M. Gogol started to write “Dead souls” in 1835 and continued to work on it till the end of his life. Most likely, in the very beginning еру writer highlighted for himself a fun side of his novel and created a plot of “Dead souls” as a much larger work. Gogol is believed to borrow the main idea of the novel from O.S. Pushkin, as it was Pushkin who had heard it for the first time in the town Bendery. Gogol worked on his novel not only in his motherland, but also in Switzerland, Italy and France. The first part of “Dead souls” was finished in 1842, and in May it was published under the title “The Adventures of Chichikov or Dead souls”.
Having been working for some time on the novel, Gogol widened its original idea, and that was when a three-part analogy of “The Divine comedy” appeared. Gogol thought up that his characters should go through peculiar circles of hell and purgatory in order to rise spiritually and to be restored. The author hasn’t been able to realize his idea, only first part of the novel was completed. It’s known that Gogol started his work on the second part of the novel in 1840, and few variants of the novel’s continuations had been completed till 1845. Unfortunately, the author ruined the second part of the novel the same year throwing it in the fire, as he was not satisfied with it. Any clear reason of this action is still unknown. There are draft manuscripts of four chapters from the second part, which were found after Gogol’s papers became available.
Thus, it becomes clear that both the central category and the main idea of Gogol’s novel is a soul, existence of which makes a human significant in modern world. And it is the key topic of the novel, and Gogol tries to point to the worth of a soul, giving an example of soulless and callous characters that form a special social stratum in Russia.