Is Dead Souls a novel or a prose poem?

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Gogol himself referred to "Dead Souls" as an "epic poem in prose," as well as a "novel in verse." This, then, leads the reader to decide on his or her own which is the most true.

While Dead Souls does exhibit the qualities of poetry, much like Beowulf, its narrative qualities...

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Gogol himself referred to "Dead Souls" as an "epic poem in prose," as well as a "novel in verse." This, then, leads the reader to decide on his or her own which is the most true.

While Dead Souls does exhibit the qualities of poetry, much like Beowulf, its narrative qualities and above-average plot line render it toward having all the traits of a top-notch novel.

There are those who would argue, logically, that this epic reflects the timeless characteristics seen in some Shakespearean works, also written in verse. However, in that same vein, we must not overlook the endearing and near-American unfolding of events within the story itself. Such narrative development leads us to conclude that perhaps this work is indeed a novel in the form of poetry, meaning that "prose poem" could be the most appropriate title for its medium. In the end, readers must decide for themselves. 

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