RORY: Oh, geez. Let the record show that when my application to Harvard arrived, we were watching The Brady Bunch Variety Hour … Man, this morning I was reading Dead Souls – it couldn’t have come then?
Dead Souls, a 1842 novel by Russian author Nikolai Gogol, widely regarded as a classic of Russian literature. The novel chronicles the adventures of a mysterious traveller and the people he encounters, and was intended to represent a modern-day Inferno of Dante’s Divine Comedy.
Gogol himself saw his work as an “epic poem in prose”, and within the book characterised it as a “novel in verse”. Gogol intended the novel to be the first part of a three-volume work, but burned the manuscript of the second part shortly before his death. Although the novel ends in mid-sentence, it is regarded by some as complete. It is very possible that Rory is reading Dead Souls for English Literature at school.