gigatos | February 6, 2022
Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin (May 26, 1799, Moscow – January 29, 1837, St. Petersburg) – Russian poet, playwright and prose writer, who laid the foundations of the Russian realist movement and literary theorist, historian, one of the most respected literary figures of the first third of the 19th century.
Even during Pushkin”s lifetime, his reputation as the greatest national Russian poet developed. Pushkin is considered as the founder of the modern Russian literary language.
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Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin descends from a branched noble family of the Pushkins, who, according to the genealogical legend, ascended to the “honest man” Ratsche. Pushkin repeatedly wrote about his family tree in verse and prose; he saw in his ancestors an example of true “aristocracy,” an ancient family that honestly served their country, but did not gain the favor of the rulers and was “persecuted. More than once he also turned (including in fiction) to the image of his maternal great-grandfather, the African Abram Petrovich Hannibal, who became a servant and apprentice to Peter I and later a military engineer and general.
In the 17th century, Pushkin”s paternal ancestors did not rise above the court rank of stolnik. Great-grandfather, who lived in the era of Peter I, Alexander Petrovich Pushkin, was a sergeant of the Guard, and in 1725 in a fit of madness killed his wife, grandfather, Leo Alexandrovich, was colonel of artillery, captain of the Guard. His father was Sergei L. Pushkin (1770-1848), a secular wit and amateur poet. Pushkin”s mother was Nadezhda Osipovna (1775-1836), granddaughter of Hannibal. His paternal uncle Vasily Lvovich (1766-1830) was a famous poet of Karamzin”s circle. Of the children of Sergei Lvovich and Nadezhda Osipovna, besides Alexander, survived a daughter Olga (married Pavlishcheva, 1797-1868) and a son Leo (1805-1852).
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Pushkin was born on May 26 (June 6), 1799 in Moscow, in the Nemetskaya Sloboda. In the metric book of Epiphany Church in Elokhovo on the date of 8 (19) June 1799, among others, is the following entry:
In the summer the parents took their son to Mikhailovskoye, and then up to the spring of 1801 the family lived in St. Petersburg, with the mother-in-law – Maria Alexeevna Gannibal (1745-1818, née Pushkina, from another branch of the family). During this period may well have been a frequently mentioned meeting with Paul I, about which Pushkin writes in the lines “I”ve seen three tsars …”.
The future poet usually spent the summer months of 1805-1810 with his maternal grandmother Maria Alekseevna in the village of Zakharov near Zvenigorod near Moscow. His early childhood impressions were reflected in Pushkin”s first experiments in poems written somewhat later (“Bova,” 1814), in lycée poems “The Message to Yudin” (1815), and “Sleep” (1816). His grandmother wrote the following about her grandson:
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Pushkin spent six years (1811-1817) in the Imperial Tsarskoye Selo Lyceum, opened on October 19, 1811. Here the young poet experienced the events of the Patriotic War of 1812. It was here that his poetic gift was first discovered and highly appreciated. Memories of the years spent in the Lyceum, the Lyceum brotherhood remained forever in the poet”s soul.
Among Pushkin”s Lyceum teachers was professor of moral and political sciences A. P. Kunitsyn, who studied at the University of Göttingen and was close to many future Decembrists. Pushkin retained his gratitude to Kunitsyn throughout his life. He is the only one of the Lyceum teachers to whom Pushkin repeatedly addressed himself in verse.
During the Lyceum period Pushkin wrote many poems. He was inspired by the French poets of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, whose works he became acquainted with as a child, reading books from his father”s library. The favorite poets and writers of the young Pushkin are listed in the poem “Town” (1815): Voltaire, Homer, Virgil, T. Tasso, La Fontaine, Dmitriev, Krylov, Derzhavin, Verger, Grecoeur, Parny, Racine, Moliere, Fonvisin, Knyazhnin, Ozerov, Rousseau, Karamzin, Lagarpe. His early lyrics combined the traditions of French and Russian classicism. Batiushkov, the recognized master of “easy poetry”, and Zhukovsky, the head of the national romanticism, became Pushkin”s teachers-poet. Pushkin”s lyrics of the period of 1813-1815 are imbued with motifs of the transience of life, which dictated the thirst to enjoy the pleasures of life. From 1816, following Zhukovsky, he turns to elegies, where he develops motives typical of this genre: unrequited love, the departure of youth, the fading of the soul. Pushkin”s lyrics are still imitated, full of literary conventions and stamps, nevertheless, already then the novice poet chooses his own, special way. Not being limited to chamber poetry, Pushkin turned to the themes of more complex, socially significant. “Memories in Tsarskoye Selo” (1814), which earned Derzhavin”s approval – in early 1815 Pushkin read the poem in his presence – is dedicated to the events of the Patriotic War of 1812. The poem was published in 1815 in the journal “Russian Museum” under the full signature of the author. And Pushkin”s letter to “Licinius” critically depicts contemporary life in Russia, where Arakcheyev is depicted as the “favorite despot”. Already at the beginning of his career Pushkin was interested in the Russian satiric writers of the last century. Pushkin”s influence can be felt in his satirical poem “Fonvizin”s Shadow” (the works of Radishchev are connected with “Bova” (1814) and “Bezverich” (1814). (1814) and “Faithlessness” (1817).
In July 1814 Pushkin made his first appearance in print in the magazine Vestnik Evropy, published in Moscow. In the thirteenth issue there was printed a poem “To a friend of the poet”, signed by the pseudonym Alexander N.k.s.p. and addressed to Küchelbecker.
As a pupil of the Lyceum Pushkin joined the literary society “Arzamas”, which opposed the routine and archaicism in literature, and effectively participated in the debate with the association “Discussion of lovers of the Russian word”, which defended the canons of classicism of the last century. Attracted by the work of the most prominent representatives of the new literary trend, Pushkin was strongly influenced at the time by the poetry of Batiushkov, Zhukovsky, Davydov. The latter initially impressed Pushkin”s brave soldier theme, and then what the poet himself called “spinning verse” – sharp changes of mood, expression, an unexpected combination of images. Later Pushkin said that when he imitated Davydov in his youth he “acquired his manner forever. Many of Pushkin”s Lyceum poems were inspired by the lyrics of Denis Davydov: The Drinking Students, The Cossack, The Riders, The Moustache, and Memories.
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From the Lyceum Pushkin was graduated June 9, 1817 with the rank of collegiate secretary (10th grade, according to the Table of Ranks), on June 13th by the Imperial decree was assigned to the College of Foreign Affairs and on June 15th he took the oath, signing the form of oaths to the emperor.
At this time his father gave Alexander his yard serf Nikita, who had known Sasha from his earliest days, had become a real friend to him, and who had been with him practically all the way through life up to his last day, except for the year of his Mikhailovsky exile.
Pushkin became a regular visitor to the theater, took part in meetings of the “Arzamas” (he was accepted there by correspondence, while a student in Lyceum, and received the nickname “Cricket”), in 1819 joined the literary and theatrical society “Green Lamp”, which is directed by the “Union of Welfare” (see Decembrists).
Not participating in the activities of the first secret organizations, Pushkin nevertheless is connected with many active members of the Decembrists” societies, writes political epigrams and poems “To Chaadayev” (“Love, Hope, Silent Glory…”, 1818), “Liberty” (1818), “N. I. Pluskova” (1818), “Village” (1819), circulated in lists.
During these years Pushkin was working on the poem “Ruslan and Lyudmila”, which had begun in the Lyceum and corresponded to the program guidelines of the literary society “Arzamas” on the need to create a national heroic poem. The poem was published in May 1820 (the lists were known earlier) and elicited various, not always favorable, responses. Already after Pushkin”s expulsion, controversy erupted around the poem. Some critics were outraged at the lowering of the high canon. The mixing in “Ruslan and Lyudmila” the Russian-French methods of verbal expression with vernacular and folklore stylistics caused reproaches from the defenders of democratic nationality in literature. Such censure was contained in a letter by D. Zykov, a literary follower of Katenin, published in The Son of the Fatherland.
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In the South (1820-1824)
In the spring of 1820 Pushkin was summoned to the military governor-general of St. Petersburg, Count M. A. Miloradovich, for an explanation of the content of his poems (including epigrams on Arakcheev, Archimandrite Photius and Alexander I himself), incompatible with the status of an official. There was talk of his exile to Siberia or imprisonment in the Solovetsky monastery. Only thanks to the efforts of his friends, especially Karamzin, the sentence was commuted. Pushkin was transferred from the capital to the south, to the Chisinau office of the governor of Bessarabia I.N. Inzov.
On the way to the new place of service Pushkin fell ill with pneumonia, having bathed in the Dnieper. To improve his health Raevskys take sick poet with him in late May 1820 in the Caucasus and the Crimea. On the way the Raevsky family and Alexander Pushkin stopped in Taganrog, in the former house of the mayor P. Papkov (Greek Street, 40).
On August 16, 1820 Pushkin arrived in Feodosia. He wrote to his brother Lev:
“From Kerch we came to Kafa, and stayed with Bronevsky, a man of honorable service and poverty. Now he is on trial – and, like the old man Virgil, grows a garden by the sea, not far from the city. Grapes and almonds make up his income. He is not a clever man, but has great knowledge of the Crimea. A side important and desolate. From here by sea we sailed past the midday shores of Tauris, to Yurzuf, where the family of Rajewski was located. At night on the ship I wrote an elegy, which I am sending you.
Two days later, Pushkin and the Raevskys left by sea for Gurzuf.
Pushkin spent in Gurzuf a few weeks of summer and autumn 1820. Together with the Raevskys he stayed in the house of the Duke of Richelieu; the poet was provided with a mezzanine, overlooking the west. In Gurzuf Pushkin took a lot of walks along the coast and mountains, including a trip on horseback to the top of the Ayu-Dag, and a boat ride to the Cape Suuk-Su.
In Gurzuf Pushkin continued work on the poem “Prisoner of the Caucasus”, wrote several lyric poems, some of which are dedicated to his daughters Catherine, Elena and Mary. Here the poet conceived the poem “The Fountain of Bakhchisarai” and the novel “Eugene Onegin”. At the end of his life Pushkin said of the Crimea: “There is the cradle of my Onegin.
In September 1820, on his way to Simferopol, he visited Bakhchisaray. From a letter to Delvig:
…On entering the palace, I saw the fountain deteriorated, with water falling drop by drop from a rusty iron pipe. I walked around the palace with great annoyance at the neglect in which it was decaying, and at the half-European alterations of some of the rooms.
Walking around the courtyards of the palace, the poet picked two roses and put them at the foot of the “Fountain of Tears,” to which he later dedicated poems and the poem “The Fountain of Bakhchisarai.
In mid-September Pushkin spent about a week in Simferopol, presumably in the house of Tauride governor Alexander Nikolayevich Baranov, an old acquaintance of the poet from St. Petersburg.
Pushkin also used his impressions of his visit to the Crimea in his description of Onegin”s Journey, which was first included in the poem Eugene Onegin as an appendix.
It was not until September 21 that Pushkin arrived in Kishinev. The new chief condescended to Pushkin”s service, allowing him to go away for long periods to visit friends in Kamenka (winter 1820-1821), to travel to Kiev, to travel with Ivan P. Liprandi in Moldavia and to visit Odessa (late 1821). In Kishinev Pushkin was in close contact with members of the Union of Welfare M. F. Orlov, K. A. Okhotnikov and V. F. Rayevsky, joined the Masonic lodge “Ovidius”. While the poem Ruslan and Lyudmila was the culmination of the school of the best Russian poets, Pushkin”s first “southern poem”, The Prisoner of the Caucasus (1822) put him at the head of all contemporary Russian literature and won him the well-deserved fame of the first poet which he invariably enjoyed until the late 1820s. Later, in the 1830s Pushkin was given the epithet “Russian Byron”.
Later comes another “southern poem” – “The Fountain of Bakhchisarai” (1824). The poem was fragmentary, as if concealing something untold, which gave it a special charm, exciting the reader”s perception of a strong emotional field. P. A. Vyazemsky wrote from Moscow about it:
The appearance of “The Fountain of Bakhchisarai” is worthy of attention not only to lovers of poetry, but also to observers of our successes in the mental industry, which also, not to anger be said, contributes, like the other, to the welfare of the state. The manuscript of Pushkin”s little poem was paid three thousand rubles; it does not contain six hundred verses; so, the verse (and what else? note for the stock appraisers – a fine four-foot verse) cost five rubles with a surplus. A verse by Beiron, by Casimir Lavigne, a line by Walter Scott brings an even higher percentage, it”s true! But let us also remember that foreign capitalists collect interest from all educated consumers on the globe, while our capitals circulate in close and domestic circles. Be that as it may, so much has been paid for the poems of “The Fountain of Bakchisarai” as has never been paid for any Russian poems.
At the same time, the poet tries to turn to Russian antiquity, outlining plans for the poems “Mstislav” and “Vadim” (the latter idea took dramatic form), creates a satirical poem “Gavriliada” (separate edition in 1827). Over time, Pushkin became convinced (at first tragically desperate) that there are objective laws in the world, which cannot be shaken by man, no matter how brave and beautiful his thoughts. In this vein began in May 1823 in Kishinev the novel in verse “Eugene Onegin”; the finale of the first chapter of the novel implied the story of the hero”s journey outside his homeland, modeled on Byron”s poem “Don Juan”.
Meanwhile, in July 1823 Pushkin seeks a transfer in the service in Odessa, in the office of Count Vorontsov. It was at this time that he became aware of himself as a professional writer, which was predetermined by the rapid success of his works as a reader. His courtship of the chief”s wife, and possibly an affair with her and his inability to serve the government aggravated his relationship with Vorontsov.
Pushkin”s four-year stay in the south is a new romantic stage of his development as a poet. At this time Pushkin became acquainted with the works of Byron and Chénier. Fascinated by Byron”s personality, according to his own confession, the poet “went crazy” by him. The first poem created by Pushkin in exile was the elegy “Daylight Dimmed …”, in the subtitle of which he noted: “Imitation of Byron. The core, the main task of the work was to reflect the emotional state of the man, the disclosure of his inner life. Pushkin developed the artistic form of verse, turning to ancient Greek poetry, studying it in translations. Having reinterpreted the imagery of ancient poets in a romantic vein, taking the best from the works of his predecessors, overcoming the stamps of elegiac style, Pushkin created his own poetic language. The main feature of Pushkin”s poetry was its expressive power and, at the same time, an extraordinary conciseness and brevity. Formed in 1818-1820, under the influence of French elegies and lyrics of Zhukovsky, the conditional melancholic style has undergone a major transformation and merged with the new “Byronic” style. The combination of old, complicated and conventional forms with romantic colors and suspense were clearly manifested in The Prisoner of the Caucasus.
In 1824 the police in Moscow opened a letter from Pushkin, in which he wrote about his passion for “atheistic teachings. This was the reason for the poet”s resignation from service. In late July 1824 Governor-General of Novorossiysk and Bessarabia Governor-General Count M.S. Vorontsov received notification of the vice-chancellor K.V. Nesselrode of the highest command of 8 July “being in the office of the Foreign Affairs Collegiate Secretary Pushkin dismissed from service” and from July 11 – to transfer Pushkin to live in the Pskov province, so that he was under the supervision of local authorities. On July 30 Pushkin got 389 rubles and 4 kopecks of run money and went to Pskov province.
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Pushkin was exiled to his mother”s estate and spent there two years (until September 1826) – this is Pushkin”s longest stay in Mikhailovskoye. The young poet came here for the first time in the summer of 1817 and, as he himself wrote in one of his autobiographies, was fascinated by “rural life, Russian baths, strawberries, etc. – but I did not like it all for long.
Soon after his arrival in Mikhailovskoe, Pushkin had a major quarrel with his father, who had actually agreed to secretly supervise his own son. In late autumn, all Pushkin”s relatives left Mikhailovsky.
Contrary to the fears of his friends, seclusion in the countryside did not become disastrous for Pushkin. Despite the difficult experiences, the first autumn of Michaelmas was fruitful for the poet, he read a lot, thought and worked. Pushkin often visited his neighbor in the estate of P. A. Osipova in Trigorskoye and used her library (Osipova”s father, a Freemason, an associate of N. I. Novikov, left a large collection of books). From Mikhailovskaya exile and to the end of his life the poet was on friendly terms with Osipova and members of her large family. In the summer of 1826 came to Trigorskoye Yazykov, whose poems were known to Pushkin since 1824.
Pushkin completes the poem “Conversation of a bookseller with a poet” started in Odessa, where he formulates his professional credo, “To the sea” – a lyrical reflection on the fate of man in the era of Napoleon and Byron, the brutal power of historical circumstances over the individual, the poem “Gypsies” (1827), continues to write a novel in verse. In the autumn of 1824 he resumes his work on autobiographical notes, which he had left at the beginning of his stay in Kishinev, and contemplates the plot of the folk drama “Boris Godunov” (completed on November 7 (19), 1825, published in 1831), writes a mock poem “Count Nulin”. All in all, the poet created about a hundred works in Mikhailovsky.
In 1825 he meets Anna Kern, Osipova”s niece, in Trigorskoye, to whom he is believed to dedicate the poem “I remember a wonderful moment…”.
A month after the end of the exile Pushkin returned “free to the abandoned prison” and spent about a month in Mikhailovskoye. In the following years, the poet came here periodically to take a break from city life and write in freedom. In Mikhailovskoye in 1827 Pushkin began his novel “Peter the Great”s Arap”.
In Mikhailovskoye the poet also joined the game of billiards. Although he did not become an outstanding player, but, according to recollections of friends, he wielded the cue on the cloth quite professionally.
During his stay in Mikhailovskoye Pushkin entered into a loving relationship with a serf peasant Olga Kalashnikova and, according to some researchers, had with her illegitimate son Paul
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After the link
On the night of 3 to 4 September 1826 in Mikhailovskoye comes messenger from the governor of Pskov BA Aderkasa: Pushkin, accompanied by a marshal must appear in Moscow, where at that time was Nicholas I, who was crowned on August 22.
On September 8, immediately after his arrival, Pushkin was taken to the emperor for a private audience in the Small Nicholas Palace. The conversation between Nicholas I and Pushkin took place face to face. The poet upon his return from exile was guaranteed personal royal patronage and exemption from the usual censorship.
It was during these years in the works of Pushkin”s interest in the personality of Peter I, the tsar-transformer. He becomes the hero of the novel about the poet”s great-grandfather, Abram Hannibal, and the new poem “Poltava”. In one poetic work (“Poltava”) the poet combined several serious themes: the relationship between Russia and Europe, the unification of peoples, happiness and drama of the individual against the background of historical events. By Pushkin”s own admission, he was attracted by “the strong characters and the deep, tragic shadow cast over all these horrors.” Published in 1829, the poem was not understood either by readers or critics. In the draft manuscript of the article “Objections to the critics of ”Poltava””. Pushkin wrote:
The most mature of all my poetic novels, the one in which everything is almost original (and we only fight from this, although this is not yet the main thing), is Poltava, which Zhukovsky, Gnedich, Delvig, and Vyazemsky prefer to everything that I have written so far, Poltava was not a success.
By this time a new twist had emerged in the poet”s work. Sober historical and social analysis of reality is combined with an awareness of the complexity of the often elusive rational explanation of the world around, which fills his work with a sense of anxious anticipation, leads to a wide invasion of fiction, gives rise to grief, sometimes painful memories, intense interest in death.
At the same time, after the poem Poltava, the attitude toward Pushkin in criticism and among part of the reading public became colder or more critical.
In 1827 began an investigation into the poem “Andrei Chenier” (written in Mikhailovsky in 1825), which was seen as a response to the events of 14 December 1825, and in 1828 the government became aware of the Kishinev poem “Gavriliada. These cases were closed by imperial command after Pushkin”s explanations. Pushkin was found guilty of spreading “that pernicious spirit”, which characterized the time of its appearance – the eve of December 14, he gave a subscription in “before no works without examination and passing them through the censorship do not release to the public,” he fell under secret police surveillance.
In December 1828 Pushkin meets a Moscow beauty, 16-year-old Natalia Goncharova. By his own confession, he fell in love with her from the first meeting. At the end of April 1829 Pushkin made a proposal to Goncharova through Fyodor Tolstoy-American. The indefinite answer of the girl”s mother (the reason was given as the youth of Natalya), according to Pushkin, “drove him mad”. He left for the army of Paskevich, in the Caucasus, where at that time there was a war with Turkey. Pushkin described his trip in his Journey to Arzrum. At the insistence of Paskevich, who did not want to take responsibility for his life, Pushkin left the army and lived for some time in Tiflis. Returning to Moscow, he met with the Goncharovs cold reception. Perhaps Natalia”s mother was afraid of the reputation of a freethinker, which had established itself for Pushkin, his poverty and passion for gambling.
At the end of 1829 Pushkin had a desire to travel abroad, reflected in the poem “Let”s go, I”m ready; where would you, friends…”. Pushkin applied to Benckendorff for permission, but on January 17, 1830 he received a refusal of Nicholas I to travel, given by Benckendorff.
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Pushkin feels the need for worldly changes. In 1830 his repeated marriage proposal to Natalya Nikolayevna Goncharova was accepted, and in autumn the poet went to Boldino, his father”s estate in Nizhny Novgorod, to take possession of the nearby village of Kistenevo, which his father gave him for his wedding. Cholera quarantines delayed the poet for three months, and this time was destined to become the famous Boldinsky Autumn, the high point of Pushkin”s creativity, when a whole library of works poured out from under his pen: “The Tales of the late Ivan Petrovich Belkin” (“The Tales of Belkin”), “Experience of Dramatic Studies” (“Little Tragedies”), the last chapters of “Eugene Onegin”, “The House at Kolomna”, “History of the Village Goryukhin”, “The Tale of the Pope and His Workman Balda”, several outlines of critical articles and about thirty poems.
Among Boldin”s works, as if deliberately different from one another in genre and tone, two cycles especially contrast with one another: the prose and the drama. These are the two poles of Pushkin”s work, to which the other works written in the three autumn months of 1830 gravitate.
The poems of this period represent the entire variety of genres and cover a wide range of topics. One of them – “My ruddy critic…” echoes the “History of the village of Goryukhin” and is so far from idealizing the village reality that it was first published only in the posthumous collection of works under a modified title (“Caprice”).
“The Tales of Belkin was the first surviving completed work of Pushkin”s prose, which he attempted to create more than once. In 1821 Pushkin formulated the basic law of his prose narration: “Accuracy and brevity are the first virtues of prose. It requires thoughts and thoughts – without them brilliant expressions serve no purpose.” These tales are also peculiar memoirs of an ordinary man who, finding nothing significant in his life, fills his notes with a retelling of stories he has heard that have struck his imagination with their strangeness. “The Tales…” marked the completion of Pushkin”s formation as a prose writer, which began in 1827 with “Arap Peter the Great”. The cycle defined both further direction of Pushkin”s work – the last six years of his life he turned mainly to prose – and the whole, hitherto undeveloped Russian artistic prose word.
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Moscow (1830-1831) and St. Petersburg (1831-1833)
At the same time Pushkin was actively involved in the publication of the Literary Gazette (the newspaper was published from January 1, 1830 to June 30, 1831) of his friend the publisher AA Delvig. Delvig, having prepared the first two numbers, temporarily left St. Petersburg and assigned the newspaper to Pushkin, who became the de facto editor of the first thirteen issues. After the Literary Gazette published a quatrain by Casimir Delavigne about the victims of the July Revolution, a conflict arose with the editor of the semi-official Northern Bee, F. V. Bulgarin, an agent of the Third Branch, which led to the closure of the publication.
On December 5, 1830 Pushkin returned from Boldin to Moscow. February 18 (March 2), 1831 Alexander Pushkin was married to Natalia Goncharova in Moscow”s Church of the Great Ascension at the Nikitsky Gate. While exchanging wedding rings Pushkin dropped his ring on the floor, then his candle went out. Shocked, he turned pale and said: “Everything is a bad omen!”
Immediately after the wedding, the Pushkin family settled briefly in Moscow, on the Arbat, in house 53 (now a museum). There the couple lived until mid-May 1831 and, without waiting for the end of the lease, left for the capital, as Pushkin had a quarrel with his mother-in-law, interfering in his family life: 62.
For the summer Pushkin rented a dacha in Tsarskoe Selo. Here he writes The Letter of Onegin, thus finally completing the novel in verse, which had been his “faithful companion” for eight years of his life.
The new perception of reality that emerged in his work in the late 1820s demanded an in-depth study of history: it was necessary to find in it the origins of the fundamental issues of modernity. Pushkin actively enlarged his personal library with Russian and foreign editions related to the history of Peter the Great. A. I. Turgenev noted in him “treasures of talent, observations and reading about Russia, especially about Peter and Catherine, rare, the only one… Nobody judged the Russian modern history so well: he was ripe for it and knew and found much that others did not notice.
The cholera riots, terrible in their cruelty, and the Polish events, which brought Russia to the brink of war with Europe, appear to the poet as a threat to Russian statehood. Strong power in these circumstances seems to him the guarantee of Russia”s salvation – this idea inspires his poems “Before the Holy Tomb…”, “To the Defamers of Russia”, and “The Anniversary of Borodino”. The last two, written on the occasion of the capture of Warsaw, together with V. A. Zhukovsky”s poem “The old song in a new way” were published in a special pamphlet “For the capture of Warsaw” and caused a mixed reaction. Pushkin, who had never been an enemy of any people, and who was friends with Mitskevich, nevertheless could not put up with the claims of the rebels to annex the Lithuanian, Ukrainian and Belarusian lands to Poland:236. Pushkin”s response to the Polish events was treated differently by his friends: negatively by Vyazemsky and A. I. Turgenev. On September 22, 1831 in his diary Vyazemsky wrote:
Pushkin in his poems: To the slanderers of Russia he gives them a lump out of his pocket. He knows that they will not read his poems, therefore they will not answer questions that would be very easy to answer even to Pushkin himself. <…> And what again is the sacrilege of combining Borodino with Warsaw? Russia cries out against this lawlessness.
After the publication of the poems, Chaadayev sent an enthusiastic letter to the author, and his position was shared by the exiled Decembrists:232, 236. At the same time, F.V. Bulgarin, associated with the Third Department, accused the poet of adherence to liberal ideas.
In July 1831 Pushkin sent a letter to the chief of the III branch of His Imperial Majesty”s Own Chancery Adjutant General A. Benckendorff:
“The true fatherly solicitude of the sovereign emperor touches me deeply. Having already been showered with his majesty”s favors, I have long been weighed down by my inactivity. I am always ready to serve him to the best of my ability. <…> I also dare to ask permission to carry out historical research in our state archives and libraries. <…> In due course I can fulfill my long-held desire to write a history of Peter the Great and his successors to the sovereign Peter III.
On July, 23 of the same year Benckendorff reported to the vice-chancellor K. Nesselrode. On July 23 of the same year, A. H. Benckendorff informed the vice-chancellor K. V. Nesselrode of the highest command to assign Pushkin to the State Board of Foreign Affairs with permission to search in the archives for materials for the compilation of the history of Peter I. November 14, 1831 Pushkin was enrolled at the same rank, and December 6 made in the titular councilor.
From the beginning of the 1830s prose in Pushkin”s work begins to prevail over poetic genres. “The Tales of Belkin” (published in 1831) had no success. Pushkin conceived a broad epic canvas – a novel from the era of Pugachevschina with a nobleman hero who defected to the side of the rebels. Pushkin abandoned this plan for a while due to his lack of knowledge about that era, and began working on the novel “Dubrovsky” (1832-1833), whose hero, taking revenge for his father, who was unjustly robbed of his family estate, becomes a robber. The noble robber Dubrovsky is depicted in a romantic vein, while the other characters are shown with the greatest realism. Although Pushkin drew the plot of the work from contemporary life, in the course of the work the novel acquired more and more features of a traditional adventure story with a collision which is in general atypical of Russian reality. Perhaps, in anticipation of insurmountable censorship difficulties with the publication of the novel, Pushkin left it, although the novel was close to completion. The idea of a work about the Pugachev rebellion again attracts Pushkin and true to historical accuracy he interrupts for a while his studies of the Petrine epoch, studies printed sources about Pugachev, makes himself acquainted with the documents on the suppression of the peasant revolt (Pugachev”s case itself, top-secret, is inaccessible), and in 1833 visits the Volga and the Urals to see with his own eyes the places of formidable events, to hear the living legends of Pugachevshchina. Pushkin travels through Nizhny Novgorod, Cheboksary, Kazan and Simbirsk to Orenburg, and from there – to Uralsk, along the ancient river Yaik, renamed after the peasant uprising into the Urals.
On January 7, 1833 Pushkin was elected a member of the Russian Academy simultaneously with P. A. Katenin, M. N. Zagoskin, D. I. Yazykov and A. I. Malov.
In the autumn of 1833 he returns to Boldino. Now Pushkin”s Boldino Autumn is half as short as it was three years ago, but in terms of importance it is commensurate with Boldino Autumn of 1830. In a month and a half Pushkin completes work on “The History of Pugachev” and “Songs of the Western Slavs”, begins work on the story “The Queen of Spades”, creates poems “Angelo” and “The Bronze Horseman”, “The Tale of the Fish and the Fish” and “The Tale of the Dead Tsarevna and the Seven Bogatyrs”, a poem in octaves “Autumn”.
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In November 1833 Pushkin returned to St. Petersburg, feeling the need for a dramatic change in life and, above all, to get out of the care of the court.
December 31, 1833 Nicholas I assigns his historiographer junior court rank of Chamberlain. According to Pushkin”s friends, he was furious: this rank was usually given to young people. In his diary, January 1, 1834 Pushkin made a note:
On the third day I was promoted to the rank of chamber junker (which is rather unseemly for my age). But the Court wanted N. N. danced at Anichkov.
At the same time the publication of The Bronze Horseman was banned. At the beginning of 1834 Pushkin finished another prose St. Petersburg novel, The Queen of Spades, and placed it in the magazine Library for Reading, which paid Pushkin immediately and at the highest rates. It was begun in Boldin and was intended then, apparently, for a joint almanac with V. F. Odoevsky and N. V. Gogol “Troychatka”.
On June 25, 1834 the titular counselor Pushkin resigned with a request to retain the right to work in the archives, necessary for the performance of the “History of Peter”. The motive was indicated as family matters and the impossibility of permanent presence in the capital. The petition was accepted with a refusal to use the archives, since Pushkin was formally an official in the Archive of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Thus, Pushkin was deprived of the opportunity to continue his work. Following Zhukovsky”s advice, Pushkin withdrew the petition. Later Pushkin asked for leave for 3-4 years: in the summer of 1835 he wrote his mother-in-law that he was going with his family to go to the countryside for several years. However, he was refused leave, and instead Nikolai I offered him a six-month leave and 10 000 rubles, as it was said, “to help out. Pushkin did not accept it, and asked for 30 000 rubles with a condition of deduction from his salary, and he was granted leave for four months. So for several years to come Pushkin was bound for service in St. Petersburg. This sum did not cover even half of Pushkin”s debts; with the termination of his salary he had to rely only on the literary income, which depended on the reader”s demand. In late 1834 – early 1835 several final publications of Pushkin”s works: the full text of “Eugene Onegin” (in 1825-1832 the novel was printed in chapters), a collection of poems, novels, poems, but they all sold with difficulty. Criticism has already spoken in full voice about the pulverization of Pushkin”s talent, the end of his era in Russian literature. The two autumns – 1834 (in Boldin) and 1835 (in Mikhailovskoye) – were less fruitful. The poet came to Boldino for the third time in the autumn of 1834 on the tangled affairs of the estate and lived there for a month, writing only “The Tale of the Golden Cockerel. In Mikhailovskoye Pushkin continued to work on “Scenes from the times of chivalry”, “Egyptian Nights”, created the poem “Once again I have visited.
The general public, lamenting the decline of Pushkin”s talent, was unaware that his best works were not allowed to go to print, that in those years there was constant, intense work on extensive schemes: “The History of Peter”, a novel about Pugachevshchina. In the work of the poet ripe for a radical change. Pushkin lyricist in these years is primarily a “poet for himself. He is persistently experimenting now with prose genres that do not satisfy him completely, remain in designs, sketches, drafts; he is looking for new forms of literature.
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According to S. A. Sobolevsky:
The idea of a large temporary publication, which would concern as much as possible all the most important aspects of Russian life, the desire to serve directly the fatherland with his pen, occupied Pushkin almost continuously in the last ten years of his brief career… Circumstances prevented him, and only in 1836 he managed to win the right to publish “Contemporary”, but already in the limited and narrow scope.
Since the closure of the Literary Gazette Pushkin sought the right to his own periodical. The plans for a newspaper (Diary), various almanacs and collections, the Northern Spectator, which was to be edited by V. F. Odoevsky, were not realized. Together with him in 1835 Pushkin intended to publish “Contemporary chronicler of politics, science and literature. In 1836 Pushkin received permission for a year to publish the almanac. Pushkin also counted on an income that would help him pay off his most pressing debts. The magazine, founded in 1836, was called Sovremennik. It published works by Pushkin himself, as well as N. V. Gogol, A. I. Turgenev, V. A. Zhukovsky, P. A. Vyazemsky.
Nevertheless, the magazine was not a reader”s success: the Russian public had yet to get used to the new type of serious periodical, devoted to topical problems, interpreted by implication, of necessity. The magazine had only 600 subscribers, which made it unprofitable for the publisher, since neither printing costs nor staff fees were covered. Pushkin”s last two volumes of the Sovremennik are more than half-filled with his own works, mostly anonymous. In the fourth volume of Sovremennik the novel “Captain”s Daughter” was finally printed. Pushkin could have released it as a separate book, then the novel could bring him the income he so needed. However, he still decided to publish “Captain”s Daughter” in a magazine and could not count on a simultaneous publication of a separate book – in those days, it was impossible. Probably, the novel was placed in Sovremennik under the influence of Krayevsky and the publisher of the magazine, who feared its collapse. “Captain”s Daughter” was favorably received by readers, but Pushkin did not have time to see the reviews of enthusiastic critics about his last novel in print. Despite the financial setback, Pushkin was busy publishing until his last day, “hoping, against his fate, to find and educate his reader.”
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In the spring of 1836 after a serious illness died Nadezhda Osipovna. Pushkin, who was close to his mother in the last days of her life, bore this loss hard. Circumstances were such that he was the only one of the family accompanied his mother”s body to the place of burial in the Holy Mountains. This was his last visit to Mikhailovskoye. In early May, on publishing business and to work in the archives, Pushkin came to Moscow. He hoped to collaborate in the Sovremennik with the authors of The Moscow Observer. However, Baratynsky, Pogodin, Khomyakov, and Shevyryov were in no hurry to respond, not directly refusing. Besides, Pushkin expected that Belinsky, who was in conflict with Pogodin, would write for the magazine. Visiting the archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he was convinced that the work with the documents of Peter the Great”s era would take several months. At the insistence of his wife, who expected to give birth one day later, Pushkin returned to St. Petersburg at the end of May.
According to the memoirs of the French publisher and diplomat Loewe-Weimar, who visited Pushkin in the summer of 1836, Pushkin was fascinated by the “History of Peter” and shared with his guest the results of his archival research and fears about how readers would perceive the book, which will show the tsar “as he was in the early years of his reign, when he sacrificed everything with a fury to his goal. Having learned that Loewe-Weimar was interested in Russian folk songs, Pushkin made translations of eleven songs into French for him. According to experts who studied this work of Pushkin, it was executed flawlessly.
In the summer of 1836 Pushkin created his last poetic cycle, named after the place of writing (the dacha on Stone Island) “kamennoostrovsky. The exact composition of the cycle of poems is unknown. Perhaps they were intended for publication in Sovremennik, but Pushkin declined it, anticipating problems with censorship. Three works, undoubtedly belonging to the cycle, are related to the theme of the Gospel. The cross-cutting theme of the poems “Desert Fathers and Wives of the Immaculate,” “How the traitorous disciple fell from the tree” and “Worldly Power”. – The Holy Week of Lent. Another poem in the cycle, “From Pindemonti,” lacks Christian symbolism, but continues the poet”s reflection on the duties of living in peace with oneself and others, on betrayal, on the right to physical and spiritual freedom. According to V. P. Stark:
“This poem articulates Pushkin”s ideal poetic and human credo, suffered throughout his life.”
The cycle probably also included “When I wander thoughtfully outside the city,” the quatrain “In vain I run to the gates of Zion” and, finally, (some researchers dispute this assumption) “Monument” (“I have erected a monument not made by hand…”) – as the beginning or, according to other versions, the finale – Pushkin”s poetic testament.
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Endless negotiations with his son-in-law on the division of the estate after his mother”s death, worries about publishing affairs, debts, and, most importantly, becoming deliberately obvious courting cavalry guard Dantes for his wife, which led to gossip in secular society, were the cause of Pushkin”s depressed state in the autumn of 1836. November 3 his friends were sent an anonymous libel with insulting innuendo against Natalia Nikolaevna. Pushkin, who learned of the letters the next day, was convinced that they were the work of Dantes and his adoptive father Gekkerna. On the evening of November 4 he sent a duel challenge to Dantes. Gekkerne (after two meetings with Pushkin) obtained a postponement of the duel for two weeks. Through the efforts of the poet”s friends and, above all, Zhukovsky and his aunt Natalya Nikolaevna E. Zagryazhskaya, the duel was prevented. On November 17 Dantes made a proposal to the sister of Natalya Nikolaevna, Catherine Goncharova. On the same day Pushkin sent his second, V. A. Sollogub, a letter rejecting the duel. The marriage did not resolve the conflict. Dantes, meeting with Natalya Nikolaevna in the light, pursued her. There were rumors that Dantes married Pushkin′s sister, to save the reputation of Natalya Nikolaevna. According to K. К. Danzas, his wife suggested that Pushkin to leave St. Petersburg for a while, but he, “having lost all patience, decided to end otherwise. Pushkin sent January 26 (February 7), 1837 Louis Gekkerne, “in the highest degree of insulting letter. The only answer could only be a challenge to a duel, and Pushkin knew it. A formal duel challenge from Gekkerne, approved by Dantes, was received by Pushkin on the same day through the French embassy attache, Viscount d”Arciac. Since Geckerne was an ambassador of a foreign country, he could not fight a duel – it would have meant an immediate collapse of his career.
The duel with Dantes took place on January 27 on the Black River. Pushkin was wounded: the bullet broke the neck of the thigh and penetrated into the stomach. For that time the wound was fatal. Pushkin learned about it from Arendt, his life doctor, who, yielding to his insistence, did not conceal the true state of affairs.
Before his death, Pushkin, putting his affairs in order, exchanged notes with Emperor Nicholas I. The notes were handed over by two people:
Nicholas saw in Pushkin a dangerous “leader of freethinkers” (in this regard, measures were taken so that the funeral and burial took place as modestly as possible) and later assured that “we hardly brought him to a Christian death,” which was not true: even before receiving the royal note the poet, having learned from the doctors that his wound was mortal, sent for a priest to receive communion. January 29 (February 10), Friday, at 14:45 Pushkin died of peritonitis.
The Sovereign”s order:
At the request of his wife Pushkin was not placed in the coffin in a chamber-junker uniform, but in a tailcoat. The funeral, scheduled in the Admiralty Church, then called St. Isaac”s Cathedral, on behalf of one of the chapels, was transferred to the Stables Church. The ceremony was attended by a large crowd, the church was allowed by invitation cards.
Here, as usual, were the most ridiculous orders. The people were deceived: they said that Pushkin will be buried in St. Isaac”s Cathedral, – so it was stated on the tickets, and meanwhile the body was taken out of the apartment at night, secretly, and put in the Stables Church. The university received a strict injunction that professors must not be absent from their chairs and that students must be present at their lectures. I could not refrain from expressing my sorrow on this occasion to the trustee. Russians cannot mourn for a fellow-citizen who has done them the honor of his existence!
After the coffin was lowered into the basement, where it was kept until February 3, before being sent to Pskov. Pushkin”s body was accompanied by A. I. Turgenev. I. Turgenev accompanied Pushkin”s body. In a letter to the governor of Pskov A. N. Peschurov, the State Secretary of the III Department A. N. Mordvinov on behalf of Benckendorff and the Emperor pointed out the need to prohibit “any special declaration, any meeting, in a word, any ceremony, except as is customary in our church rites at the burial of the body of a nobleman. Alexander Pushkin was buried on the territory of Svyatogorsky monastery in Pskov province. In August 1841 by order of N. N. Pushkina a gravestone by the sculptor Alexander Permagorov (1786-1854) was placed on the tomb.
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Descendants of Pushkin
Of Pushkin”s four children only two left offspring – Alexander and Natalia. The poet”s descendants now live all over the globe: in the United States, England, Germany and Belgium. About fifty of them live in Russia, including Tatyana Ivanovna Lukash, whose great-grandmother (Pushkin”s granddaughter) was married to Gogol”s grandnephew. Tatyana now lives in Klin.
Alexander Alexandrovich Pushkin – the last direct descendant of the poet on the male line, lives in Belgium
On the appearance of Pushkin”s contemporaries had different opinions. Those who knew the poet noted his short stature, in the words of his brother: “Pushkin was himself bad, but his face was expressive and animated, the growth he was small. His height was recorded by the artist Grigory Chernetsov April 15, 1832 on the sketch for the painting “Parade on the Champ de Mars” and was 2 inches and 5 and a half vert, ie 166.7 cm. Other data indicate a height of 2 inches and 4 versts (about 160 cm). Wjazemsky wrote that, being in the light, Pushkin did not like to stand near his wife (growth of Natalya Nikolaevna was 173 cm) and “jokingly said that he was near her to be humiliating: so small he was in comparison with her growth. M. P. Pogodin recalled his first meeting with Pushkin: “We expected a majestic priest of high art – it was medium height, almost a little man…”. To a greater extent, reviews of Pushkin”s appearance depends on the attitude to him. In the conventional sense, no one called Pushkin handsome, but many have noted that his features were made beautiful when they became a reflection of his spirituality. M.V. Jozefowicz particularly drew attention to Pushkin”s eyes, “which seemed to reflect everything beautiful in nature. LP Nikolskaya, who met in 1833 at a dinner in Nizhny Novgorod governor, so describes him:
“His slightly swarthy face was original, but not pretty: a big open forehead, a long nose, thick lips–no features at all. But what was great about him were his dark gray eyes, with a bluish cast, big and clear. I couldn”t tell you the expression in those eyes: burning, yet caressing, pleasing. I”ve never seen a face more expressive: intelligent, kind, energetic. <…> He spoke well: oh, how much mind and life was in his artificial speech! And what a cheerful, amiable, charming! This dunce could like…”
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Pushkin”s literary reputation and cultural role
Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin has a reputation as the great or greatest Russian poet; in particular, he is so called by the Brockhaus and Efron Encyclopedic Dictionary, the Russian Biographical Dictionary, the Encyclopedia Krugosvet, and the Encyclopedia Britannica (“greatest poet”). In philology Pushkin is regarded as the creator of modern Russian literary language (see, for example, the works of V. V. Vinogradov), and the Concise Encyclopedia of Literature (by S. S. Averintsev) speaks of the standard of his works, like the works of Dante in Italy or Goethe in Germany. D. S. Likhachev wrote of Pushkin as “our greatest national treasure.
Even during his lifetime the poet began to be called a genius, including in print. From the second half of the 1820s he came to be considered “the first Russian poet” (not only among his contemporaries, but also among Russian poets of all times), and a real cult was formed around his personality among readers. On the other hand, in the 1830s (after his poem “Poltava”) there was also some cooling of a part of the reading public to Pushkin.
Vladimir Odoevsky, in his obituary for Pushkin”s death, gave him a figurative definition: “The sun of our poetry,” which became a winged expression in the form: “The sun of Russian poetry.” In his article “A Few Words about Pushkin” (1830s) Nikolai Gogol wrote that “Pushkin is a unique phenomenon, maybe the only phenomenon of the Russian spirit: it is a Russian man in his development, in which he may appear for two hundred years”. The critic and Western philosopher V. G. Belinsky called Pushkin “the first poet-artist of Russia. F.M. Dostoevsky noted that “in Onegin, in this immortal and unattainable poem of his, Pushkin was the great national writer, like no one before him,” and spoke of “the universality and all-humanity of his genius. Apollon Grigoriev (1859) offered the most succinct characterization: “And Pushkin is our everything”.
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The understanding of Pushkin in Russian culture is divided into two directions – artistic and philosophical, essayistic, whose founders were Nikolai Gogol and Apollon Grigoriev (this line includes many Russian writers, including Fyodor Dostoevsky, Marina Tsvetaeva and Alexander Solzhenitsyn, and philosophers), and scientific historical and biographical, founded by Pavel Annenkov and Peter Bartenev. The flowering of scientific Pushkinism in Russia in the early 20th century is associated with the creation of the Pushkin House in 1905, the Pushkin Seminary in 1908, and the appearance of serial publications on Pushkin. In Soviet times, with the limitations of studying Pushkin”s ideology, Pushkin”s textology and studies of his style received great development. A number of important achievements are associated with Pushkinism abroad (Poland, France, USA, etc.), including the Russian emigration.
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Denial of the significance of Pushkin”s work
The “sixties” publicist and literary critic Dmitry Pisarev denied the importance of Pushkin”s work for modernity: “Pushkin uses his artistic virtuosity as a means of initiating all reading Russia into the sad secrets of his inner emptiness, his spiritual poverty, and his mental impotence. Many of the nihilists of the 1860s, such as Maxim Antonovich and Varfolomey Zaitsev, held the same position.
Leo Tolstoy had an ambivalent attitude toward Pushkin, ranging from total admiration and adherence to complete disdain. According to the diary of A. V. Zhirkevich, Tolstoy, when meeting him in December 1890, said:
Pushkin was like a Kirghiz… Everyone still admires Pushkin. And just think about the passage from his Eugene Onegin, placed in all the textbooks for children: “Winter. The peasant, triumphing…”. Every stanza makes no sense! …This was written by the great Pushkin, undoubtedly a clever man, writing because he was young and, like a Kirghiz, sang instead of talking:424.
В. Mayakovsky, D. Burlyuk, V. Khlebnikov, A. Kruchenykh, and B. Livshits called for “Throwing Pushkin, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, etc., from the Steamship of Modernity” in the 1912 Futurist manifesto “A Slap to Public Taste. The manifesto went on to say: “Whoever does not forget his first love, will not recognize his last” (a paraphrase of Tyutchev”s words on Pushkin”s death: “Russia will not forget you as its first love”). At the same time, Innokenty Annensky, Anna Akhmatova, Marina Tsvetaeva and Alexander Blok gave the highest assessment of Pushkin”s work.
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The first posthumous edition of Pushkin”s works (1838) in eight volumes, issued in favor of the heirs, included only those works that had been published during his lifetime. The edition was printed “under the special supervision of the Minister of National Education,” whose office was the censorship. According to S. A. Sobolevsky, it came out “badly at the mercy of Atreshkov. There were numerous misprints, corrections, omissions, distortions of Pushkin”s texts; the publication was not complete even in the announced volume. In 1841 three additional volumes (9-11) were published. By the beginning of 1846 this collection of works was almost all sold out.
The new collection of works was intended merely as a repeat of the 1838-1841 edition. However, these plans did not come to fruition. In the winter of 1849-1850 the poet”s widow, who by that time had married Lansky, turned to Paul Annenkov for advice on the new edition. Annenkov, who had all Pushkin”s manuscripts, kept by Lanskaya, at first hesitated to take up such a serious matter. He was persuaded by his brothers Ivan and Fyodor who got acquainted with the papers. May 21, 1851 Lanskaya by contract gave I. V. Annenkov the right to publish. P. Annenkov”s brothers insisted that he take matters into his own hands. P. Annenkov had also decided to write a biography of the poet. N. Dobrolyubov commented on the appearance of a collection of Pushkin”s works of 1855-1857 years: “The Russians <…> have long ardently desired a new edition of his works, worthy of his memory, and met the venture of Annenkov with admiration and gratitude. Despite all the censorial obstacles, Annenkov accomplished the first critically prepared collection of Pushkin”s works. Annenkov”s edition with additions and changes was twice repeated by G. N. Gennady (1859-1860, 1869-1871).
After 1887, when the rights to Pushkin”s works expired for his heirs, a variety of accessible editions appeared, which, however, had no important scientific value. The most complete of those published in the early 20th century was the collection of Pushkin”s works (1903-1906) edited by P. O. Morozov.
The publication of the Complete Academic Collection of Pushkin”s Works in sixteen volumes was timed to coincide with the centennial (1937) of the poet”s death, but, for objective reasons, work on it stretched over many years. This edition combined the work of all the most prominent Pushkin scholars of the time. The collected works in sixteen volumes to the present day remain the most complete body of Pushkin”s works, and it is commonly referred to in the scientific literature when quoting Pushkin”s texts. In terms of textual research, the collection has become a reference point for other academic editions of Russian writers. Nevertheless, this “Complete” edition does not include volumes with Pushkin”s drawings and texts compiling the collection “By Pushkin”s hand”. For censorship reasons, the ballad “The Shadow of Barkov” was not published. Detailed comments on Pushkin”s texts, which, in the opinion of the authorities, delayed the entire edition, were omitted, which became one of the most important drawbacks of the sixteen-volume book.
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In 1926 and 1928 two volumes of the edition of Pushkin”s letters (1815-1830) by B. L. Modzalevsky were published. L. Modzalevsky. The third volume (1935, letters of 1831-1833) was prepared for printing by his son after Modzalevsky”s death. The undoubted value of the three-volume book of letters is in the preservation of Pushkin”s spelling and punctuation. The extensive commentary on the letters is a full encyclopedia of life and work of Pushkin and the Pushkin era in general. The shortcomings of this edition include the exclusion of profanity from the texts of letters. The 1969 edition of A. S. Pushkin. Letters of recent years” (general ed. by N. V. Izmailova) does not reproduce the author”s spelling and punctuation. Until today, the only edition of Pushkin”s letters, which does not contain edits, is the “Correspondence” in three volumes, edited by V. I. Saitov (Imperial Academy of Sciences, 1906-1911). “Correspondence” came out in small numbers and was distributed exclusively among the members of the Academy.In 2013, the publishing house “Slovo” carried out a reprint edition of “Correspondence”.
In the 20s-30s of the 19th century the modern literary Russian language was formed. Pushkin is recognized as its creator, and his works are considered to be an encyclopedia of samples of Russian language use. However, the process of developing an adequate assessment of Pushkin”s role as the creator of modern language took quite a long time. It required the accumulation of a large amount of knowledge of the facts and phenomena of the Russian language of the times before Pushkin, during Pushkin”s epoch and after him, a detailed analysis of these facts, and corresponding development of linguistics of the Russian language, which took about 120 years. Neither at the end of the 19th century, nor in the first decade of the 20th century, was this talked about. Even in the early 40s of the 20th century not everyone shared the Pushkin view as the founder of the modern Russian literary language. The final recognition of such a role of Pushkin can be considered the publication of an article by the famous researcher of the Russian language V. V. Vinogradov, which was called “A. S. Pushkin – the founder of the Russian literary language” (Izvestiya Akademii Nauk SSSR. Department of Literature and Language, 1949, Volume VIII, Issue 3).
At the same time, the innovations of A. С. The Russian language of Pushkin was put into practice very quickly by historical standards. So, innovations in the field of morphology and syntax were fixed by A. Kh. Vostokov in his ̋Russian grammar ̋, published already in 1831 and subsequently survived 28 editions, and immediately became a generally obligatory norm.
Despite the significant changes that have occurred in the language for almost two hundred years since the creation of his greatest works, and the obvious stylistic differences between Pushkin”s language and that of modern writers, the system of modern Russian language, its grammatical, phonetic and lexical-phraseological structure in its main core have remained and continue to remain and develop within the norms that Pushkin had formed.
Pushkin was always interested in political issues. In his youth his views were quite radical, but after the defeat of the Ypsilanti rebellion in 1821, the revolutions in Piedmont and Naples in 1821, and the revolution in Spain in 1823, he became disillusioned with revolutionary ideals.
While in exile in Mikhailovsky, after the suppression of the Decembrist uprising Pushkin decided to enter into a “loyal, contractual relationship” with the government in order to escape from Mikhailovsky, to do away with the past. According to Georgy Fedotov, by writing the poem “Stanzas,” Pushkin made a poetic contract with Nicholas I, offering him the ideal of Peter the Great.
As Georgy Fedotov notes, Pushkin was always a “singer of the empire. He glorified the Russian conquest of the Caucasus, during the Polish uprising of 1830-1831 he wrote the poems “To the Defamers of Russia” and “Borodino anniversary” imbued with imperial pathos. According to G. Fedotov, “the beginning of truth too often in the poet”s poems, as in the life of the state, recedes before the allure of triumphant force.
Г. Fedotov wrote:
Conservative, freedom-hating Russia surrounded Pushkin in his last years; it created the political air in which he breathed, in which he sometimes suffocated. A freedom-loving, but stateless Russia was born in the same thirties with the Herzen circle, with the letters of Chaadayev. With a very small margin of error, we can say that the Russian intelligentsia was born in the year of Pushkin”s death. A freethinker, a rebel, a Decembrist – Pushkin at no point in his life can be placed in connection with this remarkable historical formation – the Russian intelligentsia. With all his roots he goes back to the eighteenth century, which ends with him.
С. S. L. Frank calls “amazing in historical and spiritual wisdom” the letter of Alexander Pushkin to P. Ja. Chaadayev of October 1836 and especially emphasizes the part where Pushkin writes about his extreme reluctance to change his homeland and to have another Russian history. Frank writes:
The general foundation of Pushkin”s political outlook was a national-patriotic mindset, framed as state consciousness.
Academician M. Alekseev in his work “Pushkin and the science of his time” spoke about the need to study the question of Pushkin”s attitude to the natural sciences. Pushkin, according to Alekseev, believed in science and was far from one-sided positive or negative evaluations of it. Pushkin followed the development of science, as evidenced, for example, by his words in the preface to the edition of the eighth and ninth chapters of “Eugene Onegin”: “… discoveries of the great representatives of ancient astronomy, physics, medicine and philosophy have grown old and are replaced every day by others.
During his studies at the Tsarskoye Selo Lyceum Pushkin, like other lyceum students (Illichevsky, Korff, Delvig), opposed science to poetry, but in his “Extracts from Letters, Thoughts and Remarks” (1827) he already claimed that inspiration is required in poetry as well as in geometry. Alexeev finds similarities between this statement and N. Lobachevsky”s 1826 speech on imaginary geometry. Pushkin considered the work of M. Lomonosov, who, according to Pushkin, “embraced all branches of enlightenment”: history, rhetoric, chemistry, mineralogy, poetry, as an example of resolving the conflict of science and poetry.
Pushkin was interested in astronomy: in particular, in his library there was a book by the English astronomer D. Herschel. To the fragment about the immobile earth in his “Imitations of the Koran” (but what bold poetry!). The same topic is devoted to the epigram “Movement” (1825), in which Pushkin, according to Alexeyev, polemizes with the idealistic philosophy of V. Odoevsky and depicts the history of European science from antiquity to the Renaissance.
Pushkin was acquainted with the inventor of the electromagnetic telegraph P. Schilling, and the appearance of the passage “How many wonderful discoveries …” may be connected with this acquaintance. (1829), which manifested the author”s belief in the power of reason and which, according to Academician S. Vavilov, “testifies to Pushkin”s penetrating understanding of the methods of scientific creativity. The mention of perpetuum mobile in “Scenes from the times of chivalry” (1835) may be connected with the reports on the invention of the electric motor, which in 1834 was created by B. Jacobi. The story “The Queen of Spades” mentions galvanism, by which electric current was understood at the time, as well as “Mongolfier”s ball and Mesmer”s magnetism,” which are recalled to the main character, an engineer by profession, when he looks at the Countess”s room. Eugene Onegin (7, XXXIII) refers to the “philosophical tables,” that is, the book by the French mathematician Ch. Dupin”s Productive and Commercial Forces of France (1827), which contains statistical tables showing data on the economies of various European states.
Although Pushkin did not live to see the opening of the first railroad in Russia, and this theme was not reflected in his poetry, but he was going to publish in his journal an article by engineer M. Volkov in defense of the construction of railroads. Pushkin himself in a letter to Odoevsky made a “bold technical proposal” about the need for a machine to clear the railroads of snow, that is, a mechanical snowplow.
At the Tsarskoye Selo Lyceum a liberal-minded professor, a graduate of Göttingen University, A. P. Kunitsyn, taught political economy to lyceum students…
Eugene Onegin repeatedly touches on economic issues. The stanza about Adam Smith talks about the differences between the economic theory of Adam Smith and the mercantilists. This stanza is referred to in K. Marx”s Critique of Political Economy. The stanza describing Eugene Onegin”s cabinet mentions trade routes across the Baltic Sea and the main exports (lumber and salo) and imports (luxury goods) of Russia of Pushkin”s time. In another stanza, the economists Sey and Bentham are mentioned. The description of Eugene Onegin”s activities in the countryside refers to the replacement of the barchina with the tribute.
The poem “The Village” condemns serfdom as the most barbaric and economically inefficient form of exploitation of forced labor. In 1826 Pushkin wrote a note to the tsar “On the education of the people,” dedicated to improving the education of young nobles. It mentions the names of economists Sey and Sismondi. In the story “The Queen of Spades” touches on the development of new, bourgeois social relations, with their greed and thirst for quick wealth. The Miserly Knight examines the type of pre-capitalist treasure collector.
There are dozens of monuments to Pushkin in different cities of Russia and the world. There are museums devoted to the life and works of the poet in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Pushkin”s district, Novgorod, Torzhok, Kiev, Kishinev, Gurzuf, Odessa, Vilnius, Brodzany (Slovakia) and other cities. Former town Tsarskoe Selo and some other settlements were named after Pushkin. For more information: see the memory of Pushkin.
According to opinion polls in Russia conducted by the Levada Center on December 12-18, 2019 with 1,608 people over the age of 18 in 137 localities in 50 regions through personal interviews, Alexander Pushkin is the most important writer in Russia in 2019.
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