Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol (Russian: Никола́й Васи́льевич Го́голь, tr. Nikolay Vasilievich Gogol; Ukrainian: Мико́ла Васи́льович Го́голь, Mykola Vasyliovych Hohol; 31 March [O.S. 19 March] 1809 – 4 March [O.S. 21 February] 1852) was a Russian dramatist, novelist and short story writer of Ukrainian ethnicity. Russian and Ukrainian scholars debate whether or not Gogol was of their respective nationalities.
Considered by his contemporaries one of the preeminent figures of the natural school of Russian literary realism, later critics have found in Gogol's work a fundamentally romantic sensibility, with strains of Surrealism and the grotesque ("The Nose", "Viy", "The Overcoat," "Nevsky Prospekt"). His early works, such as Evenings on a Farm Near Dikanka, were influenced by his Ukrainian upbringing, Ukrainian culture and folklore. His later writing satirised political corruption in the Russian Empire (The Government Inspector, Dead Souls), leading to his eventual exile. The novel Taras Bulba (1835) and the play Marriage (1842), along with the short stories "Diary of a Madman", "The Tale of How Ivan Ivanovich Quarreled with Ivan Nikiforovich", "The Portrait" and "The Carriage", round out the tally of his best-known works.