Asterisk denotes entries on real places.
After Gogol’s hero, Akaky Akakievich, a meek and lowly clerk in the vast government bureaucracy, is assaulted by the bitterly cold wind of this northern city, he must have a new coat made. Gogol’s narrative suggests that Akaky’s decision may have led him into the clutches of demonic forces, and after his new coat is stolen from him, he strives without success to find a sympathetic figure in the city’s impersonal bureaucracy. Akaky dies from illness and sorrow, but after his death, rumors begin circulating that he has returned as a ghost to steal the coats of other people. The entire narrative, however, ends on a note of confusion or uncertainty, and this strange ending accords well with the enigmatic nature of the St. Petersburg setting. Although the tale evokes different aspects of city life–from the simple apartments of the poor clerks to the more elegant homes of the higher officials–Gogol’s narrator intentionally refuses to provide specific details and locations, thereby heightening the atmosphere of mystery and uncertainty that permeates the work.