427px-Poprishchin_by_Repin
Ilya Repin’s 1882 oil painting of Poprischin, the protagonist and narrator of Nikolai Gogol’s famous 1835 short story ‘Diary of a Madman.’ After increasingly erratic behavior and thoughts, including believing he has found the love letters between two dogs, the lowly St. Petersburg civil servant wakes up one morning with the epiphany that he is the heir to the Spanish throne. He believes the subsequent being taken to and mistreatment in an asylum is some strange part of the coronation. Years later, Gogol himself went mad, burning his unpublished manuscripts because he believed they were a trick played on him by the Devil.
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