Nikolai Gogol: Performing Hybrid Identity
One of the great writers of the nineteenth century, Nikolai Gogol was born and raised in Ukraine before he was lionized and canonized in Russia. The ambiguities within his subversive, ironic works are matched by those that surround the debate over his national identity. This book presents a completely new assessment of the problem: rather than adopting the predominant "either/or" perspective – wherein Gogol is seen as either Ukrainian or Russian – it shows how his cultural identity was a product of negotiation with imperial and national cultural codes and values. By examining Gogol’s ambivalent self-fashioning, language performance, and textual practices, this book shows how Gogol played with both imperial and local sources of identity and turned his hybridity into a project of subtle cultural resistance.
Ilchuk provides a comprehensive account of assimilation and hybridization of Ukrainians in the Russian empire, arguing that Russia’s imperial culture has depended on Ukraine and the participation of Ukrainian intellectuals in its development. Ilchuk also introduces innovative computer-assisted methods of textual analysis to demonstrate the palimpsest-like quality of Gogol’s texts and national identity.