Talk:Nikolai Gogol

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Former good article nominee Nikolai Gogol was a good articles nominee, but did not meet the good article criteria at the time. There are suggestions below for improving the article. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
October 29, 2006 Good article nominee Not listed
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Interpretation section[edit]

Peter Gelman wrote the "interpretation" section of the Gogol text. gelman_commerce@yahoo.com.

There's an essay by Yuri Druzhnikov that makes a convincing argument that the alleged friendship and exchange of literary ideas between Pushkin and Gogol is actually a myth that was largely created by Gogol himself. I haven't done any actual research on this, so I can't really make any edits, but perhaps someone knows more about this? -- Maralenenok

Gogol's homosexuality[edit]

Oops. I just re-added a paragraph on Gogol's sexuality. However, I think I phrased it carefully enough to be fair to all parties. Regarding the "credible evidence," I haven't seen it, but perhaps someone else has. Does Karlinsky provide it? I incline to the opinion that a clever interpretation of the work is not enough.

Please sign your contributions to talk pages by adding -~~~~ at the end. Karlinsky's work includes lit crit, biographical details, exceprts from Gogol's letters, and anecdotes from Gogol's friends. It doesn't make a closed case of Gogol's sexuality, but it does raise questions, and it does so using more than a clever interpretation. -Seth Mahoney 17:37, 21 March 2006 (UTC)

Okay, I'll take your word for it. I've seen this work but haven't read it. Raising questions is of course not the same as giving answers -- and raising questions about sexual orientation is pretty much synonymous with human nature. So I think Fisenko's point is valid and the compromise works. Sorry, I'm new to Wikipedia; I assumed it would sign me automatically. Alas, I have no idea what your symbols up there mean. Cheers, GRRueckert.

It means you type those five symbols at the end of your talk page contributions to sign them. Anyway, I agree that questions are different from answers, and the compromise works. -Seth Mahoney 18:39, 22 March 2006 (UTC)

I removed comments about Gogol's alleged homosexuality until any credible evidence of this statement is presented. (Fisenko 22:14, 13 May 2005 (UTC))

Try The Sexual Labyrinth of Nikolai Gogol by Simon Karlinsky (reviewed here. - Outerlimits 22:18, 13 May 2005 (UTC)

I added the citation. -Seth Mahoney 17:25, 21 March 2006 (UTC)

I see that the article has again been purged of any mention of his personal life. Some sad individuals seem compelled to suppress this particular category of information in Wikipedia entries. Ilmateur (talk) 12:58, 2 May 2012 (UTC)

No purging is going on. Info needs solid secondary sources. That's all. Span (talk) 14:36, 2 May 2012 (UTC)

Russian writer? Ukrainian-Russian? Ukr-Born Russian writer?[edit]

To say that Gogol wrote in the Russian language and to say that he was a Russian (linked to Russia) are two different things. Ukranian wasn't used as a literary language at the time, and the Ukraine was not an independent nation, so naturally he wrote in Russian.--Prosfilaes 21:18, 6 Jun 2005 (UTC)

The article did not say he was Russian. It said he was a Russian writer. These are two different things. He was not Russian but Ukrainian. But he was a Russian writer because he contributed to Russian literature. There were contemporary authors who wrote in Ukrainian at the time. Gogol wasn't. So, the article correctly had it:

Gogol was a Ukrainian-born (i.e. of Ukrainian ethnicity) Russian writer (i.e. writer of Russian literature).

It would be more correct to call Shevchenko (who wrote some poetry and prose also in Russian) a Ukrainian-Russian author (this would be absurd of course, I am just making a point), than to call Gogol a Ukrainian-Russian writer. I am going to revert that to an original version. If you insist on the article saying that he was Ukrainian more explicitly, you can change it to "Russian writer of Ukrainian ethnicity" but this sounds clumsy, I think, and "Ukrainian-born" pretty much says the same thing.

Ukrainian literature has many talented authors. It is a big disservice to this literature to assign Gogol to it because it may create a wrong impression that Ukrainian literature itself has no one to offer and has to co-opt Russian writers to make a claim for significance. It doesn't and it is doing well with its own great talents. But the main issue, of course, is that the claim is incorrect regardless of its political meaning. -Irpen 23:03, Jun 6, 2005 (UTC)

It said he was a [[Russia|Russian]] writer. That's different from saying that he was a [[Russian language|Russian]] writer. By saying the first, you are saying he's Russian, and it's closer to what the English sentence "he was a Russian writer" means. For example, Mark Twain is called an American writer, and never an English writer that I've seen. --Prosfilaes 06:09, 7 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Now I agree, this is a valid point. Myself, like the majority of readers, did not pay attention to what was behind such an obvious link as "Russian". Now I changed that to "[[Russian literature|Russian writer]]". Or perhaps we could change that to "[[List of Russian authors|Russian writer]]". The latter article starts with: "This is the list of authors that wrote in [[Russian language]]. Not all of them are of Russian descent...", which I think is very politically correct way to say it.

With incorrect link, this was somewhat misleading, I agree with you, but still less misleading than the version calling him "Ukrainian-Russian writer" no matter what the hidden links where. Disregarding links, it is more correct to say "Ukrainian born Russian writer" than "Ukrainian-Russian writer" about Gogol. At least this is my feeling and forgive me if I am wrong, I am not a native English speaker. Marko Vovchok, for example, is the one who could correctly be called Ukrainian-Russian writer. Any takers to write an article on this very talented woman highly acclaimed by both Ukrainian and Russian critics? I might do it myself some time. Regards, -Irpen 20:13, Jun 7, 2005 (UTC)

Wait, wait, wait. Gogol's work was heavily influenced by his time spent in Ukraine. While his works are studied as part many Russian Literature classes, in Ukraine he is considered a Ukrainian author. By the way, Mark Twain is regarded as American, because his works are based around American setting and are about Americans. I don't care that it states in the article that he is a Russian author - that is fair, since it is true. However, in Russia he is considered Russian and his Ukrainian heritage is kind of ignored. On the other hand, Gogol sometimes is studied as part of Ukrainian liturature, but surely in translation to Ukrainian. I just think that to a foreign reader not aware of Russo-Ukrainian politics, it would be important to clarify that both cultures have their claim on Gogol, but on different aspects of his nature. I like the idea of calling his a "Ukrainian writer of Russian literature" - someone came up with that idea before -Anamatv 06:49, 19 October 2006 (UTC)

Firstly, my sister (who attends a school in Ukraine) studies Gogol as "foreign literature", alongside Shakespeare and Balzac. Secondly, you need to provide evidence that "his Ukrainian heritage is kind of ignored" in Russia (where the Ukrainian stories are still compulsory for schoolboys). Thirdly, the "Ukrianian influence" refers to his two juvenile (and by far the weakest) books; I don't think you'll spot any Ukrainianisms in his mature work. Fourthly, Gogol always loudly identified himself as a Russian and regarded Russia as his native land. If you bothered to read his mature writing without knowing who is the author, you'll perhaps take him for a Russian nationalist. --Ghirla -трёп- 08:19, 19 October 2006 (UTC)
If Mark Twain is regarded as American because his works are based around America, then Lewis Caroll should be considered Wonderlandian and C.S. Lewis Narnian. --Prosfilaes 13:46, 19 October 2006 (UTC)

Gogol was born in Ukraine, as a juvenile composed his first works in Ukrainian, and Ukrainian themes dominated his first works. Indeed, early twentieth century Russian critics have even commented that Gogol's Russian langauge was not quite grammtically correct, and represented aliteral translation from Ukrainian. According to Yosif Mendelshtam, "the spirit of non-Russian speech remained in him," and Vladimir Dal wondered "what would happen if he wrote in [good] Russian." Gogol's biography has parallels with that of Joseph Conrad and Vladimir Nabokov. In contrast to Gogol, despite Conrad's never denying his Polish roots, that novelist never used Polish themes in his literature. Nabokov, on the other hand, left Russia at a later age than Gogol left Ukraine. Therefore, Gogol's Ukrainian-ness seems to be somewhere between Joseph Conrad's Polishness and Vladimir Nabokov's Russian-ness. Note that both of the articles about those people emphasize their native ethnicity (Conrad was "a Polish-born British novelist" and Nabakov a "Russian-American author.") in their first sentence. I see no reason why Gogol's article shouldn't follow that precedent. Indeed, this sort of thing has been written before. In a New York Times article from June 14, 1992, 9"What Country do I live in? Many Russians are asking," the NY Times correspondent Celestine Bohlen stated that "Nikolai Gogol was a Ukrainian writer who wrote in Russian".Faustian 14:09, 25 January 2007 (UTC)

An interesting fact along those lines: "In 1846, when he was in Karlsbad, Gogol wrote down in the guest book, "Nicolas de Gogol, Ukrainien, etabli a Moscou" ("Nikolay Gogol, Ukrainian, living in Moscow") [1].Faustian 15:42, 26 January 2007 (UTC)

The article needs to be clear that the writer was Ukrainian, as Ukrainian as Joseph Conrad was Polish (perhaps more so, as the other writer never wrote anything with Polish). At present form this is not clear. "Ukrainian-born Russian writer" makes him seem like Mikhail Bulgakov, while "Ukrainian heritage and upbringing" seems to dilute the fact that the guy was completely Ukrainian. Why not just keep it as "Russian-lannguage writer of Ukrainian origin (or better, ethnicity) which seems most accurate. Incidentally I've recently bought and highly recommend a fscinating book, with good reviews by serious academicians, about the ambivalence of Gogol's relationship to Russia that lasted nearly until his death [2]. Some of Gogol's writings about Russian vs. Ukrainian culture (in the context of his comments defending Mazepa) in his personal letters could have been written by a typical Banderist chauvinist. Understandably this aspect about the writer was heavily deemphasized by Russian and Soviet scholars (and thus Western ones who depended on them as sources) but is not seeing the light of day. Among the reviews:

A major contribution to the history of Russian literary culture. Bojanowska illuminates Gogol's works in a new and interesting way, and makes a convincing case for his identification with Ukraine and his frequent inclination to compare Russia unfavorably to it. Her research is extensive, her argument fresh, stimulating, and controversial. The implications for our understanding of Gogol are enormous.

--Jeffrey P. Brooks, Johns Hopkins University

Edyta Bojanowska confronts head-on a fundamental anomaly: Nikolai Gogol was a Ukrainian, but he became a great Russian writer. She shows how Gogol, throughout his literary career, was deeply torn between his identity as a Ukrainian and his commitment to be a Russian writer. It was his mission to sear Russian hearts with his message of truth and righteousness and show them the way to purify their souls. But his Ukrainian heart was never really in it; he didn't like Russia or believe in it. This is an illuminating, impressive, and original work by a very talented scholar.

--Hugh McLean, University of California, Berkeley

Faustian 04:49, 25 October 2007 (UTC) Faustian 04:49, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

There are two ways to handle the issue. By logic or by searching references. He was writing in Russian thus, he is a Russian writer, the same was as Joseph Conrad is British writer and Guillaume Apollinaire is a French poet. The other way is to look into references, how the mainstream sources like Britannica, Columbia even Encyclopedia of Ukraine represent him. So far the both methods yield the same result - he was a Ukraine-born Russian writer. Alex Bakharev (talk) 12:03, 16 June 2008 (UTC)

I have a simple question. Why Walter Scott and Robert Lewis Stevenson are claimed to be Scottish (not English) writers? According to your logic, they lived in Great Britain, wrote in English. They did not produce a single work in Scottish Gaelic. Should they be considered as a part of English literature? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 147.251.228.110 (talk) 11:08, 4 May 2013 (UTC)

Gogol's Ethnicity[edit]

You mention Gogol is Polish rather than Ukrainian in ethnicity. What are your evidence for this? To have some Polish ancestors is not exactly the same as being Polish. Maybe Gogol's grandfather or great-grandfather is Polish, but that might only make him 1/4 or 1/8 Polish, rather than fully Polish. Mandel 22:38, Jun 11, 2005 (UTC)
I am not saying he is Polish. There is no evidence he had Polish ancestors. He is most certainly Ukrainian. I was saying that his grand-father called himself Polish in spite of being Ukrainian (or rather Ruthenian). This was due to Polonization of Ukrainian/Ruthenian higher class. Gogol's family as a whole chose to avoid the polonization as it is clear from the article. They went to study in Orthodox Institution (KMA) and moved to Eastern Ukraine not ruled by Poland at that time.
I used the Brockhaus and Efron as source of the info. The article is here. If you think that the current text suggest that Gogol was Polish, it certainly needs improvement. I will think about it and feel free to edit this. -Irpen 23:31, Jun 11, 2005 (UTC)
Yes, the article certainly is misleading. As it now stands, it certainly suggests that Gogol was Polish rather than Ukrainian. Mandel 00:22, Jun 12, 2005 (UTC)

I changed it. Feel free to modify, if this still seems misleading. -Irpen 00:41, Jun 12, 2005 (UTC)

I still don't get the reason why Gogol's grandfather would sign himself as "of the Polish nation". It certainly suggests that Gogol has some Polish blood in him, unless what he meant was something else exactly. What did Gogol's grandfather really mean - of Polish nationality or of Polish ethnicity?
We can only guess what he really meant. However, we have some clues if we take into account the context. In Ukraine, ruled for centuries from Poland and later from Muscovy that became Russia, the Ukrainian upper class (up to a certain moment it is more correct to call them Ruthenians) was under pressure of Polonization or Russification. Generally, the upper class (senior to minor nobility) tended to get polonized (or russified) with time (I mean mostly culturally, not necesseraly by blood), and the lower class didn't. This cultural change of identifaction was mainly in the fileds of language, loyalty to the ruler and (in case of polonization) religion. Some members of upper class managed to resist this process to a varying degree, and less and less with each generation. The house of Ostrogski is a prime example.
With each generation it was becoming more and more common for aristocracy to associate themselves with a ruling nation, while peasantry remained "Ukrainian". Gogol's great-grandfather Jan Gogol seems to have avoided getting polonized since he, as the article says, studied in KMA, a Ukrainian and Orthodox University in Kiev, and ended up settling in the left-Bank Ukraine more leaning to Orthodox Muscovy than to Catholic Poland. It seems that for his son, (Nikolai's grandfather), it was more difficult to call himself "Ukrainian" or "Ruthenian" and he wrote "of Polish nation" meaning simply belonging to nobility, which in Ukraine mostly meant being associated with Poland. The article is clear on that. It calls N.G. "Ukrainian-born", calls his family "of Ukrainian nobility". That they "associated themselves with Polish nation" does not contradict that. If you don't think it's clear, change it to your own version
As for the lead sentence, I offer this: "Ukrainian-born Russian-language writer". Russian writer is ambiguous: it may mean writing in Russian or of Russian descent. Just like nobody calls Kafka a German writer (he's a German-language writer), or that a Chinese writer may mean a Chinese writing in other languages, this lead ought to be rephrased to be more accurate.Mandel 17:51, Jun 14, 2005 (UTC)
To make it less ambiguous, the phrase "Russian writer" is linked not as [[Russian]] [[writer]] but as [[Russian literature|Russian writer]]. I don't think it is ambiguous and, as I pointed out earlier the article List of Russian authors starts with: "This is the list of authors that wrote in Russian language. Not all of them are of Russian descent...". You may prefer linking to this article rather than to Russian literature. I think "Russian-language writer" sounds clumsy and I don't like how Kafka is introduced. But that's a matter of taste. If you want to change it, go ahead but keep in mind that most people view Gogol as simply a "Russian writer". This may be a "systemic bias". Well, I am bad in fighting it. Regards, -Irpen 00:15, Jun 15, 2005 (UTC)

I can see both of your points. I think the current language is okay, but it may be better to write a longer sentence or two. Maybe something like this:

Nikolai Vasilevich Gogol (...) was a Russian writer. Although many of his works were influenced by his Ukrainian heritage and upbringing, he wrote in Russian and his works belong to the tradition of Russian literature.

or just

Nikolai Vasilevich Gogol (...) was a Russian writer of Ukrainian heritage.

Why can't we just say he was a Ukrainian writer of Russian Literature? I guess because his works belong to the body of Russian literature, or simply because he wrote in Russian? Michael Z. 2005-06-15 03:40 Z

What Michael suggests is fine. It's clearer than what I suggest, I think. I don't know what Irpen thinks though. But it's clear that Irpen and I don't have divergences on Gogol ethnicity, it's just how it is presented that is problematic. Mandel 05:21, Jun 16, 2005 (UTC)
I have already added Michael's suggestion to the article in the
03:31 (UTC), Jun 15, 2005 edit by Irpen. -Irpen 06:26, Jun 16, 2005 (UTC)

Two short stories[edit]

  • The list of works contains something called "The Mysterious Portrait". Is this the same as the short story "The Portrait"? NatusRoma 05:39, 11 October 2005 (UTC)

The Lead[edit]

It's just a little short, isn't it? Usually for a longish article like this you'd want one more paragraph, or so I'd have thought. Moreschi 18:59, 29 October 2006 (UTC)

GA failed[edit]

I'm failing this article for GA for one big problem: POV. There are just way too many POV assertions that are unreferenced by inline cits, which are required these days for GA. A sample of these problem sentences might be:

  • "This makes his prose ornate and agitated. It is all alive with the vibration of actual speech. This makes it hopelessly untranslatable — more untranslatable than any other Russian prose of the 19th century." Doubtless true, but it needs a cite.
  • "But these cartoons have a convincingness, a truthfulness, and inevitability — attained as a rule by slight but definitive strokes of unexpected reality — that seems to beggar the visible world itself.". Ditto
  • "he other main characteristic of Gogol's genius is the extraordinary intensity and vividness of impressionist vision, sometimes skirting expressionism". Ditto. And so on.

Basically what I'm saying is that there are other ways of pointing out how wonderful Gogol is thought to have been without violating WP:NPOV. Moreschi 19:27, 29 October 2006 (UTC) I agree. The line "he had no inner impulse towards Christ" is particularly unnecessary. How can any 21st century writer have any idea about Gogol's "inner impulses"? That is simply reckless writing. This is a fine example of trying to inject a personal opinion into a (very) general biography. To say that he was merely afraid of devils and witches is at best reductive and at worst cynical beyond belief. Please avoid such POV assertions in future editing.

I agree with Moreschi on his analysis of the point of view. The documentation states that much of the text was taken from "A History of Russian Literature," and I believe many ideas were added from this work that were simply opinion and not properly referenced. Oshibka 06:47, 26 December 2006 (UTC)

Anti-Russian?[edit]

Anyone else think that his works are somewhat anti-Russian in content? I would consider something like that from a Ukranian writer.

-G

This is rather unfortunate and ignorant stereotype of Ukrainians being anti-Russian, occasionally supported by sad examples, including here at Wikipedia. Gogol was not anti-Russian in any way but the issue is too complex to answer at the talk page. I would have to refer you to the works of his biographers and reviewers. In short, some Ukrainians chastice Gogol for "abandoning" his Ukrainian roots while he certainly did none of this sort. At the same time, some scholars note that his style and strength of his sarcastic condemnation of the Russian state, especially pronounced in his satire, owe to his Ukrainian heritage as only a non-Russian could be so acrimonious and frank in his remarks about the empire. This seems to me like an interesting assessment. I could probably find refs if you want. --Irpen 18:16, 14 November 2006 (UTC)

Gogol certainly made anti-Russian statements at times, such as in the company of Polish exiles whom he befriended in Paris. At other times he demonstrated a very strong loyalty towards Russia and towards the tsar. He was a very complex man with mixed feelings. Faustian 15:41, 26 January 2007 (UTC)

Questionable Facts[edit]

Comparing the article in English and in Russian I found that Gogol has different last words associated with his death. The Russian version tells of his his grandmother telling him how angels carry the souls of the dead on stair up to heaven and Gogol's last words were (roughly translated) "The stairs! Let the stairs come faster!" while the English article claims his last words as "And I shall laugh with a bitter laugh." which were then engraved on his tombstone. The best information I could find on this comes from the Introduction by John Cournos to "Dead Souls" translated by D.J. Hogarth (Publisher: The World Wide School, Publication Date: November 1997, Published: Seattle, Washington, USA):

"His last words, uttered in a loud frenzy, were: "A ladder! Quick, a ladder!" This call for a ladder--"a spiritual ladder," in the words of Merejkovsky--had been made on an earlier occasion by a certain Russian saint, who used almost the same language. "I shall laugh my bitter laugh"[3] was the inscription placed on Gogol's grave.

JOHN COURNOS

[3] This is generally referred to in the Russian criticisms of Gogol as a quotation from Jeremiah. It appears upon investigation, however, that it actually occurs only in the Slavonic version from the Greek, and not in the Russian translation made direct from the Hebrew. "

Secondly, the English article gives the date of death as March 4 while in the Orthodox calendar his death was on the 21st of February. I'm unsure how the Orthodox Calendar is dealt with on Wikipedia, but just making note.

Oshibka 07:13, 26 December 2006 (UTC)

Plagiarism[edit]

This article plagiarizes the book A History of Russian Literature by D.S. Mirsky all throughout the article. The phrasing, structure, and even whole sentences are the same.


Abriefsmile 03:32, 1 February 2007 (UTC)

Unencylcopedic Tone[edit]

The tone here seems more suited to a literary review instead of an encyclopedia. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 204.52.215.108 (talk) 23:41, 26 March 2007 (UTC).

I also noticed that particularly in the section entitled "Creative Decline and Death" the tone feels more like that of a novel, including more expressive and figurate language than one usually finds in an encyclopedia entry. The comments on Gogol's peculiar evolution of mental state are at best expressed too liberally in style and are at worst completely unverifiable conjecture. It would be wise to review this section, and in fact the whole article, confirming the consistent use of encyclopedic tone and language. 88/rosette/88 17:39, 8 April 2007 (UTC)

This article seems rather messy and unencyclopedic, including references to The Overcoat as '[Gogol's] greatest short story'. It even includes a line:

"Note: this section represent one failed critic's point of view, and is scheduled for deletion by me, Mike."

Well delete it then, or bring it up on the Discussion page. Don't write a note on the article itself and make it worse.86.144.56.33 13:00, 21 May 2007 (UTC)

Arabesques[edit]

I removed a footnote that said Edgar Allan Poe had a collection of similar stories also entitled "Arabesques." This isn't true; the collection is "Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque," both of which were established literary terms for the genres during this time. The note seemed to imply that Poe was trying to rip off Gogol. Feel free to reinsert with clarifications. --Midnightdreary 17:46, 17 July 2007 (UTC)


Removed[edit]

Gogol in pop culture -- it contained nothing but spam for commercial products. The was no genuine relevance to Gogol or his works contained in the list.

Golog is Russian and Ukrainian writer![edit]

Russians have to understand that Gogol also was a Ukrainian writer, not only Russian. He was born in Ukraine, he wrote about Ukraine, he loved Ukraine. Lets leave Gogol as Russian and Ukrainian writer. Thanks. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 68.44.228.126 (talk) 13:17, 7 May 2008 (UTC)

There was no Ukraine at Gogol's time :) You should also note that Gogol haven't written a word in Ukrainian language, which I think is weird for a Ukrainian writer...Don't you think? That's all.ISasha (talk) 07:30, 4 August 2009 (UTC)

"Як же, мамо!" (from Ночь перед Рождеством) -- as well as other passages -- surely looks and sounds like Ukrainian to me. Mademoiselle Fifi (talk) 17:56, 4 August 2009 (UTC)

Ukrainian nationalist perspective link[edit]

I agree that the link [3] presents a biased Ukrainian view of Gogol and therefore it should be labelled as such. Nevertheless I oppose the removal of this link. The author of the article is a well-known scholar (even if a biased activist). From the Radio Liberty website [4]: "Yevhen Sverstyuk is a literary critic and publicist, and one of the founders of the Ukrainian national movement in the 1960s. He graduated from Lviv University in 1952, where he studied logic and psychology. A former political prisoner for his samizdat writings, Sverstyuk was sentenced to 12 years' imprisonment in 1970. Sverstyuk is editor in chief of the monthly orthodox newspaper "Nasha Vira," founded in 1989, and president of the Ukrainian PEN Club. His works have been published at Harvard University, as well as in New York, Paris, and Kyiv." Obviously the guy is biased, but he is significant and the opinions he presents are significant - they reflect new scholarship on Gogol, such as this work by a Polish scholar: [5] which draws similar conclusions to those of Sverstyuk and which has been reviewed favorably by Western scholars. For example, a reviewer of Bojanowska's work from Johns Hopkins University stated that it was "A major contribution to the history of Russian literary culture. Bojanowska illuminates Gogol's works in a new and interesting way, and makes a convincing case for his identification with Ukraine and his frequent inclination to compare Russia unfavorably to it. Her research is extensive, her argument fresh, stimulating, and controversial. The implications for our understanding of Gogol are enormous." I think that giving readers access to this POV, with a warning that it has its own perspective, is helpful. Faustian (talk) 02:02, 30 May 2008 (UTC)

Ukrainian or Russian writer[edit]

I've noticed that there are different views whether Gogol/Hohol is to be considered a Russian or Ukrainian writer. Being nor Russian or Ukrainian I might be able to see it from a different perspective. It's true that he wrote in the Russian language, but it's also true that much of the stories had a clear Ukrainian connection. And he was by birth Ukrainian. And is there really a problem to call him a Ukrainian writer just because he wrote in the Russian language? Compare for example with the Finnish national poet Johan Ludvig Runeberg who always wrote in the Swedish language but nevertheless is a Finnish writer. Narking (talk) 09:01, 14 June 2008 (UTC)

Category:Ukrainian writers is included into Category:Writers by nationality, not into Category:Writers by language --Riwnodennyk 20:15, 14 June 2008 (UTC)
Yes, so it's correct with having him in Category:Russian-language writers and Category:Ukrainian writers as it is now. Just like the famous Finnish writer Tove Jansson (mother of the the Moomins) is in Category:Finnish writers and Category:Swedish-language writers. I hope everyone can agree on this now. Narking (talk) 21:07, 14 June 2008 (UTC)

The reason why Gogol is not a Ukrainian writer is not just that he did not write in Ukrainian. More importantly, there is no connection between Gogol and the Ukrainian literature. There is a lot of literature written in English by the Irishmen that has a clear connection with the rest of Irish literature. This cannot be said about Gogol. I have yet to see a serious work that would describe how the major post-Gogol Ukrainian writers were influenced by Gogol. How he affected the entire Russian literature is easy to find in a preface of pretty much any Gogol's work published today. The Ukrainian literature has a different heritage, different founders and different influential figures. Gogol is simply not there. Yes, he was a Ukrainian person but he was not a Ukrainian writer. --Irpen 07:13, 15 June 2008 (UTC)

It seems strange to categorize writers after their tradition or style. If so, many Swedish writers would be categorized as American or English writers since they write in that tradition and not Swedish tradition, whatever that would be. So I still can't see any reason why Gogol isn't a Ukrainian writer. Narking (talk) 07:35, 15 June 2008 (UTC)
I support the fact that the "Ukranian writers" category should remain in his article. I have added in two sources that suggest that he was influenced by his Ukranian heritage, his early works were definitely Ukranian. He wrote plays for his school, ergo, "Ukranian writer". Just because he didn't write primarily in Ukranian doesn't mean that he isn't a Ukranian writer (He was born in the country for crying out loud! :-). I believe we have consensus here, anyway. Irpen is clearly out-done here. ScarianCall me Pat! 07:44, 15 June 2008 (UTC)

Scarian, I suggest you concentrate on article's improvement rather than on "outdoing" other editors who disagree with you on the issue through following them into topics on which you have absolutely no knowledge and trying to compensate lack of any familiarity with the subject by googling. The Sources you picked through googling the string you want to introduce into an article are indeed completely out of whack lacking any academic standing on the subject in question. LGBT encyclopedia may be an OK source about LGBT issues but not on the literature, especially if it is used to counter the mainstream views. General trend of substituting the familiarity with the subject by googling to justify an injection of the particular point into the article is causing much damage to this encyclopedia already without your invoking the same method through joining the articles on the subject of which you have zero familiarity. To compensate for the latter, I suggest reading a single book on the subject (not three phrases you managed to google) and if you are really interested, I would be happy to give you some references.

Narking, I appreciate your work for Ukrainian topics, but stuff like this is unacceptable and you should stop it immediately. People got blocked for less than direct accusations of fellow editors in xenophobic views.

Returning to the subject at hand, we have a clear guideline in Wikipedia:CAT#Some_general_guidelines item 7:

Categories appear without annotations, so be careful of NPOV when creating or filling categories. Categories that are not self-evident, or are shown through reliable sources to be controversial, should not be included on the article; a list might be a better option.

It is clear that Gogol's being a Ukrainian writer is not a mainstream view. If this is a significant minority view, it should be mentioned in the text and in an attributed form (not even in the lead) and definitely not in the form of the category which, while cannot be even attributed, gets slammed over the whole article. --Irpen 18:35, 15 June 2008 (UTC)

First about my little note. I thought it was an appropriate note after the other editors note about "Horrible references". Was that an ok note? I don't think so. And to threaten about blocking isn't very nice either.
But back to the question. Do you still think the style or influence of the writer should decide the nationality of the writer? Then most of the Finnish writers that writes in Swedish and what could be a Swedish tradition should be in category Swedish writers. But they arent't, and I doubt the few Swedish nationalist would try to move them there. I also mentioned the Finnish examples because it was part of the Russian empire, just like Ukraine. So Johan Ludvig Runeberg could be a Russian writer too then since he was living in the Russian empire.
Of course this aint't the biggest question to argue about but I don't see any reason why Gogol can't be categorized as both Russian and Ukrainian writer? And by the way I'm sure Gogol will be greatly celebrated next year as a Ukrainian writer when it's 200 years since his birth. Narking (talk) 19:18, 15 June 2008 (UTC)
Very true, Narking. Also, Irpen, we allow non-mainstream views into Wikipedia, that's what makes it balanced. Additionally, Narking's edit summary was fine, great even; made me laugh and made me proud to be a liberal. And please do not assume that I have zero familiarity with something. Your comments are suggesting that you have a very narrow mind and are incredibly dismissive of other users' contributions, that, my friend, is unacceptable. On Wikipedia, consensus rules over any "facts". So if you think that it's a fact that Gogol is not a Ukranian writer, then your arguments are, currently, out weighed by your fellow contributors. There is a consensus to include the category. Even as a compromise you could suggest, like Narking, that we include both cat's, but no, making a point is far too important, right? Tack min litten, pussgurka. ScarianCall me Pat! 21:09, 15 June 2008 (UTC)

Narking, the references that Scarian managed to google in order to revert me were completely wacky in this particular context and their being a horrible source for an encyclopedia article has nothing to do with one of his sources being LGBT-related, but has everything to do with the source' being completely non-scholarly in the matters of literature. LGBT encyclopedia may be a great source to discuss a very non-trivial issue of Gogol's sexuality (and this may belong to the article's body) but I won't even look there to find out any encyclopedic info about Gogol's literary work, especially since Gogol's heritage received many volumes of studies of experts in literature, rather than human sexuality. The latter (human sexuality) is a serious field in its own right, but when I am looking for the info about the great writer, I look for the works written by specialists in literature, rather than LGBT (Just the same way as when I am looking for the info on LGBT issues, I will take the word from a source dedicated to LGBT any time against a word of an amateur in the sexual studies no matter what expertise this person holds in some unrelated field. Curiously, the second site linked by Scarian does not call Gogol a Ukrainian writer anywhere while it does call him a Russian writer explicitly. Quote: "It made him one of the most popular Russian writers." That site just states undisputed facts about Gogol's ethnicity and background (which is in the article anyway) but even that site does not subscribe to the minority view that Gogol is a "Ukrainian writer". Moreover, even the dedicated article in an Encyclopedia of Ukraine (a source whose strong biases where discussed elsewhere) calls him "the most famous Russian writer of Ukrainian origin" and does not call him a "Ukrainian writer".

Scarian, I am really surprised that despite being an administrator you have so large gaps in the policy knowledge as well as serious demeanor problems. First, you accuse me of having a narrow mind. Throwing such stuff around is outright unacceptable. Worse, you praise a user for no less than calling a fellow editor a xenophobe. This is outrageous. Next, where do you see "consensus"? Next, you invoke the notion of allowing the non-mainstream views in articles. No objections per se, but you should know about giving the undue weight to non-mainstream views and slapping them over the whole article in the form of a category is certainly a violation of WP:UNDUE. I am sorry that I was mistaken about your unfamiliarity with the subject. It just seemed so from your edits. Could you elaborate which works on Gogol (or by Gogol) you have read? Your trying to reference stuff to random links you found through googling just suggests that you did not know where to look. The easiest starting point for most stuff is good old Britannica. You review a Britannica article on Gogol at http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9037198 as a starting point if you want to edit the Wikipedia article on this writer. While there, note that Britannica also does not call Gogol a "Ukrainian writer". The EB article also has references to a more thorough works in the end. Again, if your knowledge of the subject well-surpasses that, please accept my apology but please use the serious sources that you read on the subject rather than whatever comes up in google to your search string. --Irpen 08:17, 16 June 2008 (UTC)

Apparently it's useless to discuss the real subject here. And to make it clear the editor who made the comment about "horrible source" surely was shocked by the name of the encyclopedia since he even quoted it. And now I saw that also the Canadian source is gone. Surprisingly it wasn't called horrible because of its possible link to Ukrainian diaspora. Well, it's sad but Russia and Ukraine sure has a very long way to go... Narking (talk) 10:57, 16 June 2008 (UTC)
Scarian, you need to calm down and read things more carefully. Irpen is right here. 89.172.71.75 (talk) 18:35, 16 June 2008 (UTC)
People let's cool down, this all looks a bit silly to me. Let's put the Category:Ukrainian writers in the article. I'm sure Nikolai won't mind. Good relations is sometimes more important then the truth... Irpen and Narking both made good contributions to wikiproject Ukraine, this kind of trivial thing shouldn't get anybody disapointed PS I never heard of this man are his books any good :) Mariah-Yulia (talk) 22:27, 16 June 2008 (UTC)
Sorry, not an "anon" really as I've written in the edit summary. I agree with Mariah-Yulia that it's ok for Gogol to be in both categories. Alæxis¿question? 18:35, 8 January 2009 (UTC)

Nikolai (Mykola) Gogol - Russian and Ukrainian writer. User:Білецький В.С.

birthdate[edit]

Could somebody explain how the Brittanica's "born March 19 [March 31, New Style]" becomes "31 March [O.S. 20 March] 1809" here? I just changed it to what the cited source says, and it was quickly changed back. This has already resulted in the 200th anniversary of Gogol's birthday being missed on the Main Page. Please remove the Brittanica reference if it's merely being used for obfuscation. - BanyanTree 04:19, 1 April 2009 (UTC)


yes, there are two different dates of his birth indicated in the beginning of the main article and in the box under Gogol's portrait. I guess the second is correct, so the first one needs to be changed. --Dimagene (talk) 20:01, 20 April 2009 (UTC)

It shouldn't be down to guessing. I've seen both 19/31 March and 20 March/1 April in the literature. We certainly need to be consistent between the lede para and the infobox, but whatever date we show, I believe we need to indicate there's some uncertainty. -- JackofOz (talk) 21:53, 4 September 2009 (UTC)

Interesting article in The Guardian of Tuesday 31 March 2009[edit]

Read here, it also has some Gogolesq parts :). But are those opinions reflected in the article common opinions among Russians and Ukrainians (scholars and/or all of them) are did the author speak with some hotheads? — Mariah-Yulia (talk) 20:33, 1 April 2009 (UTC)

For further reference: [6] - Mariah-Yulia (talk) 21:41, 10 June 2009 (UTC)

Birthplace[edit]

Golgol was born in the Russian empire. This is as important as the fact that his birthplace is now part of the Republic of Ukraine.93.96.148.42 (talk) 01:02, 2 April 2009 (UTC) Upon further research, I discover that Gogol was born in Little Russia, and that the term 'Ukraine' came into use after his birth. While Little Russian has accquired perjorative connotations in some circles, is this historical fact worthy of mention?93.96.148.42 (talk) 01:22, 2 April 2009 (UTC)

Little Russia and Ukraine are two names for the same country/ethnicity. In the modern context Little Russia is rather obscure so IMO it's better to use Ukraine. Your edit on the main article is a good one I think.Faustian (talk) 02:18, 2 April 2009 (UTC)

Little Russia was a term used for only a brief period of time. Saying that Gogol was from Little Russia would be anachrtonistic and deceptive Bandurist (talk) 16:41, 2 April 2009 (UTC)

please edit the entry under little Russia, if you disagree. It says
Little Russia (Russian: Малая Россия Malaya Rossiya), sometimes Little or Lesser Rus’ (Russian: Малая Русь Malaya Rus’; Ukrainian: Мала Русь Mala Rus’), was the name for a part of the historically settled territory of modern-day Ukraine before the twentieth century, at the time of the Russian Empire and earlier. Accordingly, derivatives such as "Little Russians" and "Little Russian" were commonly applied for the people, language, and culture of the area.
Hence I think it anachronistic to describe him as born in the Ukraine, and would be more accurate to describe him as being born in Little Russia, part of the Russian Empire then, now part of Ukraine.93.96.148.42 (talk) 23:57, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
See my comment below.Faustian (talk) 00:34, 3 April 2009 (UTC)

is "heavily influenced by his Ukrainian upbringing and identity" anachronistic?[edit]

I am unclear what is meant by this phrase, but it seems to be imposing C21 nationalist views on the C19.93.96.148.42 (talk) 02:00, 2 April 2009 (UTC)

It makes it clear for readers unfamiliar with the changing name of Ukraine.Faustian (talk) 02:16, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
It gives the false impression that Ukraine existed. What does it clarify?93.96.148.42 (talk) 23:59, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
Ukraine was used alongside Little Russian. First mention of Ukraine was in the 15th century or so. However until the end of the nineteenth L:ittle Russia was more common. Nowadays Little Russia is very obscure. So, it's better to use the equally correct but, for the average reader, better known term.Faustian (talk) 00:33, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
I was wrong, Ukraine was mentioned much earlier. See the article Name of Ukraine.Faustian (talk) 02:14, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
I am not questioning its first use, but its use in the sense of Gogol's birthplace, and culture. Name of Ukraine says "By the beginning of the twentieth century, Ukrajina superseded Malorossija in popularity and came to be applied to the whole of modern-day Ukraine, minus the Crimea."93.96.148.42 (talk) 17:07, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
Gogol described himself as a Ukrainian living in Russia when he signed himself into a hotel. The term was used in his lifetime. It was only less common then the term Little Russian at that specific time. But now the term Little Russian is virtually unknown, and confusing (the average reader will assume it is the same as Russian or something like that). So why not use an equally accurate term that is less confusing for most English-speaking readers?Faustian (talk) 00:49, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
Gogol published s in "Arabesques" - "A glance at the composition of Little Russia" and "About Little Russian songs". His "Announcement of the Publication of a History of Little Russia" describes it as a part of Russia which became detached from it, led an existence independent of it for several centuries, but then once again completely merged with it. "Little Russia – Malorosiya, as Ukraine was called – during the times of the Russian Empire." according to the ministry for foreign affairs of the ukraine. Why not use the formulation adopted by Random house - "the Ukraine, also known as Little Russia"? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 93.96.148.42 (talk) 02:28, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
I don't mind something like "Ukraine, at that time known as Little Russia" because it addresses the problem of using a term that is relatively unknown in modern times.Faustian (talk) 11:27, 8 April 2009 (UTC)

Great to see this getting solved :) I (too) think a section devoted to his national orientation (and the contrerversiality's presently surouning it), like you suggested below, would be a good adition to the article. — Mariah-Yulia (talk) 11:40, 8 April 2009 (UTC)

Was this edit really necessary? I don't see the point of it, unless we try to scare editors away (like I got scared away at 2008 South Ossetia war‎ by this type of reverting). User:93.96.148.42 made some non Ukrainian nationalistic edits but he didn't put in the article any Russian nationalistic stuff either... (in my opinion). — Mariah-Yulia (talk) 22:05, 8 April 2009 (UTC)

First language[edit]

We do know that Gogol's first language was Ukrainian and that Russian was an aquired language and he frequently reverted to Ukrainian. We also know that there are works which he wrote in Ukrainian, primarilly early works of which most were unpublished, primarilly poems. His father was also a writer and playright but wrote primarilly in Ukrainian. When signing into a pnsionate in Italy he swrote that he was of Ukrainian living in Moscow.None of this so far is visible in the article. Bandurist (talk) 16:59, 2 April 2009 (UTC)

The excellent book by Edyta B. states that in his family, typical of Ukrainian gentry, Russian and Ukrainian were at least equally used. His childhood nickname was Nykola, a combination of Ukrainian Mykola and Russian Nikolai I suppose one can claim that surzhyk was his first language : ) About his early works, if you find a RS with that info it should go in IMO. His father is mentioned in the article. The last point might not be relevant in the overall story of his life, unless there is a section devoted to his national orientation (which might be a good section, actually). Faustian (talk)
In Leonid Parfyonovs new Gogol documentary that was aired today on ORT he shows a note in the archives in Krakow where Gogol has written in Ukrainian. You can watch it here [7] (in the beginning of the third part). Närking (talk) 18:04, 4 April 2009 (UTC)

"Lists of Russians"-template[edit]

Per Template talk:Lists of Russians most editors seem to be agains this stupid (in my view) template, where the #$$%#@ have we got category's for then? Also we are still not sure if Gogol did not view himself as a Ukrainian, put in a "Ukrainian people template". No cause there are category's for easy browsing through article's.... — Mariah-Yulia • Talk to me! 23:47, 20 January 2010 (UTC)

First off, I don't think we should bear titles as we see above, especially in the article on the great Russian writer. I also don't think we should pay attention to some anonymous editors' unexplained efforts. I find the template very helpful and encyclopaedic. Garik 11 (talk) 23:55, 20 January 2010 (UTC)

Changed the title of the template to make it more neutral. I don't object to it's use here now anymore. Gogol has nothing to do with current Russia, hence he was a great "Russian Empire writer". Changed title of this topic to, although "damn stupid" was meant ironical... — Mariah-Yulia • Talk to me! 00:05, 21 January 2010 (UTC)

Thank you. Yet now that I've read carefully Template talk:Lists of Russians, I can better understand the concerns some might have about this template and I wouldn't mind it being removed, either. As the author of the template himself stated, "That's my opinion - this template does no harm nowhere in the present form, and is useful. But if anyone removes the template from some or even all the person articles I wouldn't object." Garik 11 (talk) 08:21, 21 January 2010 (UTC)

Must admit I lost my temper slightly yesterday and I apologise for that, Currently I am engaged in 3 discussions about ethnicity and since I lean toward territorial nationalisms views (I surtenly do not believe in ethnic nationalism) I do not see why users make such a fuse about some subjects ethnicity and sometimes make stances with look plain stupid to me (and therefore can irritate me). Citizenship is ethnicity free, thank god… — Mariah-Yulia • Talk to me! 09:23, 21 January 2010 (UTC)

Genre Classification of Gogol[edit]

In February I added the following: "indeed more recent criticism has noted that he "brought the absurd to Russian literature" ", with the citation from Timothy Snyder: "Gogol Haunts the New Ukraine" in The New York Review of Books. It was good faith reverted:

22:11, February 16, 2011 Garik 11 (talk | contribs) (37,371 bytes) (rv good faith edit - this is what a political journalist says, not a literary critic).

While I would disagree with the statement that Timothy Snyder is merely a "journalist" (he is a professor of history at the top American university Yale), he is somewhat political. But my point stands that Gogol is far from simply a "realist" or "Romantic" and his proto-modernist style is sufficiently evident enough to be mentioned in the introduction. This article itself mentions Encylopaedia Britannica's reproach: "It is one of the most striking (and most Gogolian) ironies of Russian literary history that radical critics celebrated Gogol as a realist."

It takes only a cursory reading of "the Nose" or "Dead Souls" to be confirmed in this sentiment. I'll come back with a modern reading list that demonstrates this point of view, but again this article already notes the Formalists' fascination with his modernist/absurdist aspects. JDnCoke (talk) 13:03, 10 May 2011 (UTC)

Romanticism in itself is "proto-modernist". Raymond Williams' The Politics of Modernism, for example, lays this out in some detail. Aligning Gogol with "absurdism" or the "theatre of the absurd" is a real stretch--such a minority position may be mentioned in the article at some point, but it certainly doesn't belong in the lead. Employing grotesque elements and a complex, heightened form of realism isn't enough to warrant it. I suspect that a too-limiting definition of "realism" is what is really at issue here. Remember, too, that Gogol's work is not confined to literature. His theatre work is one of the main influences on Konstantin Stanislavski's development of psychological realism at the Moscow Art Theatre.  • DP •  {huh?} 14:10, 10 May 2011 (UTC)
Hi DP. Thanks for your measured reply: I certainly agree with you that claiming Gogol is aligned with theatre of the absurd is just plain wrong, however I did not intend this when I mentioned absurd, nor do I intend "absurdism" in a Camusian sense; all such references are clearly anachronistic. As for whether Romanticism is proto-modernist... Let's stick with realism, yes it's too limiting here. And while I appreciate the point about Stanislavsky, arguably the most famous and influential production of Revizor was Meyerhold's, not Stanislavsky's, viz. Nabokov's Gogol (1989). In any case, to omit, whether it be proto-Modernism, Modernism, Freudian-ambiguous, whatever, to omit reference to these neither realist nor Romantic elements of Gogol's work is to discount a significant body of modern recent critical enquiry into his work. This is the English Wikipedia page on Gogol, not the Russian one, and so we need not feel suffocated by the straightjacket of Russo-Soviet scholarship... JDnCoke. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 163.1.48.136 (talk) 22:28, 23 May 2011 (UTC)
If I may append a quote from Nabokov's work: "If you expect to find out something about Russia... if you are interested in 'ideas' and 'facts' and 'messages,' keep away from Gogol`". I, personally, do not subscribe to this view, but the fact remains that, unlike almost every other major Russian writer of the period, explaining why Gogol` writes is difficult. Incredibly diverse interpretations of his works exist and, more importantly, are entertained by sensitive critics that do not just have an axe to grind, whether that be the absurdist-supernatural elements, the hidden psyche or indeed social/political commentary. None of these readings are obviously preposterous. What Nabokov intends here is that Gogol` resists being shoehorned into one box (you simply cannot have the same range of divergent interpretation concerning Dostoevsky, for example, and if you did, you'd be mad). One of the reasons why people leap to his defense as a "realist" or "Romantic" is that whilst reading him, it is almost impossible to avoid having flash moments where you think: "Ah, the Landowners in Dead Souls––caricature, social critique, Belinsky was right!", or "Ivan asking the other Ivan in his "birthday suit" if he can "borrow his gun"––sublimated sexual angst, Freud was right!", and so on and so forth. Ironically, in his attempt to point this out, Nabokov actually falls into the same shoehorning tendencies by dismissing the Belinskian interpretation altogether. As for that reading list and why I think it is urgent that we have absurdist or proto-modernist in the introduction is the fact that this angle of approach has a far longer literary critical history than even I thought, with names from critics and theorists that are famous in their own right: Eikhenbaum's 1918 essay; Yurii Lotman's study of Khlestakov; we've mentioned Nabokov; William Rowe's Through Gogol`'s Looking Glass (1976); Simon Karlinsky's Sexual Labyrinth (1992) has also been mentioned, to name but a few. I hope this is convincing enough for one small word with a lot of meaning to be added. JDnCoke (talk) 20:16, 25 May 2011 (UTC)

"they remain some of the most important works of ever written"[edit]

come on chaps —Preceding unsigned comment added by 137.205.246.76 (talk) 23:58, 23 May 2011 (UTC)

Influence and Interpretation: Nabokov on Gogol[edit]

I edited the section on Nabokov's assessment - it inaccurately stated that Nabokov only admired three pieces by Gogol. Also, Nabokov's assessment of Gogol as being, at certain times, "the greatest artist Russia has yet produced," is something that should be included in this article, and I've put it here. Vicpvicpvicp (talk) 01:55, 25 February 2012 (UTC)

Alleged anti-semitism[edit]

Several times I have tried to show that it is unfair to label Gogol's depiction of Jews as being anti-semitic. The article bases this entire accusation on the depiction of Yankel. Taras Bulba the character is someone sympathetic to Yankel as is the narrator. Throughout Gogol's work, there are references to Jews which are sympathetic. Every time I enter this observation, someone deletes it and lately someone said that I did not show citations. It is for the person making an accusation to prove it, not the person who is accused and Gogol is not here to defend himself. I come from a family of Jews who lived near Gogol. A reasonable person reading Taras Bulba is not likely to come away from it with the impression that Gogol was an anti-semite but perhaps the accusation got someone their Ph.D. or tenure somewhere. But as Gogol wrote: skuchni n'yetom sveta gospoda! Sklaw5 (talk) 21:23, 21 January 2013 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Sklaw5 (talkcontribs) 21:17, 21 January 2013 (UTC)

The discussion of Gogel's possible anti-Semitism is sourced in the current article.Span (talk) 08:18, 22 January 2013 (UTC)

Mostly Crufty[edit]

  • The onus of responsibility to defend additions to an article is on those who wish to retain the content, and it needs to be defended item by item. The "Legacy" or "popular culture" or "cruft bin" whatever section is Mostly Crufty. I see one and only one cited reference. Even among the uncited ones, the cruftiness level of several pseudo-facts is pretty significant. If you can find a valid place for any cited portions of this info within the body text, please go ahead and sprinkle it in carefully.. Otherwise it all must go. • ServiceableVillain 07:49, 14 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Everything except the last two points are not "crufty". They clearly show his legacy. References are needed for controversial statements, but eg name of streets can be found via a map. I suggest to add that content back.--Tomcat (7) 08:59, 14 May 2013 (UTC)
    • I can accept a postage stamp, but ... streets are pretty borderline. How many streets are named Washington? If the street itself is notable, then its inclusion becomes more respectable... otherwise, for the other list items, if you can find a valid place to put your desired list items, without making a list, and then cite them, please do so. Lists are for list pages, and this is not a list page. • ServiceableVillain 09:08, 14 May 2013 (UTC)

SVillain, it seems you are up for issuing ultimatums, rather than initiating discussions. Not having a reference in an article of a long dead author, is no reason to delete anything and plenty of fine articles have some degree of listing. However, since it upsets you, I have rendered the points of legacy into prose. Span (talk) 18:43, 14 May 2013 (UTC)

  • I won't scream "ad hominem", because frankly, I don't care if anyone speaks about me rather than the article. :-) This version is certainly better. It needs major help: forex, what is the difference between an "influence" and a "legacy"? The things in this "legacy" section are pretty tame and minor to be noted as "legacy". Someone needs to sit down and actually think about what is written on the page, rather than protecting the nice stamp image for WikiProject Philately or whatever. Seriously. The article is also overburdened with images etc.; it just doesn't do the poet any justice at all. However, having said that, it is now at least somewhat less of an obnoxious eyesore than it was previously. You're welcome. • ServiceableVillain 05:30, 15 May 2013 (UTC)

Nationality[edit]

Ukrainian culture and language existed long before the Russian Empire spread into the territory of ethnic Ukrainians. How can a descendant of Ukrainian Cossacks and a Polish mother all of a sudden acquire a Russian nationality? If an African person learns to speak English, does that make him British? Being born in the Russian Empire doesn't make anyone Russian. This is an American concept that doesn't translate at all. As proof, a Jewish person born anywhere in the Russian Empire or in Soviet Union didn't have "Russian" listed in their passport under "nationality" and the same goes for Ukrainians. USchick (talk) 17:29, 26 October 2014 (UTC)

If there are no objections, I'm changing his nationality. USchick (talk) 02:09, 28 October 2014 (UTC)
Also, Poltava Governorate is in Left-bank Ukraine which at one time was under Polish control and then under Russian control. It has been Left-bank Ukraine since 1663, a century before he was born. USchick (talk) 02:33, 28 October 2014 (UTC)

Indian ancestry???[edit]

Wondering on the source of the passage "He traced his ancestry to the great tabla player Bikram Gogoi, who had settled in the Ukrainian steppes after being banished by the Patels of Baguihat." I was able to find information on Baguihat as a neighbourhood of Kolkata, and of course Patel and Bikram are clearly East Indian names. This explanation seems a little strange to me (especially because "hohol" is not an unusual surname in Ukraine) because I can't imagine the difficulty or practicality of immigrating from West Bengal to Ukraine so many centuries ago. Was this something fanciful Gogol made up, a legend, or an actual fact? Sphecidae (talk) 18:52, 30 October 2014 (UTC)

It's unreferenced and most likely nonsense.Faustian (talk) 22:28, 30 October 2014 (UTC)

Gogol's background[edit]

I've had enough of this edit warring and adding non-existent information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. Ушкуйник, I don't know where you keep getting this Polen (Polish) gentry business from, but can only assume that you are confusing Poltava with Polish: it's completely unrelated other than consisting of the root word for 'field' in Eastern Slavic languages.

It would also be appreciated if you would stop doubling up on the self same reference to EB as is already in place as your reference. Try reading the EB entry carefully. There is nothing about Polen (EB is not a German publication) or Poland in there. --Iryna Harpy (talk) 23:27, 21 December 2014 (UTC)

Again, please stop the POV pushing of content. The fact that the Anglophone world is unclear on Gogol's background and has assumed him to be a "Russian writer" because he contributed to "Russian literature" is a misnomer which can be backed up by numerous uninformed Anglophone sources of the past (not the present). Robert Burns wrote in the English language (which was, and remains, the lingua franca), as did Dylan Thomas, Walter Scott and George Bernard Shaw. They are, however, identified by their ethnicity as being Scottish, Welsh, Scottish and Irish (in order of mentions).
As for the Polish-Ukrainian nobility, it didn't mean that he had a drop of Polish blood in him as you would well know: it's merely a hark-back to being part of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth before left-bank Ukraine was annexed to the Russian Empire. Stop muddying the waters by cherry picking bits and pieces in order to shoehorn a Russian identity (as you've been doing on a number of articles surrounding Ruthenian/Ukrainian notables). --Iryna Harpy (talk) 00:04, 22 December 2014 (UTC)
    • Dear Iryna Harpy, see about Gogol's background: 1. Poltava has nothing to do with the problem of Gogol's Ukrainian-Polish origin, I don't understand, why we speak here about Poltava at all. Ушкуйник (talk) 23:34, 21 December 2014 (UTC)
    • P.S. It's a great pity, that you don't know the history of left-bank Ukraine. Left-bank Ukraine was not "annexed to the Russian Empire", as you think. Actually, Russian Empire doesn't existed before 1721. Left-bank Ukraine was incorporated in Tsardom of Russia in 17. Century. Ушкуйник (talk) 00:18, 23 December 2014 (UTC)
Would you care to elaborate on how it was 'incorporated'? Which part are you referring to: the 'acquisition' of Ukraine under the Tsardom of Russia (AKA Tsardom of Muscovy)? Are you confusing it with the historical consequences of the Treaty of Pereyaslav? Or are you confusing it with the political strategies deployed in order to complete the job of 'annexation' (obliteration of the Hetmanate) during the time of Elizabeth of Russia (Russian Empire)? --Iryna Harpy (talk) 01:22, 23 December 2014 (UTC)
Oh, and if you want to use an essay by Edyta M. Bojanowska (from which you've cherry picked the use of 'Polish' in his background), perhaps you should take a look at her 2007 publication, "Nikolai Gogol - Between Ukrainian and Russian Nationalism". Even better, read her current article "All the King’s Horses: Ukraine, Russia, and Gogol’s Troika" for a better sense of the mythological creation known as "Russia" in the Russian psyche itself, which has been echoed in the Anglophone world (what she calls "Russia’s Never-neverland") and being resurrected at a bizarre rate in Putin's RF.
You still don't seem to be able to differentiate between a Ukrainian ethnic writing in Russian for a Russian audience (because there was no other audience to write for within the Russian Empire), and a Russian writer by ethnicity. --Iryna Harpy (talk) 03:35, 23 December 2014 (UTC)

Gogol is without a doubt Ukrainian. I could easily come up the as much sources saying that he is Ukrainian that you come up with saying that he is Russian. To put it in historical context, Gogol was considered to be "Little Russian", which we all know was the chauvinistic Russian imperial way to say "Ukrainian". The most telling fact about Gogol's identity is that he wrote in the Ukrainian language! I have never encountered a non-Ukrainian who contributed to Ukrainian literature. There are many Ukrainians currently in Ukraine that identify as Ukrainians, yet speak Russian. Who are you to tell them that they are not Ukrainian? The facts that he spoke Ukrainian, AND contemporary sources called him Ukrainian indicate that Gogol was a Ukrainian writer who wrote in Russian. --BoguSlav 05:26, 23 December 2014 (UTC)

        • Dear Iryna Harpy, your speech about Never-neverland looks like some kind of sublimation, it is really fun. It looks like I would say something about historical chimera of Ukrainian identity :-) But if we speak seriously, firstly, all your historical inferences are irrelevant, they have nothing to do with the problem of Gogol's selfidentity. Gogol had Little Russian identity, which is complement with so called Great Russian identity, and only partly could be complement with Ukrainian identity, that's why there are some confrontations between Gogol and Shevchenko (sic! - Gogol criticized Shevchenko for using Ukrainian language in literature), Linnichenko and Hrushevsky (historical confrontation between Little Russians and Ukrainians), Savenko and Bagaley (political confrontation between Little Russians and Ukrainias) ets.
        • Also, such figures as Gogol, Linnichenko, Savenko, Storozhenko etc. were Little Russians, they had Little Russian identity, they realized themselves not as Ukrainian nation, but as subethnic group of Russians along with Great Russians and White Russians. So they thought (including Gogol), that they have regional culture, but this culture is not foreign to all Russians. That's why Gogol write: "We Little Russians and Great Russians need a common poetry, a calm, strong and everlasting poetry of truth, goodness and beauty. The Little and the Great Russian are the souls of twins who complement each other, who are closely related and equally strong. It is impossible to prefer one of them at the cost of the other". In this connection Edyta M. Bojanowska is right, that Gogol is between Ukrainian and Russian nationalism. The problem is, that in modern sense his identity was not clear Russian, or clear Ukrainian. But in fact Gogol wanted to make from his regional culture a spring for the whole Russian national culture, that's why he criticized Shevchenko with his Ukrainian poesy. Also Gogol should be recognized as Russian writer, although ethnically he was of Ukrainian-Polish origin. We can dispute long time about the problem of Little Russian identity, but in context of literature there is only one important fact: Gogol tried to come to synthesis of Little Russian and Great Russian culture and he wrote all his works in Russian, so his literature is Russian literature. In this connection is absolutely correct Britannica (Gogol was a Ukrainian-born Russian writer). In same way we can say for example, that Mykola Petrov (1840-1921) from Kostroma was an important Ukrainian historian (sic!) regardless of his Russian ethnicity, because he wrote about Ukraine and in Ukrainian language.
        • Secondly, your version of preamble "Ukrainian Russian-language writer" is absolutely ridiculous. You will not find such characteristic of Gogol in any respectable Encyclopedia. According to your logic we should write: "Vyacheslav Lypynsky - Polish Ukrainian-language writer", "Vera Ann Farmiga - Ukrainian English-language actress", "Mykola Petrov - Russian Ukrainian-language historian". No, such a way we can come only to Absurdopeia: Gogol is Russian writer, Shevchenko is Ukrainian poet, Vyacheslav Lypynsky is Ukrainian national theoretic, Vera Ann Farmiga is American actress, Mykola Petrov is Ukrainian historian. Best wishes, Ушкуйник (talk) 14:06, 24 December 2014 (UTC)
        • P.S. Thirdly, (just information for meditation) in my school in Kiev, Ukraine (sic!) Gogol was in course of foreign literature.— Preceding unsigned comment added by Ушкуйник (talkcontribs) 14:10, 24 December 2014 (UTC)

"my school in Kiev" I don't think that can be considered a reliable source. USchick (talk) 04:31, 25 December 2014 (UTC)

        • Dear USchick, "my school in Kiev" - is not a reliable source, it's just a remark ;-) Ушкуйник (talk) 13:20, 25 December 2014 (UTC)
All of your comments are unsourced personal opinions that shouldn't be the basis of Wikipedia edits.Faustian (talk) 01:45, 26 December 2014 (UTC)

Dear Ушкуйник, I guess your argument boils down to "Gogol is Russian because he wrote in Russian". Using this logic, you are an Englander (or American/Canadian/Australian/etc) because you contribute in the English language.--BoguSlav 03:45, 26 December 2014 (UTC)

Dear BoguSlav, it is very bad try of Sophistik. I write in English, because it is English version of Wikipedia, but (sic!) I am not citizen of English-speaking land and I don't write a roman here. My arguments:
1) Gogol was born in Russian Empire, he lived in Russian Empire, he died in Moscow and he was Russian citizen;
2) He wrote all his works in Russian language and criticized Shevchenko for using Ukrainian language in literature;
3) For all reliable English Encyclopaedia's Gogol is Russian writer, see: 1 - Britannica, 2 - Encyclopedia of Ukraine, 3, 4, 5 and stop this absurd. Ушкуйник (talk) 14:01, 26 December 2014 (UTC)

I have restored the formulation from Encyclopedia Brittanica: Ukrainian-born Russian-language author. I once wrote an essay Wikipedia:Naming conventions/Ethno-cultural labels in biographies that I still stand for. Gogol is not might be a Ukrainian person or a Ukrainian celebrity but he is not a Ukrainian writer since he did not wrote any significant works in Ukrainian was not a part of a Ukrainian literary school or even a supporter of Ukrainian independence. Since Russian writer is confusing lets use the formulation from Brittanica (that also stayed in the articles for ages) Alex Bakharev (talk) 06:13, 29 December 2014 (UTC)

Ukrainian-born can be taken to mean he was simply a Russian born in Ukraine. And Britannica also describes him as "A member of the petty Ukrainian gentry" [8]. So clearly, he was a Ukrainian but also a Russian rather than a Ukrainian writer (meaning, he wrote in the Russian language and was part of Russia's not Ukraine's literary scene). The trick is to write this without implying that he was an ethnic Russian, or that he was a Ukrainian literary figure because both would be misleading. Why not simply "ethnic Ukrainian?" Also the themes of his early works were clearly Ukrainian. Consider Joseph Conrad?Faustian (talk) 06:53, 29 December 2014 (UTC)
I don't think the Joseph Conrad parallel works here. Gogol's earlier works were thematically Ukrainian-based, but he certainly didn't write/publish anything in Ukrainian. Thematically, aside from Taras Bulba, his work did revolve around Russian identity (which is comparable to his peers in various empires exploring national identities in a growing consciousness of a national 'mythology' for themselves and to present to the world).
Well, this is a biography, so it wouldn't be appropriate to turn it into a comparative cultural and critical theory piece. This still leaves us with the problem of how to represent his ethnicity without turning it being undue. It never ceases to astound me that the simplest constructs can be the most difficult to write. It requires extremely precise wording without sounding strained. --Iryna Harpy (talk) 09:18, 29 December 2014 (UTC)
Dear all, according to this document (see: Wikipedia:Naming conventions/Ethno-cultural labels in biographies) the preamble should be written (like Alex Bakharev has written) this way: Nikolai Gogol is a Ukrainian-born Russian writer. Specially for Faustian, who thinks, that Ukrainian-born can be taken to mean he was simply a Russian born in Ukraine, we can change it to: Nikolai Gogol is a Russian writer of Ukrainian origin/ethnicity.
Another examples of such falls: Daniel Pennac is a French writer of Corsican origin, or a Corsican-born French writer; Alexandre Kojève is a French writer of Russian origin, or a Russian-born French philosopher; Vyacheslav Lypynsky is a Ukrainian writer of Polish origin; Léon Poliakov is a French historian of Russian Jewish origin and so on.
Why I am against the current version of preamble?
1) Because there is no any reliable Encyclopedia, which use such characteristic in preamble like "an ethnic Ukrainian, Russian-language dramatist". All information about ethnicity could be important, but it means not, that this information should be written in preamble, because not his ethnicity is the subject of the article (See for example Theodor W. Adorno - he is a German philosopher regardless of his ethnicity, although his ethnicity is important to understand some of his philosophical themes and ideas). For all Encyclopedia’s, even for Encyclopedia of Ukraine Gogol is in preamble just a Ukrainian-born Russian writer. See again: Encyclopedia of Ukraine. Of course it means not, that it should not be written about the role of his Ukrainian cultural references in the article, but it doesn't matter for preamble.
2) Secondly, according to the current version of preamble, we should change preambles of all above-mentioned figures from my examples. For example Vyacheslav Lypynsky wrote his famous work Z dziejów Ukrainy in Polish language. Should we write then in preamble, that he was a Polish writer, or a Polish person, who wrote in Ukrainian? No. Or maybe we should write, that Alexandre Kojève was a Russian philosopher? Hardly it is right.
3) In fall of Gogol we speak not only about his Russian language, we also speak about his Russian citizenship, his society and even his self-identity etc. So it is just not right to reduce all these references to language, that’s why the only right way to describe his fall is to write about him as about Russian writer of Ukrainian, or Ukrainian-Polish origin, (sic!) avoid linking the label Russian to Russia or Russian, but link to the Russian literature.
So I insist, that the only right way to write this preamble is such:
Gogol is a Russian writer from a noble family of Ukrainian origin/or: of Ukrainian-Polish origin.
Best regards, Ушкуйник (talk) 14:26, 3 January 2015 (UTC)
I concur with Ушкуйник. Just want to add that according to WP:OPENPARA Ethnicity or sexuality should not generally be emphasized in the opening unless it is relevant to the subject's notability. I do not think that Gogol's Ukrainian ethnicity is relevant to his notability (that if he had been an ethnic Russian, Pole or German, he would have beeen less notable). from a noble family of Ukrainian origin is a nice way to get around this requirement and still satisfy people keeping scores of "our people" agains "their people". Alex Bakharev (talk) 02:13, 4 January 2015 (UTC)
Ethnicity is more accurate than origin because the latter may indicate distant descent; also - the themes of his early works were very Ukrainian so his Ukrainian upbringing and ethnicity are relevant. But it's a good solution.Faustian (talk) 04:11, 6 January 2015 (UTC)