Title of the article:



Victor M. Guminsky

Information about the author/authors

Victor M. Guminsky — DSc in Philology, Professor, Chief Researcher, A. M. Gorky Institute of World Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Povarskaya St. 25 a, 121069 Moscow, Russia. E-mail: gumins@rinet.ru


Philological sciences




Vol. 53


pp. 124–134


November 05, 2019

Date of publication

September 28, 2019

Index UDK


Index BBK



Readers’ paradoxical attitude towards Gogol’s artistic legacy and particularly towards “Selected passages from the correspondence with friends” is obvious. This has revealed not only in contemporaries’ reaction to the book by Gogol, but in that of the authors of “Milestones” (1909) — a renowned collection in the history of the Russian public thinking. As is well-known this collection was concerned with criticizing the spiritual values which for over half of the century were preserved by the Russian intellectual society “as the most sacred” and were under the “nationwide trial” during the 1905 revolution. Criticism was mostly associated with the religious (Christian) standpoint. One could believe that Gogol, being a Christian thinker, should have become an ally of the ‘milestoners’, their precursor, but it didn’t happen. The analysis of the articles by N. A. Berdyaev, S. N. Bulgakov, M. O. Gershenzon and others shows that many of the arguments against at the common atheistic, positivistic trend in the intellectual thinking are actually following (in general and in particular) Gogol’s observations of the crisis state of the modern Russian society. However unlike other writers and thinkers (both Russian and foreign) his name turns out to be under a ban (in accordance with the intellectual society`s canon founded by Belinsky) so that the references to his “Selected Passages…” or other spiritual compositions in “Milestones” are absent. At the same time he is occasionally mentioned as a satirist writer condemning Russian “fears and horrors”. Thus we can see that the authors of “Milestones” are neglecting Gogol’s religious preaching and basically remain “christening intellectuals”, similar to V. V. Rosanov, D. S. Merezhkovsky and other contemporaries, anxious to just finding a “new religious conscience”. Nevertheless some of the “milestoners”, such as S. N. Bulgakov for example, were quite aware of this and eventually found their way to the fold of the Russian Orthodox Church.


Gogol, tradition, intelligentsia, orthodoxy, “Milestones”.


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