Gogol's claim to the title of national literary classic is incontestable. An exemplar of popular audiences no less than for the intelligentsia, Gogol was pressed into service under the tsarist and Soviet regimes for causes both aesthetic and political, official and unofficial. In Gogol's Afterlife, Stephen Moeller-Sally explores how he achieved this peculiar brand of cultural authority and later maintained it, despite dramatic shifts in the organization of Russian literature and society.
Part I charts the historical and cultural currents that shaped Gogol's reputation, devoting particular attention to the models of authorship Gogol himself devised in response to his changing audience and developing authorial mission. Part II takes a panoramic view of the social milieu in which Gogol's status evolved. Finally, Part III examines the place of the classics in Soviet culture, with a focus on Gogol's role in the cultural revolution and his peculiar relationship with state power under Stalinism.