In today’s On the Square feature, Micah Mattix discusses Nikolai Gogols The Night Before Christmas :
[P]erhaps no Russian writer is as foreign as Nikolai Gogol. He was even baffling to his own countrymen. Gogol was a strange creature, Vladimir Nabokov famously wrote in his idiosyncratic biography of the writer, but genius is always strange.
A Tsarist who supported Nicholas I, Gogol nevertheless wrote the farcical The Inspector General , lambasting the greed and corruption of government officials. And while he was a member of the Orthodox Church, he humorously combined the sacred and the profane in his early tales.