My Gogol

Classic portrait of Gogol by Moller. Xnumx

At one time I had a great desire to write something about my favorite Russian writer - Nikolai Vasilyevich Gogol. I began to do this and in the process of studying the information I learned more about him and learned more and more. For my readers, I want to offer my text (based on the “My Gogol” manuscript), published in my LiveJournal 2 a year ago. This text is supplemented and corrected by me.

The same book that I read in 2002

My story of acquaintance with his work is very, very interesting in itself. In short, I should start by saying that my paternal grandparents lived once on Gogol Street (it was there that my grandmother died at the end of January 2001), their children, including my father, lived and grew up there. Later, at school, his work came. It's funny how I first tried to do it - I had to read the story “Lost letter”. I, of course, did not do this, but when they asked me whether I read, I answered confidently that I did, I read. Asked to retell. I said literally the following: “Lost the letter. Dyachok went to look for her and found ". I was mistaken here only about the clerk - I decided that the subtitle “Byl, told by the clerk of the *** church” indicated the actor who is the main one (in fact, he was the grandfather of the clerk, so, in a way, - almost guessed, but missed). But when I later read it already at school, along with "May night"it seemed pretty funny to me.

Were later "Christmas Eve" и "Taras Bulba". But really changed everything 2002 year (by sheer chance turned out to be the official year of Ukraine and Ukrainian culture in Russia). Then, as part of the summer reading, I took books in the library "Evenings on a Farm Near Dikanka"and Mirgorod - and that's it, I was subdued. So Ukraine entered my life. Naturally, I took her exclusively as a romantic Gogol Little Russia.

Therefore, he loved everything that was somehow connected with her - including the great-grandfather on the maternal line, and the girl Anya from Kiev (mutually, I must say), and much more. In 2004, I traveled through the lands of Novorossia by train to the Crimea, but then I saw only Gogol’s Ukraine in them - and therefore just a baldel from what I saw: from villages, fields, forests, steppes, from inscriptions in Ukrainian, finally seen in Zaporozhye Dnieper aroused fantastically turbulent emotions. Behind all this stood Gogol. And this blissful picture could not be overshadowed by follies in the Rada, the first Maidan and others. All this beautiful perception was killed during the second Maidan and the coup, and if it is accurate, then all of this burned down in the flames of Donbas cities and in the flames of Odessa 2 May 2014. And that was the only thing that healed me from the “united anti-fascist Ukraine”. Since then, much has changed. And so I decided to take up my old idea even 10 years ago - to write a book with my impressions of Gogol. Gone are the times - everything began to be perceived differently. And he had to look at Gogol and understand and see him in a different way. And I did it.

A very Russian man, a hot patriot of Russia and a no less hot patriot of his small country, Little Russia, appeared before me. A man is a deeply religious, Orthodox - only in Orthodoxy who saw salvation and truth. Little Russia for him is "Blooming part of Russia". He saw her in the future as “new Greece”, and Kiev as “new Athens”. How he would be upset and saddened, outraged, a man is already very impressionable, seeing what is happening now in his native lands.

The once beautiful land of Little Russia became an African state in Ukraine, where selyuki in embroidery, so unlike the romantic peyzan-farmers, captured and dirtied the ancient Russian city of Kiev, turning a marvelous land into a mixture of Zimbabwe and Uganda. Dear Patriarchal Dikan Shir turned into an angry Urkain Mordor, captured by orcs-ukrami from Bandera-Pravoshetskogo Urukhaya - and this is sad. I made this analogy with the orcs back in January, 2014, and I was not mistaken.

Gogol reads "The Inspector" in his house on Nikitsky (Suvorovsky) Boulevard in Moscow. November 5 1851 of the year. In the foreground - Sergey Aksakov, on the far right - Ivan Aksakov.
Gogol reads "The Inspector" in his house on Nikitsky (Suvorovsky) Boulevard in Moscow. November 5 1851 of the year. In the foreground - Sergey Aksakov, on the far right - Ivan Aksakov.

But now I finally saw Gogol more multifaceted, who tried to express himself in different areas and in different genres. He then tried to become a historian and write the history of Little Russia, based on the songs, then he decided to become a playwright and wrote two really beautiful plays. Included in the golden fund of Russian drama - "Inspector" и "Marriage"then he wrote a heroic novel in the spirit of his beloved Walter Scott - "Taras Bulba", then began writing the "Russian Odyssey" - the poem "Dead Souls".

Gogol was really a talented man that contemporaries saw in him, among whom he found ardent admirers, among which, of course, the Aksakovs family stood out - especially, of course, the eldest son of the head of the family, Sergei Timofeevich, Konstantin. At times, a fan of Gogol’s great and even fanatical at times, the most beloved book of Nikolai Vasilievich was the above-mentioned story “Taras Bulba”, which he liked to read aloud to relatives and friends, and read so that everyone was just in awe of this reading, so temperamental and bright, he read it.

Gogol was an absolute supporter of the unity of Russia and the Ukraine, Great Russians and Little Russians are part of one single great Russian people. He was categorically opposed to writing on the Move, only he considered Russian as the main language for entering the world literature. In this regard, Gogol did not appreciate Shevchenko very much and thought that he was making a terrible mistake and that he was turned away from the true path:

Young Taras Shevchenko. Selfies
Young Taras Shevchenko. Selfies

- Us, Osip Maksimovich [Osip Maksimovich Bodyansky (1808 - 1877), Russian philologist, historian, archeographer, one of the first Russian Slavicists, writer, translator, poet, editor, publisher of ancient Russian monuments, folklorist - S.Z., need to write in Russian, it is necessaryto strive for the support and consolidation of one dominant language for all our native tribes. The dominant for Russians, Czechs, Ukrainians and Serbs should be a single shrine - the language of Pushkin, which is the gospel for all Christians, Catholics, Lutherans and Herngutters. And you want Provencal poet Jasmen set to level with Moliere and Chateaubriand! <...> Us, Little Russians and Russian, we need one poetry, calm and strong, imperishable poetry of truth, goodness and beauty.

It is not vaudeville, today only understandable, trinket and not annoying by personal hints and bills, a market pamphlet. Poetry is the voice of the prophet ... Her verse should heal our doubts, raise us, teaching the eternal truths of love for our neighbors and forgiveness of our enemies. This is the pipe of the most pure archangel ... I know and love Shevchenko as a countryman and a gifted artist; I managed to help myself in the first device of his fate. But he was ruined by our clever men, pushing him into works alien to true talent. They still dozheyvayut European, long-thrown cuds. Russian and Little Russia are twins' souls that replenish one another, native and equally strong. To give preference to one, to the detriment of the other, is impossible. No, Osip Maksimovich, not that we need, not that. Anyone writing now must think not of discord; he must first put himself in front of the One who gave us the eternal human word ...

Konstantin Aksakov, whom I have already mentioned above, in his article on “Dead Souls” wrote literally the following:

- Another important circumstance is associated with the appearance of Gogol: he is from the Ukraine. Deep in her lying artistic her character is expressed in a few, soft sounds of songs, lively and tender, rounded in its size; This is not the nature of the Great Russian song. But Little Russia is a living part of Russia, created by the powerful Great Russian spirit; under his canopy she can reveal her character and enter, as a living element, into the general life of Russiawhich embraces all its compositions equally and is not called Great Russian (so it would have kept its one-sidedness, and the other parts would treat it as defeated to the winner), but now with Russia. Of course unity emerged from the Great Russian element; they are given a general character; he has the honor of creating; with its wide scope, everything, every side, can freely develop — and he has retained his legitimate dominance, just as the dominion of the head in a living human body; but the whole body is called a person, not a head; and Russia is called Russia, not Great Russia.

Of course, only writing in Russian (i.e., in Great Russian), can a poet from Little Russia appear; only Russian can and should appear, being the same citizen of the common all of Russia, bringing with it his own element and new life by pouring into its members. Now, with Gogol, the artistic character of Little Russia was outlined from its beautiful Little Russian songs, its beautiful artistic beginnings, and finally, a Russian genius arose when the general life of the state embraced all its members and let it show up in a huge amount; A new element of art has flowed widely into the life of art in Russia.

Gogol, who brought us this new element, which originated from countries, the most important component of a comprehensive fatherland, and, therefore, expressed so much, justified (not in the sense: excused, but explained) this country, Gogol - Russian, quite Russian, and this is most evident in his poem, where the content of Russia, of all Russia occupies him, and the whole of it, as one gigantic whole, is colossally to him. So it mattersthe phenomenon of the Little Russian element is already Russian, a living element of all-Russian life, with the legitimate advantage of Great Russian.At the same time, the element of little Russian is perfectly incorporated by Gogol into our Russian.

Gogol's friends in Moscow were Slavophiles, the Aksakovs mentioned family was able to “love him to death”. They Gogol was a welcome guest. He was for them a great Russian talent and genius, his gift of the artist's words was revered by them unshakably. In Aksakovs, Gogol could always find shelter and a place to rest, here he was glad and eagerly caught every word when he read his works. Actually, this tone of the article is not surprising - full of sincere admiration for the work of your favorite writer.

Another friend of Gogol was the famous Slavophile Alexey Khomyakov. However, Nikolai Vasilyevich was much closer, not with him, but with his wife, Ekaterina Mikhailovna - he trusted his true spiritual feelings to her alone, he told her about his feelings and impressions of the trip to the Holy Land to her alone. Ekaterina Mikhailovna, the sister of the remarkable Russian poet Yazykova, was his spiritual sister.

Therefore, he could not survive her early sudden death at the beginning of February 1852, even Alexey Stepanovich did not grieve as much as Gogol did. Nikolai Vasilyevich died almost a month later - he had already started preparing for death from the very funeral. Before the end, he burned the second volume of “Dead Souls” - an irretrievable loss, the draft chapters that we have are only a weak consolation, this is only a small part of this whole plan and does not reflect the completed work that Gogol read out, returning from Italy

Portrait of Emperor Nicholas I in the Gogol House-Museum in Moscow. Photo by the author.
Portrait of Emperor Nicholas I in the Gogol House-Museum in Moscow. Photo author

Gogol was not a Slavophile, for him it was just a community of close friends, his brothers in the Faith. Gogol was a very religious person, sometimes up to fanaticism. He was, as some noted, a monk in the world who had taken the vow to observe piety and keep the Faith, but at the same time live among the people and not be locked in the monastery cell or forest monastery. In addition, he, a true Orthodox, was also a man of conservative views, a staunch monarchist - Gogol did not see Russia without a monarchy, without a Russian tsar. Although. It should be noted that he was interested in the example of the monarchy in England. In Tsar, Nikolai Vasilievich saw a spiritual example and a model for subjects.

Gogol was a talented satirist, he knew how to write funny, and. he also read in such a way that all the listeners simply died laughing. In addition, he had a talent to create images, noticed by Pushkin, he could create a good and clear portrait with just a few strokes. Actually, that is why he began to incline him to a great novel, a great work. Pushkin personally observed, like the Sovereign, the presentation of the "Inspector", where he very sharply ridiculed the provincial bureaucracy. The king, by the way, loved it, he laughed heartily, and in the end even noticed that in the play he supposedly got the most. Then he recommended that all officials attend the staging of the “Auditor” on a mandatory basis.

Satire, as is known, was originally a weapon of the Conservatives, directed against the too zealous advocates of progress and progress. The first conservative satirist was, as you know, Aristophanes. Jonathan Swift was convinced that Tories (on this topic very well wrote Yegor Kholmogorov). And, of course, it is quite logical here that the satirist Gogol was a staunch monarchist and a rather conservative person. In this series, he occupied quite a worthy place.

And, of course, it must be noted that Gogol was a deeply religious man. From his youth, he was brought up in this atmosphere of Little Russian religiosity - and Little Russia in general has always been distinguished by its commitment to Orthodoxy, to Christianity. Gogol's mother was a deeply religious believer; Nikolai also adopted this piety from her. Moreover, his religiosity only intensified over the years. Especially strongly he was shocked by the death of Pushkin, who was his friend and teacher. Taking up the “Dead Souls”, Gogol experienced some kind of unspeakable spiritual rebirth. He wanted to become a real Christian, he struggled with great sins with his sins, tried to live a righteous life and, moreover, decided to preach.

In his book “Selected Places from Correspondence with Friends,” he appeared as Russian Pascal, who tried to preach in the spirit of the patristic tradition. Gogol was misunderstood, Belinsky cursed him, his close friend Sergey Aksakov was alarmed, well-known Russian Orthodox hierarchs such as St. Ignatius (Bryanchaninov) and St. Innocent (Borisov) criticized the book. They did not understand his intentions to go on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land - in the then quite secular society this was perceived as something unusual and strange. From his pilgrimage, he returned even more transformed - kind, sympathetic, loving people. There, at the Holy Sepulcher, the truth was revealed to him that it was love that was important for a Christian and that he needed to love his neighbors, open his heart to them. He even dreamed of monasticism, to go to a monastery.

Optina Hermitage, which Gogol visited three times. Last time - shortly before death.
Optina Hermitage, which Gogol visited three times. Last time - shortly before death

He repeatedly visited the Optina desert, where he communicated with the Monk Macarius, the famous Optina elder, and visited the Trinity-Sergius Lavra. Shortly before his death, he collected himself. confessed and communed. Can say. that Gogol lived and died as a Christian. Vera Aksakova, the daughter and sister of the Slavophils and the Slavophil herself, wrote about her:

“Gogol is a holy man in his aspiration. He could err like a man; he could become entangled in the application of the life circumstances of those holy truths to whom he was betrayed with all the forces of his soul, but he loved God with all his mind, all his soul, all thoughts, and his neighbor as himself, this is no longer required of man. What a holy feat his whole life! Now, only when reading so many letters and so many different people, we begin to comprehend the whole task of his life and all his spiritual inner works. What sincerity in every word! And this man was suspected of insincerity! "

Young Gogol. That was how he looked when he created &quot;Evenings&quot; and &quot;Mirgorod&quot;, and then the &quot;Petersburg novels&quot; were published.
Young Gogol. This is exactly how he looked when he created “Evenings” and “Mirgorod”, and then “Petersburg stories” were published.

Gogol is a man of European culture who lived for a long time in Germany and Italy, who admired the beauties of Rome and did not feel himself a stranger there, on the contrary, he even found the similarity of Italy with his own Little Russia. There he created his great creation - his "Dead Souls". If you look at the portrait of the young Gogol, made by Venetsianov, we will be surprised how surprised I was at the time when I saw him in a school textbook on literature. It depicts a handsome young man, dressed in a dandy and with a fashionable hairstyle. A sort of London dandy. However, by that time he had become famous for his “Evenings”, which received a lot of admiration from the entire literary elite of the country at that time, starting from Pushkin.

Gogol is a very interesting person and a wonderful writer. About him you can talk a lot and a lot.

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