in low comedy, making fun of its character's name, then describes his shabby living conditions until we begin to see the dead flies and smell the onions. Gogol ridicules his protagonist's rigidity and pomposity, but then—when some younger clerks make fun of him—Gogol shifts his tone again until we grow to regard Akaky with an abiding compassion. From there, Gogol sharpens his social satire, tempering it with a comedy touched with pathos, and ends—not in tragedy, as we suspect it might, but—in nightmare and the supernatural.

    We'll let Nabokov have the last word. “[W]ith Gogol this shifting is the very basis of his art... When, as in the immortal The Overcoat, he really let himself go and pottered on the brink of his private abyss, he became the greatest artist that Russia has yet produced.”

  2. says:

    Recently I read The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri about two generations of an Indian immigrant family to the United States. The main theme of the novel was that the father Ashoke was reading The Overcoat on a train journey. The train derailed and this slim book saved his life. Indebted to the book, Ashoke decided to name his newborn son Nikhil but gave him the nickname Gogol, after the Russian writer whose works he adored. Lahiri even includes snippets of Gogol's life in her novel, but until now I had not read any of his work. It is in this regard, that I chose to read The Overcoat to get a feel for the story that had such a central place in the book.

    Nicolai Gogol lived a brief existence from 1809-1852, primarily in Petersburg, Russia, with a few sojourns to Rome. Gogol was a gifted writer who influenced Dostoevsky and Turgenev among others. Sent away to boarding school at the age of ten, Gogol lived most of his life away from his father, and did not have other family to speak of. As a result, he had compassion for the less fortunate of people, and this becomes evident in his famous short story.

    Gogol got the idea for The Overcoat at a party with friends when he heard of a civil servant who desires a new gun but could not afford one and saved money in order to do so. Thus, the idea for Akaky Akakyevich and his overcoat was born. Akakyevich survived on a salary of 450 rubles a year and could barely afford food or clothes. He was happy at his job as a copier and had no desire to advance in his profession or to marry. Living in a tiny apartment in the poor side of town, Akakyevich brought home extra work and saved rubles in a tin in order to have the means to afford repairs to his clothing.

    One year, his Overcoat was worn beyond repair, and Akaky Akakyevich saved rubles in his tin for a new coat. He convinced his tailor Petrovich in a drunken moment to sew him a new one for only 80 rubles and by doing so was able to survive for another winter. Despite his joy in receiving the new coat, Akakyevich's moment is short lived; however, because others coveted his coat and stole it from him. This fleeting moment sets up a memorable denouement that appears to be out of a folk tale.

    I thought The Overcoat was straight forward and accessible to read. I enjoyed the message that Gogol sent to his readers to have compassion on others regardless of one's station in life, and was especially moved when Akakyevich's colleagues took up collection for a new Overcoat for him. This is the second short story I have read by a Russian master this year, and I am glad to see that the stories are folktales in nature and easy to read. I hope stories as The Overcoat lead me to read some of the longer, classic Russian literature, and am glad that Jhumpa Lahiri's novel inspired me to read the works of Nicolai Gogol.

  3. says:

    2020 update: I'm bumping this up to all 5 stars on reread. This Russian tale of an introverted man and his trials relating to an expensive (for him) overcoat really hit me on second read. The characterization is so in-depth for a shorter work, especially as it relates to Akaky, the main character, his tailor, and a small-minded bureaucrat. There's also some really interesting symbolism relating to his overcoat and how it affects both Akaky and the people around him. Recommended!

    The English translation on Project Gutenberg (linked at the end of this review) from the original Russian is excellent, except that it still irks me that it's called "the cloak" rather than the overcoat. (It has sleeves; it's an overcoat)

    Original review: In my preparation for reading The Metamorphosis, I did some background reading of critical analyses, including this one by Vladimir Nabokov (thanks to Cecily for the link!), where he does a fantastic dissection (heh) of The Metamorphosis but also talks about Gogol's "The Carrick" (aka "The Cloak" or "The Overcoat") and tosses off wonderful ideas like this:

    "The beauty of Kafka's and Gogol's private nightmares is that their central human characters belong to the same private fantastic world as the inhuman characters around them, but the central one tries to get out of that world, to cast off the mask, to transcend the cloak or the carapace."
    And then there's this haunting quote, attributed to Fyodor Dostoevsky: "We all come out from Gogol's 'Overcoat'." (ETA: Even months later, every time I think about this story, that quote comes to mind.) So off I went to read Nicolai Gogol's short story.

    Akaky Akakievich is an absurd, pathetic figure of a man. His name would translate as something very nondescript like "John Johnson," except you also have this deliberate allusion to "kaka" (or caca = feces) in his name; one review site suggested you think of him as Poopy McPooperson. He is a "titular councillor" (read: minor official) who in fact does nothing except act as a human photocopier, all day, every day, for very low pay. He even takes his copy work home with him in the evenings. His only joy in life is derived from his copy work. Even being asked to make the most minor changes to the original version throws him into a tizzy. His co-workers make fun of him, but other than a pitiful protest of "Leave me alone! Why do you insult me?," he quietly carries on.

    Until one day, when he realizes that his overcoat has become so threadbare that it won't keep off the cold St. Petersburg winter. After a few skirmishes with his tailor about whether the old coat can be patched up or not, he caves and agrees to save up money for a new coat, which will cost like 20% of his annual wages. Gradually Akaky gets more and more excited about his new coat. And when he finally gets the finished overcoat -- lined with cat fur because marten fur is too expensive (sorry to my feline-loving friends!) -- it causes a sensation in his workplace.

    Of course, this being 19th century Russian literature, you know it's going to go south for poor Akaky. (view spoiler)

  4. says:

    “We all come out of Gogol's 'Overcoat" Fyodor Dostoevsky "

  5. says:

    My first contact with Gogol, and certainly not my last.
    This little book tells the story of Akakiy Akakievitch, a certain official in a certain department where nobody showed him any sign of respect. He was laughed at by his co-workers. That must be one of the worst thing that may happen to any human being: realizing that high school did not end (for a lot of people, it wasn't all flowers and rainbows). All the bullying, the bad jokes, the embarrassing moments that make you gently ask the ground to eat you alive, the psychological violence you cannot get rid of, all that, now... at your workplace? You have to love the irony.

    The Overcoat is, well, a story about an overcoat. It seems to have more importance than Akakiy himself, the responsible guy with the unfortunate name. That is another thing... mothers, what the hell are you thinking when you give your children ridiculous names? Please, spare them a lot of trouble and save yourselves a lot of money in psychologists and start naming your kids properly. I don't know why they don't change their own name into some fruit, weird magicians, comic superheroes, cars, cardinal points or whatever they seem to love. Especially you, celebrity people who don't know I exist and won't read this in your entire life!
    Okay. Rant officially over. (If you search for "Akakiy Akakievitch", you will understand. I had to do that because I wanted to know why the author spent several lines explaining how he got his name and yeah, I don't speak Russian.)

    As I was saying, this book is about (view spoiler)

  6. says:

    I am aghast that it took me until the ripe old age I am today to read this wonderful short story. Don't let my story be yours. It takes 30 minutes to read. Invest it today.

    Also, I read it because of Tadiana's most excellent review, to which I can add nothing of value. It's a must-read.


  7. says:

    The Overcoat

    ★★★★ 4 Engaging Stars!

    I first heard of this story while reading Jhumpa Lahiri's 2003 fantastic novel The Namesake. Since then, I've been curious to read it and I finally had a chance to do it. (If you Google "The Namesake and The Overcoat", you'll find plenty of posts analyzing the connection between the two).

    The Overcoat follows the life and death of Akaky Akakievich, a middle-aged man, that works as a government clerk in St. Petersburg. Akaky, whose annual salary of 400 rubles barely allows him to survive, is deeply passionate about his job. He's a recluse, neglects his appearance and never pays attention to what is happening around him. Because of his odd personality and isolated lifestyle, his coworkers constantly make fun of him, but Akaky rarely lets this affect his performance at work.

    One day after he notices that his back is hurting, Akaky soon determines that the problem is that his overcoat is so worn out that is not protecting him from the icy winds that blow through the city. He decides to take the item to his tailor, Petrovitch, to see if he can mend it. After some back and forth between the two, Petrovitch tells Akaky that there's no way to patch the coat and that he'll have to buy a new one.

     photo The_Overcoat_by_Nikolai_Gogol_zpsbxcyrhbx.jpg
    A stamp depicting "The Overcoat", from the souvenir sheet of Russia devoted to the 200th birth anniversary of Nikolai Gogol, 2009 (Via Wikipedia)

    Initially, Akaky is taken aback when Petrovitch estimates that a new overcoat will cost around 150 rubles, more than a third of his annual salary. But eventually, he resigns himself to the idea and, paradoxically, discovers that the quest to put aside the money has actually brought a new sense of purpose to his otherwise dull existence. After receiving a higher than expected bonus, along with some money he's been saving, Akaky is finally ready to purchase his new piece of garment.

    The day he receives the coat is the happiest of Akaky's life. Sadly, his elation is short-lived as a sudden turn of events ends with the loss of his coat, a devastating illness and ultimately, his own demise. Soon after he dies, Akaky returns as a ghost to haunt those that were cruel to him, in particular, a superintendent that refused to help him when the overcoat was reported lost.

    For a story published in 1842, I found the language of The Overcoat surprisingly approachable. Gogol's not so veiled criticism of the Russian political establishment as well as his sardonic depiction of government bureaucrats was particularly delightful.

    An engaging, well-written story that can be read in less than an hour. Recommended for those that enjoy classic literature and short stories.

  8. says:

    I absolutely love it ... Kamaszkin as a tragic character always moves me ...

  9. says:

    THE OVERCOAT is a classic Russian satire first published in 1842. It is an atmospheric short story packed with substance and emotion.

    THE OVERCOAT belongs to AA, an extremely poor man with an extremely undemanding, meagerly-paying government job, but he diligently completes his work day and night. He is criticized for his apparel and lacks social acceptance.

    THE OVERCOAT is old...torn...threadbare...can no longer be mended. AA is sad...devastated, he lacks rubles for a new one. He must curtail ordinary expenses for at least a year...no tea...no candles...he must walk on his toes to save the heels of his shoes and suffer hunger in the darkness of the evenings.

    THE (new) OVERCOAT brings happiness...yay!...a party to celebrate...social acceptance...and then...oh no!......it can't be!

    The story continues in a direction I truly did not expect, and if you want to be surprised, go in cold turkey. There are some wonderful reviews out there, but they give away the outcome.

    Enjoyed my first Nikolai Gogol read, and look forward to more!

  10. says:

    The Overcoat tells the story of life and death of one Akaky Akakievich, a government official in a certain department. The first part of the story tells us the personality of the Akaky and his poor living conditions. His job though satisfying to him doesn't earn enough to keep him well clothed and bred. He is extremely reserved and becomes a constant subject of ridicule. Through the first half of the story, Gogol places Akaky well in reader’s hearts arousing their compassion. The first half ends with Akaky through so much of labour and with many sacrifices becoming a proud owner of an overcoat. The second part of the story is where the reader learns the misfortune of Akaky as he is robbed of his overcoat and all his efforts at recovering his lost property is rendered futile. His disappointment and exposure to ill weather in the absence of an overcoat sees him to an early grave. But the story doesn’t end there. It becomes better for Akaky comes back to seek justice and takes revenge from those who had failed to help him.

    This little story tells many things: It exposes the poverty stricken lives of middle class working people; it shows the uncompassionate and bullying nature of the certain humans; it brings to light the inefficiency and unjust and unsatisfactory conduct of government bureaucrats of Russia under the Imperial regime; and finally through Akaky’s ghost haunting the officials is hinting at that someday the tolerance for such governance might end in a catastrophe (as was seen years later).

    Gogol is said to be a pioneer in realistic writing. His writing as is portrayed in The Overcoat is touched on real characters in the society and real themes that concern the humans and society. Dostoevsky once said that “We all come from Gogol’s Overcoat” and this is very good indication that how influential and great Gogol’s work had been on Russian literature.

    There is an easy grace in his writing which makes it undemanding for the reader. This is one of the best attributes in his writing. And his direct and at times sardonic writing is quite appealing. It is not right to draw comparison between the literary masters especially from different literary traditions, but so far the writing is concerned, I couldn’t help comparing his writing with that of Charles Dickens and Oscar Wild.

    Overall, I enjoyed this short work. And although personally I cannot put Gogol in the same line with Tolstoy and Dostoevsky, I do like his style.

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