"Dead Souls" by Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol

Dead Souls Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol, Ms. Susanne Fusso, Bernard Guilbert Guerney

Publication date:
01 Apr 1996
Yale University Press
304 pages: 207 x 142 x 17mm


Gogol's 1842 novel Dead Souls, a comic masterpiece about a mysterious con man and his grotesque victims, is one of the major works of Russian literature. It was translated into English in 1942 by Bernard Guilbert Guerney; the translation was hailed by Vladimir Nabokov as "an extraordinarily fine piece of work" and is still considered the best translation of Dead Souls ever published. Long out of print, the Guerney translation of Dead Souls is now reissued. The text has been made more faithful to Gogol's original by removing passages that Guerney inserted from earlier drafts of Dead Souls. The text is accompanied by Susanne Fusso's introduction and by appendixes that present excerpts from Guerney's translations of other drafts of Gogol's work and letters Gogol wrote around the time of the writing and publication of Dead Souls.

"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

"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