Nikolai Gogol: Between Ukrainian and Russian Nationalism - Edyta M. Bojanowska This... took a while. It's an extremely thorough book, perhaps a bit *too* thorough for a casual read, but very well written and very well researched. I never thought I'd know so much about Gogol, without actually knowing much about his personal life.

I feel this book deserves a more thorough review, so I'll add a bit too my initial one.

First and foremost, Bojanowska's intent with this book is to show how Gogol's conflicting loyalties have formed his authorship, something she claims has usually been toned down or downright ignored by other scholars. Gogol is claimed to be a Russian author by many, something that comes across as just horribly wrong when you have read this book. Bojanowska uses some of Gogol's most famous works (Taras Bulba, Evenings on a Farm Near Dikanka, Dead Souls) but also his contemporary critics (lots of them), his letters to friends and his Selected Writings as well as the Apology/Author's Confession he wrote at the end. Through all of these works, she shows how Gogol starts out as a funny, Ukrainian author, capitalizing on the "Ukrainian experience" in the Russian speaking literary world (with great success), and moves toward becoming a moralizing Russian author. She discusses Gogol's problem with accepting and loving Russia at length (by which I mean *at length*), and how he constantly goes back on his word and his works, disclaiming earlier writings, finding excuses for not having shown Russia in this or that light, basically falsifying the past, which ends up being difficult since his own letters contradict what he says. Gogol goes from being a talented author to being an annoying moralist, kind of like Tolstoy! If I remember correctly from "Married to Tolstoy", he also inspired Tolstoy in this direction... His moralizing works aren't really embraced by the public, and he never manages to rewrite Dead Souls, which ended up being so wrong due to his "corrupted soul" and his lack of understanding of Russia. Those are, of course, the opinions of his critics and also his own, indicating he had some issues with self-confidence, and not the opinions of Bojanowska.