Nikolai Vasilyevich Gogol was born in 1809 in Ukraine, and moved to St Petersburg after his studies in 1828 to work in an obscure government ministry. His first collection of stories, Evenings on a Farm Near Dikanka (1831), made him famous, and he went on to write several further collections of stories, as well as the play The Government Inspector. Part I of his great, and only novel, Dead Souls, appeared in 1842. In his later life he was increasingly tormented both physically and psychologically, and he burned much of his writing, including part II of Dead Souls. He died in 1852, possibly from self-starvation.
Gogol's prose works feature a fiendishly complex narrative structure. In his engaging new versions, Oliver Ready deploys a rich vocabulary. . . . Along the way, there is much to savour. - Times Literary Supplement I wish I had written the story 'The Overcoat'. The sensibility of that story is perfect . . . spontaneous and funny and also formally very experimental - George Saunders One of the most profound, and influential, writers Russia has ever produced, he is also probably the funniest - Guardian The greatest artist that Russia has yet produced - Vladimir Nabokov