A. D. P. Briggs's Alexander Pushkin: Eugene Onegin PDF

By A. D. P. Briggs

It is a full of life and readable advisor to Alexander Pushkin's novel in verse Eugene Onegin, a landmark of ecu Romanticism, and arguably the simplest of all Russian poetry. Professor Briggs addresses the query of the way such striking poetry could have been composed a few really banal plot, and considers the shape of the paintings and its poetic suggestions intimately. He bargains clean interpretations of the characters and occasions of the poem, and units it opposed to its eu history. He discusses its effect - significantly Tchaikovsky's operatic model - and issues to its life-affirming philosophy and spirit of joyfulness. The booklet incorporates a chronological chart and a consultant to additional examining.

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Twenty years on (1880), no less a personage than Fyodor Dostoyevsky appropriates the novel for himself and for Russia: Eugene Onegin is about Russia's destiny and Eugene himself should be seen as an estranged figure with no faith in his motherland, an object lesson in patriotic inadequacy. By the end of the century (1897) Dmitri Merezhkovsky puts the case the other way round: the novel is not Russian but a work of universal genius and, as for the hero, he should be seen as a self-willed egoist, a man distinguished from common humanity and a positive force.

It makes a most agreeable scene, appealing as much to the ear as to the eye. Not only do we see these good, busy people, but we can also hear the beat of a loud, distant drum, the crunch of snow underfoot and the background city noise still subdued and gentle enough to be described as priyatnyy, 'pleasant' . We know from various clues that i s i s a delightfully clear, cold morning; visibility is good, chimney smoke rises straight up The poetry of Eugene Onegin 23 in a light-blue column into the morning air.

After the first chapter, which is devoted exclusively to Onegin (and Pushkin), Tatyana dominates the novel by a large margin; she has all her one hundred and twenty stanzas to come whereas Onegin has only about one hundred left. Onegin and Tatyana, appearing separately or together, occupy virtually two thirds of the entire text. Since both of them are night-time personal­ ities, it is scarcely surprising that the overall atmosphere of the novel is predominantly nocturnal, with subdued or un­ natural illumination prevailing, or that most of the serious activity occurs during the late hours.

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