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The Nose (1836) - Nikolai Gogol

Related: 19th century literature - nose - Russian literature - 1836 - Nikolai Gogol - satire - fantastic literature

He stuck in his fingers, and pulled out — a nose! .. His hands dropped to his sides for a moment. Then he rubbed his eyes hard. Then again he probed the thing. A nose! Sure enough a nose! Yes, and one familiar to him, somehow! Oh, horror spread upon his feature! Yet that horror was a trifle compared with his spouse's overmastering wrath.

“You brute!” she shouted frantically. “Where have you cut off that nose? You villain, you! You drunkard! Why, I'll go and report you to the police myself. You brigand, you! I have already heard from three men that, while shaving them, your pulled their noses to the point that they could hardly stand it.”

Description

The Nose is a satirical short story by Nikolai Gogol, subsequently made into an opera by Dmitri Shostakovich. A short film based on the story was made by Alexandre Alexeieff and Claire Parker in 1963 which used pinscreen animation.

Written between 1835-1836, [and first published in 1836] the story tells of a St. Petersburg official whose nose leaves his face and develops a life of its own. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Nose [Jul 2006]

   On 25 March an unusually strange event occurred in St. Petersburg. For that morning Barber Ivan Yakovlevitch, a dweller on the Voznesensky Prospekt (his family name is lost now — it no longer figures on a signboard bearing a portrait of a gentleman with a soaped cheek, and the words: “Also, Blood Let Here”) — for that morning Barber Ivan Yakovlevitch awoke early, and caught the smell of newly baked bread. Raising himself a little, he perceived his wife (a most respectable lady, and one especially fond of coffee) to be just in the act of drawing newly baked rolls from the oven.

   “Prascovia Osipovna,” he said, “I would rather not have any coffee for breakfast, but, instead, a hot roll and an onion,” — the truth being that he wanted both but knew it to be useless to ask for two things at once, as Prascovia Osipovna did not fancy such tricks.

   “Oh, the fool shall have his bread,” the wife thought, “So much the better for me then, as I shall have that much more coffee.”

   And she threw one roll on to the table.

   Ivan Yakovlevitch donned a jacket over his shirt for politeness' sake, and, seating himself at the table, poured out salt, got a couple of onions ready, took a knife into his hand, assumed an air of importance, and cut the roll open. Then he glanced into the roll's middle. To his intense surprise he saw something glimmering there. He probed it cautiously with the knife — then poked at it with a finger.

   “Quite solid it is!” he said to himself. “What in the world is it likely to be?”

   He stuck in his fingers, and pulled out — a nose! .. His hands dropped to his sides for a moment. Then he rubbed his eyes hard. Then again he probed the thing. A nose! Sure enough a nose! Yes, and one familiar to him, somehow! Oh, horror spread upon his feature! Yet that horror was a trifle compared with his spouse's overmastering wrath.

   “You brute!” she shouted frantically. “Where have you cut off that nose? You villain, you! You drunkard! Why, I'll go and report you to the police myself. You brigand, you! I have already heard from three men that, while shaving them, your pulled their noses to the point that they could hardly stand it.”

   But Ivan Yakovlevitch was neither alive nor dead. He realized that the nose was none other than that Collegiate Assessor Kovalev, whom he was shaved every Wednesday and Sunday.

[...]

Collegiate Assessor KOVALEV also awoke early that morning. And when he had done so he made the B-r-rh! with his lips which he always did when he had been asleep he himself could not have said why. Then he stretched, reached for a small mirror on the table near by, and set himself to inspect a pimple which had broken out on his nose the night before. But, to his unbounded astonishment, there was only a flat patch on his face where the nose should have been! Greatly alarmed, he got some water, washed, and rubbed his eyes hard with the towel. Yes, the nose indeed was gone! He prodded the spot with a hand pinched himself to make sure that he was not still asleep. But no; he was not still sleeping. Then he leapt from the bed, and shook himself. No nose! Finally, he got his clothes on, and hurried to the office of the Police Commissioner. --http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks06/0602381.txt [Jul 2006]

See also: Nikolai Gogol - 1830s - fantastic literature

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