Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Gogol, Nikolai

(1809-1852) Russian writer, one of the central 19th-century figures of Russian literature; he has been described as the founder of Russian realism, though his version of realism is profoundly fantasticated. Vechera na khutore bliz Dikan'ki (coll 1831-1832; trans Constance Garnett as Evenings on a Farm near Dikanka 1926 UK), is, however, a collection of Twice-Told tales of the Ukraine, generally fantastic. Mirgorod (coll 1835; trans Garnett 1928 UK), contains "Viy", a famous tale about a female Vampire, and "Taras Bulba", an historical epic into which Cossack Legends are interwoven. Arabeski ["Arabesques"] (coll 1835), contains various stories later translated, including "The Portrait" and "The Nose". It is tempting to understand Mertvyye Dushi (1842; various trans as Dead Souls or Tchitchikoff's Journeys from 1887) primarily in terms of its surreal dislocations, its animate metonymies (coats are more alive than their forgotten wearers), and the constant juxtapositioning of life and death which leads to a climactic Dance of Death when Hell is let loose. As a tour of Hell, Dead Souls can be understood as an important text in the development of 19th-century fantasy. [JC]

Nikolai Gogol


This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.