In Nikolai Gogol's short story ”May Night, or the Drowned Maiden," a single night ends up changing the lives of many. Young Levko is the son of the head of a Ukrainian village and madly in love with a maiden named Hanna. To Levko's dismay, his father attempts to break off the romance in secret. What follows is a night during which both the alive and dead seek vengeance. In this tale wrapped in mysterious folktale, family ties are put to the test and characters are faced with a lesson or two. The story was adapted into two operas in the late 19th century and a Soviet film in 1952. Ukrainian-born writer and dramatist Nikolai Gogol (1809-1852) is considered one of the most prominent figures in Russian literature. His unconventional works are often touched by folklore or a hint of the unusual, providing the reader with surprising turns and characters. Gogol has been attached to a range of different literary styles, including Russian literary realism and even surrealism. His stories include the short story "The Nose" and the famous satirical novel Dead Souls. Gogol's works have inspired numerous stage, film and television adaptations including the movie Inspector General (1949), based loosely on his play with the same name.
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