“Am I not also your brother?”
I am so glad I read this short story by Gogol. I was bogged down less than a hundred pages in his longer, unfinished novel Dead Souls. The style and cynicism is the same. He was really good at biting satire, but had no message. Like Seinfeld. A snip of Gogol is enough.
“People began to believe he had come into the world just as he was, with his bald head and official uniform.”
Mostly by accident I’ve recently read several works from several European countries written early in the nineteenth century. The unifying element seems to be the authors’’ rejection of the Enlightenment optimistic and mechanistic worldview for something more intimate and emotional. Often darker. Eventually this shift led to the romantic era with its abandoning the mind to give free rein to the emotions. Looking back it seems like a silly dichotomy but at the time it was a big deal.