The Diary of a Madman and Other Stories Mass Market Paperback – 9 Nov 2004
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About the Author
Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol (1809-1852), although Russian, was born in the village of Sorochyntsi in the Poltava Oblast province of central Ukraine. He was never accepted by the Russian public as being completely Russian in his thinking and political ideology, and indeed he was not. Gogol's Ukrainian upbringing is most evident in his early works which draw heavily from Ukrainian culture and folk history. His later writing was more subversive, openly satirizing the corruption he saw rampant throughout Russia's empire. Gogol was homosexual. At age seventeen he wrote passionate letters to a friend who, being two years older, had graduated before Gogol, leaving him bereft. Gogol eventually exiled himself from Russia, living in Rome. It was here that he enjoyed at least one mutual love affair with a man, but his lover died within a year of their meeting. Two years later Gogol fell in love with the poet Nikolai Yazykov and penned love letters to him, but his efforts came to nothing. Gogol died in Moscow and was buried at Davilov Monastery. His last words were placed on his tombstone: "And I shall laugh my bitter laugh." When Soviet authorities decided to demolish the monastery in 1931 and transfer Gogol's remains, it was discovered his body had been buried lying face down, leading some to wonder if he had been buried alive. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
The first story in this collection is the sublime DIARY OF A MADMAN which for me gives more of an insight into mental illness than just about any other book (fiction or fact) I can think of as we are submerged into the distorted reality of the pathetic Akaky Akakievich who goes from humble document copier to (imaginary) king of Spain. You will laugh out loud at some of Akaky's assertions (Letters are trash! Only chemists write letters!), wonder at some of his revelations (the Spain/China conundrum) and wince as he mistakes "therapy" in the mental asylum for the initiation rituals of the Spanish court. More importantly, Gogol will tear your heart as poor Akaky has a moment of clarity and realises what is really happening to him, before he nails the story with a killer joke final line.
Next up is the surreal THE NOSE, which many hail as his greatest short sotry but I found it a little too surreal for my taste. However, there's no doubting the quality of the writing and a quick scan of the spoiler introduction will explain the true meaning behind the tale.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This was a Round the World Book Group selection.
"Diary of a Madman" - In aristocratic households even the dogs eat woodcock with fine sauces in contrast to the spartan... Read more
Three very good stories. The edition allowed me an introduction to the work of Gogol at a very low price. Read morePublished on 10 Jun. 2010 by Garibaldi Punk