This essay investigates Gogol’s fiction through the lens of apophaticism, a theology embraced by the hesychasts of the Eastern Orthodox Church that utilized the negation of language in order to come into divine unity with God. An apophatic approach not only gives Gogol’s readers a new perspective from which to analyze his fiction, but also explains the tragicomedy of Nikolai Gogol’s life as a whole.
Alexander Pushkin is considered the father of Russian literature. Works such as Boris Godunov and Evgenii Onegin help reveal his perception of what it is to be Russian, and Pushkin's relationship with Alexander I and Nikolai I demonstrate his way of attempting to reconcile the disconnect between the people and the tsar. It is important to understand that Pushkin as a writer is different from the myth that people have associated him with. Misunderstanding who Pushkin is has made it easy for leaders such as Stalin to manipulate the idea of Pushkin in order to control and upkeep morale of the people. The following is an attempt at understanding who Pushkin was and what his beliefs were, and in doing so comprehending why it is so easy for people to elevate and equate this particular individual's life with a martyr, whose image came to represent Russian national identity.