Evenings on a Farm Near Dikanka
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Evenings on a Farm Near Dikanka (Russian: Вечера на хуторе близ Диканьки, Vechera na khutore bliz Dikan'ki) is a collection of short stories by Nikolai Gogol, written from 1831-1832. They appeared in various magazines and were published in book form when Gogol, who had spent his life in Ukraine up to the age of nineteen, was twenty-two. He put his early impressions and memories of childhood into these pictures of peasant life. In a series of letters to his mother, he asked her to write down descriptions of village customs, dress, superstitions, and old stories. These were also used as primary sources.
Evenings on a Farm Near Dikanka is separated into two volumes of four stories each:
Часть первая [Chast' pervaya], Part One
- Сорочинская ярмарка [Sorochinskaya yarmarka], Sorochintsï Fair
- Вечер накануне Ивана Купала [Vecher nakanune Ivana Kupala], St. John's Eve
- Майская ночь, или Утопленница [Mayskaya noch', ili Utoplenitsa], May Night, or The Drowned Maiden
- Пропавшая грамота [Propavshaya gramota], The Lost Letter
Часть вторая [Chast' vtoraya], Part Two
- Ночь перед Рождеством [Noch' pyered Rozhdestvom], Christmas Eve
- Страшная месть [Strashnaya myest'], A Terrible Vengeance
- Иван Фёдорович Шпонька и его тётушка [Ivan Fyodorovich Shpon'ka i yevo tyotushka], Ivan Fyodorovich Shponka and His Aunt
- Заколдованное место [Zakoldovannoye myesto], A Bewitched Place
This was Gogol's groundbreaking work, though not his first, and formed the core of his style, especially his sense of the macabre. It was this collection that proved he was a new power in Russian literature with unique innovation and a carefully arranged mingling of the horrifying and the humorous. Alexander Pushkin had a heavy influence on the writing of the collection, which features references to Ukraine, at that time referred to as Little Russia, where Gogol spent the early years of his life. The stories are heavily laced with Ukrainian folklore and cultural references, offering a unique perspective into life in the country during Gogol's time period. The structure found in this collection became characteristic of Gogol's writing later on, found in works such as Dead Souls. "Evenings" gained Gogol the fame that would lead him to a prominent placement in the Russian literary circle, as well as opening the doors for future works.
Each of the segments were based on Ukrainian folklore and feature comedic elements and a binding narrator, beekeeper Pan'ko-the-Redhaired, who is dictating the stories to the reader. A few other characters are mentioned in terms of the stories they provide, but regardless these segments are still told through the beekeeper Rudy.
This short section introduces the beekeeper Rudy Panko, who begins to introduce his task of informing the reader of a set of wondrous tales he has heard. He speaks very matter-of-factly and personally to the reader, as though they were sitting in front of him at his dinner table or outside in his village. He talks about the pleasant serenity of peasant life and mentions lavish parties. He continues about the storytelling at these nightly parties and then comments that no one can tell stories like Rudy Panko. His name means “red” in Ukrainian and is a nickname, again making it seem informal and personal since the narrator is using a personal name. He eventually gets caught up in talking about mundane events, and stops himself so he can get on with his storytelling. The main stories begin after this section.
Evenings on a Farm Near Dikanka has been adapted into film several times:
- "Movie connections for Vechera na khutore bliz Dikanki (1961)", IMDb. Retrieved 10 July 2010.
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