ISBN 10: 0660197332 / ISBN 13: 9780660197333
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Riassunto:

Originally published in 1835, this is one of two works by Gogol dealing with the "little man" (the other is "The Overcoat"). Of over 150 examples of this genre, these two stories are often considered the most complex, both linguistically and psychologically. Poprischin is not at the bottom of the social ladder; he is a middle-aged, grade nine civil servant, with at least ten minions under him. Nevertheless he is painfully aware of the social gap between himself and his Director and, even more so, between himself and Sophie, the Director's daughter. Poprischin's frustrated love for Sophie drives him into madness, the stages of which are catalogued in diary form. These stages include imagined conversations between dogs and hallucinations set in a Spanish madhouse. This edition is based on the latest critical edition of the text to be published in Russia and follows the 1835 version of the text.

About the Author:

Nikolai Vasilevich Gogol was born in 1809; his family were small gentry of Ukrainian cossack extraction, and his father was the author of a number of plays based on Ukrainian popular tales. He attended school in Nézhin and gained a reputation for his theatrical abilities. He went to St Petersburg in 1829 and with the help of a friend gained a post in one of the government ministries. Gogol was introduced to Zhukovsky, the romantic poet, and to Pushkin, and with the publication of Evenings on a Farm near Dikanka(1831) he had an entrée to all the leading literary salons. He even managed for a short period to be Professor of History at the University of St. Petersburg (1834-5).

Diary of a Madman and The Story of the Quarrel between Ivan Ivanovich and Ivan Nikiforovich appeared in 1934, The Nose in 1836, and The Overcoat in 1842. Gogol also wrote the play The Inspector (1836), Dead Souls (1842), and several moralizing essays defending the Tsarist regime, to the horror of his liberal and radical friends. He lived a great deal abroad, mostly in Rome, and in his last years became increasingly prey to religious mania and despair. He made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem in 1848, but was bitterly disappointed in the lack of feeling that the journey kindled. He returned to Russia and fell under the influence of a spiritual director who told him to destroy his writings as they were sinful. He burned the second part of Dead Souls, and died in 1852 after subjecting himself to a severe regime of fasting.

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