Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Midweek Mad Geniuses: Nikolai Gogol


The first in a series of geniuses who were also lunatics.

Let's take a look at genius/madman Nikolai Gogol.

Anybody who's read Dead Souls (Gogol's most famous work), will appreciate the man's outstanding skills as a novelist and part time comedian. The guy's hilarious. Read The Nose of you're in any doubt. The protagonist of Dead Souls, Chichikov, is a roguish anti-hero who wanders Russia buying up 'dead souls' or deceased serfs for commercial profit. The novel describes numerous devious, unscrupulous and ridiculous characters in an hilarious and profound manner. 'Dead souls' also refers to the characters Chichikov encounters. It is a superb study of morality.

Anyway, Dead Souls was supposed to be part 1 in Gogol's longer work. Chichikov was supposed to find redemption in part 2. Part 2 was largely completed when, in a fit of stupidity, drunkeness or 'influence of the devil', Gogol hurled the manuscript into the fire, went to bed, forgot to eat and died a week later in extreme pain.

During this time he described the burning as a practical joke. Nice one Nikolai.

39 comments:

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

Those Russians eh?

Always kidding around.

Boogeyman said...

Gogol: Hello? Insurance? I'd like to insure my next manuscript against fire for 100,000,000 rubles.

Insurance man: What did you say your name is?

Gogol: (in Scottish accent) Gogol - gee-oh, gee-oh-el.

Insurance man: Oh wait, you're that crazy Russian fucker that threw his last manuscript in the fire, aren't you? Aren't you on your death bed?

Gogol: No! You 'avin' a larf? I'm fit as a fiddle. Smoke me a kipper, I'll be back penning manuscripts in the morning.

Insurance man: I'll insure you for 10 kopeks and a bottle of 80% backyard vodka.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

Gogol: Done.

And the vodka will be with me...when?

Lewd Bob said...

Insurance Guy: Soon, soon, Nikolai. Just a word of warning, don't stand too close to the fire when you open the bottle.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

So far we've got

Monday Sports Wrap,

Midweek Mad Geniuses and

Poetry Slam Friday

Good work chaps.

Lewd Bob said...

It's like old-school variety television, Ramon, with segments you can rely on.

squib said...

Far out, this is so WEIRD. I was actually thinking about Gogol about ten minutes ago. I was thinking about snuff and that Nose story

Some people think he was buried alive. I want a bell in my coffin that's for sure

Mr E Discharge said...

Donations to the "Vodka For Tim Winton Fund" can be left at any NAB Branch or your local Post Office.

Boogeyman said...

Squib - I know, me too.

Actually, I was thinking about Google, but meh - close enough.

Boogeyman said...

Also, if I were Gogol and I had a car, I'd be sure to name it the Gogol-mobile.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

It's like old-school variety television

Is there any way we can incorporate a barrel segment, where TSFKA readers can win...

Umm...

*Checks pockets for possible prizes. Discovers $5.10 in small change and a cigarette lighter.*

...can win $5.10 in small change and a cigarette lighter?

Lewd Bob said...

Is there any way we can incorporate a barrel segment...

Now really, that's clearly Perseus' thing.

Some people think he was buried alive.

Just another hilarious Gogol practical joke.

Lewd Bob said...

...the Gogol-mobile.

I think that's the car that drives around taking photos of everything for streetview.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

Why Perseus, Bob?

Mr E Discharge said...

I know Denise Drysdale is looking for work right now.

Perseus said...

Ah, Ding-Dong. Ernie Sigley's sole contribution to Arts & Letters is his duet of 'Hey Hey Paula' with Ding-Dong.

Has anyone ever listened to his radio show? The whole show is old women ringing up Ernie and telling him how much they loved him in the 60's. There is no other content.

Yeah Bob, why am I barrel boy? And why doesn't barrel have two 'L's?

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

Why?

Because I can't feckin spell, that's why.

catlick said...

I reckon we should have a Health and Govt. Services Lottery. Oh wait...

Lewd Bob said...

why am I barrel boy.

Cos I don't want to be. I'll host 'What Cheeses Me Orf'.

squib said...

Anyway I want to test this telepathy thing I have with Lewd

Lewd you think about something and I will guess what it is

squib said...

Tell me when you're ready to transmit your thoughts, Lewd

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

*Squib slaps Lewd Bob's face*

squib said...

okay this a natural flow chart of my thoughts. Let's see if they match Lewd's

Gogol > nose > syphilis > nose drops off > snuff > wish I still smoked > coffee > cosmonauts > etsy.com > fabric with planets on it > tennis

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

Squib, there's a position vacant for a TSFKA barrel* girl.

You interested?

*Or indeed, a barrell girl, if so inclined.

Lewd Bob said...

Squib, I'm afraid Ramon's guess was much closer.

squib said...

OK

I have some experience in this area

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

You've been a barrel girl?

squib said...

No, I've been pulled out of a barrel

My name that is. On 'Hey Hey It's Saturday'

WitchOne said...

Squib, do tell how we rig it so Pers gets a date.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

He'd only fuck it up somehow, Witchie.

Perseus said...

True, Ramon, which is why I'm going through an "I'm not dating" phase. I've rejected two dates in the past week. Too hard, 'cos of the two hours from Melbourne thing.

I've dcecided I like being single, and if someone magically appears down here in my town, well, good, and if someone doesn't, well, good, as well.

I kinda like the hermit life. I like walking on the beach at night by myself. I hope one day to be known`as 'that guy that walks along the beach'.

squib said...

Well Witch, you could send in more than one entry. When they brought out the barrel it was only about a third full and nearly all those entries were mine

I'm not sure how we can apply this to Persey's love life/hermitage

Boogeyman said...

So, PQ, is this "no dating" phase like that enforced celibacy that some people try to pretend is really voluntary celibacy, or are you just eschewing meaningful relationships for a life of casual sex, with a little drugs and rock 'n roll for variety?

Samantha said...

its not forced - darnit! - i get offers
*stomnps away*

Perseus said...

eschewing meaningful relationships for a life of casual sex, with a little drugs and rock 'n roll for variety

Yes, that's the one.

Unless someone magically rocks up to my small town.

Boogeyman said...

Perhaps PQ you could wear one of these.

I was thinking about getting one, but the idea of wearing a badge saying "I'm single" is slightly less appealing than wearing a big L on my forehead.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

I'm looking for one that says "Yes, I am a drunk. Buy me a beer."

WitchOne said...

I love the slogans on these t-shirts, so much that if I were to ever wear slogan shirts, these would be it..

http://www.typetees.com/

Perseus said...

I want one saying, "I Don't Even Know What I Want"