Describe Nikolai Gogol, the author for whom Gogol Ganguli in "The Namesake" is named.

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linda-allen eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Gogol was born into a Ukrainian Cossack family in 1809. His family were landowners, so there was money for him to attend boarding school. As a child, he was frequently ill; the Dictionary of World Biography notes that he was so pampered by his mother that he developed an "inflated opinion of himself." The dictionary also describes him as "a skinny, unattractive child with a bad complexion and a long nose; he was often called dwarfish by his schoolmates."

His early attempts at writing received negative reviews. He worked for a time as a teacher, but after his father's death he tried to manage the estate. Failing at that, he had to take a civil service job, and he supplemented his income by writing stories. These stories were received well by critics and readers, and Gogol, along with Edgar Allan Poe, is credited with helping to create the short story genre.

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The Namesake

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