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"Diary of a Madman" is short story by Russian author Nikolai Gogol. It consists of entries from a madman, the madman in this case being Poprishchin, a 40 year old titular counsellor who serves as an assistant to the director of his division, a job consisting mostly of sharpening quills. He entertains delusions of self-importance, holding great pride in being officially a nobleman. He has fallen in love with the director's daughter, and desires to be noticed by her.

One day, while walking to work, he encounters the director's carriage, carrying his daughter to the store. While observing, he hears a voice, which he discovers to be that of the dogs. The rest of the story details his descent into madness, told through the entries of his diary.

A planned Animated Adaptation in the 1970s never materialised, but the narration by Kenneth Williams was later turned into a radio play by The BBC.

Absolutely no relation to the 1963 Vincent Price horror film.

Tropes used in Diary of a Madman include:

  • Bedlam House: Poprishchin's eventual fate.
  • Mood Whiplash: Mostly funny. And then it ends with him sobbing in a heap.
  • Sanity Slippage: The story details this, as Poprishchin's grip on reality continues to slip, eventually resulting in him believing himself the heir to the Spanish throne.
  • Sliding Scale of Anti-Heroes: Poprishchin's a definite Type I, a complete failure in every regard.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Poprishchin, who thinks he is a person of some importance, when, well, he isn't.
  • Speaks Fluent Animal: Poprishchin's first delusion is that he can understand the talks of dogs, and later the letters they write each other.
  • Through the Eyes of Madness: It's the diary of a madman.
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