About the author:
Irina A. Zaitseva — PhD in Philology, Leading Research Fellow, A.M. Gorky Institute of World Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Povarskaya 25 a, 121069 Moscow, Russia.
The article is devoted to the problem of textual sources of Gogol’s youthful letters (1820–1824) and the special role played by the preserved censored copy of the V volume of Works and letters of Gogol by P.A. Kulish (1857). The practical significance of the research is its connection with the preparation of the new academic Complete works and letters of N.V. Gogol in 23 vols. and, in particular, the first of the volumes of the epistolary block. Objective difficulties associated with the search for Gogol’s autographs are noted, a list of archives, which currently stores letters of this period, with source characteristics is presented. The special significance of the censored copy, which is an independent scientific value and has an additional (textual) status is indicated: it is the only source of those letters whose autographs are missing. The article reflects the results of comparing censorship copies with the preserved original scripts of Gogol’s letters, which shows a large extent the textological quality of this source. The author outlines main features and features of the preserved censorship copies, systematizes and describes their main differences from autographs. An analytical review of the censorship copies’ texts was the basis for the proposed conclusions. They provide quite good reasons for the possibility of using the preserved censorship copies as the main source of Gogol’s epistolary texts whose autographs have been lost.