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Nikolai Gogol's The Overcoat

Nikolai Gogol was a major Russian novelist, dramatist, satirist, and founder of the socalled school of critical realism in Russian literature. Gogol was born in Sorochintsi, Ukraine, and grew up on his parent's country estate. His real surname was Ianovskii, but his grandfather had taken the name "Gogol" to claim a noble Cossack ancestry. Gogol's father was an educated and gifted man who also wrote plays, poems, and sketches in Ukrainian. Gogol started writing while in high school. He attended Poltava boarding school (181921) and Nezhin high school (182128), and in 1829, he settled in St. Petersburg, with a certificate attesting his right to "the rank of the 14th class." Gogol worked at minor governmental jobs and wrote occasionally for periodicals. From 1831 to 1834, Gogol taught history at the Patriotic Institute and worked as a private tutor. In 1831 he met Alexander Pushkin, who became a major influence on Gogol on terms of his literary material. Gogol's "Dikinka Tales" were based on Ukrainian folklore. His friendship with Pushkin lasted until the great poet's death. After he failed as an assistant lecturer of world history at the University of St. Petersburg from 1834 to 1835, Gogol became a fulltime writer. His story "The Overcoat" contrasted humility and meekness with the rudeness of the "important personage" in society ("Nikolay Gogol").

The themes and ending of the story have been subject to considerable argument, in part because the story itself is a mixture of elements, including the comic, the grotesque, the realistic, and the fantastic. Some have interpreted the story in a realistic fashion as depicting social injustice, with its hero an urban dweller alienated by his society in a version of the "little man" against "the system." Others find the story to be more comic and grotesque than realistic and consider the way Gogol uses language, such as puns and jokes, to create his story.

The realistic vi...

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Nikolai Gogol's The Overcoat. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 03:13, September 23, 2020, from