Classification – name: Literary studies
Pages: 206-281
Publisher: A.M. Gorky Institute of World Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IWL RAS Publ.)
Rights – description: Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 (СС BY-ND)
Rights – URL:
Language of the publication: Russian
Type of document: Research Article
Collection: Documentary and Fiction Literature in Russia of the 18–19 Century
Year of publication: 2022
Place of publication: Moscow


Author: Igor A. Vinogradov
Vinogradov, I.A. “Slavophilism and Westernism Disputing over Gogol’s Poem ‘Dead Souls’: Facts and Evidence.” Documentary and Fiction Literature in Russia of the 18–19 Century. Ex. ed. V.M. Guminsky. Moscow, IWL RAS Publ., 2022, pp. 206–281. (In Russian)

About the author:

Igor A. Vinogradov, DSc in Philology, Director of Research, A.M. Gorky Institute of World Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Povarskaya  25 a, 121069 Moscow, Russia.


E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



For the first time, the polemic of contemporaries about “Dead Souls” is considered in the broad context of the formation of two main ideologies in Russian society of the 1840s — Slavophilism and Westernism. A multifaceted study of the historical and literary “background” on which the first readers got acquainted with Gogol’s work shows that the dispute about the epic beginning in “Dead Souls” is only a separate “episode” in the many years of confrontation between the parties, an integral link in the development of domestic cultural traditions, in view of the growing nihilistic tendencies of Westernism. Although the polemic about Gogol’s poem was the first public act of demarcation in the positions of K.S. Aksakov and V.G. Belinsky, it was preceded by an ideological disagreement between the two representatives of the Slavophile and Westernizing trends in 1839; it was preceded and then followed by a fundamental dispute between Aksakov and Belinsky about the significance of M.V. Lomonosov’s heritage for Russian culture; related to it is the well-known fact of Aksakov wearing Russian national dress, etc. The article details the history of the conception, publication and reader’s perception of Aksakov’s article “A few words about Gogol’s poem ‘The Adventures of Chichikov or Dead Souls’.” A special Gogol position in relation to the dispute between Aksakov and Belinsky is indicated. Determination of the main features of the author’s understanding of the genre of “Dead Souls” is also among the issues solved for the first time.

Keywords: Gogol, biography, creativity, criticism, journalism, Homer, genre.