The idea of "Evenings on a farm near Dikanka" and its implementation
Nikolai Gogol was born into the family of a small nobleman in the Little Russian town of Velikiye Sorochintsy on March 20, 1809. A boy grew up on the estate of his father Vasilyevka near the village of Dikanka. His father Vasily Afanasyevich received a spiritual education, but served in the army, after which he was an official in the post office. After retiring, he lived on his estate, devoting himself to his family. The father's influence on the formation of his son's personality was great: the head of the family was an expert on his native culture and poetry, a man with literary talent and a sense of humor, he wrote several comedies about Little Russian life, which were staged in his home theater. Thanks to his mother and grandmother, who were excellent storytellers, from early childhood Gogol was familiar with folk beliefs, omens, legends and fairy tales. He heard many mysterious and fabulous stories during folk festivals, at fairs, at evening gatherings.
At the age of 10, Nikolai was sent to a school in Poltava, then to the Nezhinsky Lyceum, where he studied for 7 years. In 1828, Gogol went to St. Petersburg to enter the service. He was full of desire to serve the Fatherland in the department of justice in order to "correct order and manners by laws." However, the career of an official soon disappointed Gogol and lost the halo of "great service to the motherland" for him. The service seemed to him a fruitless and boring occupation. He tried to become an actor, decided to test himself in the literary field. Gogol, under the pseudonym V. Alov, published a small print run at his own expense a poem, which he had composed back in Nizhyn. Only two reviews came out, the reviews of the poem were devastating. Shocked, Gogol bought all the copies of his work unsold in bookstores, burned them and decided not to write any more poetry. He again entered the service, moonlighting as private lessons. Gogol continued to try himself in the craft of writing, in 1830 his first story without the name of the author was published in the magazine, "The Night on the Eve of Ivan Kupala."
Back in his years of study, Gogol began to write down all the interesting things that he learned, he called these notes "A Book of All Sorts of Things or an Encyclopedia at Hand." Most of the records were information about the way of life, customs, legends of Little Russia. He decided to write about something that he is familiar with: about the life of the Little Russian people. Ogol asked his mother and sisters to write to him about the peculiarities of folk life, customs, details of national dress. Thus, work began on the creation of the collection Evenings on a Farm near Dikanka. Four stories were completed by the summer of 1831 and constituted the first part of the collection. This book became the writer's true debut.
In 1830 Gogol met with the publishers P. Pletnev and A. Delvig, made acquaintance with the poet V. Zhukovsky. In the spring of 1831 Zhukovsky introduced the young writer to A. Pushkin. These acquaintances helped Gogol gain faith in his writing abilities. The manuscript "Evenings on a Farm near Dikanka" was sent to the press. Gogol realized that his essay would be popular during a visit to the printing house: he found the typesetters who were "dying with laughter while typing his book."
Pushkin appreciated the high artistry and humor of the stories, wrote that "Evenings" amazed him "with their cheerfulness, sincere, unconstrained." Already in September 1831, the book was printed and went on sale, it was quickly sold out. Glory came to the twenty-two-year-old writer, now literature has become the main business in Gogol's life. Gogol finished the second part of Evenings on a Farm Near Dikanka in March 1832. The collection includes 8 stories of different styles and themes. the builder Pletnev advised the author to come up with a character who would become a connecting link for all stories.
The narrator, the beekeeper Rudy Panko, became such a character; this nickname hinted at the true author. Ruddy means red, Gogol had reddish hair. Panko is the name of Gogol's grandfather. So Rudy Panko became Gogol's literary mask.
In the house in the apiary in the evenings, lovers of conversation gather and tell their stories, the deacon of the church in Dikanka, who told the stories for three stories, stood out with a special talent for storytelling. The owner himself was not only a storyteller, but also became the compiler of the collection, its publisher, wrote the preface. The image of Ore Pank made it possible to combine realistic, comic, mystical stories into a single book.
In the stories, the depiction of the realities of rural Little Russian life is closely intertwined with the mysterious mythical world borrowed from oral folk art. Gogol created a poetic image of his native Little Russia with its free-loving, cheerful people, captivating with its beauty landscapes, the unique atmosphere of folk tales, songs, beliefs, signs, legends. The author was able to convey the ideas of the people about mysterious phenomena, evil spirits, and the afterlife.
The second part of the collection begins with the story "The Night Before Christmas", which Gogol began writing in 1830 and finished in early 1832. The title of the story indicates that the action is at stake for a small holiday.