top of page

The Overcoat


The Overcoat is acknowledged as one of the greatest achievements of Nikolai Gogol’s (1809-1852) genius. Appraised by both contemporaries and greatest Russian classics of the years to follow (Dostoevsky noted, “We all come from Gogol’s Overcoat), the story tells a moving and poignant tale of a poor and much-ridiculed St Petersburg official. With compassion and a gentle humor Gogol follows the social misfit’s quest for the return of his so difficultly gained and stolen overcoat, and the fantastic and even surreal manner of the small man’s revenge on his counterpart, the Very Important Person.

The slender black-and-white illustrations, made with pen and ink by a theater design artist Elena Avinova, brilliantly capture the grim backdrop and dehumanizing conditions of the protagonist’s living. Avinova demonstrates a genuine page layout that reaches for the perfect pace of the storyline perception and elegantly sets accents in Gogol’s text. Her characters are inherent to the 19th century Petersburg, yet totally recognizable for the new younger generation of readers. The portrait of Akakiy Akakievich himself is both grotesque and totally sympathetic, and, quite in tune with the fantastic elements in Gogol’s story, introduces the arrival of a modern-time super-hero of a bizarre St Petersburg type.

Natalia Osipova offers an accurate and precise adaptation of the original Gogol’s text that preserves the essence of this literary masterpiece, with only a few abridgments for the sake of conforming to the form’s requirements, and helps the artist to come with a fresh take on this celebrated classic story.


The Overcoat becomes the first title in the series of the Graphic Adaptations of the Greatest Russian Short Stories, made by Elena Avinova and Natalia Osipova. The whole series will include Alexander Pushkin’s The Undertaker, Fyodor Dostoevsky’s The Heavenly Christmas Tree, Leo Tolstoy’s Hadji Murat and Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull.

Book details

The Overcoat

Nikolai Gogol

Elena Avinova (Artist)

Natalia Osipova (Text Adaptor)

13 Black-and-white illustrated pages

Rights sold

  • All rights available

Literary awards

bottom of page