1 Apr, 2021

Nikolai Gogol – a classic of world literature

Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol was born (March 20) on April 1, 1809 in the town of Velikiye Sorochintsy, Poltava province, in the family of a landowner.

The Gogols had seven children, over 1000 acres of land and about 400 serfs. In 1821 Nikolai entered the gymnasium in Nizhyn. Here he not only studies – he is engaged in painting, participates in performances, tries himself in various literary genres.

After graduating from high school in 1828, Gogol went to St. Petersburg. Here, for the first time, a severe disappointment awaited him: the modest funds in the big city were quite insignificant, and the brilliant hopes were not realized as soon as he had expected.

In 1829, under the pseudonym V. Alov, he published the romantic idyll “Ganz Küchelgarten”, the hero of which was given those ideal dreams and aspirations that he was fulfilled in the last years of Nezhin’s life. The book attracts derisive reviews. He burns unsold copies and leaves for Germany before the end of the summer.

At the end of 1829, he managed to decide to serve in the Ministry of the Interior. Staying in the offices caused Gogol’s deep disappointment in the “service of the state”, but provided a rich material for future works, depicting the life of bureaucrats and the functioning of the state machine.

By this time, Gogol was publishing a number of works of art and articles. He meets Zhukovsky, Pletnev, Pushkin, often visits Tsarskoe Selo. Carries out assignments for the publication of Pushkin’s “Belkin’s Tales”. Gives private lessons, teaches at the Patriotic Institute.

During this period, Evenings on a Farm near Dikanka (1831-1832) were published. They aroused almost universal admiration. In June 1832, Gogol came to Moscow as a famous writer. 1833 for Gogol turned out to be difficult and stressful. Simultaneously with his pedagogical work and works on history, he writes novels that compiled the collections “Mirgorod” and “Arabesques”.

In the fall of 1835, he started writing The Inspector General, and later Dead Souls. The plot of both works was suggested to Gogol by Pushkin. In June 1836, Gogol left for Germany, and spent the end of summer and autumn in Switzerland. The news of the death of Pushkin finds him in Paris. Gogol is stunned and feels the work on Dead Souls as the poet’s “sacred testament”.

Soon “The Adventures of Chichikov, or Dead Souls” (1842) was published. In 1842-1845 – a period of intense and difficult work on the 2nd volume of “Dead Souls”. Writing is extremely difficult, with long stops, overcoming mental fatigue and creative doubts.

In 1845, in a state of mental crisis and a sharp exacerbation of his illness, Gogol burns the manuscript of the second volume and begins anew.

At the beginning of 1852, Gogol informs his friends that the second volume is “completely finished.” But in the last days of January, signs of a new crisis were clearly visible. He is tormented by a premonition of imminent death.

(7) On February 19, Gogol confesses and takes communion, and on the night of (12) February 24, he burns the white manuscript of the 2nd volume.

(February 21) March 4, 1852 in the morning Gogol died in a house on Nikitsky Boulevard in Moscow. The burial took place at the cemetery of the St. Danilov Monastery in Moscow, and in 1931 the writer’s ashes were transferred to the Novodevichye cemetery.