Memoirs of a Madman or Diary of a Madman is a farcical short story by Nikolai Gogol. Along with The Overcoat and The Nose, Diary of a Madman is considered to be one of Gogol’s greatest short stories. The tale centers on the life of a minor civil servant during the repressive era of Nicholas I. Following the format of a diary, the story shows the descent of the protagonist, Poprishchin, into insanity. Diary of a Madman, the only one of Gogol’s works written in first person, follows diary-entry format. Diary of a Madman centres on the life of Poprishchin, a low-ranking civil servant and titular counsellor who yearns to be noticed by a beautiful woman, the daughter of a senior official, with whom he has fallen in love. Sophie, the daughter of his boss, with whom he has fallen in love. As he said in his first sight of her, just after being a beast of a civil servant himself, “A footman opened the carriage door and out she fluttered, just like a little bird.” Nothing comes of this love he feels for her; Sophie is effectively unaware of him. His diary records his gradual slide into insanity.
The most famous and inspirational works of Nikolai Gogol include The Mantle, Evenings at the Farm, St Petersburg Stories, Taras Bulba, a tale of the Cossacks, The Revizor, The Viy, The Nose, A May Night, Memoirs of a Madman and many more.