5 Fun Facts about Nikolai Gogol’s Life

5 Fun Facts about Nikolai Gogol’s Life
18 June 2024

Have you ever wondered about who is truly behind the written work of “Dead Souls”? Who might have been able to envision both an absurd and satirical novel nonetheless? Among the ‘fathers of the classics’ such as Pushkin, Gogol often stands out. If you find yourself filled with curiosity about the author’s real persona, then these 5 fun facts about Gogol are for you!

1.Gogol had many phobias

Since early years, the author developed several phobias. One interesting fact about Gogol is that he terribly hated thunderstorms. As we all know, parents can take an active role in their children’s life. That was also the case with our author. His phobias were partly influenced by his mother. During his childhood, she would often talk about the Last Judgment and the After Life. This may have instilled in Gogol a strong fear of death. Thus, he later on developed trypophobia – the fear of being buried alive. 

2. He had a passion for needlework and cooking

To some of your surprise, Nikolai Gogol had more interests besides writing. He was often found knitting and tailoring dresses for his sisters. Similarly, he had a passion for crafts. Gogol would often make his own ties. A very talented man indeed, our author was also great at cooking. Some of his favorite dishes were macaroni and Ukrainian Vareniki (dumplings).

3. He was bad at school

Even though a genius in the matters of literature, Gogol was not a great student! This comes to help those seeking to justify their bad grades. It may come off as disappointing that not all great figures were brilliant in school. Gogol is such an example. At the time, he was only slightly beyond average at Russian grammar! 

4. He was bilingual

What is less known about Gogol is that he was born to Polish and Ukrainian parents. Nonetheless, this had a great impact on his writing. In many of his short stories, particular Ukrainian words were used. That is the case with Gogol’s horror novella entitled “Viy”. Here, the author used several Ukrainian words such as “пселавот”, meaning beekeeper.

5. Gogol burned his manuscripts

Right before his death, Gogol burned the second volume of the “Dead Souls”. Since the first volume was very well received, this led to great public acclaim. At the time, the readers took deep interest in the protagonist’s life. As a result, Gogol was persuaded to publish a second part to his novel. Anyone aware of his nature can imagine the hard writing process he went through. During his final years, our author felt especially hopeless. In response to a nervous breakdown, the manuscripts were fully destroyed.

While at times saddening, Gogol’s life may have been a novel by itself. From his great interest in mysticism to his education, there is always so much more to this great author!

Elena is currently a student at Liden & Denz, Riga

These images were taken by the author

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