It's among my favourites of all time. It is funny, insightful and a scalding satire. The depiction of the many manifestations of poshlost are still relevant today. It is a great shame that it was left unfinished, but it is highly enjoyable in the form it was left in.
Overall though, I have to agree with >>7323767. Short stories are where Gogol really shines, and Petersburg Tales are his best work. I'm not sure whether the Squabble/Ivan Ivanovich is part of the Petersburg Tales. If it isn't, that one is definitely worth checking out too.
My advice would be check out some of his short stories first, to see if you dig his style and humour. The Overcoat, The Nose, Diary of a Madman and The Squabble are all excellent.
I've read the nose and the overcoat, liked them, going to read the two ivans squabble story tomorrow probably. I mean, I've really liked his short fiction, I was just curious as to whether he could write a decent novel. Thanks fa.m
You definitely should still read Dead Souls even if Gogol's short stories are generally agreed to be better. It's an immensely influential work of Russian literature.
Keep in mind that Dead Souls was incomplete/the ending was lost, so the second half ends quite abruptly. The bulk of the story/fate of the characters are addressed though so the overall sense should be preserved.
I recommend reading (or re-reading/going over) Inferno before starting Dead Souls. The first half is structured around the Inferno and Gogol indicated he would've liked to work the second half to correspond to Purgatorio/Paradiso.
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