Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin is the greatest Russian poet.
Alexander Pushkin left profound legacy. Moreover, some critics regard him as the founder of the Russian literary language. In Russia, Alexander Pushkin is still a best-selling author.
This article touches upon the milestones of Pushkin’s life and gives lesser-known facts on him as a poet, a writer and a playwright.
The portrait of Alexander Pushkin by Orest Kiprensky
Monumental works of Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin
Alexander Pushkin created a great number of timeless poetic and prose works.
Among his best-known are the following…
Novels: “Eugene Onegin”, “Dubrovsky”, “Peter the Great’s Negro”.
Tragedy: “Boris Godunov”.
Poems: “Ruslan and Ludmila”, “The Prisoner of the Caucasus”, “The Bronze Horseman”.
Short stories: “The Queen of Spades”, “The Captain’s Daughter”, “The Blizzard”, “The Stationmaster”.
Plays: the verse cycle “Little Tragedies”.
Single verses: “To Siberia” (“Deep in Siberia’s Mines”), “Anchar”.
Wonderful fairy tales: “The Tale of the Fisherman and the Fish”, “The Tale of the Golden Cockerel”, “The Tale of the Priest and of His Workman Balda”, “The Tale of the Dead Princess and the Seven Knights”.
Surely, the rich artistic legacy of the greatest Russian author goes beyond the works listed above.
Pushkin’s ancestors were high in the Russian social scale. His paternal great-grandfather Grigory Pushkin served as the ambassador of Russia to Poland. His maternal grandfather Ibragim Hannibal was described in the historical novel “Peter the Great’s Negro”.
Alexander Pushkin was a plump and clumsy child. Firstly, his parents were worried for boy’s intellectual abilities. Later they were outraged by his peppery temper.
Alexander Pushkin and his duels
Alexander Pushkin could get too cocky. According to various sources, he threw down the gauntlet at least twenty nine times. However, not all duels took place, some of them ended with duelists’ reconciliation. Despite being a sharp shooter, Alexander Pushkin could not be the first to pull the trigger, let alone to spill someone’s blood.
The Russian classical author was quite a contradictory person.
Pushkin’s duel with Georges d’Anthès
The French officer Georges d’Anthès was courting the poet’s beautiful wife, Natalia Goncharova, for a long time. Eventually, his wooing became socially unacceptable. Natalia was always honest with her husband and told him about this persistent admirer. Alexander Pushkin could not endure such an offence and challenged Georges d’Anthès to a duel. As a result, the French officer mortally wounded the famous Russian poet.
That is how the name of repelling Georges d’Anthès took its place in history.
The opinions of Pushkin’s contemporaries
The portrait of Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin by Vasily Tropinin
Alexander Pushkin was a real genius with the heart of a child. There were no high-rankers, who evoked his anger and managed to hide from his quips.
At that time only tall and well-built men were considered to be handsome. Although Alexander Pushkin was short in height, he could easily charm anyone, especially a woman. If the poet wanted to get one’s attention, nothing could stop him.
However, it was just a facade. Alexander Pushkin moved from romantic sentiments to a realistic perception and it became evident in his writing. His later works gave an objective image of different social classes and their life. He spent a lot of time studying records and wrote several historical works, but they were not hailed by critics.
The death of the poet showed the real attitude of his readers. The city suffered several disorders and Pushkin’s flat was besieged by grieving people. Finally, he authorities had to bring troops to the city to regain some order.
Alexander Pushkin and Russian Emperors
Pushkin’s six-year-long exile to the village Mikhailovskoe came to an end, when a new Russian Emperor ascended the throne. Unfortunately, this freedom was relative. Alexander Pushkin was under a watchful eye of policemen and had to coordinate all his movements. His works were strictly censored. Many of them were not published. Some plays were not put on the stage. The Russian Emperor himself felt free to censor Alexander Pushkin’s works.
Some incredible facts about Alexander Pushkin’s writing and family
- The other Russian writer Leo Nikolaevich Tolstoy used the features of Pushkin’s elder daughter, Maria, while creating the image of Anna Karenina (the character of the eponymous novel).
- Alexander Pushkin burnt a chapter from “Eugene Onegin”, which described the Decembrist revolt (1825) against autocracy and serfdom.
- Alexander Pushkin had started as a poet and later tried his hand at prose. Although such a transition was not praised by his contemporaries, Pushkin’s prose greatly influenced generations of Russian writers, including Fyodor Dostoyevsky and Nikolai Gogol.
- Many Russian composers were inspired by Pushkin’s works and based on them the classical musical pieces. They were Pyotr Tchaikovsky (the operas “Eugene Onegin”, “The Queen of Spades”, “Mazepa”), Mikhail Glinka (the opera “Ruslan and Ludmila”), Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (the operas “Mozart and Salieri”, “The Golden Cockerel”, “The Tale of Tsar Saltan”), Modest Mussorgsky (the opera “Boris Godunov”), Sergei Rachmaninoff (the opera “The Miserly Knight”) and others.
Despite having written his works two centuries ago, Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin remains the most favourite poet and novelist of Russians, regardless of their age.