Nikolai Gogol's novel Dead Souls is one of the best-known pieces of 19th-century Russian literature. Chichikov is a mysterious man, who arrives at a small town with a strange plan of acquiring ”dead souls." Marked by eccentric characters and heated town gossip, this story is a social satire that keeps the reader guessing. The writer himself described Dead Souls as an "epic poem in prose" and a "novel in verse." Although intended by Gogol as the first part of a trilogy, the story never saw a follow-up before or after his death. The satiric story has been turned into theatre, opera, radio, television and film productions alike, including the Soviet television miniseries Dead Souls (1984).
Ukrainian-born writer and dramatist Nikolai Gogol (1809-1852) is considered one of the most prominent figures in Russian literature. His unconventional works are often touched by folklore or a hint of the unusual, providing the reader with surprising turns and characters. Gogol has been attached to a range of different literary styles, including Russian literary realism and even surrealism. His stories include the short story "The Nose" and the famous satirical novel Dead Souls. Gogol's works have inspired numerous stage, film and television adaptations including the movie Inspector General (1949), based loosely on his play with the same name.