Taras Bulba Background

Taras Bulba Background

Nikolai Gogol was born in Poltava province. He spent his young years there, and later moved to St. Petersburg. But he was interested in the history and customs of his native land during all his life. In the narrative Taras Bulba the history of Ukraine is refracted through the lyrical creative mind of the author.

The idea of Taras Bulba was born in the 1830s. It is known that the writer had been working on the text for about 10 years, but the narrative had not got the final author's editing. The author's manuscript was published in the collective stories Mirgorod in 1835, and another edition of this work had been already published in 1842. It should be noted that Gogol was not very happy with the printed version, he didn't consider the changes in the work as final. Gogol had been rewriting the work for about eight times.

Gogol continued working on the manuscript. Among the major changes one could notice an increase in the size of the story: there have been added three chapters to the original nine.

The history of writing Taras Bulba is really interesting. Gogol found an approach to the problem in the responsible way: it is known that the author with the help of newspapers appealed to the readers to send him previously unpublished information about the history of Ukraine, manuscripts from personal archives, memories and so on. Besides, among the sources can be called Description of Ukraine edited by Boplan, History of Zaporizhzhya's Kozaks (Myshetskiy) and Ukrainian chronicles lists (for example, chronicles of Samovydets, G. Hrabianka and Velichko). All that information would not look poeticaly and emotionally without one, incredibly important, part. The dry historic facts cannot fully satisfy the writer who tried to understand and reflect the work of the ideals of a bygone era.

Nikolai Gogol appreciated folk art and folklore very much. Ukrainian songs and ballads became the basis for the creation of national color story and the characters of the heroes.

Gogol referred to the history not by chance. Being an educated man, Gogol understood how important past time was for the each person and the nation in general. However, it is not necessary to regard Taras Bulba as a historical novel. The text of the work organically combines the fantasy, exaggeration and idealization of the characters. The history of the novel Taras Bulba is complex and contradictory, but it does not minimize the artistic value of this work.

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