Pushkin's Historical Imagination


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Svetlana Evdokimova

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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 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 historical truth.

Svetlana Evdokimova is associate professor of Slavic languages in the Department of Slavic Languages at Brown University and book review editor for The Pushkin Review.

“Evdokimova’s analysis of the tension between Pushkin the historian and Pushkin the fiction writer is truly brilliant.”—Paul Debreczeny, University of North Carolina

"This book is a pure pleasure to read. . . . Perhaps we . . . can now again appreciate the philosophical coherence and artistic variety of Pushkin’s histories for Russia. They are beautifully and thoughtfully presented in this book."—Monika Greenleaf, Slavic Review

"This is a scholarly work, but it is never pedantic. Recommended for academic collections and the informed lay reader."—Library Journal

“Evdokimova fills a gap in scholarship with this full-scale treatment of Pushkin as historian. . . . Stimulating and insightful. . . . An excellent study for historians as well as literary critics, upper-division undergraduate and above."—Choice

ISBN: 9780300070231
Publication Date: January 11, 1999
320 pages, 5 1/2 x 8 1/4
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