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Literature : Theology and Rhetoric in N. Gogol`s Selected Passages from Correspondence with Friends

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  • 고골
  • 신학
  • 수사학
  • 『친구와의 서신 교환선』
  • Linguistics
  • Literature
  • Religious Science


This paper is intended to investigate N. Gogol`s selected Passages from Correspondence with Friends in terms of theology and rhetoric. Gogol`s text shows striking similarty with the 5th cuntury theologian Dionysius Areophagite`s Celestal Hierarchy and Ecclesinstical Hiserarchy on the semantic level. Like Dionysius, Gogol presents a hierarchically ordered universe as a reflection of the invisible and unnameable heavenly kingdom and emphasiszes not only the order but also the etermity and immovability of each rank within the hierarchy. However, when Gogol `translates` dominates the semantic affinity. In the Neoplantonic tradition, whose influence is easily traced in Dionysius, the rhetorical expression is justified by rhetorical content. That is, since the world is the visible image of the absolute reality, any effort to grasp the divine through the human inevitably involves rhetoric. Thus, for Dyonisius hierarchy becomes a symbol, `a semiotic expression of non-semiotic reality`, and in the process of his `symbolizing` reading off the world, theology and rhetoric are organically unified. For Gogol, however, the symbol of hierarchy is partly de-symbolized and theology collides with rhetoric when the author of the text emerges with his grotesque and comic narration as a narrator-character of the `fiction`. Gogol`s Passagee is indeed a strange text in which rhetorical content and rhetorical expression are constantly at odds with each other. But this strange discrepancy makes it an interesting artistic text which must be read on the meta-rhetorical level. By focusing on the text`s meta-rhetorical aspect, the reader will find in it neither an exhaustion of artistic inspiration nor an apogee of spirituality, but a reflection of the author`s own art.

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