Nikolai Gogol'/Mykola Hohol', 1809-2009: A Note from the Editor

Article excerpt

Canadian Slavonic Papers is proud to honour Nikolai Gogol'/Mykola Hohol' on the two hundredth anniversary of his birth with this special double issue, featuring a collection of innovative essays that reflect on his work and 'national' persona.

This anniversary has seen celebrations throughout the world, not the least in his native Ukraine and in Russia, the former empire in whose metropolitan centres he made a literary career and earned his fame among the multiethnic imperial elites. To this day his works entertain and challenge readers and scholars alike, while the problem of his status as a "Russian" and/or "Ukrainian" writer engages not only academics but also heads of state. This year in the Russian Federation, for example, both President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin invoked Gogol' as a symbol of the purported golden age of Russian-Ukrainian cultural unity; in Ukraine, President Yushchenko and other politicians embraced Hohol' as the son of an independent Ukraine. Clearly, Gogol"s life and words continue to inspire a variety of literary, cultural and political agendas. His complex creative and biographical legacy keeps attracting those who read and study him.

Our own contribution to this prominent anniversary began in October 2008 with a call for papers, which received a warm response. We ultimately chose the eight essays that appear here. I'm especially pleased that among our authors we have not only established and respected scholars but young researchers on the cusp of their academic careers. …

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