Written in the 1830s and early 1840s, these comic stories tackle life behind the cold and elegant fa ade of the Imperial capital from the viewpoints of various characters, such as a collegiate assessor who one day finds that his nose has detached itself from his face and risen the ranks to become a state councillor ( The Nose ), a painter and a lieutenant whose romantic pursuits meet with contrasting degrees of success ( Nevsky Prospect ) and a lowly civil servant whose existence desperately unravels when he loses his prized new coat ( The Overcoat ).
Also including the Diary of Madman , these Petersburg Tales paint a critical yet hilarious portrait of a city riddled with pomposity and self-importance, masterfully juxtaposing nineteenth-century realism with madcap surrealism, and combining absurdist farce with biting satire.
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