Excerpt from Fathers and Sons: A Novel
The continuator of Pushkin's and Lermontof 's reputation was Nicholas Gogol, born in 1808 in Little Russia. He published several short stories, of which one, Tara Bulba, a sketch of Cossack life, is remarkable for its power and beauty. His popu larity and reputation were greatly increased by his witty and satir ical comedy of Realtor or the Inqbector General. In this he re viewed the series of Russian ofiice-holders, and exposed their corruption. This comedy was often acted, the Government being apparently willing to allow public opinion to spend itself against vices of administration which it had vainly tried to correct. Soon after this appeared the first part of his great novel Dead Soul: (mertbiya Dmfiz' which is full of humor, satire, and excellent de lineations of character, and is in no way inferior to a novel of Dickens. Soul: was the technical name for erfi; and at that time the Government, through the Board of Guardians, lent money to proprietors on a mortgage of their serfs. This story tells the adventures of one Tchitchikof, who went about buying up dead souls, i. E., the right to serfs who had recently died but whosenames had not yet been taken off of the registers, for the purpose of defrauding the Government by a fictitious mortgage. Russians first began to know themselves through Gogol's pictures. Owing to difficulties with the censure, Gogol soon left Russia, and went to Rome, where he resided several years. He finally returned home, bringing several works in manuscript, among them the concluding part of the Dead Souls. He soon died, very sud denly, and, it is said, by his own hand. Before his death, which was in 1851, he burned all his manuscripts.
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