Dead Souls

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The Dead Souls written by Nikolay Gogol in 1842 is not only a masterpiece of Russian literature but also a deep timeless social satire. The plot is evolving around enterprising protagonist Mr. Chichikov who is being sent to a small town NN where he is buying from local landlords “dead souls or the rights to own serfs which are “souls” only on the property register, but not a living people. (In Russian Empire before the emancipation of the serfs in 1861, landowners had rights to own serfs to farm their land; serfs were considered the properties of the landowner, who could buy, sell and mortgage them). By masterfully depicting a series of characters such as Korobochka, Plushkin, Manilov and others, Gogol creates compelling collective images of his contemporaries which appear to be quite likable, but at the same time they strike the reader with their greed, ignorance, hypocrisy, venality and pomposity - all are characteristics of the 19th century Russian society.
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