I mentioned in my review of the Russian Library edition of Gogol, “The Nose and Other Stories”, that I would be posting on the subject of Gogol collections generally – and it’s certainly a fairly complex topic! Now, I own a reasonably substantial collection of Gogol editions, and here it is:

The Gogol tower…

That’s quite a pile of fiction from a man who didn’t produce *that* many works.. Breaking down the heap a little, some of the items are quite straightforward…

This is “The Government Inspector”, Gogol’s most famous play. Two versions of it – my original in the blue cover which I would have picked up in the 1980s, and the recent lovely Alma Classics version which I reviewed here. Nothing complex about that!

Next up, “Taras Bulba”. A Cossack epic, apparently… I haven’t actually read it and possibly won’t (but you never know). However, the completist in me picked up this lurid covered edition, again most likely back in the ’80s, because I wanted to have everything Gogol I could get!

“Dead Souls” should really need no introduction. It’s Gogol’s work of genius, and again I first read it back in the 1980s, in the David Magarshack-translated edition on the top of the pile. I re-read it in 2015 in the Robert Maguire translation and loved it all over again. The bottom version is translated by Bernard Guilbert Guerney for when I want to revisit it…. ;D

OK. This is where it gets more complicated… Gogol wrote a *lot* of short stories and the books above are the collections or individual stories I own. Though I’m sure there are a lot more out there. But here’s the thing – not one of these collections is *complete* and that’s what I actually would like! According to Wikipedia, these are the short stories/collections Gogol published:

Evenings on a Farm Near Dikanka, volume I of short story collection (1831):

The Fair at Sorochintsï
St John’s Eve
May Night, or the Drowned Maiden
The Lost Letter: A Tale Told by the Sexton of the N…Church

Evenings on a Farm Near Dikanka, volume II of short story collection (1832):

Christmas Eve
A Terrible Vengeance
Ivan Fyodorovich Shponka and His Aunt
A Bewitched Place

Arabesques, short story collection (1835):

The Portrait
A Chapter from an Historical Novel (fragment)
Nevsky Prospect
The Prisoner (fragment)
Diary of a Madman

Mirgorod, short story collection in two volumes (1835):

The Old World Landowners
Taras Bulba
The Tale of How Ivan Ivanovich Quarreled with Ivan Nikiforovich

The Nose, short story (1835-1836)
The Carriage, short story (1836)
Rome, fragment (1842)
The Overcoat, short story (1842)

But the thing is, there appears to be no English complete collection of all of these stories which I think is actually a bit shocking. All the anthologies select, and they select differently. Fair enough, but if you’re going to mix and match from Ukrainian tales and Petersburg tales, why not just do a complete collection with *all* of his stories for those of us who love his work?

As you will have seen, I have a battered old ex-library book containing the collected Pevear/Volokhonsky translations, which again is not complete but has stories I don’t have in other volumes. I want to offload it, frankly, which sent me searching online and I came up with this Wordsworth edition:

It was £2.50 and it has a really wide range of the stories, including the ones I was missing that were in the P/V edition… So of course I sent off for it and it now sits happily on my shelf and the unwanted one is in the donation box. The translations are mostly by Constance Garnett and I’m happy with that. It has a version of “The Portrait”, too and I’m going to be interested to see which one…

BUT! I am still missing things, although I’m happy to have near complete Gogol now. The two fragments listed above as being in “Arabesques”, “A Chapter from an Historical Novel” and “The Prisoner” don’t seem to be anywhere in any of the collections I have, and I’ve failed so far to track them down anywhere else. If anyone know if they’re out there anywhere in English, I’d be very happy to hear about it. In the meantime, I am going to have to hang onto all the varying collections I own to make sure I have as many of the short works as possible. Really – unless I’m missing something obvious, isn’t it about time we had a complete Gogol edition for us Anglophone readers???? ;D