Image of Nikolai Gogol


Lifetime: 1809 - 1852 Passed: ≈ 172 years ago


Playwright, Short Story Writer, Novelist


Ukraine, Russia

Nikolai Gogol

Nikolai Vasilyevich Gogol was a Russian novelist, short story writer and playwright of Ukrainian origin.

Gogol was one of the first to use the techniques of surrealism and the grotesque in his works ("The Nose", "Viy", "The Overcoat", "Nevsky Prospekt"). Kornelije Kvas wrote that "the logical construction of Gogol’s The Petersburg Tales remains realistic, for the grotesque and fantastic elements fit in with the realistic matrix of events, following the logic of events that is close to the regularity of the unfolding of events in the reality that is accessible to us".

According to Viktor Shklovsky, the strange style of writing that Gogol used is more like the "ostranenie" technique. His early works, such as Evenings on a Farm Near Dikanka, were influenced by his Ukrainian upbringing, Ukrainian culture and folklore.

 His later writing satirised political corruption in the Russian Empire (The Government Inspector, Dead Souls). The novel Taras Bulba (1835) and the play Marriage (1842), along with the short stories "Diary of a Madman", "The Tale of How Ivan Ivanovich Quarreled with Ivan Nikiforovich", "The Portrait" and "The Carriage", are also among his best-known works.

According to Vissarion Belinsky and Nikolay Chernyshevsky, Gogol had a huge influence on Russian and world literature. Gogol's influence was acknowledged by Mikhail Bulgakov, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Ryūnosuke Akutagawa, Flannery O'Connor, Franz Kafka and others.

Books by Nikolai Gogol

Dead Souls Cover image

Dead Souls

Satire Novel
Picaresque novel

Dead Souls is a novel by Nikolai Gogol, first published in 1842, and widely regarded as an exemplar of 19th-century Russian literature. The novel chronicles the travels and adventures of Pavel Ivanovich Chichikov (Russian: Павел Иванович Чичиков) and...

The Cloak, The Overcoat Cover image

The Cloak, The Overcoat

Short Story Fate Social Status

"The Overcoat" is a short story by Ukrainian-born Russian author Nikolai Gogol, published in 1842. The story and its author have had great influence on Russian literature, as expressed in a quote about Russian realist writers from Eugène-Melchior de...

Taras Bulba and Other Tales Cover image

Taras Bulba and Other Tales

Fiction Novel
Short Stories Epistolary

Taras Bulba is a romanticized historical novella by Nikolai Gogol. It describes the life of an old Zaporozhian Cossack, Taras Bulba, and his two sons, Andriy and Ostap. The sons study at the Kiev Academy and then return home, whereupon the three men...