Alexander Pushkin: Eugene Onegin by A. D. P. Briggs

By A. D. P. Briggs

This can be a energetic 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 extraordinary poetry may have been composed a few fairly banal plot, and considers the shape of the paintings and its poetic concepts intimately. He bargains clean interpretations of the characters and occasions of the poem, and units it opposed to its eu historical past. He discusses its impact - significantly Tchaikovsky's operatic model - and issues to its life-affirming philosophy and spirit of joyfulness. The ebook incorporates a chronological chart and a advisor to extra studying.

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Six, XXXIX) He speeds along the Neva i n his sledge. On the blue blocks of chopped out ice The sun plays . . That sun is his enemy. It betokens reality, and the truth is that his proposed relationship with Tatyana, whatever it may be, is not going to come about. It may seem fanciful to draw attention in so much detail to a single aspect of the story, and one which has not been taken so seriously before, but there are good reasons for looking at Eugene Onegin in this way. The difference between night and day in this novel is not simply a matter of the characters' personal preference for darkness over daylight.

His excitement, real if short-lived, is sensed only when the evening begins. Now it is dark: he gets into a sledge. "Come on, get going ! " is the cry . . (one, XVI) We know from the narrative that this j ourney takes him first to dinner with a friend, then to the theatre and, later still, to a ball from which he returns in the early morning. Throughout the hours of darkness he is fully occupied. We also know that this is his regular routine. He will wake up in the afternoon. and once again His life is prepared for him until next morning, Monotonous and motley, And tomorrow the same as yesterday.

So speaks one critic (Bayley: Introduction to the Charles Johnston translation, p. 1 5). If this were the full story there would be no case for considering Eugene Onegin to be a serious poem let alone a great novel. Of course it is not. This is anything but a straightforward narrative. The characters, their actions, their motivation, the ideas which they stir into circulation all of these are elusive. Apparent simplicity proves to be illusory; the novel is difficult to interpret properly and impossible to pin down.

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