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The Diary of a Madman and Other Stories


The Diary of a Madman and Other Stories


In Nikolai Gogol’s short story Diary of a Madman, Poprishchin is a lowly Russian civil servant driven mad by his lack of status and his bewilderment with a changing world.

Opening a door to his bizarre world of broad comedy, fantasy, and social commentary, the title story portrays a petty official's mental disintegration as he struggles for the attention of the woman he loves.

Dead Souls has been celebrated as a remorseless satire of imperial Russian venality, vulgarity, and pomp.

As Gogol's scheming antihero Chichikov combs the back country wheeling and dealing for "dead souls" i.e. deceased serfs who still represent money to anyone sharp enough to trade in them, we are introduced to a Dickensian cast of conniving petty officials, landowners and peasants, few of whom can resist the seductive illogic of Chichikov's ludicrous propositions.

The Overcoat is about a government clerk who has his precious new overcoat stolen, Gogol introduces us to untrustworthy petty officials, not one of which seems willing to help him retrieve his prized possession, a fact that continues to distress him even when he is beyond the grave.

Hailed by Nabokov as "the greatest artist that Russia has yet produced," Nikolai Gogol left his mark as a playwright, novelist, and writer of short stories. His works remain popular with readers who prize his originality, imaginative gifts, and sheer exuberance.

NIKOLAI GOGOL (1809-1852) was a Ukrainian novelist, short story writer and dramatist, considered by his contemporaries one of the preeminent figures of Russian literary realism and a master of the grotesque. His plots are bizarre and intriguing, his humor unique and unmistakable. Among his masterworks are Diary of a Madman, The Overcoat, Taras Bulba, and The Government Inspector.


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