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You have the romanticism of Pushkin, the philosophical depth found in Dostoyevsky, complex examinations of Russian society in Tolstoy, the realist style of Turgenev and then you have the satirical and farcical works of Gogol. Its funny because Gogols stories fit ever so comfortably amongst the twentieth century Russian literature, where satirical stories were rampant due to Soviet censors.
Somehow he places it for you, without any extended visual sequences needed. You are just there, in amongst the surrealism, the farce, the political satire, the absurdism, the quirkiness, the sadness, the self-awareness. Gogol effortlessly transports you on a literary odyssey like no other literature from that era. The moon, as everyone knows, is usually made in Hamburg, and they make a complete hash of it.
The materials he uses are tarred rope and linseed oil. Utilising the diary format, the protagonist, Poprishchin, in Diary of a Madman challenges governmental bureaucracy and upper society in a hilarious and somewhat sad satire of a delusional man simply wanting to be noticed in the world, echoing the world we live in today. The Nose is a complete farce, an almost proto-Kafkaesque and self-aware journey of a man whose nose has mysteriously fallen off his face, and his travels around St Petersburg to find it.
The Overcoat completely changes tone into a gloomy, atmospheric tale of perception and troubled consciences, all revolving around an overcoat. Still, Gogol retains his trademark absurdism and structured prose, in an all-round fantastic collection of his short stories.
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