Keywords: Ivan Goncharov, “free trilogy”, Dante, “Divine Comedy”, Nikolai Gogol, “artistic theology”, “design beyond novel”, logic of creative work, artistic synthesis, onomastics.
For citation:

Melnik V. I. “A large, thinking and comprehending synthesis…” (The origin of the idea of the novel trilogy by Ivan Goncharov) // Two centuries of the Russian classics, 2020, vol. 2, № 3, pp. 118–199. (In Russ.) DOI

Author: Melnik V. I.
Information about the author:

Vladimir I. Melnik, ORCID–0001–9684–8943, DSc in Philology, Professor, Pererva Theological Seminary, Shosseynaya street, 82 g, 109383, Moscow, Russia

E–mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Received: June 12, 2020
Published: September 11, 2020
Issue: 2020 Volume 2 No. 3
Department: Russian literature XVIII and XIX centuries
Pages: 118-199
UDK: 821.161.1.09"19"

Abstract: This article is a continuation of the previously published work “The Logic of Ivan Goncharov's Creative Work” and in general terms completes it. For the first time, the author comprehensively substantiates the concept of “trilogy” as applied to the novels “A Common Story”, “Oblomov” and “The Precipice” by Ivan Goncharov. A set of arguments is presented, confirming that the writer had formed a single idea of the trilogy even before writing “A Common Story”, in the first half of the 1840s. The path of the hero of the autobiographical plan is determined. For Ivan Goncharov, a person's ability to maintain high ideals, despite the pressure of the surrounding reality, is associated with faith in God, and the construction of the trilogy repeats the three-part structure of “The Divine Comedy” by Dante. The article examines Ivan Goncharov's novels in parallel with the three parts of the Divine Comedy – Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso. Unlike Dante, the Russian novelist focuses on his important personal problem “man and God” rather than gives an all-encompassing religious concept of the universe. Comprehension of the global problems of his time in the light of the ideological complex of “The Divine Comedy” contributed to the formation of the main author's attitude of Ivan Goncharov – the return of contemporary man to the task of “relentless ascent”, upward, to the beauty of the Christian ideal.


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