Few literary works have been so variously interpreted as Nikolai Gogol’s enduring comic masterpiece, Dead Souls. This Norton Critical Edition reprints the text of the acclaimed George Reavey translation, which has been fully annotated for undergraduate readers. "Backgrounds" contains not only Gogol’s correspondence relevant to the novel but also the four formal letters that set forth his views on the work. The editor has also included a useful chronology of Gogol’s life and an invaluable table of ranks in czarist Russia. A wide range of criticism includes Robert Maguire’s general overview of Gogol’s criticism; two nineteenth-century Russian appraisals; Donald Fanger’s brilliant essay; and a broad spectrum of twentieth-century Russian critical opinion. It features, as well, essays by Vladimir Nabokov and Edmund Wilson. The Russian essays have been translated specially for this Norton Critical Edition. A Selected Bibliography directs readers to resources for further study.