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Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol (1809-1852) - one of the classics of Russian literature. And today his life, death, work cause numerous disputes.
Gogol is carefully considered not only by art critics and historians, but also by psychologists, doctors and even science fiction writers. Some of the most interesting misconceptions about the great Russian and Ukrainian writer will be debunked.
Gogol had a special relationship with stairs. As a child, the boy listened to his grandmother's stories about how the souls of people climb the stairs to the sky. This story was remembered by Gogol, deposited in his memory. And the writer carried a special attitude towards this image throughout his life. There are stairs here and there on the pages of Gogol's work. They say that his last words were a cry: "Ladder, give me a ladder as soon as possible!"
Gogol was indifferent to food. The writer was distinguished by his passion for sweets. He could single-handedly drink a samovar of tea, eat gingerbread and a jar of jam. Even in Gogol's pockets there were always gingerbread and sweets, which he chewed in class, while still studying at the gymnasium. And such a passion remained with Gogol for life. In addition to sweets in his pockets, you could find pieces of sugar, crackers, pretzels, half-eaten pies. His other passion is rolling bread balls. The writer told his friends that this activity helps to solve the most difficult and difficult problems. Bored at dinner, Gogol rolled such balls and quietly threw them into food or drinks to those around him.
Gogol only burned Dead Souls. It turns out that the writer had a passion for burning his works a long time ago. The first example was the poem "Hans Kuchelgarten", written under the pseudonym V. Alov in the style of German romance. Because of the criticism, Gogol's name did not suffer, but he suffered the failure hard. The author bought all the unsold copies and then burned them. So until the end of his life, Gogol did not admit that it was he who was that Alov. And in 1845 Gogol again burned drafts, possibly of Dead Souls.
Gogol burned the second volume of Dead Souls. On the night of February 12, 1852, a strange event occurred that puzzled the writer's biographers. Until three o'clock in the morning, Gogol prayed, and then he took out sheets of paper from his portfolio and threw them into the fire. It is believed to have been the second volume of Dead Souls. However, later the first chapters of the manuscript were found among the papers. What exactly Gogol burned then remains a mystery.
Gogol was a homosexual. It is known that the writer was never married, he led an ascetic and secluded life. Little was known about Gogol's personal life, which gave rise to a series of rumors. Even contemporaries were frightened by this behavior. It is believed that Gogol avoided unknown women, and remained a virgin. On this basis, the myth about the writer's homosexuality appeared. In his book "The Sexual Labyrinth of Nikolai Gogol," Professor Karlinsky wrote that the classic experienced oppressed homosexuality, suppressing attraction to the opposite sex. But some facts from the biography of Gogol still debunk this myth. So, in 1829, the writer unexpectedly left Petersburg. In a letter to his mother, he spoke about his love for a woman who did not reciprocate. And in 1840, Gogol proposed to Anna Vielgorskaya, whom he loved, calling her "a heavenly being." But the woman refused to marry him. The reason for the celibacy of the writer is also seen in the monastic character of the writer himself. And the habit of stopping with male friends is associated with a pathological fear of loneliness.
Gogol was buried alive. On February 21, 1852, Gogol died and was buried on February 24 at the monastery cemetery. The writer bequeathed not to erect a monument over his grave, hoisting only a cross. Under Soviet rule, the monastery was given as a colony for children-criminals, and Gogol's ashes were decided to be reburied in the cemetery of the Novodevichy Convent. This ceremony was attended by numerous Soviet intellectuals, among whom was the writer V. Lidin. It is he who is the author of numerous myths about Gogol. Lidin wrote that a skeleton with a head turned to one side was in the coffin. How it happened - no one could understand. Immediately everyone remembered that the writer was terrified of being buried in a state of lethargic sleep. Back in 1845, Gogol bequeathed to bury him only after the appearance of obvious signs of decomposition of the body. He felt how periodically during the attacks there was complete numbness. But this legend has been criticized. The sculptor Romanov, who took off the death mask from Gogol, noted that he had to hurry, as traces of the destruction of the body appeared. And the material was very hot, a living person could not help but react. There is a simple explanation for turning the head in a coffin. At the coffin, the side covers are the first to rot, while the top cover, under the weight of the soil, presses on the head. She turns to one side on the Atlantean vertebra.
Gogol's skull was missing. This myth also belongs to the writer Lidin. He said that when Gogol's coffin was opened, he did not have a skull. Fantasy has given rise to many theories. They remembered that in 1908 a brick crypt was erected over the coffin, perhaps it was then that the skull disappeared. Another version says that the skull was stolen at the request of the merchant Bakhrushin, an admirer of Gogol and the Russian theater. It was rumored that the rich man already owned the skull of the great actor Shchepkin. The myth says that the writer's head was adorned with a silver wreath and placed in a glass case lined with black morocco inside.
Gogol was crazy. For many years the trail of madness followed the writer. Even Turgenev, before his visit to Gogol, wrote that he was going to see a genius writer who is not all right with his head. Despite the fact that many contemporaries considered him sick, today his condition is being overestimated. The very fact of a secular writer talking about spirituality was then considered abnormal. And the clinical analysis made by some psychiatrists based on letters, testimonies and rumors cannot be taken seriously.
Gogol starved himself to death. Doctor Tarasenkov, who observed during Gogol's deathbed illness, testified that the patient had refused food only three days before his death. Delirium and breakdown came to him in only a few hours. Before that, the patient, even in spite of Great Lent, ate prosphora, porridge, washed it down with linden tea. In general, the exact cause of death has remained a mystery. Some say that excessive asceticism, manifested on the basis of mental imbalance, is to blame. Others blame the mercury-based drug, which was abused by the doctor at the time. There were 6 or 7 diagnoses, and Turgenev generally said: "He died because he decided to die."
Gogol died due to improper treatment. Researcher K. Smirnov came to the conclusion that Gogol could have died due to improper treatment. He was observed by three doctors at once, each of whom, not knowing about the approach of his colleagues, prescribed calomel. This mercury-containing preparation has been used to treat indigestion. But an overdose and a slow release of the drug from the body led to intoxication. Mercury could have poisoned Gogol. However, very few people believe in this version; asceticism and emotional and mental overwork are usually called the basis of the writer's death.
Gogol died suddenly. The writer knew he was dying. He distributed his last money, managed to draw up a will, and released Semyon's servant. After Gogol's death, only a few rubles, linen and books remained. Even earlier he gave his part of the estate to his mother and sisters. Three days before his death, Gogol asked his friend Khomyakov to leave him, realizing the inevitability of death.
Russian was a foreign language for Gogol. The basis of this myth was Gogol's phrase from a letter to his mother in 1829: "I will write in a foreign language." But all the messages to the parent are written in Russian, it would be strange to declare him a stranger. In fact, Gogol asked to spell out his own names and Little Russian words more clearly, since his essay will be published in a foreign language. The writer did not want to distort his culture. Most likely, he had in the form not Russian, not Ukrainian, but some kind of third language.
Gogol was ugly and did not look after himself. Contemporaries describe Gogol as a short man with a crooked nose and legs. The writer's sister said that her brother's complexion was always good. He himself always watched his hairstyle, once even shaved off his hair to make it thicker. Many of Gogol's acquaintances considered him even handsome. The writer loved to wear a frock coat with multi-colored vests. On his head was either a gray or a white hat. Gogol's friends recall that he always looked like a birthday boy, dressing up smartly.
Gogol had an unsociable and withdrawn character. Gogol was different. Some saw him closed, others remember his kindness, others - perseverance. Gogol was talkative, but he could not stand female chatter. The writer helped his young colleagues by giving recommendations.
Gogol was poor. Gogol's father had 400 serf souls, being a representative of the old noble family of the Gogol-Yanovskys. The writer had no shortage of funds, which allowed him to live abroad for several years. At his own expense, he published the poem "Hanz Küchelgarten", which was burned later. Saving was not peculiar to Gogol, but he spent a lot of money on books.
Gogol had no hobbies other than books. The writer had many other hobbies. He loved to sing, pick flowers, do handicrafts. It is known that Gogol was good at drawing. While living in Rome, the writer visited the Colosseum, sketching it. Gogol loved checkers and dominoes, but billiards was his real passion. Apparently, he was a lively versatile person.