Why did Gogol burn the second volume of Dead Souls?

Yana Lisitsina
Yana Lisitsina
February 27, 2015
Why did Gogol burn the second volume of Dead Souls?

"Dead Souls" - a landmark work in the work of Nikolai Vasilyevich Gogol. In it, he wanted to show Russia without embellishment, with its problems and shameful sins. Gogol himself valued his work very highly and pinned great hopes on it, hoping to convey his thoughts, sincere feelings to the people. However, only the first volume was published. The second volume of the writer destroyed. Consider further why he burned the second volume of Dead Souls.

The fate of the second volume of "Dead Souls"

Immediately I would like to note that by the time of work on the second part of his main work, Gogol was in a very difficult state from a psychological point of view. Nervous, very difficult in character, incredulous, secretive, Nikolai Vasilyevich lived hard, often in a state of depression, nervousness.

After the death of one of his close acquaintances (and perhaps not only for this reason), the writer complained to friends about the manic fear of death that appeared in him. He felt exhausted, exhausted, began to sleep poorly.

On one of these sleepless nights, full of agony of nights from February 11 to February 12, 1852, Gogol ordered young servant Semen to bring a suitcase with manuscripts to continue the work. After that, the writer threw all the notebooks into the burning fireplace and burned 2 volume of Dead Souls.

Later, with colossal bitterness, he will tell his friend, Count Tolstoy, that he destroyed the continuation of the story by an unforgivable mistake, which the devil seemed to push him to.

In addition, there are other versions of what happened:

  • There was no complete second part. Gogol never wrote it, so he simply thought up about burning manuscripts.
  • Nikolai Vasilievich could not write such a second part, which would be able to compete in genius with the first. So he decided to destroy the book, not daring to present it to the public.
  • Prone to mystification, religious, Gogol considered such an act of burning symbolic, bringing the best work of his life on the altar of God.
  • The emperor ordered him to continue the work. In it, the writer was supposed to show the officials who had already come to their senses and repent. But this idea contradicted how the writer himself wanted to submit the story, and therefore Gogol burned the second volume of Dead Souls.
  • Fond of fame, able to attract attention, Nikolai Vasilyevich, perhaps, decided to just add hype to his book. After all, nothing disturbs as much as the unknown. And in this case, his idea was a success, since today the coveted second volume is discussed almost more often than a work published in print.

Also in some sources one can read that the enemies have stolen the story from the writer, and the story about the burning was invented in order to hide the real truth.

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