Vladimir Voropaev: Gogol burned the second volume of «Dead souls»

© Photo : photo from personal archive of Vladimir Voropayev Literary critic, Professor of MSU named after M. V. Lomonosov Vladimir VoropaevVladimir Voropaev: Gogol burned the second volume of «Dead souls»© Photo : photo from personal archive of Vladimir Voropayev

In the year of the 175th anniversary of the publication of «Dead souls» and the 165th anniversary of the death of Gogol, the famous literary critic, Professor of MSU named after M. V. Lomonosov Vladimir Nikolaev told RIA Novosti on why Gogol in Russia is still considered a satirist, not a spiritual writer, what happened to the second volume of «Dead souls» and what hinders the spread of Christianity in modern culture. Interviewed By Victor Hrul.

— First, it is the force of inertia. The fact that Gogol was not a satirist, had his contemporaries. The same Belinsky, Vissarion the furious, wrote: «No more erroneous to look at the «Dead souls» and make sure to understand them as seeing them as satire».

Accusatory Plast, of course, in Gogol’s: and «Revizor» and «Dead souls», he writes about the fact that we are not okay. It’s about us. Everything he writes Gogol, it’s about us.

But for adequate perception of Gogol it is important to have a spiritual experience that the modern reader does not always happen. Many do not know that he built his life in accordance with Church liturgical Charter. How do we know? From his works. He says: «every day We utter…» and quoted from memory the Small Compline.

— Books-I just was not in his library, but, there are entire volumes of his extracts from the liturgical books.

— And at what age did he do it?

— In the Prime of his creativity, in the years 1843-1845. He was at that time abroad, and in the literature it supplied friends from Russia, and Russian priests serving in Europe.

In the book «Selected passages from correspondence with friends» has an article «what’s the essence of Russian poetry and what is its peculiarity.» Feel in the name of some irritation? He names three sources from which to draw inspiration to Russian poets, Proverbs, songs and the word Church pastors.

In another place he says concerning this: «Still a mystery to many of the lyricism that is hidden in our Church songs and canons». The mystery of this lyricism was revealed to Gogol and is known not from hearsay, but from personal experience. As is clear from the content of the surviving books, he read of the saints in six months — from September to February — and made extracts for each day.

Here is the solution unique style of Gogol is a combination of colloquial, everyday, even colloquial language and high Church.

— Where is the love?

— She was born in the family, but was developed in the school years. In the Charter of the Nezhin gymnasium, where he studied Gogol, it was recorded that every student need to learn three verses of Scripture. That count: Gogol seven years I studied the three verses of Scripture by heart — how many per week, per month, how much for seven years.

— And how this combination is evident in Gogol’s interest in evil spirits and subtle humor? Where did that come from?

— Our famous culturologist, literary critic, aesthetician Mikhail Bakhtin wrote that the work of a «brilliant exponent of national consciousness», as Gogol, we can really understand only in the stream of folk culture, which developed their special view of the world and the special forms of his imaginative reflection. Gogol came out of this people’s culture, hence such a vivid, picturesque description, and evil forces. This is all taken from folklore —Russian and Ruthenian, Slavic in a broader sense. But in this note, the word «devil» out of the Mature works of Gogol.


— Because a «black» word, not commonly used in secular conversation as it was Gogol. The devil, the evil one, the evil one. slightly abusing this in «Evenings on farm near Dikanki».

Not all popular culture is, of course, acceptable for a man of the Church. Gogol understood this perfectly. Gogol went forward as a Christian. He said: «I’m going with twelve years one way, do not hesitate in opinion home». It’s still a whole was nature and we cannot say that this is «late Gogol,» and this is «early».

— A grown-up, Mature Gogol something condemned in his young career?

— Yeah, you know, he’s quite critical of his early works, including «Evenings at Khutor near Dikanka».

— What did not suit him?

— He believed that there’s a lot more immature. His early stuff is very didactic, remember? Openly expressed, without a deep art of subtext: when he runs to drown in the hole — who is behind him, in the bag? BES. That’s who drives people to suicide. Early things Gogol is very instructive, and in them the divine power always triumphs over the power of demons. Gogol came from popular culture, from folk beliefs — and this is its strength, and this kind of, in a sense, its weakness.

— He was always a Christian — in life and in art?

— Of course, without a doubt. Let me give you another example. The last composition of Gogol, he worked the last years of his life and which was published after his death, began «Reflections on the divine Liturgy». This is the most famous work of Gogol in the twentieth century, the re-issued, one of the best examples of Russian spiritual prose. In the Soviet era this thing is generally not published because, as was pointed out in the comments to academic publishing, «has a literary interest.»

From the memoirs of Nizhyn Gogol classmates known that he was often in the temple hummed to himself the divine Liturgy and one day, unhappy with the way they sing in the choir, climbed to the choir and began to sing, loudly and clearly pronouncing the words of the prayer. And the priest heard an unfamiliar voice, looked out from the altar and ordered him to leave.

What does this mean? That he in the school was aware of the nature of the divine Liturgy, not at the end of life came to this. However, unfortunately, the idea that Gogol was the first one and then the other lives on in the minds of Church people.

But in his works there are examples of spiritual rebirth…

— Yes, such as Chichikov. Note his name is Paul. In the last, eleventh Chapter of the first volume of «Dead souls,» the author tells the readers that even a mystery why this image is displayed in the poem that in this same Chichikov may be concluded that then plunge into the dust and on the knees of a man before the wisdom of heaven. It is nothing like a reminiscence from the acts of the apostles, the episode of the conversion of Saul to Paul, There is reason to believe that in the very name of the hero contains an allusion to his coming spiritual rebirth.

— Why Gogol has burnt the second volume «Dead souls»?

— The mystery of the second volume is the most painful problem of Gogolevskaya. What burned, when burned why burned? To these questions no clear answer. I twenty years ago have already expressed the idea that no one has yet refuted: the second volume of Gogol never wrote. Because nobody ever saw a clean manuscript of the second volume of «Dead souls». No one ever.

— On what facts the hypothesis is based on the burning?

— On the recognition of Gogol. In the night from 11 to 12 February 1852, he burned his manuscript. What exactly — is unknown. This is evidenced by his serf servant who ministered to him in the house of count Alexander Petrovich Tolstoy. The servant said that Gogol took the papers, threw them in the oven and stirred with the poker to better burning.

Until we reached a rough manuscript of the second volume. Four initial chapters and a fragment of one of the last chapters called the fifth. But it’s a scratch of the head, they have two layers of edits: first, he wrote, then began on the text to edit.

The spiritual father of Gogol Rzhev Protopriest Constantine Matthew was the last person who has reviewed chapters of the second volume. It was the eve of the burning of the manuscripts. He often accused that he pushed the writer to this. Father Matthew denied that on his advice, Gogol burned the second volume, though saying that some sketches are not approved and even asked to destroy: «they Say that you advised Gogol to burn the second volume of Dead souls?» — «True and not true… Gogol used to burn their failed artworks and then again to restore them in the best possible way. Enough he had ready the second volume; at least I have not seen it. It was like this: Gogol showed me a few scattered notebooks <…> Returning the notebook, I was opposed to publication of some of them. In one or two notebooks was described by the priest. It was a living person that everyone would know, and added such features, which… I don’t, and besides, even with the Catholic undertones, and not quite Orthodox priest. I opposed the publication of these books, even asked to destroy. In another of the books was the outline… only the outline of a Governor, what does not happen. I was advised not to publish this book, saying that he will be ridiculed for it, even more than in correspondence with friends.»

Now, why the plan of Gogol has not found its conclusion. Gogol is not just talking about what I wanted to write the book so that the way to Christ was clear for everyone. Spiritual revival — one of the highest abilities given to man, and, according to Gogol, the way is open to all. In all likelihood, Gogol wanted to spend your hero through the crucible of trials and tribulations, in which he would have to realize the wrongs of his ways. This inner revolution from which Chichikov would come out a different person, apparently, and was to be completed «Dead souls».

The idea was Grand, but unfulfilled, because to show the path of spiritual rebirth is not the task of literature.

— And what then is her role?

— It aims to show the evils of man, the depravity of human nature. Yes, she has achieved success. But there is a «problem of the positive hero» — where it to take if man is imperfect? The idea of Gogol outside the literary work. And so the last it became a book of «Reflections on the divine Liturgy» – that’s where this path is shown to all.

Ask students, or teachers, why the characters of «Dead souls» is dead souls? They will hardly respond. The answer is simple: they are without God live. In a death record, addressed to all of us, Gogol says: «Be not dead, but living souls, no other door than that of Jesus Christ…». This is the way, that’s the meaning of the name of a great poem, here’s the Testament of Gogol.

Art, for him, is the invisible stage of Christianity.

In a letter to his spiritual father, he hoped that after his book «Selected passages from correspondence with friends» the reader will take in hand the gospel.

— How to help the people today to refer to Christian values? In our power?

— Means a lot. You just need to be a Christian, to grow spiritually, not to stand still. The man who stayed in spiritual development, went back. To educate their children, their surroundings, «doing their job». It seems to me that Russia longer than in other countries and States stand in their Christian tenets, the basics.

— What is more important for a correct evaluation of the writer — his lifestyle or values preached in his works?

— I think a person need to estimate the elevation of his spirit, not his falls. Holiness is not sinlessness. Even Holy men were not sinless. And not have to miss writer for «language». As Yesenin once said that nonsense about the sacrament, repeat it, and even many priests do not like him for it. And Pushkin, even if he wrote «Gavriiliada», undoubtedly, have repented: it is known that he destroyed the lists and get very angry when reminded of her. Personally, I am convinced that Pushkin never wrote «Gavriiliada», and you can bring irrefutable arguments on this score. Whatever it was, judging him by the Lord, not us.

— Do you think that hinders the spread of Christianity in modern Russian culture?

Is the lack of real, proper spiritual enlightenment. Now a great responsibility lies with the priests, religious schools. If we are not theologians, quality theological education, it is difficult to demand from schools, parents, children. Somewhere it is necessary to derive this information, the correct view.

But the Church benches crammed Orthodox literature…

— For the most part, is a reprint of the old. But the situation is changing, new answers are needed.

It seems to me that the priests should take part in public discussions and on the Internet and on TV — their voice must be heard, people must listen to them. In this sense, a remarkable channel «Spas», there is a lot of interesting material, there often are the priests and give their view on the current process.

— And whether from the Pushkin’s tale about a Noodle to remove a character called «priest»?

Popa’s no need to clean out of a fairy tale is a joke of the poet. Incidentally, the word «pop» (in Greek – Orthodox priest, priest; thus priest, FR) in the nineteenth century did not have the pejorative value that appeared in the Soviet era.

But the Opera «Tannhauser» and the movie «Matilda» is another thing, I think. There are threads to which the artist must be approached with a special tact and responsibility. Now, as far as I know, the Opera «Tannhauser» is not — and rightly so, because proper tact and responsibility of the Director in this case is not shown. Same with the movie «Matilda». Imagine: a film about the prophet Muhammad, using his fantasies to your sources. Was a literary precedent — «the Satanic verses» by Salman Rushdie, who was sentenced in Iran to death.

— Does this mean that Christianity is disappearing from the culture?

— What is happening now, of course, does not inspire any optimism. European culture in its origins — Christian culture, Church. She was riddled with these values. Take it away and it will lose its identity, its specificity.

Apostasy — abandoning God — the process is irreversible. In modern Europe this process is developing rapidly, but Russia is resisting. Although, of course, this process is irreversible. Our goal is not to stop this process and remain themselves, to remain faithful to Christ. In spite of everything.

A Christian has to do their job — to be a witness and preacher of Christ. It is his direct duty. A Christian soldier must also do your job as a Christian to defend the faith, the Motherland, the country, the people.

Business and politics should be Christian. Our traditional values are values of the Christian Orthodox and we should not shy away from this.