Author Topic: Explaining Gogol  (Read 993 times)

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Offline NightOwl

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Explaining Gogol
« on: September 22, 2011, 11:34:55 AM »
Gogol's later life is very interesting. After writing Dead Souls, he increasingly turned to Orthodoxy and asceticism, but simultaneously became more depressed. Eventually he stopped eating and died in bed at the age of 43. What happened? ???

Offline LizaSymonenko

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Re: Explaining Gogol
« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2011, 12:32:44 PM »

If I remember correctly, he got very interested and involved in the occult (as witnessed by many of his writings.)

Towards the very end of his life he met up with a very strict priest who informed him that what he was doing was wrong.  At that point Gogol did a complete turn around and regretted his previous life style and interests.  However, he took it overboard and starved himself hoping to win redemption for his wrong doings. 

He died within 9 days.

When his grave was opened (to move his body from it's original burial place to another) he was found to be lying face down.  This led to many stories that he had been buried alive and was trying in vain to get out, when he died.

Either way, his was a tragic life.

May he rest in peace.
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Offline orthonorm

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Re: Explaining Gogol
« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2011, 12:40:17 PM »
One thing that should be said about the man:

He IS Russian Literature.

All the rest stood in his shadows and that of the Germans.

Every epoch and culture emerges from the words of its most original voice. Russia's was Gogol.


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Offline Jetavan

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Re: Explaining Gogol
« Reply #3 on: September 22, 2011, 12:46:21 PM »
Gogol's later life is very interesting. After writing Dead Souls, he increasingly turned to Orthodoxy and asceticism, but simultaneously became more depressed. Eventually he stopped eating and died in bed at the age of 43. What happened? ???
Some say his tension with his sexual orientation played a role in his demise.
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Offline Orest

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Re: Explaining Gogol
« Reply #4 on: September 22, 2011, 01:07:44 PM »
One thing that should be said about the man:

He IS Russian Literature.

All the rest stood in his shadows and that of the Germans.

Every epoch and culture emerges from the words of its most original voice. Russia's was Gogol.




All I can say is that he was a product of his time period.  His mother was of Polish origin and his father from an old Ukrainian Kozak family.  He grew up in Ukraine.  But at the time his part of Ukraine was part of the oppresive Russian Empire.  he grew up in a Ukrainian-speaking home and this is evident in his early works which deal with Ukrainian themes and places.

Have you read his early works in Russian?  Many editions have footnotes with references to Ukrainian folklore, traditions or origin of a few words.

Offline orthonorm

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Re: Explaining Gogol
« Reply #5 on: September 22, 2011, 01:28:37 PM »
One thing that should be said about the man:

He IS Russian Literature.

All the rest stood in his shadows and that of the Germans.

Every epoch and culture emerges from the words of its most original voice. Russia's was Gogol.




All I can say is that he was a product of his time period.  His mother was of Polish origin and his father from an old Ukrainian Kozak family.  He grew up in Ukraine.  But at the time his part of Ukraine was part of the oppresive Russian Empire.  he grew up in a Ukrainian-speaking home and this is evident in his early works which deal with Ukrainian themes and places.

Have you read his early works in Russian?  Many editions have footnotes with references to Ukrainian folklore, traditions or origin of a few words.

I was going to make a smarmy joke about Gogol and the Ukraine a double slap to the Ukraine and Russia. In my first post.

I don't read a lick of Russian. But I have read Gogol and as much of Russian Literature as critically as you can in English and German for how it informed German-Austro-Hungarian literature.

I just have to say everyone cheers Dostoevsky like some genius, I ain't so sure, but Gogol for my money was a singular voice. But this is all in English and German translation and analysis in English, German, and very little French.

I really hate socio-political stuff really. But if you want to get critical let's give the Ukraine Gogol. //:=) That was for you Liza.

And let the Russians eat cake. Cause really everything else is Gogol and Germany with a touch of the French in Russian lit. from what I've seen.

Again I hate the fighting over the past, I really ain't into any history that much, but I'll change my statement:

He IS Ukrainian Literature.

All of Russia's literature stands in his shadows and that of the Germans.

Every epoch and culture emerges from the words of its most original voice. Ukraine's was Gogol. He taught the Russians to speak Ukrainian and to speak only Ukrainian.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2011, 01:29:27 PM by orthonorm »
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Offline Heorhij

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Re: Explaining Gogol
« Reply #6 on: September 22, 2011, 01:47:16 PM »
Towards the very end of his life he met up with a very strict priest

Yes. Propresbyter Fr. Matfei Konstantinovskiy from Rzhev (a provincial town northwest of Moscow).

who informed him that what he was doing was wrong. 

Not only that; Fr. K. spoke very harshly (and quite unjustly) about the second volume of Gogol's "Dead Souls," while Gogol was still very much excited about working on it. Gogol was already depressed at the time he met with Fr. K., because his book, "Selected Excerpts from Correspondence with Friends" (which was not fiction but a collection of sermon-like essays), was a failure ("democrats" thought it was too "conservative" and too "religious," and "conservatives" thought it was too liberal). Also, the wife of his close friend suddenly died, being quite young. In these circumstances, Gogol developed a paranoic fear of death. When Fr. K. said that the second volume of "Dead Souls" (still an unfinished manuscript) contains chapters that deserve to be destroyed, Gogol took it very literally and burned the manuscript. He later said that he intended to burn only some chapters, but "an evil spirit" commanded him to burn the whole thing. (Fortunately, at least a few chapters of this work were restored.)

At that point Gogol did a complete turn around and regretted his previous life style and interests.  However, he took it overboard and starved himself hoping to win redemption for his wrong doings.

Yes. He stopped eating because, as he explained to his friends, he decided to observe the Great Lent very strictly. In fact, it was perhaps a sign of a most severe clinical depression. (My father did that when he decided, tragically, to kill himself. He did not eat anything for about two weeks, and then shot himself.) 

To me, it's still a mystery, why some patients with severe depression seem to be simultaneously fearing death and behaving in a suicidal fashion. Human brains are truly very strange. :)

Either way, his was a tragic life.

May he rest in peace.

Amen. Memory Eternal.
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Offline orthonorm

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Re: Explaining Gogol
« Reply #7 on: September 22, 2011, 01:51:45 PM »
(My father did that when he decided, tragically, to kill himself. He did not eat anything for about two weeks, and then shot himself.) 

Good grief! I am terribly sorry to hear that. Truly. These times are when a typed Lord have mercy seems a bit trite or insipid.

My deepest sympathies.
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Offline Maria

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Re: Explaining Gogol
« Reply #8 on: September 22, 2011, 02:00:07 PM »
Towards the very end of his life he met up with a very strict priest

Yes. Propresbyter Fr. Matfei Konstantinovskiy from Rzhev (a provincial town northwest of Moscow).

who informed him that what he was doing was wrong.

Not only that; Fr. K. spoke very harshly (and quite unjustly) about the second volume of Gogol's "Dead Souls," while Gogol was still very much excited about working on it. Gogol was already depressed at the time he met with Fr. K., because his book, "Selected Excerpts from Correspondence with Friends" (which was not fiction but a collection of sermon-like essays), was a failure ("democrats" thought it was too "conservative" and too "religious," and "conservatives" thought it was too liberal). Also, the wife of his close friend suddenly died, being quite young. In these circumstances, Gogol developed a paranoic fear of death. When Fr. K. said that the second volume of "Dead Souls" (still an unfinished manuscript) contains chapters that deserve to be destroyed, Gogol took it very literally and burned the manuscript. He later said that he intended to burn only some chapters, but "an evil spirit" commanded him to burn the whole thing. (Fortunately, at least a few chapters of this work were restored.)

At that point Gogol did a complete turn around and regretted his previous life style and interests.  However, he took it overboard and starved himself hoping to win redemption for his wrong doings.

Yes. He stopped eating because, as he explained to his friends, he decided to observe the Great Lent very strictly. In fact, it was perhaps a sign of a most severe clinical depression. (My father did that when he decided, tragically, to kill himself. He did not eat anything for about two weeks, and then shot himself.)  

To me, it's still a mystery, why some patients with severe depression seem to be simultaneously fearing death and behaving in a suicidal fashion. Human brains are truly very strange. :)

Either way, his was a tragic life.

May he rest in peace.

Amen. Memory Eternal.

People who are dying of hypothermia start feeling warm and peel off their clothing in freezing weather.

People who are dying of starving often feel no hunger pain near the end of their lives.
I was told by my doctor to go on a three day medical fast due to a severe abdominal flu.
At the end of the third day, I was no longer hungry and relatively pain free, so I had to be encouraged to eat food again.
However I was drinking at least two quarts a day of liquids (and water).

May Gogol's memory be eternal.

Is the gogol named after him or was that another relative?
« Last Edit: September 22, 2011, 02:00:40 PM by Maria »
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Offline Heorhij

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Re: Explaining Gogol
« Reply #9 on: September 22, 2011, 03:44:55 PM »
(My father did that when he decided, tragically, to kill himself. He did not eat anything for about two weeks, and then shot himself.) 

Good grief! I am terribly sorry to hear that. Truly. These times are when a typed Lord have mercy seems a bit trite or insipid.

My deepest sympathies.

Thank you. That's why I always tell people that depression is a serious illness that should not be taken lightly. And imagine my feelings when I once walked in a church (which, surprise, surprise, happened to be of my "beloved" Moscow patriarchy) and saw a sign on the wall: "DO NOT OFFER PRAYERS FOR THOSE WHO KILLED THEMSELVES. GOD DOES NOT LISTEN TO THEM."
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Offline Gorazd

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Re: Explaining Gogol
« Reply #10 on: September 22, 2011, 03:59:44 PM »
"DO NOT OFFER PRAYERS FOR THOSE WHO KILLED THEMSELVES. GOD DOES NOT LISTEN TO THEM."

Looks like Patriarch Kyrill has a different opinion on that matter:
http://en.rian.ru/Religion/20110203/162428454.html


Offline Maria

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Re: Explaining Gogol
« Reply #11 on: September 22, 2011, 04:15:02 PM »
(My father did that when he decided, tragically, to kill himself. He did not eat anything for about two weeks, and then shot himself.) 

Good grief! I am terribly sorry to hear that. Truly. These times are when a typed Lord have mercy seems a bit trite or insipid.

My deepest sympathies.

Thank you. That's why I always tell people that depression is a serious illness that should not be taken lightly. And imagine my feelings when I once walked in a church (which, surprise, surprise, happened to be of my "beloved" Moscow patriarchy) and saw a sign on the wall: "DO NOT OFFER PRAYERS FOR THOSE WHO KILLED THEMSELVES. GOD DOES NOT LISTEN TO THEM."

Lord have mercy.
May his memory be eternal.

What is his first name?
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Offline Gorazd

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Re: Explaining Gogol
« Reply #12 on: September 22, 2011, 04:19:27 PM »
What is his first name?

Mykola (in case you mean Gogol ? )

Offline Heorhij

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Re: Explaining Gogol
« Reply #13 on: September 22, 2011, 04:43:21 PM »
"DO NOT OFFER PRAYERS FOR THOSE WHO KILLED THEMSELVES. GOD DOES NOT LISTEN TO THEM."

Looks like Patriarch Kyrill has a different opinion on that matter:
http://en.rian.ru/Religion/20110203/162428454.html



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Re: Explaining Gogol
« Reply #14 on: September 22, 2011, 04:45:36 PM »
(My father did that when he decided, tragically, to kill himself. He did not eat anything for about two weeks, and then shot himself.) 

Good grief! I am terribly sorry to hear that. Truly. These times are when a typed Lord have mercy seems a bit trite or insipid.

My deepest sympathies.

Thank you. That's why I always tell people that depression is a serious illness that should not be taken lightly. And imagine my feelings when I once walked in a church (which, surprise, surprise, happened to be of my "beloved" Moscow patriarchy) and saw a sign on the wall: "DO NOT OFFER PRAYERS FOR THOSE WHO KILLED THEMSELVES. GOD DOES NOT LISTEN TO THEM."
Would destroying a sign like that be a sin you'd have to confess?
I suppose using a disguise to pull it off would be the sin. What a shame.
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Re: Explaining Gogol
« Reply #15 on: September 22, 2011, 07:41:02 PM »
Sometimes people have conditions that run in their family, like heart disease or cancer, and these can break out at a certain point. Maybe that's what happened.
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Offline mark thomas

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Re: Explaining Gogol
« Reply #16 on: September 24, 2011, 06:30:34 PM »
Apparently, Gogol was....A VAMPIRE!!


If I remember correctly, he got very interested and involved in the occult (as witnessed by many of his writings.)

Towards the very end of his life he met up with a very strict priest who informed him that what he was doing was wrong.  At that point Gogol did a complete turn around and regretted his previous life style and interests.  However, he took it overboard and starved himself hoping to win redemption for his wrong doings. 

He died within 9 days.

When his grave was opened (to move his body from it's original burial place to another) he was found to be lying face down.   This led to many stories that he had been buried alive and was trying in vain to get out, when he died.

Either way, his was a tragic life.

May he rest in peace.


I found this gem while I was searching for something completely unrelated:

from "Heretics as Vampires and Demons in Russia"

"There were such people, who roamed around at night in villages, captured people and ate them.
The eretiki were not alive, but dead. Therefore, if they really got on the nerves of the people, the
people gathered at the grave of the one who was known as a sorcerer during his lifetime, opened
it up with stakes, took out the eretik who was lying with his face downwards, and burned him in
a bonfire or pierced his back with an aspen stick.... The person-magician (kudesnik), wizard
(znaxar') or harmer (poreelnik) - who was called a "sorcerer" (koldun) in his lifetime, would
become an eretik after his death, if he walks around at night and begins to eat people, as it has
been going on for centuries. (186-87.)
"
Link:http://www.ravenndragon.net/montgomery/hereticvampires.pdf

Being found in the grave face down, I gather, would be considered a very, very bad sign! As a more - practical matter, I think, spreading the story that someone was found face down in their grave would be a good way to discredit them posthumously. Personally, I'm not that familiar with Russian folklore and don't know how prevalent these beliefs and practices were in Gogol's time; but when I stumbled on the article I thought it might be of interest here.

 
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Offline PrincessMommy

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Re: Explaining Gogol
« Reply #17 on: September 25, 2011, 03:19:24 PM »
(My father did that when he decided, tragically, to kill himself. He did not eat anything for about two weeks, and then shot himself.) 

Good grief! I am terribly sorry to hear that. Truly. These times are when a typed Lord have mercy seems a bit trite or insipid.

My deepest sympathies.

Thank you. That's why I always tell people that depression is a serious illness that should not be taken lightly. And imagine my feelings when I once walked in a church (which, surprise, surprise, happened to be of my "beloved" Moscow patriarchy) and saw a sign on the wall: "DO NOT OFFER PRAYERS FOR THOSE WHO KILLED THEMSELVES. GOD DOES NOT LISTEN TO THEM."

 ??? ??? Oh my gosh!  That is horrible.  Odd because there is an Akathist (which I got from a ROCOR source) for the dead that I have prayed before.  Included in Ikos 5 is a prayer asking God to "Save those who have committed suicide in the darkness of their mind, that the flame of their sinfulness may be extinguished in the ocean of Thy grace."...

My deepest sympathies as well.  May God grant rest eternal to your father.


Offline orthonorm

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Re: Explaining Gogol
« Reply #18 on: September 25, 2011, 03:31:13 PM »
(My father did that when he decided, tragically, to kill himself. He did not eat anything for about two weeks, and then shot himself.) 

Good grief! I am terribly sorry to hear that. Truly. These times are when a typed Lord have mercy seems a bit trite or insipid.

My deepest sympathies.

Thank you. That's why I always tell people that depression is a serious illness that should not be taken lightly. And imagine my feelings when I once walked in a church (which, surprise, surprise, happened to be of my "beloved" Moscow patriarchy) and saw a sign on the wall: "DO NOT OFFER PRAYERS FOR THOSE WHO KILLED THEMSELVES. GOD DOES NOT LISTEN TO THEM."

 ??? ??? Oh my gosh!  That is horrible.  Odd because there is an Akathist (which I got from a ROCOR source) for the dead that I have prayed before.  Included in Ikos 5 is a prayer asking God to "Save those who have committed suicide in the darkness of their mind, that the flame of their sinfulness may be extinguished in the ocean of Thy grace."...

My deepest sympathies as well.  May God grant rest eternal to your father.



What I have used:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,26471.msg594749.html#msg594749
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