Nikolai Gogol

(2203 words)
  • Faith Wigzell (University College London)

Nikolai Gogol [Gogol’], a younger contemporary of Aleksandr Pushkin, was one of the most original and enigmatic of Russian writers. The author of short stories, plays and a novel, he has influenced Russian writers from Dostoevsky on, as well as eliciting varied interpretations. Modern readers, attracted to his complex prose style, bizarre humour and narrative playfulness see him as one of the most modern of classic Russian writers. With Gogol nothing is what it seems.

For a start, he was not Russian, but Ukrainian, born in 1809 into a family of petty nobility. His father’s family styled themselves Gogol-Ianovskii to imply noble Cossack descent, for which there is no evidence. From them he seems to have inherited his desire for …

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Wigzell, Faith. "Nikolai Gogol". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 15 February 2006
[, accessed 01 October 2016.]

Articles on Gogol's works

  1. Mertvye dushi (I) [Dead Souls (Part 1)]
  2. Mertvye dushi (II) [Dead Souls (Part II)]
  3. Revizor [The Government Inspector]
  4. Shinel' [The Overcoat]