Nikolai Vasilevich Gogol (Russian: Никола́й Васи́льевич Го́голь) (1 April 1809 - 4 March 1852) was a Ukrainian-born Russian writer, whose best known work is perhaps Dead Souls, seen by many as the first "modern" Russian novel.
- What a dreary world we live in, gentlemen.
- How the Two Ivans Quarrelled (1835)
- In the course of reading he became more and more melancholy and finally became completely gloomy. When the reading was over he uttered in a voice full of sorrow: "Goodness, how sad is our Russia!"
- On Alexander Pushkin in Four Letters Concerning Dead Souls (1843)
- I shall laugh my bitter laugh.
- Epitaph on Gogol's tombstone
The Inspector General (1836)
- It is no use to blame the looking glass if your face is awry.
- Of course, Alexander the Great was a hero, but why smash the chairs?
- The more destruction there is everywhere, the more it shows the activity of town authorities.
- Act I, sc. i
- I tell everyone very plainly that I take bribes, but what kind of bribes? Why, greyhound puppies. That's a totally different matter.
- Act I, sc. i
- The sergeant's widow told you a lie when she said I flogged her. I never flogged her. She flogged herself.
- Act IV, sc. xv
- What are you laughing at? You are laughing at yourselves!
- Act V, sc. viii
Dead Souls (1842)
- As it is so strangely ordained in this world, what is amusing will turn into being gloomy, if you stand too long before it, and then God knows what ideas may not stray into the mind... Why is it that even in moments of unthinking, careless gaiety a different and strange mood comes upon one?
- Vol. I, ch. 3
- There are people who exist in this world not like entities but like the speckles or spots on something.
- Vol. I, ch. 5
- And for a long time yet, led by some wondrous power, I am fated to journey hand in hand with my strange heroes and to survey the surging immensity of life, to survey it through the laughter that all can see and through the tears unseen and unknown by anyone.
- Vol. I, ch. 7
- Oh troika, winged troika, tell me who invented you? Surely, nowhere but among a nimble nation could you have been born in a country which has taken itself in earnest and has evenly spread far and wide over half of the globe, so that once you start counting the milestones you may count on till a speckled haze dances before your eyes... Rus, are you not similar in your headlong motion to one of those nimble troikas that none can overtake? The flying road turns into smoke under you, bridges thunder and pass, all fall back and is left behind!... And what does this awesome motion mean? What is the passing strange steeds! Has the whirlwind a home in your manes?... Rus, whither are you speeding to? Answer me. No answer. The middle bell trills out in a dream its liquid soliloquy; the roaring air is torn to pieces and becomes wind; all things on earth fly by and other nations and states gaze askance as they step aside and give her the right of way.
- Vol. I, ch. 11
- Rus! Rus! I see you, from my lovely enchanted remoteness I see you: a country of dinginess, and bleakness and dispersal; no arrogant wonders of nature crowned by the arrogant wonders of art appear within you to delight or terrify the eyes... So what is the incomprehensible secret force driving me towards you? Why do I constantly hear the echo of your mournful song as it is carried from the sea through your entire expanse?... And since you are without end yourself, is it not within you that a boundless thought will be born?
- Vol. II, ch. 2