“No, brothers! To love as the Russian soul can love, not with the mind but with everything that God has given us—nobody else can love like that!”
Epic in scope, Taras Bulba is one of the most widely read and influential books ever written.
Gogol loved The Ukraine and was fiercely nationalist; in that spirit, he spent nine years writing this impassioned political polemic, one of the most thrilling and moving great novels of all time.
In 1569, dominion over The Ukraine had passed to Poland; the Polish overlords promptly set about stamping out Ukrainian culture by outlawing the Ukrainian language and imposing Catholicism and Papal supremacy.
In response, Ukrainians flocked to join the military brotherhood known as the Cossacks.
Taras Bulba tells the story of the aging warrior Taras Bulba who, with his two sons joins the crusade against the Polish.
Bulba, who “saw himself as the lawful protector of the Russian Orthodox faith,” lives by a simple rule: he is ready to fight whenever anyone fails to respect a Cossack elder and his ancestral laws or the Russian Orthodox faith. He also is always ready to take up the defense of Christendom against the Turks, or Tatars.
Gogol’s novel also has the qualities of the greatest Greek and Shakespearean tragedies, best seen in Bulba’s rousing speech about the Cossack brotherhood and the Russian soul before the battle during which he will kill his own son, a traitor.
Hailed by Nabokov as "the greatest artist that Russia has yet produced," Nikolai Gogol left his mark as a playwright, novelist, and writer of short stories. His works remain popular with readers who prize his originality, imaginative gifts, and sheer exuberance.
NIKOLAI GOGOL (1809-1852) was a Ukrainian novelist, short story writer and dramatist, considered by his contemporaries one of the preeminent figures of Russian literary realism and a master of the grotesque. His plots are bizarre and intriguing, his humor unique and unmistakable. Among his masterworks are Diary of a Madman, The Overcoat, Taras Bulba, and The Government Inspector.
“One of the ten greatest books of all time.”
- Ernest Hemingway