Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol (1809-52), the greatest Russian novelist and playwright of the early 19th century, wrote the first realist Russian plays. He is celebrated for his novel Dead Souls (1842) and his short stories ‘The Overcoat’ and ‘Diary of a Madman’. His satirical masterpiece Government Inspector (1836; first seen in London in 1920) was so severely attacked that he went into exile in Rome, only returning in 1848. Other plays include Marriage and Gamblers. In later life he became a religious fanatic and starved to death soon after burning the second and third parts of Dead Souls.