Tuesday, 27 July 2010

The Pen of Akaky by Nikolai Gogol

It would be difficult to find another man who lived so entirely for his duties. It is not enough to say that Akaky laboured with zeal: no, he laboured with love. In his copying, he found a varied and agreeable employment. Enjoyment was written on his face: some letters were even favourites with him; and when he encountered these, he smiled, winked, and worked with his lips, till it seemed as though each letter might be read in his face, as his pen traced it.

Nikolai Gogol, The Overcoat, first published 1842.

On Gogol's Overcoat and Akaky's diligence with the pen (and much more), read Ciphers, Poshlost and Language Fails in Only Words to Play With.

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