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Nikolai Gogol (1809 - 1852)

Lifespan: 1809 - 1852

Related: 19th century literature - Russian literature - grotesque fiction

Related: grotesque literature - fantastic literature

“What an intelligent, queer, and sick creature!” --Ivan Turgenev

“I don’t know whether anyone liked Gogol exclusively as a human being. I don’t think so; it was, in fact, impossible. How can you love one whose body and spirit are recovering from self-inflicted torture?” --Sergei Aksakov

Gogol wrote in the literary tradition of E.T.A. Hoffmann (The Sandman) and Laurence Sterne (Tristam Shandy), often involving elements of the fantastic and grotesque. In addition, Gogol's works are often outrageously funny. The mix of humor, social realism, the fantastic, and unusual prose forms are what readers love about his work. [Apr 2006]

Works: Viy (1835) - The Nose (1836) - Dead Souls : A Novel (1842) -


Nikolai Vasilevich Gogol (March 31, 1809 - March 4, 1852) was a Ukrainian-born Russian writer. Perhaps his best known work is Dead Souls, seen by many as the first "modern" Russian novel.

Gogol was born in Sorochintsi in Ukraine, but moved to Saint Petersburg in 1828. In 1831, he met Aleksandr Pushkin, who supported him as a writer and became his friend. He later taught history at Saint Petersburg University from 1834 to 1835. He went on to write a number of short stories set in Saint Petersburg, including the Diary of a Madman, The Overcoat and The Nose (which was later turned into an opera by Dmitri Shostakovich). However, it was his farce The Inspector General, produced in 1836, which first drew him to the public's attention as a writer. Its satirical tone, which it shares with much of his other work, caused some controversy, and Gogol fled to Rome. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nikolai_Gogol [May 2004]

The Collected Tales of Nikolai Gogol - Nikolai Gogol

  • The Collected Tales of Nikolai Gogol - Nikolai Gogol [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
    This is the Gogolian surreal. Unlike most of what we call surrealism, it doesn't feel gratuitous, meretricious or trivial. It has the mysterious cogency of a dream, and the quality of realness that we hesitate to say is merely a dream. --The Los Angeles Times Sunday Book Review, Leonard Michaels

    When Pushkin first read some of the stories in this collection, he declared himself "amazed." "Here is real gaiety," he wrote, "honest, unconstrained, without mincing, without primness. And in places what poetry! . . . I still haven't recovered."

    More than a century and a half later, Nikolai Gogol's stories continue to delight readers the world over. Now a stunning new translation--from an award-winning team of translators--presents these stories in all their inventive, exuberant glory to English-speaking readers. For the first time, the best of Gogol's short fiction is brought together in a single volume: from the colorful Ukrainian tales that led some critics to call him "the Russian Dickens" to the Petersburg stories, with their black humor and wonderfully demented attitude toward the powers that be. All of Gogol's most memorable creations are here: the minor official who misplaces his nose, the downtrodden clerk whose life is changed by the acquisition of a splendid new overcoat, the wily madman who becomes convinced that a dog can tell him everything he needs to know.

    These fantastic, comic, utterly Russian characters have dazzled generations of readers and had a profound influence on writers such as Dostoevsky and Nabokov. Now they are brilliantly rendered in the first new translation in twenty-five years--one that is destined to become the definitive edition of Gogol's most important stories --Book Description via amazon.com

    *Gogol, "Viy," in The Collected Tales of Nikolai Gogol, pp.155-93

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