Філологія - Вісник Донецького інституту соціальної освіти


PhD in Philology, Lecturer of Russian philology and World literature department

Of Krivorozhsky pedagogical institute of state higher educational institution

«Krivorozhsky National University»

The article investigates N. V. Gogol's artistic work which is primordially characterized by Accord Revealing the essence of the «whole world». Accord Is opposed to Discord (existence –  non-existence). The author considers the key word for understanding of creative work of different writers   –  the «whole world». The article points out that where the essence of the «whole world» is exposed to a creator, it is possible to speak about the presence of accord. But where the «whole world» does not continue and even its memory is gone –  the ontological accord is lost, which indicates ruination of co-presence of the divine and the human, and it further results in distortion of the divine and the human, and in consequence gives only a caricature of the whole, that is discord.

Key words: poetics, the «whole world», accord, discord.


Une, which opens the essence of «the whole world» is inherent in N. V. Gogol’s artistic creativity from time immemorial; the Tune Is opposed to Dis-tune (existence-nonexistence). «The germ that is named «Tune» now, which is manifested whether in music or in poetry, is concealing in the depths of the sacral name, by which the «Holy silence» (Dionysius the Areopagite) of divine completeness was broken for the first time» [1, p. 300]. Thus, the tune   –  is the live primary source of the word, it rings in N. V. Gogol’s works («tune   –  is the ring of the people soul»   –  A. M. Remizov), regulating the world as a single whole (the whole world).

The disharmony of N. V. Gogol’s world is often expressed through the music, and to be more exact – though its extinction, lack. Silence, stillness turns out to be not a concentration of the primary sense completeness, not a silence, but its antipode, being the «muteness» beyond the tune. Lifeless «decrepit faces of old women», from which «the grave is in the air», appear in the final scene of the short story «The Fair at Sorochyntsy» among general merriment, where «everything rushed», «everyone danced». New, laughing, live person is a full-blooded life, concord, thundering song, but the old women   –  the shadow of life. They dance sensselesly folk after other people, their lives like the life of the song are gradually fading away. The joy and completeness of Christmas service in the «Christmas Eve» turns gloomy for all people, «trembling» voice cannot substitute «the song» of the missing blacksmith. In «A Terrible Vengeance» Cossacks don’t sing while crossing the Dnieper, because they are sad to see an evil guest at the wedding –  a wizard, and their morose silence is a herald of a new meeting with the «evil spirit» and with the unavoidable trouble: «Why don’t the Cossacks sing?... How can they sing, how can they speak about hard things: Danilo gave a thought…» [2, t. 1, p. 148], –  and then: «…everything became quiet… Danilo stopped as well: fear and cold penetrated into

© V. Lubetskaya, 2012



Cossack’s veins. The cross shook on the grave, and a wizened corpse rose quietly above it» [2, t. 1, p. 150]. The disharmony and self-destruction of human soul which has no desire to stay «in tune», is shown distinctly in the story «Viy», where Homa Brutus is dancing along, without music: «Suddenly the philosopher jumped up and said: «I want musicians! Bring some musicians!» –  but without waiting for them he began to dance the «tropak» in the court-yard» [2, t. 2, p. 189]. His soul is at the crossroads, irrational power captures the character, he becomes estranged from the people. «Sequential transformation from spectators into performers is typical for the folk dance» [3, p. 16]. It is hard to melt a cool curiosity of spectators in «Viy». Persistent nonparticipation in dancing Without music «is already an expression of that dreadful boundary which lays between fallen under pernicious power Homa and the rest of the world» [3, p. 16]. «Dirtiness» of the soul brings an evil and misfortune to a living man, that is why Homa is dancing like a dead man, like «a real machine». Catherine in «A Terrible Vengeance» is also dancing absurdly in solitude and silence. Her mind is hazed, she is alienated from the harmonious world: «She was rushing along… looking madly everywhere with her hands on the sides. She was stamping her feet with squealing; without measure, without rhythm… and it seemed as she would either fall down or fly away from this world» [2,t.1, p. 176-177]. Let’s remember wizard’s dance in «A Terrible Vengeance». He, not yet recognized, «danced marvelously kazachok and already made surrounded crowd laugh… When Cossack captain lifted the icons… his lips turned blue, his chin became jittering and sharp… a fang sprang out of mouth, a hump arose from the head, and the Cossack turned into   –  an old man» [2, t. 1, p. 147] (compare with the scene from «Taras Bulba», where dancing people are united by a merry music).

We can observe the deeper Dis-tune In «Taras Bulba», where «dense sounds» and «thunder» of the organ in the Roman Catholic Church let Andriy forget «the charming music of swords and bullets», plunge him into contradiction and push to the way of comradeship betrayal: «At that moment the magnificent swell of the organ filled up the whole church… swelled into heavy bursts of thunder… turning into heavenly music… and Andriy admired wondrous music with his mouth half-opened» [4, t. 2, p. 473]. Withdrawal from the cathedral comradeship turns into captivity of the individual: that is the destiny of the younger Taras Bulba’s son, who accomplished graceless self-will; renouncing his father, brother and native land, he, in effect, renounces his faith: «And the Cossack was ruined. He was lost to Cossack chivalry. Never Again he will behold Zaporozhe, Nor His father’s house, Nor The Church of God!» [2, t. 2, p. 92]. The sense of self-existence identifies with the service of the superpersonal origin. «Orthodox wisdom sees the unfreedom in the denial of the following superpersonal faith truths. The criteria of the truth can be considered here as the only word of God…: «There is no greater love than somebody gives his soul for his friends» (Io, 15:13)» [5, p. 408]. The boundaries of human being and his Motherland are common in this world of «comradeship», the man’s freedom can be realized the most completely only in love, and author’s words sound clearly in the story: «there is no stronger power than faith» [2, t. 2, p. 146]. Certainly, N. V. Gogol notices that «All the Setch prayed in one church, and were willing to defend it to their last drop of blood, although they would not hearken to aught about fasting or abstinence» [2, t. 2, p. 63]. This remark indicates an external religiousness of Cossacks and fast rejection weakens their spirit, leads to self-will and dreadful faith betrayal. V. D. Denisov in his work «The Cossack’s image in early N. V. Gogol’s works» reviews contradiction which first formed and then ruined «the Cossack’s settlement», «comradeship». One should strengthen the spirit with «true piety»: «The reason for all people’s misfortune was designated clearly: sinful apostasy. The way of misfortune deliverance was mentioned as well: recurrence to God and repentance» [5, p. 415].

Let’s dwell on the story «A Terrible Vengeance», the basis of which is the curse possessing grotesque nature. The curse is connected with the very notion «a terrible vengeance», which is logically moves from one aspect to another: it is a Peter’s vengeance to Ivan and Ivan’s vengeance to Peter. The laughter in the story is frightful because it shields the spiritual origin in the human being. The frightful laughter can be considered as the indicator of the destruction of the whole world, as the testimony of dis-tune. (Ivan’s favour sounds as following: «… Let me enjoy his torture» [2,  t.1, p. 186] (compare with the fratricide’s laughter: «Peter laughed and pushed him with his pike» [2,  t.1, p. 184].)

The example of spiritual Dis-tune Is the image of a wizard in «A Terrible Vengeance» who was detached from people and God, and the alliance concluded by him is devilish. Initially, this



Image is represented with the help of the particle «not» (compare with the description of the «perished Cossack» Andriy): «The story is about how the wife’s father Burulbasha Didn’t Come to the feast precedes the appearance of the wizard at the feast: «…The guests were amazed at the plane Catherine’s face; but even more They were surprised that her old father Had not Come with her…» [3, p. 39].Catherine’s father «would tell much marvelous things… Everything is Not The same there than it’s here: people are Not The same, and there are No Christ churches there…» [2, t. 1, p. 146]. Danilo notices that «he Doesn’t Want to drink honey! He Doesn’t Even drink gorilka… he Doesn’t Even believe in Christ», and then: «…your father Doesn’t Want to live In-tune With us… He Didn’t Want to drink for Cossack’s will! Didn’t Rock a baby on his hands… No, his heart is Not The Cossack’s one» [2, t. 1, p. 151]. The same purpose (to reveal foreignness) is in the description of the guns in wizard’s castle: «The guns are hanging, but all are Strange: neither Turks Nor Crimeans, Nor Poles, Nor Christians don’t wear them…». All this are the signs of nonhuman, outrageous power [3, p. 42]. Even wizard’s family cemetery doesn’t look like an ordinary one where «his devil forefathers putrefy»: «neither Arrowwood grows among crosses, Nor Grass becomes green, only the moon warms them up» [2, t. 1, p. 149]. Everyday oddity of Catherine’s father casts Danilo down, he «not That way… did everything like an orthodox» [2, t. 1, p. 159], he «doesn’t Want to live In tune». «Tune» is even impossible for the wizard as he is apostate.

The longing for the tune We observe in the story preceding «A Terrible Vengeance», «St. John’s Eve». Peter, like the wizard, having concluded a bargain with a devil, gets a treasure, but sheds human blood and loses his soul: «Collecting all his strength, he set out to run. Everything was covered with Red colour Before him. The trees seemed steeped In blood, Were on fire and Groaned. The sky glowed and threatened…» [2, t. 1, p. 48]. Blood red colour in this scene –  is the reflection of a general catastrophe, suffering, «groan» of the whole scenery, herald of the approaching misfortune. Peter, having left Bear’s ravine and the forest, left a marvelous fern flower there and a memory about that terrible night with it. Pidorka and Peter begin to live «like a gentleman and lady»: «But honest folk shook their heads when they marked their way of living. «From the Devil No Good can come», they unanimously agreed. «Whence, except from the tempter of orthodox people, came this wealth?»… Say, if you can, that people only imagine things! A month had not passed, and No One would have recognized Peter… continually thinking and seemingly trying to recall something» [2,  t.1, p. 49-50]. Fear, melancholy, languor, and after that anger, rage seize Peter. He is exhausted by his vain recalling, neither love nor prosperity make him happy. The characters stopped enjoying their life: «He grew averse, his hair grew long, it was terrible to look at him… But it was impossible to recognize the Pidorka of former days. There were No Blushes, No Smiles: she was thin and worn with grief, and had wept her bright eyes away» [2,  t.1, p. 51]. The lifestyle of former days is impossible to restore, it tragically tumbled down, turning into Dis-tune. Peter still recalls his sin, but nothing can be changed   –  he perishes, and an «evil» treasure turns into shards. Pidorka makes a vow to go preying, only in Kievskaya lavra, having repented, one can join The Kingdom of Heaven (a chance to reach the tune in this world): «…a Cossack from Kiev reported that he had seen, in lavra, a nun… who prayed unceasingly… that no one heard her utter a word; and that she had come on foot, and had brought a frame for the picture of God’s mother, set with such brilliant stones that all were dazzled at the sight» [2,  t.1, p. 52]. We may say that The longing to the tune Appears when there is a place for a «crying laugh» of N. V. Gogol and, from the specific point of view, for a laughter evoked by a «crying soul» («laughter that is visible to the world through tears, is invisible to the world»). The same is the story «The overcoat», which takes a considerable place in N. V. Gogol’s cycle of The Petersburg Stories.

Dis-tune Is also shown through the vulgarity which surrounds Mir-gorod In «The Tale of How Ivan Ivanovich Quarreled with Ivan Nikiforovich». Boredom, vulgarity And Melancholy By N. V. Gogol represent the true incarnation of the devil on the Earth who bewitches the mankind (in «Easter Sunday» the writer comes to conclusion: «The Devil came out to the world without a mask» [6, p. 267]). The evil enters the world through a man whose soul is primarily bright and kind and then it becomes perverse and dead. «The Tale of How Ivan Ivanovich Quarreled with Ivan Nikiforovich» represents a comical quarrel and dispute of two Mirgorod comrades–  Pererepenko and Dovhochhun; their story ends with famous words which reveal a terrible


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Thing  –  the memory about the tune is lost, but the soul grieves about  –  the tune: «How boring it is in this world, gentlemen!».

The quarrel changed the primary prosperity of characters lifes, and bosom friends Ivan Ivanovich and Ivan Nikiforovich become sworn enemies with lightning speed: «So, two respectable men, honour and adorning of Mirgorod, quarreled with each other! And for what? For nonsense, for gander» [2, t. 2, p. 208]. Gogol describes Mirgorod, the place where given events took place, with unconcealed sarcasm. We cannot expect spirituality and high intentions from the inhabitants of the town where the main attraction was «the marvelous puddle». Mir­gorod is extremely quiet at the beginning of the story and is filled with noise, because of the fierce battle between two former friends. The peace and harmony of the «peaceful world» are broken, the «whole world» is split up.

Thus, «the whole world» (by A. V. Domashenko) appears to be the key word for the understanding of creative work of different authors. When the creator has an access to the essence of «the whole world» we can speak about the presence of the tune. When there is no such a notion as «the whole world» and even a memory about it is lost   –  the ontological tune is lost as well which speaks about the destroyed co-presence of divine and human, and then leads to distortion of divine and human and subsequently gives only a caricature of the whole, that means dis-tune.


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В статье исследуется художественное творчество Н. В. Гоголя, которому искони присущ Лад, От­крывающий сущность «целого мира». Лад Противопоставляется Раз-ладу (бытие-небытие). Рассма­тривается ключевое слово для понимания творчества различных писателей   –  «целый мир». Указы­вается на то, что там, где творцу доступна сущность «целого мира», можно говорить о присутствии лада. Там же, где не осталось «целого мира», и даже память о нем утеряна   –  утрачен и онтологиче­ский лад, что говорит о разрушенном со-присутствии божественного и человеческого, а далее   –  при­водит к искажению божественного и человеческого и в последствии дает лишь карикатуру на целое, то есть разлад.

Ключевые слова: поэтика, «целый мир», лад, раз-лад.

У статті досліджується художня творчість М. В. Гоголя із властивим їй Ладом, Який розкриває сутність «цілого світу». Лад Протиставляється Роз-ладу (буття-небуття). Розглядається ключове слово для розуміння творчості різних письменників  –  «цілий світ». Вказується нате, що там, де творцеві до­ступна сутність «цілого світу», можна говорити про присутність ладу. Там, де не залишилося «цілого світу», і навіть пам’ять про нього було загублено   –  втрачено і онтологічний лад, що вже говорить про зруйновану спів-присутність божественного та людського, а далі   –  призводить до спотворення боже­ственного та людського і потім дає лише карикатуру на ціле, тобто роз-лад.

Ключові слова: поетика, «цілий світ», лад, роз-лад.

Надійшло до редакції 8.06.2012.