Great stories of good versus evil. Gogol sought to change society for the better through his writings only to die of self-starvation at the age of 43 because of his disillusionment with literature as a force for effective change. His stories contain elements of dark humor and the fantastic. This latter strain throughout most of Gogol's stories come from Gogol's mystical bent which he manages to make quite believable. Gogol influenced Dostoevsky who also was interested in the problems of societal evil which are depicted in his writings also.