“Don’t Get Angry, Just Pray”: The Ghost of Gogol in Dostoevsky’s Diary


  • Gabriel Nussbaum Princeton University




The article analyzes a brief but extremely revealing and under-discussed parody of Nikolai Gogol in an essay on spiritualism from Dostoevsky’s 1876 Diary of a Writer. A discussion of the historical context surrounding the parody and a close reading of the work itself show that Dostoevsky produced the parody both as a mockery of the spiritualists and as a form of profound engagement with Gogol’s style. This is followed by an examination of how the parody should be considered from the standpoint of “genre” and put it into dialogue with the surrounding chapter in which it appears. It becomes possible to conclude on this basis that at this stage in Dostoevsky’s career, Gogol served as a model for both his comedic writing and for the structuring of his rhetorical arguments about the nature and importance of faith.

Keywords: Diary of a Writer, Dostoevsky and Gogol, Parody, Genre 

Author Biography

Gabriel Nussbaum, Princeton University

Graduate student in Princeton University's Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures


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