Viy Background

Viy Background

Viy is a mystical novel written by Nikolai Gogol, first published in his stories collection "Mirgorod" in 1835. The name of the story is the name of the Slavic demonic male creature with which the plot is associated.

In a footnote to the book Gogol wrote that the story is a popular legend, which he had told without changing. Meanwhile, the researchers still haven’t found any work of folklore, which would certainly resemble Viy.

Name of the fantastic underground spirit - Viy - was coined by the writer as a result of the compound of a ruler’s name of the underworld "Iron Nia" (from Ukrainian mythology) and the Ukrainian word "vii" - eyelids. Hence - long eyelids of Gogol's character.

However, this story is known by its proximity to folk traditions which is evident in its artistic atmosphere, in its overall concept. The forces opposing the people, step forward as witches, devils. They hate everyhing human and are willing to kill a man with the same spiteful determination the girl-witch wans to kill Khoma.

The whole fantastic story of the young lady-witch is lighted with Gogol's irony and humor. Social problems of the story seem to be muted. Nevertheless it’s clearly discerned. Khoma Brut and his friends live being surrounded by evil, heartless people. Everywhere Khoma is in danger and deprivation. A terrible image of Viy becomes like a poetic generalization of the lying, cruel world.

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