This article explores the ideological implications of the Gothic mode in Panteleimon Kulish's first novel Mikhailo Charnyshenko, or Little Russia Eighty Years Ago (1843). I show that the multiple Gothic tropes employed in the novel-from Walter Scottian ruins and towers to exotic demonic villains, uncanny ethnic Others, and supernatural phantoms-produce an intricate play of temporalities, identities, and allegiances that ultimately create a highly ambivalent vision of the Ukrainian heroic past as both an object of Romantic nostalgia and a dark period of chaos overcome by the country's incorporation into the Russian empire. Rather than dismissing Kulish's engagement with the Gothic as a tribute to the fashionable western trend, I argue that this mode serves as a conduit to some of the work's most pressing ideological and historical concerns and ultimately yields a more nuanced insight into the author's complex position as a Ukrainian writer in the Russian empire.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cultural Studies
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)