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Diary of a Madman

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  2,568 ratings  ·  134 reviews
Diary of a Madman is a farcical short story by Nikolai Gogol.
Published January 1st 1970 by Signet Classics (first published 1835)
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Average rating 3.70  · 
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A deluge of thoughts came down on him. Thoughts without sense of purpose or direction that caused a little stir and numerous inquisitive looks.
Conversations with a dog. Delusions of grandeur; persecutions that might have never existed. Envy that mumbles incoherent things, day in day out: silence is a privilege reserved for others, an idyllic state he has been forbidden from finding again; illegible theory in a dusty old notebook. Words accumulate in the corners of a dim lighted room where
Mohsin Maqbool
Feb 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Gogol's anti-hero

The Madman tries to make sense of the world with one eye. Maybe the lesser seen the better.

THE more I read Russian authors, the more I seem to be enamoured by them. I read Nikolai Vesilievich Gogol's "The Overcoat" last year and loved it. Today I read "Diary of a Madman" and loved it as much. Here I should also mention that Gogol was a Russian-language writer of Ukrainian origin.

Geoffrey Rush on stage as the anti-hero Madman.

Is it really a madman who is writing his diary or
I read some reviews prior to reading this short story since I knew nothing about it. Many members said that it was humorous in spots (guess that was with the dog) and sad in others. I felt that it was just incredibly sad. The main character was dealing with mental health issues and they, the establishment, just treated him horribly. I really love the way Nikolai Gogol just draws you into a story. Five big 's!! ...more
Bill Kerwin
Feb 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

“Diary of a Madman,” the least successful of Gogol’s three greatest short stories, is astonishing for the way it effortlessly accomplishes great changes in tone, shifting from the realistic to the surreal, and back again. Like the two other stories, “The Nose” and “The Overcoat”, its protagonist is a cog in the bureaucratic wheel, a “titular counsellor” of the imperial civil service, who, in spite of his elegant title, is a flunky of low rank, a helpless drudge. This time, however, he is not
This is a heart touching short account of a man who is mentally unstable. His delusional mind is so well portrayed as he slowly sunk into complete insanity. Additionally, the author also shows how isolated such a person really is from the rest of the world and then goes onto expose the inhuman and shocking treatment met by those insane in lunatic asylum.

It is very sad little story. And even though Gogol had employed a light tone to tell the story, the underlying gravity is inevitable. As always
Artūrs Lūsis
Apr 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: best
Short?-yes; too short?-yes, yes, yes; but fills ya up with your own thoughts about it. Absolutely astonishing--this story surprised me with its then extremely modern storytelling approach, futuristic even by the feel of it, and massively schizophrenic, truly hilarious, and damn sad at the same time, such awful insanity and longing it depicts (though I couldn't help but ask whether the councillor wasn't on to something purely genius by losing his mind and dwelling into a world of purely vivid ...more
Kathryn Jacoby
But I feel much annoyed by an event which is about to take place to-morrow; at seven o'clock the earth is going to sit on the moon. This is foretold by the famous English chemist, Wellington. To tell the truth, I often felt uneasy when I thought of the excessive brittleness and fragility of the moon. The moon is generally repaired in Hamburg, and very imperfectly. It is done by a lame cooper, an obvious blockhead who has no idea how to do it. He took waxed thread and olive-oil—hence that
Kiran Rajamani
Jul 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was worth reading again. If you are looking for something extremely original, and that's also funny and sort of confusing–intentionally confusing, probably– this is your book. You can read it in less than an hour, I bet.

Ruben Uribe
Sep 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
puskin writes poetry about women's feet
Guilherme Cunha
Aug 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Rui Cardoso
"So powerful are ancient customs in Spain!"
Hazal Gunduz
Honestly, I was skeptical about this at first. But as I turn the pages, I became captivated. I finished very quickly, and felt deeply about the mad man. Definitely a must read if you like to read about internal lives of human beings.
Nov 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: short-read
I've been working my way through Gogol's short stories for a while, and regret just reading them before bed (often falling asleep in the middle of one) because they are brilliant.

Ah, you pup! I confess, I was very surprised to hear her speak in human language. But later, when I’d thought it over properly, I at once ceased to be surprised. Actually, there have already been many such examples in the world. They say in England a fish surfaced who spoke a couple of words in such a strange language
Hala Alzaghal
May 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
you could easily tell that it is Gogol that wrote it, just look for the coat and the incredible sadness between the words. It reeks of him, but in such a deep captivating sensation that grips you until the very end.

Gogol is always Gogol.
Gogol really suits me.
Alen Piralić
May 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Excellent short novel. Insightful, ironical, has some elements of existential philosophy, provides great description of a psychotic state of a madman. Much better than ''the nose''. Loved it.
Lucy Baldock
Pretty interesting I liked the writing style and the structure but it was hard to grasp what was happening. He thinks dogs are talking to him and writing letters and then he believes he is some kind of king, it's very clear that he isn't mentally stable but all of this could get confusing at times. Plus we are never actually given a real explanation.
David Meditationseed
With humor and social criticism Gogol strolls through the prose of fantastic realism as poets would do in a romantic poetry.

The Nose is one of the texts present here and this tale is one of the beautiful literary examples of how subjects we sometimes take so seriously, or the simplicities that become epic in our imagination can be seen with humor, in a relaxed way despite the regrets.

The story published in 1835 is part of a side of fantastic realism that not only entertains us and amuses but
"Date none. The day had no date."

The only force that pushed me through the first two-thirds of Diary of a Madman was Dostoyevsky's opinion of Gogol, with nonetheless a constant thought hovering over my head: "something is definitely wrong, either with Fyodor or with me." That first part is a pale narration of prodromal psychosis, which could very well be a lame work of fantasy. But then! then, the catapult, the descent into madness so brusquely, so delightfully portrayed [timid exclamation mark;
May 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
I have to admit that I am not very familiar with the Russian literature, however this short book describes perfectly the stress of youth struggling in a dominating society. Who am I? Could I be the king of Ispany and still be totally unaware of it? Am I too ugly? Too unimportant? Except for all these heart-rending questions, Gogol condemns the poor psychiatric help offered during his age.
Onur B
Oct 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very good.. Recomended.
Dec 28, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: russia
He can't accept that the woman he's fallen in love with from afar will marry someone of higher social standing, so he decides to become the King of Spain. Also, he whines about how muslims are taking over France.

Basically, the only thing here that doesn't make the main character seem like any current-day MRA loser is that he's actually thrown in the loony bin.
Mar 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
The short story allows us to read a classic author like Nikolai Gogol and experience his wit and satirical writing style. We can get a taste of a novel like "Dead Souls" in a short read.
What a weird novel, what a strange story.
It is crazy how the first person narrator himself knows to be odd and he is writing it to himself as he is speaking through the dog Felice.
The last pages of the books are very sad. The narrator is not able even in the own madness to understand what is going wrong.
Dec 14, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: free
The book is a funny yet lonely journey to a madman's mind.
The Author succeeded in revealing what goes on inside it--anything is possible except Truth.
Ida Aasebøstøl
Marchember, 2000.
Far out, dude.
-King Ferdinand VIII
Martin DH
Oct 29, 2018 rated it liked it
One of Gogol's short stories. I felt it was a lot like Dostojevskij's "The double" or Selma Lagerlöf's "Emperor of Portugalia", which I thought both were better than Gogol's story. Dostojevskij must have been heavily influenced by Gogol, even though Gogol's story has a lot more humour, but unfortunately the humour doesn't make it feel like a believable psychology of the main character. But it's a short story and it was enjoyable enough for me.
Jul 22, 2018 rated it liked it
An interesting book, a compilation of three actual stories/cases of severely mentally ill people. You get clear pictures of the brutality these people suffered back then, the stigma and the ignorance the general public about mental health. The second case was probably the one that stayed the longer in my mind. It's definitely sad when you stop to think that after so many years, technological breakthroughs and the internet, mental health is still a taboo.
Maria Lask
Aug 03, 2019 rated it liked it
Little, sad and touching story. Sadness is there even though Gogol presented this story in simplicity.
K. R. B. Moum
Sep 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
if only he knew about democracy!
Sep 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Sad but beautiful.
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Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol (Николай Васильевич Гоголь) was born in the Ukrainian Cossack village of Sorochyntsi, in Poltava Governorate of the Russian Empire, present-day Ukraine. His mother was a descendant of Polish nobility. His father Vasily Gogol-Yanovsky, a descendant of Ukrainian Cossacks, belonged to the petty gentry, wrote poetry in Russian and Ukrainian, and was an amateur ...more
“Man is such a wondrous being that it is never possible to count up all his merits at once. The more you study him, the more new particulars appear, and their descriptions would be endless.” 1 likes
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