Pushkin's Historical Imagination

Overview

This book explores the historical insights of Alexander Pushkin (1799-1837), Russia's most celebrated poet and arguably its greatest thinker. Svetlana Evdokimova examines for the first time the full range of Pushkin's fictional and nonfictional writings on the subject of history-writings that have strongly influenced Russians' views of themselves and their past. Through new readings of his drama, Boris Godunov, such narrative poems as Poltava, The Bronze Horseman, and Count Nulin; prose fiction, including The ...
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Overview

This book explores the historical insights of Alexander Pushkin (1799-1837), Russia's most celebrated poet and arguably its greatest thinker. Svetlana Evdokimova examines for the first time the full range of Pushkin's fictional and nonfictional writings on the subject of history-writings that have strongly influenced Russians' views of themselves and their past. Through new readings of his drama, Boris Godunov, such narrative poems as Poltava, The Bronze Horseman, and Count Nulin; prose fiction, including The Captain's Daughter and Blackamoor of Peter and the Great; lyrical poems; and a variety of nonfictional texts, the author presents Pushkin not only as a progenitor of Russian national mythology but also as an original historical and political thinker.

Evdokimova considers Pushkin within the context of Romantic historiography and addresses the tension between Pushkin the historian and Pushkin the fiction writer. She also discusses Pushkin's ideas on the complex relations between chance and necessity in historical processes, on the particular significance of great individuals in Russian history, and on the historical truth.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Alexander Pushkin's writings on history, both fiction and nonfiction, are the subject of this scholarly monograph. Evdokimova's (Slavic languages, Brown) intention is to "delineate the poet's continuously shifting perspective on specific historical events and on the nature of historical processes." She believes Pushkin desired not to create a philosophical theory but to remain an observer and challenge established formulas, especially his own. Part 1 examines Pushkin's attempts to establish the connection between historical development and national identity. Part 2 further develops the notion of national and cultural context as a dominant element in Pushkin's historical and artistic vision. Part 3 covers Pushkin's approach to history, especially in reference to Peter the Great. Through a careful study of works like Boris Gudunov, The Bronze Horsemen, Count Nunlin, and Blackamoor of Peter the Great, Evdokimova sees Pushkin as the originator of Russian mythology and an original thinker of the Romantic era. This is a scholarly work, but it is never pedantic. Recommended for academic collections and the informed lay reader.--Ronald Ratliff, Chapman H.S. Lib., KS
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300181906
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 9/9/2011
  • Series: Russian Literature and Thought Series
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 1,380,354
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.72 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
Introduction: History, Fiction, and the Complementarity of Narrative Representations 1
pt. I History and national identity
1 The Impediments of Russian History 31
2 Chance and Historical Necessity 49
pt. II History and narrative
3 The Historian as Contextualist: Pushkin's Polemic with Radishchev 87
4 History in the Service and Disservice of Life: "The Hero" 107
pt. III Petra scandali: pushkin confronts peter the great
5 Forging Russian History: The Blackamoor of Peter the Great 139
6 Poltava: The Myth of Holy War 173
7 History as Myth: The Bronze Horseman 209
Afterword 232
Notes 241
Selected Bibliography 265
Index 278
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