Page:Taras Bulba. A Tale of the Cossacks. 1916.djvu/35

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29
INTRODUCTION

the Chrismation (Confirmation) of infants at their Baptism. The question of this "Uniate" Church is playing a very large role in the present great European War, which is known in Russia (partly because of this point which worried old Taras) as "The War of Liberation."

Of Gogol and his work in general, and of Taras Bulba in particular, it is not necessary to speak at length. It is less indispensable now than it was when, many years ago, I published translations of Dead Souls; some of the Tales from a Farm-house near Dikanko and its sequel Mirgorod; and of Taras Bulba, which forms part of the last-named volume. (The present version of Taras Bulba has been so completely revised that it is practically new.)

It will suffice to say that Nikolai V. Gogol was born in the hamlet of Sorochintzi, situated on the borders of Poltava and Mirgorod counties, in the Government of Poltava, on March 12 (some say March 19), Old Style, 1809, and died on February 21 (Old Style), 1852. The first of his Tales from a Farm-house was published In 1830. Mirgorod, the fresh series, came out in book form in 1835. Taras Bulba and most of the tales in that volume, as in the first, were of the same general romantic or fantastic character. The rest