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Gogol's Aesthetics Compared to Major Elements of German Romanticism

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Scholars have traditionally underestimated Gogol as a theorist and critic of art. Taking a fresh look at his fictional and nonfictional work, the author finds compelling evidence that Gogol was a conscious and rather consistent thinker. Gogol's basic assumptions concerning the role of the poet, the nature of the creative process, and the spiritual dimension of art are shown to coincide significantly with the aesthetics of early German Romanticism. Also presented here are some novel perspectives on The Inspector ...
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Overview

Scholars have traditionally underestimated Gogol as a theorist and critic of art. Taking a fresh look at his fictional and nonfictional work, the author finds compelling evidence that Gogol was a conscious and rather consistent thinker. Gogol's basic assumptions concerning the role of the poet, the nature of the creative process, and the spiritual dimension of art are shown to coincide significantly with the aesthetics of early German Romanticism. Also presented here are some novel perspectives on The Inspector General and Dead Souls.
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Product Details

Table of Contents

Preface
1 Introduction 1
2 The Poet 7
Gogol's Romantic Idealization of the Poet 7
The Idealized Artist in Gogol's Fiction 15
Khlestakov as the Ideal Poet in Travesty 22
The Book of Job: A Key to The Inspector General 26
3 The Creative Process 35
Neoplatonic Assumptions 35
Woman as the Aesthetic and Ethical Ideal 40
Fusion of the Real and the Ideal in Art 44
Art as Second Nature 48
Depicting the Ideal through the Negative Ideal 50
4 Gogol and the Arabesque Principle in Romantic Aesthetics 57
The Arabesque in the History of Art 58
The Arabesque in Romantic Literary Theory 60
Gogol's Arabesques 64
Gogol and the Arabesque Romanideal 75
5 Religious and Moral Philosophy in Gogol's Aesthetics 85
Gogol's Cultural Pessimism 85
Religious Sentiment as a Precondition for Art 92
Morally Edifying Art versus Despiritualized Art 100
The Didactic Purpose of Comedy 106
Summary: From Idealism to "Christian Art" 116
6 Conclusion 123
Selected Bibliography 131
Index 137
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