Nikolay Gogol (1809–1852) is one of the great early masters of the short story and one of the first writers to portray Russian life with scathing realism. “The Nose” exemplifies the depths of Gogol’s philosophical and ethical criticism and remains one of the most important works in literature. Strongly affected by the death of his friend Pushkin, Gogol wrote Dead Souls. Soon after, fear of perdition led him to burn the second part of the epic. He fell into a deep depression and, weakened by ascetic practices, took to bed, refused food, and died in pain.