The Squabble by Nikolai Gogol
(Hesperus Classics)

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Nikolai Gogol’s short story is a sublime work of tragi-comedy. In it, he brilliantly ridicules the Ukrainian passion for litigation and reveals life as something really rather absurd. Ivan Ivanovich and Ivan Nikiforovich are the greatest of friends—until the day they begin a foolish quarrel that culminates in that very worst of insults: “And you, Ivan Ivanovich, are a goose.” From that moment on, not another word is spoken between them as they choose instead to fight out their differences in the courts. But it seems theirs is a lawsuit that is set to run for years and years.

About Nikolai Gogol

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Nikolai Vasilevich Gogol was born in 1809 in the Ukraine. His father was an amateur playwright who had a small estate with a number of serfs. From the ages of 12 to 19, young Gogol attended a boarding school where he became known for his sharp wit and ability to amuse his classmates. After school he worked as a government clerk. He soon began writing memories of his childhood. His quaint depictions of the Ukrainian countryside marked his style and helped to make him famous. Gogol quickly gained fame and formed a friendship with the influential poet, Aleksandr Pushkin. Gogol is largely remembered for his realistic characterizations, his rich imagination, and his humorous style. His works include Mirgorod, a collection of short stories including Taras Bulba. Gogol's wit is evident in his short story, The Nose, where a man's nose wanders off around town in a carriage. Gogol's masterpiece is the novel Dead Souls. In this work, a swindler plots to buy from landowners their dead serfs. Towards the end of Gogol's life, his creative powers faded and he fled to Moscow. Here, he came under the power of a fanatical priest. Ten days before his death he burned some manuscripts of the second part of Dead Souls. He died of starvation in 1852, on the cusp of madness. Hugh Aplin has translated works by Mikhail Bulgakov, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Ivan Turgenev, and Anton Chekhov.
Published August 1, 2002 by Hesperus Press. 144 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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The great gifts for farcical detail and satiric characterization that distinguish such later masterpieces as Dead Souls and “The Government Inspector” are amply displayed in these three earlier stories, set in Gogol’s native Ukraine (a.k.a.

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