The very first critics of The Evenings on a farm near Dikanka
, for instance, saw it as a Russian example of Scott's antiquarian enterprise.
I had The Steppe as a backup, as something with which I could stun Maria Petrovna if I backfired on the question of Pushkin's duel, Lermontov's A Hero of Our Time, or Gogol's Evenings on a Farm near Dikanka
or other topics that I had studied while preparing myself .
As Bojanowska shows, readers of Dead Souls who had expected that Gogol would paint the Russian nation in the same idyllic and idealized strokes he had earlier used to portray his native Ukraine in Evenings on a Farm Near Dikanka
were sorely disappointed.