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Nikolai (Vasilyevich) Gogol (1809-1852)


Great Russian novelist, dramatist, satirist, founder of the so-called critical realism in Russian literature, best-known for his novel Mertvye dushi I-II (1842, Dead Souls). Gogol's prose is characterized by imaginative power and linguistic playfulness. As an exposer of grotesque in human nature, Gogol could be called the Hieronymus Bosch of Russian literature.

"The moon is made by some lame cooper, and you can see the idiot has no idea about moons at all. He put in a creosoted rope and some wood oil; and this has led to such a terrible stink all over the earth that you have to hold your nose. Another reason the moon is such a tender globe it that people just cannot live on it any more, and all that's left alive there are noses. This is also why we cannot see our own noses – they're all on the moon." (from Diary of a Madman, 1835)

Nikolai Gogol was born in Sorochintsi, Ukraine, where he grew up on his parents' country estate. His real surname was Ianovskii, but the writer's grandfather had taken the name 'Gogol' to claim a noble Cossack ancestry. Gogol's father was an educated and gifted man, who wrote plays, poems, and sketches in Ukrainian.

Gogol started write while in high school. He attended Poltava boarding school (1819-21) and then Nezhin high school (1821-28), where he produced plays for the student's theatre and acted in some productions. However, he was not very highly esteemed by his school and he found it difficult to open up to his schoolmates, who regarded him as the "mysterious dwarf," a secretive individual. To his mother he wrote: "At home I am considered willful; here I am called meek . . . in some quarters I am so very quiet, modest, polite; in others – sullen, pensive, uncouth . . . for some I am intelligent, for others I am stupid" (March 1, 1828). When he showed to his classmates his first attempt at prose fiction, the verdict was: "You'll never make a fiction writer, that's obvious right now." (Gogol by V.V. Gippus, 1981, p. 17)

In 1828 Gogol, an aspiring writer, settled in St. Petersburg, with a certificate attesting his right to "the rank of the 14th class". To support himself, Gogol worked at minor governmental jobs and wrote occasionally for periodicals. Although he was interested in literature, he also dreamed of becoming an actor. However, the capital of Russia did not welcome him with open arms and his early narrative poem, Hans Küchelgarten (1829), turned out to be a disaster.

Between the years 1831 and 1834 Gogol taught history at the Patriotic Institute and worked as a private tutor. In 1831 he met Aleksandr Pushkin who greatly influenced his choice of literary material, especially his "Dikinka tales", which were based on Ukrainian folklore. Their friendship lasted until the great poet's death. Evenings on a Farm near Dikanka from 1831-32, Gogol's breakthrough work, showed his skill in mixing fantastic with macabre, and at the same saying something very essential about the Russian character.

After failure as an assistant lecturer of world history at the University of St. Petersburg (1834-35), Gogol became a full-time writer. Under the title Mirgorod (1835) Gogol published a new collection of stories, beginning with 'Old-World Landowners', which described the decay of the old way of life. 'Viy,' about a female vampire, was allegedly folktale. "The name is applied by people in Little Russia to the chief of the gnomes, whose eyelids reach to the ground," Gogol stated. "The whole story is a popular legend. I did not wish to change it in any way and tell it almost as simply as I heard it." (The Media Vampire by Andrew M. Boylan, 2012, p. 147) Viy only appears at the end of the tale; mostly if focuses on a student named Khoma and an old woman, a witch, who turns into a beautiful  girl. Mario Bava's La Maschera del Demonio (1960), which created a wave of Gothic films in Italy, was loosely based on 'Viy'. Georgi Kropachyov and Konstantin Yershov's version from 1967, co-written by Aleksandr Ptushko and produced by Mosfilm, was more faithful to Gogol's original story. However, during the Soviet period filmmakers were not encouraged to take an interest in horror movies. As a part of a celebration of the author's bicentennial, 'Viy' was remade in 2009 by Oleg Stepchenko. 

Mirgorod also included the famous historical tale 'Taras Bulba', written under the influence of Walter Scott. The protagonist of the novel is a strong, heroic character, not very typical for the author's later cavalcade of bureaucrats, lunatics, swindlers, and humiliated losers. One hostile critic descibed Gogol's city dwellers as the "scum of Petersburg". The radical literary critic Vissarion Belinskii declared that Taras Bulba "is a fragment, an episode in a grand epic of the life of a whole people. If the Homeric epic is possible in our time, then here you have its highest example, its ideal, its prototype." (Gogol's Afterlife: The Evolution of a Classic in Imperial and Soviet Russia by Stephen Moeller-Sally, 2002, p. 87)

It has been claimed that the work was an implicit critique of Gogol's own time.  Some critics have called attention to antisemitic attitudes in Gogol's writings,  mostly due to the negative portrayal of Ukrainian Jews. Leon Poliakov has argued, that "The "Yankel" from Taras Bulba indeed became the archetypal Jew in Russian literature. Gogol painted him as supremely exploitative, cowardly, and repulsive, albeit capable of graitude. " (The History of Anti-Semitism, Volume 4: Suicidal Europe, 1870-1933 by Leon Poliakov, 2003, p. 75)  Inspired by Gogol's themes of rebellion and freedom, the Czech composer Leoš Janáček used the novel as the frame-work for his orchestral rhapsody Taras Bulba (1918).

In his short stories, Gogol fully utilized the Petersburg mythology, in which the city was treated "both as 'paradise', a utopian ideal city of the future, the embodiment of Reason, and as the terrible masquerade of Antichrist." (Yuri Lotman in Universe of the Mind, 1990) Gogol was also the first to publish an extended literary comparison between Moscow and Petersburg, concluding, "Russia needs Moscow; Petersburg needs Russia."

"I am destined by the mysterious powers to walk hand in hand with my strange heroes," wrote Gogol once, "viewing life in all its immensity as it rushes past me, viewing it through laughter seen by the world and tears unseen and unknown by it." St. Petersburg Stories (1835) examined social relationships and disorders of mind; Gogol's influence can be seen among others in Dostoevsky's Notes from Underground (1864) and The Crime and the Punishment (1866). Gogolian tradition continued also among others in the stories of Franz Kafka.

'The Nose' from this period was about a man who loses his nose, which tries to live its own life. Gogol himself had a long nose, but the motifs in the story were borrowed from other writers. According to V. Vinograd's study (1987), these kind of surrealistic images were popular the 1820-1830s. It is still a puzzle: no key has been found to explain, why Collegiate Assessor Kovalev's nose transforms into civil servant and back into nose. The central plot circles around Kovalev's quest to recapture his runaway organ – he has arrived in Moscow to climb up the social ladder but without proper face it is impossible. Without an arm or leg it is not unbearable, thinks Major, but without a nose a man is, the devil knows what . . . In the outwardly crazy story lurks a serious idea: what matters is not the person but one's rank. Dmitri Shostakovich, who based his avant-garde opera The Nose on Gogol's tale, turned Kovalev into a tragic hero: "Really, when you think about it, what's so funny about a man losing his nose . . . "

In 'Nevsky Prospect' a talented artist falls in love with a tender poetic beauty. She turns out to be a prostitute and the artist commits suicide when his romantic illusions are shattered. 'The Diary of a Madman' asked why is it that "all the best things in life, they all go to the Equerries or the generals?" 'Shinel' (1842, The Overcoat), one of Gogol's most famous short stories, contrasted humility and meekness with the rudeness of the "important personage". The central character is Akakii Akakievich, a lowly government clerk. When winter begins he notices that his old over coat is beyond repairing. He manages to save money for a new, luxurious over coat. His colleagues at the office arrange a party for his acquisition. But his happiness proves to be short-lived. On the way home he is attacked by thieves and robbed of his coat. To recover his loss, Akakievich asks help from an Important Person, a director of a department with the rank of general. He treats harshly Akakievich, who develops a fever, and dies of fright within three days. One night when the Important Person is returning home, he is attacked by a ghost, the late Akakii, who now steals his overcoat. The stealing of outer garments continue, even though now the ghost is a big man with a moustache and enormous fists.

Gogol published in 1836 several stories in Pushkin's journal Sovremennik, and in the same year appeared his famous play, The Inspector General. It told a simple tale of a young civil servant, Khlestakov, who finds himself stranded in a small provincial town. By mistake, he is taken by the local officials to be a government inspector, who is visiting their province incognito. Khlestakov happily adapts to his new role and exploits the situation. His true identity is revealed but then arrives the real inspector. Gogol masterfully creates with a few words people, places, things, and lets them disappear in the flow of the story. Vladimir Nabokov wrote: "Who is that unfortunate bather, steadily and uncannily growing, adding weight, fattening himself on the marrow of a metaphor? We never shall know – but he almost managed to gain a footing."

Its first stage production was in St Petersburg, given in the presence of the tsar. As he left his box after the première, The tsar dropped the comment: "Hmm, what a play! Gets at everyone, and most of all at me!" Gogol, who was always sensitive about reaction to his work, fled Russia for Western Europe. He visited Germany, Switzerland, and France, and settled then in Rome. He also made a pilgrimage to Palestine in 1848, to pray for inspiration for the part II of Dead Souls. He had burned the manuscript of part II for the first time in 1845.

In Rome Gogol wrote his major work, The Dead Souls. "The prophet finds no honor in his homeland," he said. Gogol claimed that the story was suggested by Pushkin in a conversation in 1835. Pushkin did not live to see its publication, but on hearing the first chapters read, he exclaimed: "God, how sad our Russia is!"

Wishing to embrace the whole Russian society, Gogol regarded the first volume merely as "a pale introduction to the great epic poem which is taking shape in my mind and will finally solve the riddle of my existence". The story depicted the adventures Pavel Ivanovich Chichikov, who arrives in a provincial town to buy '"dead souls," dead serfs. As a character, he is the opposite of starving Akakii Akakievich. By selling these 'souls,' Chichikov planned to make a huge profit. He meets local landowners and departs the town in a hurry, when rumors start spread about him.

In the play Zhenitba (1842) nearly everybody lies and the protagonist, Podgolesin, cannot make up his mind about marriage. He hesitates, agrees, then withdraws his promise, the life is full of cheating, but when people jeer at each other, they actually tell the truth. Igrogi (The Gamblers), about professional card-sharps, was first staged in 1843; Dmitri Shostakovich based his unfinished opera on the comedy.

Except for a short visits to Russia in 1839-40 and 1841-42, Gogol was abroad for twelve years. The first edition of Gogol's collected works came out in 1842 and made him one of the most popular Russian writers. Two years before his return, Gogol had published Selected Passages from Correspondence with Friends (1847), in which he upheld the autocratic tsarist regime and the patriarchal Russian way of life. The book disappointed radicals who had seen Gogol's works as examples of social criticism. "The peasant must not even know there exist other books besides the Bible," Gogol argued. Vissarion Belinskii labelled him as the "apostle of ignorance" and Sergei Askakov lamented that "the best that can be done is to call him a madman."

During the last decade of his life, Gogol struggled to continue the story and depict Chichikov's fall and redemption. Gogol's friends were exhausted by his  arrogance and unreliability. With high hopes, in search for spiritual enlightenment, he made a pilgrimage to Palestine, but the "land of milk and honey" he had imagined, was a great disappointment; he saw "five or six olive trees scattered on the hillside," "a few tufts of grass" and "some tiny Arab huts." (Neither with Them, Nor Without Them: The Russian Writer and the Jew in the Age of Realism by Elena M. Katz, 2008, p. 43) On 23 February 1848, he entered Jerusalem riding on a donkey. Gogol found the Sepulchre filthy and vulgar, one night praying beside it was enough. (Jerusalem: The Biography by Simon Sebag Montefiore, 2011, pp. 337-338)

Crushed by the experience, Gogol returned to Moscow, where he came under influence of a fanatical priest, Father Matthew Konstantinovskii; he urged Gogol to abandon literature and to enter a monastery. "I will tell you that never before have I been so unsatisfied with the state of my own heart, as in Jerusalem and after Jerusalem," he wrote to Father Matthew. According to Count V.A. Sollogub, who saw him in 1850, Gogol talked disconnectedly "and entangled himself in such confused speech that I realized he was past recovery." (Nikolai Gogol, 1809-1852: a Centenary Survey by Janko Lavrin, 1951, p. 174) Gogol burned sequels for Dead Souls, just 10 days before he died on the verge of madness on the 4th of March 1852. Gogol was buried at the Danilov Monastery. A few chapters of part II have survived.

As the main event of the Gogol Days in 1909, a monument in his honor was erected on Arbat Square in Moscow. Up to then, Pushkin had been the only writer honored with a national monument. Leo Tolstoy praised the Symbolist  statue, but Stalin had it replaced by a more realistic work. When Gogol's coffin was opened by Soviet authorities in 1931, his body was discovered lying face down. His remains were transferred to the Novodevichy Cemetery.

Gogol died of self-enforced starvation. Various remedies were employed to make him eat – spirits were poured over his head, hot loaves applied to his person and leeches attached to his nose. Rumors arise from time to time that Gogol was buried alive, a situation familiar from the story 'The Premature Burial,' of the contemporary writer Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849).

For further reading: Nikolai Gogol by Vladimir Nabokov (1944); Nikolai Gogol, 1809-1852: a Centenary Survey by Janko Lavrin (1951); Gogol: A Life by David Magarshack (1957); Gogol: His Life and Works by Vsevolod Setchkarev (1965); The Smile and Gogol's Death Souls by Carl R. Proffer (1967); The Sexual Labyrinth of Nikolai Gogol by Simon Karlinsky (1976); Gogol's Dead Souls by James B. Woodward (1978); Gogol by V.V. Gippus (1981); Out from Under Gogol's Overcoat by Daniel Rancour-Laferriére (1982); Gogol and the Natural School by Victor V. Vinograd (1987); Nikolay Gogol: Text and Context, ed. by Jane Grayson and Faith Wigzell (1989); Exploring Gogol by Robert A. Maguire (1994); Gogol's 'The Government Inspector' by Michael Beresford (1997); Gogol's Afterlife: The Evolution of a Classic in Imperial and Soviet Russia by Stephen Moeller-Sally (2002); Nikolai Gogol: Between Ukrainian and Russian Nationalism by Edyta M. Bojanowska (2007); Neither with Them, Nor Without Them: The Russian Writer and the Jew in the Age of Realism by Elena M. Katz (2008); Gogol's Artistry by Andrei Bely (translated from the Russian and with an introduction by Christopher Colbath, 2009); Economies of Feeling: Russian Literature under Nicholas I by Jillian Porter (2017); Acts of Logos in Pushkin and Gogol Petersburg Texts and Subtexts by Kathleen Scollins (2017) - See also: Lu Xun ; Arkady Strugatski

Selected works:

  • Gants Kyuhel'garten, 1829 (publishend under the pseudonym V. Alov)
    - Hans Küchelgarten / Hanz Kuechelgarten, Leaving the Theater, & Other Works (edited by Ronald Meyer, 1990)
  • Vechera na khutore bliz' Dikan'ki, 1831-32 (2 vols.)
    - St. John's Eve: And Other Stories from "Evenings at the Farm" and "St. Petersburg Stories" (tr. Isabel F. Hapgood. 1886) / Evenings on a Farm near Dikanka (tr. Constance Garnett, in Collected Works, 1926) / Evenings near the Village of Dikanka (tr. Ovid Gorchakov, 1960) / Village Evenings near Dikanka (translated and edited by Christopher English, in Village Evenings Near Dikanka and Mirgorod, 1994)
    - Jouluyö (Noch pered Rozhdestvom; suom. Juhani Konkka, in Valitut teokset 1, 1959)  / Dikankan iltoja (suom. Irma Grönroos, Maija Pellikka & Margit Salmenoja, 1972) / Kadonnut kirje (suom. Jukka Mallinen, 2004)
  • Mirgorod, 1835 (contains Viy, How Ivan Ivanovich Quarreled with Ivan Nikiforovich, Taras Bulba, and others)
    - Mirgorod (tr. Constance Garnett, 1928; David Magarshack, 1962; Leonard J. Kent, 1985; Christopher English, 1994) / Viy, The Story of How Ivan Ivanovich Quarreled with Ivan Nikiforovich (in The Collected Tales of Nikolai Gogol, tr. Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, 1998)
    - Demonien ruhtinatar (suom. K. Repo, 1914) / Maahisten valtiatar (suom. Juhani Konkka, Valitut teokset 1, 1959)
    - films: La Maschera del demonio, 1960, dir. Mario Bava, starring Barbara Steele, John Richardson, Andrea Checchi; Viy, 1967, dir. Georgi Kropachyov & Konstantin Yershov; Sveto mesto, 1990, dir. Djordje Kadijevic; Viy, 2014, dir. Oleg Stepchenko
  • Arabeski, 1835
    - Arabesques (tr. Alexander Tulloch, 1982)
  • Taras Bulba, 1835 (appeared in Mirgorod)
    - Taras Bulba (tr. Isabel F. Hapgood, 1886; Jeremiah Curtin, 1888; Constance Garnett, 1922-27; David Magarshack, in The Overcoat and Other Tales of Good and Evil, 1949; Priscilla Meyer and Andrew R. MacAndrew, in The Diary of a Madman and Other Stories, 1960; Leonard J. Kent, 1985; Christopher English, 1995)  
    - Taras Bulba (suom. Samuli S., 1878; J. A. Halonen, 1913; Gunvor ja Kaarlo Salo, 1946; Juhani Konkka, 1940; Ulla-Liisa Heino, 1959)
    - films: 1909, dir. Aleksandr Drankov; 1924, dir. Vladimir Strizhevsky & Joseph N. Ermolieff, starring J.N. Douvan-Tarzow, 1936, dir. Alexis Granowsky, starring Harry Baur; 1962, dir.  J. Lee Thompson, starring Yul Brynner, Tony Curtis; 1963, dir.  Ferdinando Baldi, starring Vladimir Medar; 2009, dir. Vladimir Bortko, starring Bogdan Stupka, Igor Petrenko and Vladimir Vdovichenkov 
  • Zapiski sumasshedshego, 1835 (appeared in story collection Arabeski)
    - The Diary of a Madman (tr. Constance Garnett, in Collected Works, 1922-27; Prince Mirsky, 1929; Priscilla Meyer and Andrew R. MacAndrew, in the Diary of a Madman and Other Stories, 1960; Ronald Wilks, in Diary of a Madman and Other Stories, 1972; Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, in The Collected Tales of Nikolai Gogol, 1998)
    - Mielipuolen päiväkirja (suom. Juhani Konkka, in Valitut teokset 1, 1959; Vappu Orlov, in Nenä ja muut pietarilaisnovellit, 2016) / Hullun päiväkirja (Esa Adrian, in Taras Bulba sekä Riita, Nenä, Päällystakki, Hullun päiväkirja, 1971; Esa Adrian, in Pietarilaisnovelleja, 1972)
    - films: Bir delinin hatira defteri, TV film 1974, starring Genco Erkal; En galnings dagbok, TV film 1981, dir. Bernt Callenbo, starring Börje Ahlstedt; Le Journal d'un fou, 1987, dir. by Roger Coggio, starring Roger Coggio, Fanny Cottençon and Yvette Etiévant; Mielipuolen päiväkirja, TV film 1987, dir. Eugen Terttula & Markku Onttonen, starring Tarmo Manni;  Diary of a Madman, 2016,  dir. Tanya Morel, starring Paul Morel
  • Nevski prospekt, 1835 (The Nose, Diary of a Madman, The Overcoat, etc.)
    - Plays and Petersburg Tales (translated and edited by Christopher English, 1995) / Petersburg Tales (tr. Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, in The Collected Tales of Nikolai Gogol, 1998)
    - Nevan valtakatu (suom. Juhani Konkka, 1954) / Nevski prospekt (suom. Vappu Orlov, in Nenä ja muut pietarilaisnovellit, 2016
  • Nos, 1836 (in Sovremennik)
    - The Nose (tr. John Cournos, in Taras Bulba and Other Tales, 1918; Constance Garnett, in Collected Works, 1922-27; Priscilla Meyer and Andrew R. MacAndrew, in The Diary of a Madman and Other Stories, 1960; Ronald Wilks, in Diary of a Madman and Other Stories, 1972; Robert Daglish, 1984; Leonard J. Kent, 1985; Christopher English, 1995; Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, in The Collected Tales of Nikolai Gogol, 1998; Susanne Fusso, in The Nose and Other Stories, 2020)
    - Nenä (suom. Matti Kurikka, 1883; Juhani Konkka, in Valitut teokset, 1959, Esa Adrian, in Pietarilaisnovelleja, 1972; Vappu Orlov, in Nenä ja muut pietarilaisnovellit, 2016; katso myös Pentti Saarikoski = nimimerkki Nenä)
    - films: Le Nez (animation), 1963, dir. Alexandre Alexeieff; A Nose (animation), 1966, dir. Mordicai Gerstein; Nos, 1977, dir. Rolan Bykov, starring Rolan Bykov, Iya Savvina and Yelena Sanayeva
  • Revizor, 1836 (play)
    - The Government Inspector (tr. Constance Garnett, 1927; John Byrne, 1997) / The Inspector General (tr. Thomas Seltzer, 1916; John Anderson, 1931; Leonard J. Kent, 1964; Christopher English, 1995) / The Inspector (tr. John Laurence Seymour and George Rapall Noyes, 1933; Joshua Cooper, in Four Russian Plays, 1972)
    - Reviisori (suom. At Ht, 1882; Eino ja Jalo Kalima, 1922)
    - films: Eine Stadt steht kopf, 1933, dir. Gustaf Gründgens; Revizor, 1933 dir. Martin Fric, starring Vlasta Burian; The Inspector General, 1946, dir. Henry Koster, starring Danny Kaye; Afsar, 1950, dir. by Chetan Anand; Revizor, 1952, dir. Vladimir Petrov, starring Igor Gorbachyov; Calzonzin Inspector, 1974, dir. Alfonso Arau; Reviisori, 1975, dir. Veli-Matti Saikkonen, starring Leo Jokela, Oiva Lohtander and Vesa Mäkelä; Inkognito iz Peterburga, 1977, dir. Leonid Gaidai; Revizor, 1996, dir. Sergey Gazarov
  • Koliaska, 1836 (in Sovremennik)
    - The Coach (tr. Constance Garnett, in Collected Works, 1922-1927; Leonard J. Kent, 1985) / The Carriage (tr. Christopher English, 1995; Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, in The Collected Tales of Nikolai Gogol, 1998)
    - Vaunut (suom. Juhani Konkka, in Valitut teokset 1, 1959)
  • Shinel, 1842
    -  The Mantel and Other Stories (tr. Claud Field, 1915) / The Overcoat (tr. Constance Garnett, 1923; Priscilla Meyer and Andrew R. MacAndrew, in The Diary of a Madman and Other Stories, 1960; Ronald Wilks, in Diary of a Madman and Other Stories, 1972; Leonard J. Kent, 1985; Christopher English, 1995; Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, in The Collected Tales of Nikolai Gogol, 1998) / The Greatcoat (tr. Zlata Shoenberg and Jesse Domb, 1944) / The Overcoat, and Other Tales of Good and Evil (tr. David Magarshack, 1957)
    - Viitta (suom. Huugo Jalkanen, 1908) / Päällystakki (suom. Huugo Jalkanen, 1957; Esa Adrian, in Pietarilaisnovelleja, 1972; Vappu Orlov, in Nenä ja muut pietarilaisnovellit, 2016) / Päällysviitta (suom. Juhani Konkka, 1965)
    - films: 1926, dir. Grigori Kozintsev & Leonid Trauberg, starring Andrei Kostrichkin, Emil Gal; Il Cappotto, 1952, dir. Alberto Lattuada; The Bespoke Overcoat, 1956, dir. Jack Clayton; 1959, dir. Aleksei Batalov, starring Rolan Bykov; Päällysviitta, TV film 1965, dir. Kaarlo Hiltunen, starring  Veikko Tyrväinen, Hannu Heikkilä and Jorma Huttunen; O Capote, TV film 1973, dir. Domingos de Oliveira
  • Sochinenii, 1842 (4 vols.)
  • Portret, 1842 (in Sovremennik)
    - The Portrait (tr. Constance Garnett, 1922-27;  Arian Kiriloff, 1975, Leonard J. Kent, 1985; Christopher English, 1995; Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, in The Collected Tales of Nikolai Gogol, 1998) 
    - Muotokuva (suom. Eila Salminen, 1980; Vappu Orlov, in Nenä ja muut pietarilaisnovellit, 2016)
    - films: Podobizna, 1948, dir. Jiri Slavick; Porträttet, TV film 1999, dir. Marie Feldtmann, starring Lars Väringer, Gösta Zachrisson and Ingemar Andersson
  • Rim, 1842
    - Rome (tr. Constance Garnett, 1923; Leonard J. Kent, 1985)
  • Zhenitba, 1842 (play)
    - The Marriage (tr. Constance Garnett, 1927; Alexander Berkman, in The Gamblers: and, Marriage, 1927; Bella Costello, 1969; Milton Ehre, in The Theatre of Nikolay Gogol, 1980; Leonard J. Kent, 1994; Christopher English, 1995)
    - Naimahommat (suom. Arthur Järnefelt, 1905) / Naimapuuhat (suom. K. Repo, 1911) / Naimahankkeet (suom. Juhani Konkka, in Valitut teokset 1, 1959)
    - films: Zhenitba, 1936, dir. Erast Garin & Khesya Lokshina; Le mariage, TV film 1961, dir. Roger Kahane; Naimapuuhat, TV film 1966, dir. Sara Strengell; 1977, dir. Vitali Melnikov, starring Svetlana Kryuchkova, Aleksey Petrenko and Oleg Borisov; Marriage, TV film 1981, in BBC2 Playhouse, dir. Michael Simpson
  • Sochineniia, 1842 (4 vols.)
  • Mertvye dushi I-II, 1841-46
    - Dead Souls (tr. Stephen Graham, 1915; Constance Garnett, 1922-27; David Mararshack, 1961; George Reavey, 1985; Christopher English, 1987; G.B. Guerney, 1996; Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, 1997; Robert A. Maguire, 2004; Donald Rayfield, 2008) / Chichikov’s Journeys; or, Home life in Old Russia (tr. Bernard Guilbert Guerney, 1944)
    - Kuolleet sielut (suom. Samuli S., 1882; Juhani Konkka, 1939; Jalo Kalima ja Juhani Konkka, 1945)
    films: Myortvye dushi, 1909, dir. Pjotr Tshardynin; Mertvye dushi, TV film 1968, dir. Aleksandr Belinsky, starring Igor Gorbachyov; Myortvye dushi, 1984, TV series, dir. Mikhail Shvejtser, starring Aleksandr Kalyagin, Aleksandr Trofimov, Yuri Bogatyryov
  • Igrogi, 1843 (play)
    - The Gamblers (translated by Constance Garnett, 1927;  Alexander Berkman, in The Gamblers: and, Marriage, 1927; Leonard J. Kent, 1964; Milton Ehre, in The Theatre of Nikolay Gogol, 1980)
    - films: The Gamblers, 1970, dir. Ron Winston, starring Suzy Kendall, Don Gordon, Pierre Olaf, Kenneth Griffith; Russkaya igra, 2007 dir. Pavel Chukhraj, starring Sergey Makovetskiy, Sergey Garmash and Andrey Merzlikin
  • Vybrannyya mesta iz perepiski s druzyami, 1847
    - Selected Passages from Correspondence with Friends (tr. Jesse Zeldin, 1969)
  • Razmyshleniia o bozhestvennoi liturgii, 1913
    - The Divine Liturgia of the Eastern Orthodox Church (tr. Rosemary Edmonds, 1960)
    - Ajatuksia jumalallisesta liturgiasta (suom. Leena Sivonen, 1997)
  • Collected Works, 1922-27 (6 vols., tr. Constance Garnett)
  • Polnoe sobranie sochinenii, 1937-52 (14 vols., ed. by S.A. Mashiskii)
  • The Diary of a Madman and Other Stories, 1960 (contains The Diary of a Madman, The Nose, The Carriage, The Overcoat, Taras Bubla; tr. Priscilla Meyer and Andrew R. MacAndrew)
  • The Collected Tales and Plays, 1964 (tr. Constance Garnett, ed. by Leonard J. Kent)
  • Letters of Nikolai Gogol, 1967 (tr. Carl R. Proffer, in collaboration with Vera Krivoshein)
  • The Diary of a Madman and Other Stories, 1972 (contains The Diary of a Madman, The Nose, The Overcoat, How Ivan Ivanovich Quarrelled with Ivan Nikiforovich, Ivan Fyodorovich Shponka and His Aunt; tr. Ronald Wilks)
  • Avtorskaia ispoved, 1974
    - An Author's Confession (tr. David Lapeza, in Russian Literature Triquarterly)
  • Sobranie sochineni, 1977 (7 vols.)
  • The Theater of Nikolay Gogol, 1980 (ed. by Milton Ehre, tr. Milton Ehre and Fruma Gottschalk)
  • Sobranie sochinenii, 1984-86 (8 vols., ed. by V.R. Shcherbina)
  • The Complete Tales of Nikolai Gogol, 1985 (2 vols., edited by Leonard J. Kent)
  • Hanz Kuechelgarten, Leaving the Theater and Other Works, 1990 (edited and translated by Ronald Meyer)
  • Village Evenings Near Dikanka and Mirgorod, 1994 (tr. Christopher English)
  • Plays and Peterburg Tales, 1995 (tr. Christopher English)
  • The Collected Tales of Nikolai Gogol, 1998 (contains St. John's Eve, The Night Before Christmas, The Terrible Vengeance, Ivan Fyodorovich Shponka and His Aunt, Old World Landowners, Viy, The Story of How Ivan Ivanovich Quarreled with Ivan Nikiforovich, Nevsky Prospect, The Diary of a Madman, The Nose, The Carriage, The Portrait, The Overcoar; translated by  Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky)
  • Polnoe sobranie sochinenii i pisem v semnadtsati tomakh, 2009-2010 (17 vols., ed. by I.A. Vinogradov, V.A. Voropaev)
  • The Nose and Other Stories, 2020 (translated from the Russian by Susanne Fusso)

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