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Durham University

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Publication details for Prof Mikhail Epstein

Epstein, Mikhail (2006). The Demise of the First Secularization: the Church of Gogol and the Church of Belinsky. Studies in East European Thought 58(2): 95-105.

Author(s) from Durham


The article presents Gogol as marking the end of a century-long phase of secularism in Russian culture, from Peter the Great to Pushkin, and as the first writer to represent the cultural phenomenon of the ‘New Middle Ages’ and renewed religious zeal, first described by Berdyaev; further, it highlights some commonalities between Gogol and Belinsky and takes Belinsky as a leading instance of ‘religious atheism’. The article goes on to consider Russian culture’s need for neutral ‘middle ground’ between its multiple and extreme polarities and, in this context, highlights Sergej Averintsev’s plea for an orientation towards Aristotelianism.