Nikolay Gogol: Mystical Life of the Great Master


Life of Nikolay Gogol has always remained a mystery. These are a few known facts about the great Ukrainian (Russian) classic.

Gogol was born to a rural Ukrainian family. He was the third baby of twelve. His mother – a woman of rare beauty – was 14 when she became a wife of a man two times older than her. Gossips tell that it was Gogol’s mother that influenced his views on religion and mysticism.


Gogol was never married, and there is absolutely no information about his relationships with women.

At school, his compositions were regarded average, he was never good at any subjects but Russian grammar and drawing.

Gogol had a passion for needlework and crafts. He did a lot of knitting, tailored dressed for his sisters, crafted belts and made his own neck ties.

Gogol also loved cooking. He often cooked Ukrainian galuchki and vareniki (dumplings). His favorite drink was his own invention: goat milk heated with a bit of rum, which he used to call «Gogol-mogol».

While working or thinking, Gogol loved to keep his fingers busy rolling little balls of white bread. He used to say that this helped him work more efficiently.

Gogol loved sweets. He always had some in his pockets. He was often seen nibbling pieced of hard sugar while working.

The writer had a very sensitive nervous system; he was badly afraid of thunderstorms; he prefered living a very isolated lifestyle, but whenever he went out, he always kept to the left edge of the road and quite often collided with other pedestrians.

The writer loved miniature books. He never liked of knew mathematics, but he subscribed the mathematics encyclopedia for uears simply because it was published in very small format (10,5×7,5 cm).

Gogol was a very shy person. If there appeared a stranger, Gogol immediately disappeared from the room.

He was always shy of his long nose. He probably asked his painters to “improve” his nose while drawing, because his nose looks different on all of his portraits.

The plot of his famous masterpiece The Government Inspector (also known as The Inspector General (original title: Russian:Ревизор,Revizor, literally: “Inspector”) was based on a real life story in a town of Novgorod area, which was told to Gogol by A. Pushkin. Pushkin also suggested Gogol the plot of Dead Souls.


Gogol was always painfully afraid of death, and most of all, of the death resulting from being buried alive. In his will, written 7 years prior to his death, Gogol asked to bury him only in the case if his body had unmistakable signs of decomposition. Later, this fact caused numerous mystical speculations: rumors said that Gogol had been buried alive, in the state of lethargy. We will never know what really happened to the writer in the last moments of life. It is believed that he sensed his death: shortly before death he prayed a lot, then burned the manuscript of the second volume od Dead Souls, and sobbed hysterically all night long in his bed.

The writer was an extremely sensitive person. He was very interested in a variety of religious ideas and mysticism. During religious fasts he literally starved himself. Yet aside from that, he loved Italian kitchen, especially spaghetti with cheese.

Gogol loved his dog Josy, a pug, presented to him by Pushkin. When the dog died (he frequently underfed it) Gogol fell into deadly melancholy and discouragement.

In the last years of his life the writer led an ascetic life. It is known that he died at the age of 42 from depression. Modern mental health experts have analyzed thousands of documents written by Gogol and came to a very definite conclusion that the writer had no mental disorder.



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