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"Филологические науки"

 

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N.V. Gogol’s “An author’s confession”: its reception history amongst Russian literary critics

Yu.V. Balakshina
80,00 Р

 

https://doi.org/10.20339/PhS.2-20.061     

 

Balakshina Yuliya V.,

Doctor of Philology, Associate Professor

of the Russian Literature Department,

Herzen Russian State Pedagogical University

e-mail: jbalaksh9@gmail.com

 

This article takes a chronological look at the main periods in the reception history of N.V. Gogol’s autobiographical “An Author’s Confession”, beginning with the period immediately after the text appeared (1852–1855) and finishing with various brochures published at the beginning of the 20th c. The article concludes that Russian readers were more interested in learning about Gogol’s creative approach — newly open to a wide, public readership and exposing significant incongruences relative to societal norms — then they were in learning about the personal details of the author’s life. One of the main critical reviews of the work raises the question of the factual accuracy and sincerity of the author’s self-review. One primary reason for the reviewer’s lack of trust — quite aside from the author’s secretive character — is the fact that readers found many “misunderstandings”, “inaccuracies” and “contradictions” in the text of “An Author’s Confession”. Interpreters overwhelmingly searched for biographical and psychological strategies justifying the author, not making allowance for Gogol’s use of figurative, artistic and playful principles in the text. Over time, reviewers’ concentration on the dialogical character of Gogol’s text becomes less pronounced, while the conceptual and literary context for “An Author’s Confession” comes more to the fore. The article looks at reviews of “An Author’s Confession” by P.V. Annenkov, N.G. Chernyshevsky, P.N. Polovoy, V.I. Shenrok, V.N. Mochulsky, and others.

Keywords: N.V. Gogol, “An Author’s Confession”, Russian criticism, interpretation, reception.

 

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