Nikolai Gogol

Nikolai Gogol

by Vladimir Nabokov
     
 

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Nikolai Gogol was the most idiosyncratic of the great Russian novelists of the 19th century and lived a tragically short life which was as chaotic as the lives of the characters he created.
This biography begins with Gogol's death and ends with his birth, an inverted structure typical of both Gogol and Nabokov. The biographer proceeds to establish the

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Overview

Nikolai Gogol was the most idiosyncratic of the great Russian novelists of the 19th century and lived a tragically short life which was as chaotic as the lives of the characters he created.
This biography begins with Gogol's death and ends with his birth, an inverted structure typical of both Gogol and Nabokov. The biographer proceeds to establish the relationship between Gogol and his novels, especially with regard to "nose-consciousness", a peculiar feature of Russian life and letters, which finds its apotheosis in Gogol's own life and prose. There are more expressions and proverbs concerning the nose in Russian than in any other language in the world. Nabokov's style in this biography is comic, but as always leads to serious issues—in this case, an appreciation of the distinctive "sense of the physical" inherent in Gogol's work. Nabokov describes how Gogol's life and literature mingled, and explains the structure and style of Gogol's prose in terms of the novelist's life.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

Nabokov's 1959 portrait of fellow Russian Gogol offered a different take from previous studies. He debunks the theory that Gogol was the Russian Dickens, claiming that his comedy was much more severe, and blames the misrepresentation of Gogol's work on bad translations and crude interpretations. Solid for the academics.


—Michael Rogers

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780811201209
Publisher:
New Directions Publishing Corporation
Publication date:
01/17/1961
Series:
New Directions Paperbook Series
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
172
Sales rank:
602,146
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.50(d)

Meet the Author

Vladimir Nabokov (1899-1977), one of the 20th century's greatest writers in both Russian and English, was born in St. Petersburg, Russia, and spent his adult life in Germany, France, the United States, and Switzerland. In addition to his literary work, he was a passionate lepidopterist and chess player. His books include Lolita, Pale Fire, The Real Light of Sebastian Knight, Laughter in the Dark, and many more.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
April 23, 1899
Date of Death:
July 2, 1977
Place of Birth:
St. Petersburg, Russia
Place of Death:
Montreux, Switzerland
Education:
Trinity College, Cambridge, 1922

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