Classification – name: Literary studies
Pages: 282-297
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. “Memoir and Biographical Literature about Gogol: on the Apocryphal Nature Issue.” Documentary and Fiction Literature in Russia of the 18–19 Century. Ex. ed. V.M. Guminsky. Moscow, IWL RAS Publ., 2022, pp. 282–297. (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.



Gogol’s legacy itself is the most important document of the era. It is precisely because of its importance that a sharp ideological struggle unfolded around Gogol’s works immediately after their publication. The struggle for Gogol’s legacy continued after his death, not only in criticism, but also in the memoirs dedicated to him. The article analyzes the apocryphal features in the memoirs of Gogol by S.T. Aksakov, P.V. Annenkov, A.T. Tarasenkov, in biographical works about Gogol by P.A. Kulish, V.I. Shenrok and others. Based on the study of the entire corpus of memoirs and testimonies about Gogol by his contemporaries, published in 2011–2013, and replenished in 2017–2018, a number of sources of lesser and dubious, in comparison with others, reliability are identified and characterized. All Gogol memoirists had, in one way or another, their own interest, which did not always coincide with the desire to convey the true appearance of the writer. However, in some cases, the subjective intentions of the author led to a distortion of the true appearance of the writer. Among such reasons, ideological preferences of memoirists belonging to various liberal opposition trends (Westernism, Slavophilism, Ukrainophilism, etc.), as well as the corporate interests of the medical class, are noted as the most important.

Keywords: Gogol, biography, creativity, interpretation, memoirs, journalism, polemics.