Nikolai Gogol

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Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol[2] (31 March 1809[3] – 4 March 1852[4]) was a Ukrainian-born Russian novelist, humourist, and dramatist.[3]

He is considered the father of modern Russian realism, but at the same time, his work is very much in the genre of romanticism. His early works, such as Evenings on a Farm Near Dikanka, were heavily influenced by his Ukrainian upbringing and identity.[5][6] His more mature writing satirised the corrupt bureaucracy of the Russian Empire, leading to his exile. On his return, he immersed himself in the Orthodox Church.[7] The novels Taras Bul'ba (1835; 1842 [revised edition]) and Dead Souls (1842), the play The Inspector-General (1836, 1842), and the short stories Diary of a Madman, The Nose and The Overcoat (1842) are among his best known works. With their scrupulous and scathing realism, ethical criticism as well as philosophical depth, they remain some of the most important works of world literature.

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Provenance and early life

Gogol was born[8] in the Ukrainian Cossack village of Sorochyntsi, in Poltava Governorate of the Russian Empire, present-day Ukraine. His mother was a descendant of Polish nobility. His father Vasily Gogol-Yanovsky, a descendant of Ukrainian Cossacks, belonged to the petty gentry, wrote poetry in Russian and Ukrainian, and was an amateur Ukrainian-language playwright who died when Gogol was 15 years old. As was typical of the left-bank Ukrainian gentry of the early nineteenth century, the family spoke Russian as well as Ukrainian. As a child, Gogol helped stage Ukrainian-language plays in his uncle's home theater.[9]

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