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Title: Fear Obscured: The Apophatic Horror of Nikolai Gogol
Authors: Nikulin, Lev
Advisors: Hasty, Olga P
Contributors: Slavic Languages and Literatures Department
Keywords: 19th century
genre studies
Subjects: Slavic studies
Comparative literature
Issue Date: 2020
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: ABSTRACT This dissertation analyzes Nikolai Gogol’s contributions to horror poetics, arguing that his development of new techniques of obscurity and negation should be understood in the context of horror fiction. Despite the supernatural tales of terror present in Gogol’s early prose, he has rarely been analyzed with the tools of horror theory, and questions remain regarding his place in the development of horror. This study analyzes his prose using the concept of apophatic horror, a literary strategy that relies on withholding representation to push the boundaries of what may be expressed with language. Chapter One draws on apophatic mysticism, horror theory, and the sublime to define the category of literary apophatic horror; this concept is then applied to Gogol’s first collection, Evenings on a Farm Near Dikanka. Chapter Two analyzes the changes Gogol made in revising his novella Viy for a second publication; these revisions constitute responses to the demands of contemporary criticism but also contribute to the further evolution of Gogol’s poetics into the realm of obscurity and negation. Chapter Three argues that the novel Dead Souls constitutes a transposition of his logic of obscurity onto the abstract level, transferring the threat of horror from tangible supernatural interference to the non-signification and emptiness of language.
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Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Slavic Languages and Literatures

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