Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol (1809-1852) – one of the classics of Russian literature. He was a man with a complicated inner world. And today his life, death, creativity are causing numerous controversy.
Gogol is closely examined not only by art historians and historians, but also by psychologists, doctors and even science fiction writers. Not surprisingly, the writer is surrounded by unusual stories, rumors, legends and myths. Some of the most interesting misconceptions about the great Russian and Ukrainian writer will be debunked.
Gogol had a special attitude towards the stairs.
As a child, the boy listened to his grandmother’s stories about how people’s souls are climbing the sky on the stairs. This story was remembered by Gogol, deposited in memory. And a special attitude to this image the writer carried through his whole life. On the pages of the work of Gogol, here and there there are ladders. They say that his last words were a cry: “Ladder, let’s get me a ladder soon!”.
Gogol was indifferent to food.
The writer distinguished his passion for sweets. He could drink a samovar of tea alone, eat gingerbread and a jar of jam. Even in Gogol’s pockets there were always gingerbread and sweets that he chewed in the class while still studying at the gymnasium. And such a passion was preserved by Gogol for life. Besides sweets in his pockets, you could find pieces of sugar, crackers, pretzels, half-eaten pies. His other passion is skating balls from bread. To his friends the writer said that this activity helps to solve the most difficult and difficult tasks. Bored at dinner, Gogol rolled such balls and quietly tossed them into food or drinks to others.
Gogol burned only the “Dead Souls.”
It turns out that the writer’s passion for burning his works arose long ago. The first example was the poem “Hans Kühelgarten”, written under the pseudonym V. Alov in the style of German romance. Because of criticism, Gogol’s name was not affected, but he suffered a serious failure. All the unsold copies of the author bought, and then burned. So until the end of his life Gogol did not admit that it was he who was that Alov. And in 1845 Gogol again burned drafts, perhaps, “Dead Souls.”
Gogol burned the second volume of Dead Souls.
On the night of February 12, 1852, a strange event took place, staggering the writer’s biographers. Until three o’clock in the morning, Gogol prayed, and then took out sheets of paper from his briefcase and threw them into the fire. It is believed that this was the second volume of Dead Souls. However, later the first chapters of the manuscript were found among the papers. What exactly burnt Gogol – remains a mystery.
Gogol was a homosexual.
It is known that the writer was never married, he led an ascetic and withdrawn lifestyle. Little was known about Gogol’s personal life, which gave birth to a string of rumors. Even contemporaries were frightened by this behavior. It is believed that unfamiliar women Gogol avoided, and remained a virgin. On this ground, the myth of the writer’s homosexuality appeared. In his book “The Sexual Labyrinth of Nikolai Gogol,” Professor Karlinsky wrote that the classic experienced oppressed homosexuality, suppressing attraction to the representatives of the opposite sex. But some facts from Gogol’s biography nevertheless debunk this myth. So, in 1829 the writer unexpectedly left Petersburg. In a letter to his mother, he told of the love of a woman who did not reciprocate him. And in 1840 Gogol made a proposal to Anna Vielgorskaya, whom he loved, calling “a heavenly creature.” But the woman refused to marry him. The reason for the writer’s celibacy is also seen in the monastic character store of the writer himself. And the habit of stopping at male friends is associated with a pathological fear of loneliness.
Gogol was buried alive.
February 21, 1852 Gogol died and was buried on February 24 at the monastery cemetery. Bequeathed the writer over his grave of the monument is not put, hoisted only a cross. Under Soviet rule, the monastery was given to the colony for child criminals, and Gogol’s ashes were decided to be reburied in the cemetery of the Novodevichy Convent.The ceremony was attended by numerous Soviet intellectuals, among whom was writer V.Lidin. He is the author of numerous myths about Gogol. Lidin wrote that in the coffin was a skeleton with its head turned to the side. How it happened – no one could understand. Immediately everyone remembered that the writer was panic-stricken to be buried in a state of lethargic sleep. As early as 1845, Gogol bequeathed to bury him only after the appearance of obvious signs of the decomposition of the body. He felt, how periodically during attacks there was a full numbness. But this legend was criticized. Removing a posthumous mask from Gogol sculptor Romanov noted that he had to hurry, as there were signs of destruction of the body. And the material was very hot, a living person could not not react. There is a simple explanation of the turn of the head in the coffin. At the coffin, the side covers are the first to rot, the upper cover, under the weight of the soil, presses on the head. She turns on her side on the Atlantic vertebra.
Gogol’s skull was gone.
This myth also belongs to the writer Lidin. He told me that when Gogol’s grave was opened, he did not have a skull. Fantasy has spawned many theories. They remembered that in 1908 a brick crypt was erected over the coffin, it is possible that at that time the skull disappeared. Another version says that the skull was stolen at the request of the merchant Bakhrushin, a fan of Gogol and the Russian theater. It was said that the rich man already owned the skull of the great actor Shchepkin. The myth says that the writer’s head was decorated with a silver wreath and placed in a glazed case, trimmed inside with black morocco.
Gogol was crazy.
For many years, there was a plume of insanity behind the writer. Even Turgenev before his visit to Gogol wrote that he was going to a genius writer who did not have everything in order with his head. Despite the fact that many contemporaries considered him sick, today his condition is overestimated. The very fact of a secular writer’s talk about spirituality was then considered abnormal. And the clinical analysis, put by some psychiatrists on the basis of letters, testimonies and rumors, can not be taken seriously.
Gogol died to death by starvation.
Observing during the death of Gogol’s illness, his doctor Tarasenkov testified that the patient refused food only three days before his death. Delirium and the decline of strength came to him only a few hours. Before that, the patient, even despite Lent, ate prophora, porridge, drank it with lime tea. In general, the exact cause of death has remained a mystery. Some say that excessive asceticism, manifested on the basis of mental imbalance, is to blame. Others blamed the mercury-based drug that the doctor was abusing at the time. Diagnoses were given 6 or 7, and Turgenev in general stated: “He died because he decided to die.”
Gogol died due to improper treatment.
Researcher K. Smirnov came to the conclusion that Gogol could die because of improper treatment. Three doctors watched him at once, each of whom, not knowing the approach of his colleagues, prescribed calomel. With the help of such a mercury-containing drug, stomach disorders were treated. But an overdose and slow withdrawal of the medicine from the body led to intoxication. Mercury could poison Gogol. However, in this version, few believe, the writer’s death is usually based on his asceticism and emotional and mental fatigue.
Gogol died suddenly.
The writer understood that he was dying. He gave away his last money, managed to make a will, dismissed Semyon’s servant. After Gogol’s death, only a few rubles, linens and books remained. He even gave his own part of the estate to his mother and sisters. His friend Khomyakova, three days before his death, Gogol asked him to leave, understanding the inevitability of death.
The Russian language was foreign to Gogol.
The basis of this myth was the phrase of Gogol from his mother’s letter in 1829: “I will write in a foreign language”. But all the messages to the parent were written in Russian, it would be strange to declare him a stranger.In fact, Gogol asked to write more clearly his own names and Little Russian words, since his work will be published in a foreign language. The writer did not want to distort his culture. Most likely, he had in the form of not Russian, not Ukrainian, but some third language.
Gogol was ugly and did not watch himself.
Contemporaries describe Gogol as a short man with a crooked nose and legs. The writer’s sister told me that her brother’s complexion was always good. He himself always watched his hair, once he even shaved off his hair to make them thicker. Many of Gogol’s acquaintances considered him even beautiful. The writer liked to wear a frock coat with colorful vests. On his head was a gray, then a white hat. Gogol’s friends remember that he always looked like a birthday boy dressed up smartly.
Gogol had an unsociable and reserved character.
Gogol was different. Some saw it closed, others remembered his kindness, the third – persistence. Gogol was talkative, but could not stand female chatter. The writer helped his young colleagues, giving recommendations.
Gogol was poor.
Father Gogol had 400 serfs, being a representative of the old noble family Gogol-Yanovsky. The writer had no shortage of funds, which allowed him to live abroad for several years. For his money, he published the poem “Ganz Kühelgarten”, burned later. Savings were not peculiar to Gogol, but he spent a lot of money on books.
Gogol had no hobbies other than books.
The writer had many other hobbies. He loved singing, collecting flowers, doing needlework. It is known that Gogol draws well. Living in Rome, the writer visited the Colosseum, making his sketches. Gogol loved the checkers and dominoes, but his real passion was billiards. Apparently, it was a living versatile person.