A poll tax of souls
To count serfs and people in general , the measure word "soul" was used: e. The plot of the novel relies on "dead souls" i.
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On another level, the title refers to the "dead souls" of Gogol's characters, all of which visualise different aspects of poshlost an untranslatable Russian word which is perhaps best rendered as "self-satisfied inferiority", moral and spiritual, with overtones of middle-class pretentiousness, fake significance, and philistinism. Summary from Wikipedia.
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During the next three years, Chagall executed full-page plates for the Gogol book. History at your fingertips.
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