The Carriage & The Overcoat

These last two in the Folio Society collection of Gogol’s stories, which I finished reading this afternoon, each exhibit his dark humour aimed at the military and government classes; each concerns an attempt to secure a desired object which backfires.

The author’s fluid descriptive skills show the environment and personnel involved in the escalation of a bid for an alleged magnificent horse to become  a desire for an even more magnificent carriage, neither of which lived up to their expectations. As we move up the hierarchy it is apparent that it is they who are being ridiculed. The circumstances of the exposure of the falsities was farcical. 

Deception, and promises of unprepared splendid meals has been employed to ensnare a military gentleman in The Carriage, a story in which the deceiver is exposed by accident.

“…many times afterwards in his life he shuddered, seeing how much savage brutality lies hidden under refined, cultured politeness, and, my God! Even in a man whom the world accepts as a gentleman and a man of honour” – so speaks Gogol of a man who has been the butt of cruel jokes as he struggles to work at a boring occupation throughout his life. It is his coveted overcoat that is the subject of the story of which I will say no more except to show 

Peter Sturt’s illustration. There is no picture attached to The Carriage.

This evening we dined on more of Jackie’s penne Bolognese with green and runner beans sautéed in garlic butter, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Fleurie.


  1. Gogol’s Akakiy Akakievich would be quite satisfied with his boring job if it were not for his co-workers mistreating him. Gogol makes a point of emphasizing it. The character has become a symbol of a limited little man who is happy with his little lot yet does not understand why others are invariably mean to him. His ghost, appearing at the end, is not vengeful; he is simply trying to solve this puzzle.

  2. Mr. Gogol…an amazing writer!
    Mr. Sturt…an amazing illustrator/artist!
    Mr. Knight…Thank you for sharing them, and your great reviews, with us! I so enjoy your reviews!
    (((HUGS))) 🙂 ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ 🙂
    PS…Last night we made homemade Minestra Maritata (Italian Wedding soup)! 🙂

  3. I love the illustrations, so rich, almost a deep blood red.
    And while I remember to tell you, Otter Nurseries is on the schedule for Saturday. 🙂

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