The Nose – Nikolai Gogol

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It was the two of clubs this week for Deal Me In 2014. Since deuces are wild, I got to pick an “ad hoc” story and decided to stay within my theme for clubs – stories by Russian authors. One story I’d heard a buzz about during my other Russian reading was Nikolai Gogol’s “The Nose,” and I had really enjoyed his “The Cloak” and “St. John’s Eve” earlier on in DMI2014, so I chose that one to close out my suit for the year. It turned out to be probably my least favorite Russian story of 2014. So much for wild cards.

“FARCE really does occur in this world, and, sometimes, farce altogether without an element of probability.”

I’d argue that Gogol’s story goes beyond farce. My dictionary defines it (farce) as “a light dramatic composition marked by broadly satirical comedy and improbable plot.” The plot of The Nose (a man awakens to find his nose “missing” later encountering it wandering around town in the guise of a public official)  is beyond improbable, which is maybe why Gogol inserts the sentence above at the start of part three of the story. If you think about that sentence, though, it’s self-contradictory. Something without an element of probability occurs? What?

Anyway, perhaps this story just didn’t suit my taste. Give me “The Cloak” or the darker “St. John’s Eve” any day and keep your “Nose” out of my business. 🙂

Read this story online at https://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/g/gogol/nikolai/g61n/

below: a statue of Gogol presides over a prominent street in modern day St. Petersburg.

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6 Comments

  1. Randall said,

    November 29, 2014 at 12:47 pm

    Gogol is hit or miss for me too. I think his style of writing and humor has not aged very well.

    Like

    • Jay said,

      December 1, 2014 at 8:32 am

      It’s possible that I was “in the wrong mood” for this type of story when I redd it, but indefinitely enjoyed his others more than this one.

      Like

  2. Dale said,

    November 30, 2014 at 7:23 pm

    I recall that your other Gogol stories sounded very good! I guess every author has a bad day. Speaking of stories, my 2015 DMI list is pretty much finished. I will probably post it soon!

    Like

    • Jay said,

      December 1, 2014 at 8:31 am

      “The Cloak” may be a nominee for story of the year when I do my “Shorties” awards at the end of year. 🙂 This one wont be nominated.

      Like

  3. December 2, 2014 at 12:53 pm

    Your ending made me laugh. Though I must disagree. I love “The Nose.” I’ll also disagree with Randall above. I still find his stories funny and his novel Dead Souls very funny. I still have not read or seen his plays…..

    Like

  4. Melissa said,

    December 5, 2014 at 9:15 pm

    I thought this one was so strange. Like you, I’ve enjoyed other Gogol work much more!

    Like


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