Name: Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol

Born: 31 March 1809 in the Ukrainian Cossack village Sorochinty, near Poltava

Family: Gogol’s father,  Vasily Gogol-Yanovsky, was an educated man. He wrote plays and poems in Ukrainian and Russian but died when Gogol was 15 years old.  Gogol's mother was a descendant of Polish landowners. His real family name was Ianovskii, but the writer’s grandfather had taken the name Gogol to claim a noble Cossack ancestry. 

Education: From 1818-1819 Gogol attended Poltava boarding school. He then attended Nezhin gymnasium where he started writing literary works, composing plays for students’ theatre and acting in some productions.

Early Work: In 1831-1832 Gogol completed and published Evenings on a Farm near Dikanka, a breakthrough work, which was influenced by his Ukrainian upbringing, Ukrainian culture and folklore. They brought success and fame to Gogol. He then taught history at the Patriotic Institute and worked as a private tutor, before becoming an adjunct professor of world history at St. Petersburg University, a job in which he did not succeed. After that became a full-time writer.

Later Work: In 1835 he published two volumes of miscellaneous prose Arabesques (which included articles on history, art, Pushkin, Ukrainian culture and some of his Petersburg Tales). He Also published a new collection of stories Mirgorod. In 1836 Gogol published several of his works, including The Overcoat, “The Carriage” and “Government Inspector”. From 1836 Gogol spent about ten years in Europe, visited Germany, Switzerland, and France, and settled in Rome where he wrote Dead Souls, studied art in art galleries and communicated with artists.

Later Life: Gogol went on to suffer a spiritual crisis, a failed marriage attempts and eventually died of self enforced starvation

By The Russian Student

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