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Russian novelist Nikolai Gogol was born on March 31, 1809, in Sorochintsy, Ukraine. His first successful book was Evenings on a Farm near Dikanka, which he wrote in the early 1830s, but his 1842 novel Dead Souls is considered his masterpiece. A fanatical priest convinced Gogol to burn the second volume of Dead Souls in 1952. He died later that year, on March 4, 1852, in Moscow, Russia; it's believed that he starved himself to death.
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