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 appendices 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 Deal 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
Nikolai Gogol (1809-1852), Russian short-story writer, novelist, and playwright, is best known for his novel Dead Souls, his play The Inspector-General, and stories such as "The Nose" and "The Overcoat." Bernard Guilbert Guerney (1894-1979) was a bookstore owner, fiction writer, and translator of Russian literature. Susanne Fusso is associate professor of Russian at Wesleyan University. She is the author of Designing Dead Souls: An Anatomy of Disorder in Gogol.