GOSPEL MOTIVES IN THE DYING NOTES OF NIKOLAI GOGOL

Article Russian OPEN
Vladimir Dmitrievich Denisov (2012)
  • Publisher: Petrozavodsk State University
  • Journal: Problemy Istoričeskoj Poètiki (issn: 1026-9479, eissn: 1026-9479)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.15393/j9.art.2012.339
  • Subject: Gospel motives | Gogol’s dying notes | Apocalypse | Slavic languages. Baltic languages. Albanian languages | PG1-9665

The article analyses several notes made by Nikolai Gogol shortly before his death in the light of their links to his other works and the Gospel text. The author seems to have understood that he was dying and was preparing to meet his death as a Christian should, to an extent matching the events around him with those in the Gospel. His artistic eye and hand did not fail him. His dying notes feature a brief sketch of a man in a cab and a profile of a man being shut by a closing book. Calligraphic handwriting Gogol had developed by mid-1840s differs from both the large scribble of the draft text of Evenings on a Farm Near Dikanka in the 1830s and the small hand of his historical notes, articles and novellas of the mid-1830s. His new hand was that of a man who knew the value of words, and not of a copyist working with government papers. Overall, the notes are permeated with the mood of contrition and humility. Gogol writes that Satan has already entered the world and the last days are approaching when man is abandoned by God and considers solitude the highest good. He sees his actions as the only true way and takes pride in his sins and ignorance as if they were virtues. The decay of “the temple of his soul” leaves no chance for love and harmony, disconnecting people and ruining the world. Gogol wants to prevent this by uniting people in the Gospel. The longest of his dying notes is addressed to his friends. Every true Christian can be viewed as such.
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