Dead Souls


Read by LibriVox Volunteers

(3.9 stars; 47 reviews)

Dead Souls (Russian: Мёртвые души) by Nikolai Gogol, Russian writer, was first published in 1842, and is one of the most prominent works of 19th-century Russian literature. Gogol himself saw it as an "epic poem in prose", and within the book as a "novel in verse". Despite supposedly completing the trilogy's second part, Gogol destroyed it shortly before his death. Although the novel ends in mid-sentence (like Sterne's Sentimental Journey), it is usually regarded as complete in the extant form.

In Russia before the emancipation of the serfs in 1861, landowners were entitled to own serfs to farm their land. Serfs were for most purposes considered the property of the landowner, and could be bought, sold, or mortgaged against, as any other chattel. To count serfs (and people in general), the measure word "soul" was used: e.g., "six souls of serfs". The plot of the novel relies on "dead souls" (i.e., "dead serfs") which are still accounted for in property registers. On another level, the title refers to the "dead souls" of Gogol's characters, all of which visualise different aspects of poshlost (an untranslatable Russian word which is perhaps best rendered as "self-satisfied inferiority", moral and spiritual, with overtones of middle-class pretentiousness, fake significance, and philistinism). (Summary from Wikipedia) (14 hr 43 min)

Chapters

Introduction by John Cournos, and Author's Preface 25:39 Read by David Barnes
Part I, Chapter I 37:00 Read by Figura
Part I, Chapter II - Section 1 25:07 Read by Topaz
Part I, Chapter II - Section 2 38:10 Read by Tysto
Part I, Chapter III - Section 1 29:38 Read by hefyd
Part I, Chapter III - Section 2 28:19 Read by hefyd
Part I, Chapter IV - Section 1 29:05 Read by Julie Levi
Part I, Chapter IV - Section 2 39:52 Read by Julie Levi
Part I, Chapter V - Section 1 23:49 Read by Euan Bayliss
Part I, Chapter V - Section 2 38:33 Read by Euan Bayliss
Part I, Chapter VI 34:54 Read by gmiteva
Part I, Chapter VII - Section 1 17:37 Read by Anna Simon
Part I, Chapter VII - Section 2 30:18 Read by Great Plains
Part I, Chapter VIII 42:55 Read by Michael Macedonia
Part I, Chapter IX 26:13 Read by Availle
Part I, Chapter X 29:22 Read by Diogenes Dog
Part I, Chapter XI - Section 1 44:28 Read by Anna Simon
Part I, Chapter XI - Section 2 40:04 Read by Anna Simon
Part II, Chapter I - Section 1 38:12 Read by Anna Simon
Part II, Chapter I - Section 2 33:05 Read by Anna Simon
Part II, Chapter II 13:57 Read by Gesine
Part II, Chapter III - Section 1 52:09 Read by Euan Bayliss
Part II, Chapter III - Section 2 43:23 Read by Anna Simon
Part II, Chapter IV - Section 1 41:31 Read by Anna Simon
Part II, Chapter IV - Section 2 33:36 Read by Kalynda
Part II, Chapter IV - Section 3 22:28 Read by Kalynda
Part II, Chapter IV - Section 4 24:39 Read by Kalynda

Reviews


(3.5 stars)

I hate moaning about anything on Librivox but I have to agree with previous reviewer, this is a lovely recording apart from THAT section which is unintelligible. I appreciate you can't judge accents or pronunciations in general and I LOVE many of the accents on Librivox, they add greatly to many, many projects, but this woman actually can't read! I challenge Anyone to understand it. A Real shame as the rest of this great book is so beautifully done. All I can suggest is that future listeners simply miss out this chapter and read the gutenberg print version if they are able to. I absolutely applaud Librivox for the great gift they give to so many of us who find print books difficult but, although I understand you do not sit in judgement over reader's pronunciations, there is a fine line between doing that (which is a GOOD thing) and letting a chapter such as this through which NO ONE could understand! It seems to undermine the point of the whole project!

Overall ok but one section unintelligible


(3 stars)

This was overall a good reading of the novel but one section needs to be redone. Section 14 part 1 chapter ix was read by one who speaks as if she(?) has marbles in her mouth and has a substantial lisp. Unintelligible.

ooh what a shame


(2 stars)

Such a classic ruined by a too politically correct proof listener /s. Some "readers" seem to use this media to practice their English language skills. Mouthing words with no umderstanding of the of the text let alone the writers overall picture. Such a shame ... c'esr la vie

Needs a chapter recorded


(1 stars)

I started listening to this wonderful work but then stopped. I decided to check just how bad chapter IV was. The recording is not understandable. It is both a poor a recording technically and vocally. If I had the talent to do so, I would volunteer to re-record it myself; someone should. Gogol’s work and the work of the other readers deserve it.

amazing book


(5 stars)

Gogol is a humanist. This book is a mirror to the human soul. It begs one to look inward and also is one of the first of many major Russian works that looks deeply at normal men. It's left unfinished much as you or I are at this moment. We'll read overall. One chapter is a challenge but well done!


(3 stars)

I also found the unintelligible portions frustrating, as they interrupt the flow of, in my opinion Gogol's greatest work and some say the "inventor" of the modern Russian novel. As for my opinion of the novel and Gogol's works in general, I can only give due justice by quoting Dostoevsky; " We (Russian writers) have all emerged from Gogol's Overcoat."

excellent journey with abrupt ending, much like life itself


(5 stars)

all readers did a good job, especially those who are also fluent in Russian. Hearing this delightful translation makes me wish I could enjoy it in the original; that would be a real treat.

very well read, (except one chapter)


(3 stars)

most of the volunteers did a terrific job, but the overall project is deminished by one volunteer, who almost everyone seems to find un-understandable.