"The Diary Of A Madman", first published in 1834, belongs amongst Gogol's St. Petersburg stories. Also ibcluded are "The Nose" and "The Overcoat", which represent the peak of Gogol's achievement. The St. Petersburg stories all deal with the diabolical and nightmarish world of Tsarist Russia's capital city. Gogol depicts individuals isolated in an artificial city, built upon 101 marshy islands and staring out at the Baltic sea. This is a city where reality does not apply, and humanity is suffocated beneath an impersonal bureaucratic hierarchy. The events described are extraordinary in nature, yet told in a matter-of-fact way, which makes Gogol's work a masterpiece of comical absurdity. My favourite story is "The Nose".