Gogol Concepts

Posted on 06/11 by bruceholl



Dmitry Chizhevsky
"About 'The Overcoat'"

"The comic element in Gogol consists of a distinctive play of oppositions, or antitheses, between something meaningful and something meaningless. These antitheses alternate , so that one particular thing – a phrase, a word, an idea – which has seemed to make sense suddenly proves to be nonsense; or, vice versa, what had seemed like nonsense proves to make good sense. Among such instances of word-play is the way in which 'even' is used."

J. A. Cuddon
A Dictionary of Literary Terms
"Conceit"

"As a literary term this word has come to denote a fairly elaborate figurative device of a fanciful kind which often incorporates metaphor, simile, hyperbole or oxymoron […] and which is intended to surprise or delight by its wit and ingenuity. The pleasure we get from many conceits is intellectual rather than sensuous."

J. A. Cuddon
A Dictionary of Literary Terms
"Surrealism"

"The surrealists attempted to express in art and literature the workings of the unconscious mind and to synthesize these workings in the conscious mind. The surrealist allows his works to develop non-logically (rather than illogically) so that the results represent the operations of the unconscious."

Simon Karlinsky,
The Sexual Labyrinth of Nikolai Gogol

"It is the thesis of the present study that an examination of Gogol's homosexual orientation within the context of his biography and writings may provide the missing key to the riddle of his personality. It should be emphasized that, as applied to Gogol in this book, the term 'homosexuality refers to his overpowering attraction to members of his own sex and aversion to physical or emotional contact with women, rather than to any physical sexuality."

Dmitry Merezhkovsky
"Gogol and the Devil"

"In Gogol's religious outlook, the Devil is a mystical essence and a real being, in which eternal evil, a denial of God, has been concentrated. Gogol the artist investigates the nature of the mystical essence in the light of laughter. Gogol the man contends with this real being using laughter as a weapon: Gogol's laughter is man's struggle with the Devil,"

Stephen Moeller-Sally
Gogol's Afterlife
Images of Gogol

Vladimir Nabokov
Nikolai Gogol

"The gaps and black holes in the texture of Gogol's style imply flaws in the texture of life itself. Something is very wrong and all men are mild lunatics engaged in pursuits that seem to them very important while an absurdly logical force keeps them at their futile jobs – this is the real 'message' of the story. In this world of utter futility, of futile humility and futile domination, the highest degree that passion, desire, creative urge can attain is a new cloak which both tailors and customers adore on their knees."

Rene Wellek
Concepts of Criticism

"Let us start with something very simple and say that realism is 'the objective representation of contemporary social reality' […] It rejects the fantastic, the fairy-tale like, the allegorical and the symbolic, the highly stylized, the purely abstract and decorative […] It implies also a rejection of the improbable, of pure chance, and of extraordinary events […] The term 'reality' is also a term of inclusion: the ugly, the revolting, the low are legitimate subjects of art. Taboo subjects such as sex and dying (love and death were always allowed) are now admitted into art."