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Nikolai Gogol - The Overcoat


"The Overcoat" (Russian: Шинель, translit. Shinel; sometimes translated as "The Cloak") is the title of a short story by Ukrainian-born Russian author Nikolai Gogol, published in 1842. The story and its author have had great influence on Russian literature, thus spawning Fyodor Dostoyevsky's famous quote: "We all come out from Gogol's 'Overcoat'." The story has been adapted into a variety of stage and film interpretations.

‘‘The Overcoat’’ is the story of Akaky Akakievich Bashmachkin, an impoverished clerk who has toiled for a number of years in an unspecified department within the huge government bureaucracy in St. Petersburg. The tale is told by an unnamed narrator with a tendency to digress and editorialize. Critics have disagreed about how closely the narrator should be identified with Gogol and about how much sympathy the author intended his readers to feel for Akaky the clerk. In any case, the tone of the narration is at various times condescending, compassionate, humorous and nightmarish.

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Tags: clerk, narrator, Overcoat, about, Gogol