“Whatever you may say, the body depends on the soul. ”  

Gogol on Russian Postage Stamp 2009

Nicholai Gogol
novelist, short story writer, playwright (1809 – 1852)

Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol is best known for his short story “The Overcoat” & political satire Dead Souls. Like many creative geniuses, Gogol had a reputation for eccentricity.

Cover of The Government Inspector, which lampoons the corrupt bureaucracy under Nicholas I

In 1836 Gogol published “The Nose,” a short story about a nose that detaches itself from the face of a St. Petersburg official & wanders around town, leading its own independent existence. Gogol was so ashamed of his own nose, he often covered his face with a purple cloth.

Gogol was haunted by taphophobia – fear of being buried alive. As preventive measures, he slept sitting upright & his will requested that he be buried only when his body was clearly decomposing.