Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0015535, Wed, 3 Oct 2007 13:49:05 -0400

SIGHTING: Bojanowska's Nikolai Gogol
From review by R. Gregg in August '07 Choice:

Bojanowska, Edyta M. Nikolai Gogol: between Ukrainian and Russian
nationalism. Harvard, 2007.

True, the impact of Ukrainian culture on Gogol's works has been examined
before--but never as seriously or with a more sharply defined point of view,
namely, the twofold skewing of that impact. On the one hand, "Russophile"
commentators from Vissarion to Belinsky to Vladimir Nabokov have (wrongly)
viewed Gogol's Ukrainian birthplace and ancestry as incidental details in
the larger portrait of an authentically Russian patriot and genius. On the
other hand, Gogol himself helped obscure his Ukrainian birthright by
abandoning the (allegedly) affectionate satire of his Dikanka and Mirgorod
for the aggressively anti-Russian (according to Bojanowska) satire of his
major Russian phase. The author sometimes overstates her case, but her basic
argument seems irrefutable: Gogol's enduring pro-Ukranian sympathies have
indeed been neglected.

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