Friday, May 24, 2019

Nikolai Gogol as a Religious Personality

Nikolai Vasilevich Gogol was born in 1809 in the Ukraine. His father was an amateur playwright who had a small estate with a number of serfs. From the ages of 12 to 19, young Gogol attended a boarding school where he became known for his sharp wit and ability to amuse his classmates. After school he worked as a government clerk.

He soon began writing memories of his childhood. His quaint depictions of the Ukrainian countryside marked his style and helped to make him famous. Gogol quickly gained fame and formed a friendship with the influential poet, Aleksandr Pushkin.

Gogol is largely remembered for his realistic characterizations, his rich imagination, and his humorous style. His works include Mirgorod, a collection of short stories including Taras Bulba. Gogol's wit is evident in his short story, The Nose, where a man's nose wanders off around town in a carriage. Gogol's masterpiece is the novel Dead Souls. In this work, a swindler plots to buy from landowners their dead serfs.

Gogol had a gift for caricature and imaginative invention, influencing many other upcoming writers including Dostoevsky, but was often misunderstood. As he got older, the criticism of his writing from his peers increasingly drained his spirit. Turning to religion, Gogol made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem in 1848. Upon return to Moscow, and under the influence of the priest, Father Konstantinovskii, Gogol subjected himself to a fatal course of fasting and died on the 4th of March, 1852, at the age of forty-two. He dedicated one of his last works to the Divine Liturgy of the Orthodox Church. He lies buried in the Novo Devichy Cemetery in Moscow, Russia.

If you are interested to learn more about Nikolai Gogol as a religious personality, you may download this article by Ivan Andreev, translated by Nicholas Kotar into English.