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Synopsis

Finally available, a high quality book of the original classic edition of Taras Bulba and Other Tales.

This is a new and freshly published edition of this culturally important work by Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol, which is now, at last, again available to you.

Enjoy this classic work today. These selected paragraphs distill the contents and give you a quick look inside Taras Bulba and Other Tales:

The fugitive from Poland, the fugitive from the Tatar and the Turk, homeless, with nothing to lose, their lives ever exposed to danger, forsook their peaceful occupations and became transformed into a warlike people, known as the Cossacks, whose appearance towards the end of the thirteenth century or at the beginning of the fourteenth was a remarkable event which possibly alone (suggests Gogol) prevented any further inroads by the two Mohammedan nations into Europe.

...All of Ukraine took on its colour from the Cossack, and if I have drawn largely on Gogols own account of the origins of this race, it was because it seemed to me that Gogols emphasis on the heroic rather than on the historical-Gogol is generally discounted as an historian-would give the reader a proper approach to the mood in which he created Taras Bulba, the finest epic in Russian literature.

...I have already told in my introduction to Dead Souls (1) how Gogol created his great realistic masterpiece, which was to influence Russian literature for generations to come, under the influence of models so remote in time or place as Don Quixote or Pickwick Papers; and how this combination of influences joined to his own genius produced a work quite new and original in effect and only remotely reminiscent of the models which have inspired it.

... But most of all he dwells on its heroic qualities, inseparable to him from what is religious in the Odyssey; and, says Gogol, this book contains the idea that a human being, wherever he might be, whatever pursuit he might follow, is threatened by many woes, that he must need wrestle with them-for that very purpose was life given to him-that never for a single instant must he despair, just as Odysseus did not despair, who in every hard and oppressive moment turned to his own heart, unaware that with this inner scrutiny of himself he had already said that hidden prayer uttered in a moment of distress by every man having no understanding whatever of God.

...He was one of those characters which could only exist in that fierce fifteenth century, and in that half-nomadic corner of Europe, when the whole of Southern Russia, deserted by its princes, was laid waste and burned to the quick by pitiless troops of Mongolian robbers; when men deprived of house and home grew brave there; when, amid conflagrations, threatening neighbours, and eternal terrors, they settled down, and growing accustomed to looking these things straight in the face, trained themselves not to know that there was such a thing as fear in the world; when the old, peacable Slav spirit was fired with warlike flame, and the Cossack state was instituted-a free, wild outbreak of Russian nature-and when all the river-banks, fords, and like suitable places were peopled by Cossacks, whose number no man knew.

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