St. Petersburg: tipografiya departamenta vneshney torgovli, 1835. Part 1. , 224 p. Part 2. 215 p. 21x13,6 cm. Contemporary half-leather. Gilt lettering on the spine. All four publisher’s printed wrappers preserved under the binding. The first one is backed on the blue paper probably in the early 20th century, otherwise in a very good condition.
First edition. The second book by the Ukrainian-Russian author Nikolay (Mykola) Gogol (1809-1852), one of the most complex classics who wrote in Russian and pioneered such genres as the grotesque, the surrealist stream of conciseness, and horror stories.
"Mirgorod" is a collection of short stories written by Nikolay Gogol between 1832 and 1834 and first published in 1835. The title "Mirgorod" is the Russian pronunciation of the name of the city Myrhorod and means the city of peace in both languages. It is also the setting for the final story in the collection, “Povest’ o tom, kak possorilsya Ivan Ivanovich s Ivanom Nikiforovichem” [i.e. The Tale of How Ivan Ivanovich Quarreled with Ivan Nikiforovich]. The title reflects the stories’ portrayal of provincial life, similar to Gogol’s successful previous collection, "Vechera na khutore bliz Dikan’ki" [i.e. Evenings on a Farm Near Dikanka]. To solidify this connection between the two works, the author added the subtitle to the present edition: Stories which are a continuation of the Evenings on a Farm Near Dikanka. The two epigraphs that Gogol attached to "Mirgorod" reveal his intention to present the stories as a cycle: Mirgorod is an extremely small town near the Khorol river. It has one rope factory, one brickworks, four water mills, and forty-five windmills and although in Mirgorod bread rings are baked from black dough, they are very tasty. Gogol conceived of the stories as circular like a Mirgorod bread ring and endeavored to exhaustively display in them the panorama of traditional provincial life.
The stories presented in the collection greatly differ: “Starosvetskiye pomeshchiki” [i.e. The Old-World Landowners], “Taras Bulba”, “The Viy,” and “The Tale of How Ivan Ivanovich Quarreled with Ivan Nikiforovich.”
Among these literary pieces, “Taras Bulba” is arguably the most important. The story describes the life of an old Zaporozhian Cossack, Taras Bulba, and his two sons, Andriy and Ostap. The sons study at the Kyiv Academy and then return home, whereupon the three men set out on a journey to the Zaporizhian Sich (the Zaporizhian Cossack headquarters, located in southern Ukraine), where they join other Cossacks and go to war against Poland.
The first edition of the story presented here is considered more centric than the second edition (1842), which allowed some critics to portray Gogol as a Russian nationalist.
The second edition contained three new chapters and was much more detailed and generally longer than the first edition of the novel of 1835. Also, many plot events developed somewhat differently in the second edition, especially the finale - in the second version of the story, Taras is burned, while in the first - he is only imprisoned.
The first edition of the story appeared in the 1900s.
“The Viy,” another story from the collection, went down in the history of Russian literature as one of the first works in the genre of horror. Gogol emphasized that both of his first books were based on folklore, which is largely the case. Gogol insisted that the viy was the name Ukrainians gave to the chief of gnomes in local stories; however, since researchers have failed to detect any other mention of this creature elsewhere, the viy has come to be considered a product of Gogol’s own dark imagination.
Sticking terror into the generations of readers around the world, the viy is described as a hairy gnome with an iron face, bespattered all over with black earth, its limbs like fibrous roots. Its long-dangling eyelids were reaching the floor and needed to be lifted so it could see.
“The Viy” reveals the early signs of famous Gogol’s grotesque, later seen in his Petersburg stories.
The only copy to appear in Western auctions was scheduled to be auctioned at Sotheby’s in 2021 but was withdrawn before the sale started.
The only copy to appear in Russian auctions was auctioned at Litfund in March 2017 and was sold for 126,000 USD including premium, the wrappers on the volumes were in different colors (blue and brown).