Friday, June 13, 2014

Epigraphs to My Book in Progress on Gogol

If mere creative force is to be the standard of valuation, Gogol is the greatest of Russian writers. In this respect he need hardly fear comparison with Shakespeare, and can boldly stand by the side of Rabelais. Neither Pushkin nor Tolstoy possessed anything like that volcano of imaginative creativeness.
                                                                                                                            …D.S. Mirsky

Nobody can ever imagine what Gogol was really like. From beginning to end everything about him is incomprehensible. The individual features are blurred, inchoate—they refuse to add up to anything.
                                                                                                 … Anna Akhmatova

What are you like? As a person you are secretive, egotistical, arrogant, and mistrustful, a man who sacrifices everything for fame. As a friend what are you like? But then, do you really have any friends?
                                                                                        Pletnyov letter to Gogol, Oct. 27, 1844

Your nose? No, my dear sir, you are mistaken. I’m not your nose; what I am is just me.

                                                                                                  … Gogol, “The Nose”

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