Ana Lilia Aguirre
January 13, 2015
Alexander Pushkin: Russia's Greatest Poet
“It's a lucky man, a very lucky man, who is committed to what he believes, who has stifled intellectual detachment and can relax in the luxury of his emotions - like a tipsy traveler resting for the night at wayside inn.” (Pushkin XLIX). Alexander Pushkin is consider one of the best Russian authors of the Romantic era. Pushkin was committed to social reform becoming a spokesman of literary radicals, what angered the government leading to his transfer from the capital in 1820. Pushkin is recognized by many as Russia's greatest poet and the father of modern Russian Literature.
Alexander Pushkin was born into an aristocratic family with a long and distinguished lineage in June 6, 1799, Russia Moscow. Pushkin's father, Sergei Lvovich Pushkin (1767–1848), was descended from a distinguished family of the Russian nobility that traced its ancestry back to the 12th century. Pushkin's mother Nadezhda (Nadya) Ossipovna Gannibal (1775–1836) was descended through her paternal grandmother from German and Scandinavian nobility. First educated by French and Russian tutors at home, his nurse also entertained him with traditional Russian folk tales. When he was 11, he attended an exclusive school for the nobility in Tsarskoe Selo, outside the capital city, St. Petersburg. He wrote and published his first poem at the age of fifteen. While still a student at the Lyceum. Pushkin wrote poetry that drew the acclaim of his teachers and peers. Around 1819-20, he fell under the spell of Byron's work, and he wrote a series of narrative poems that reflect this influence; exotic Southern settings, and tragic romantic encounters, between others. He was soon writing his own poems and the journal The Messenger of Europe, published some of them as early as 1814, when he was fifteen years old. By the time he finished school as part of the first graduating class of the prestigious Imperial Lyceum in Tsarskoe Selo near Saint Petersburg, his talent was already widely recognized within the Russian literary scene. After school, Pushkin plunged into the vibrant and raucous intellectual youth culture of the capital, Saint Petersburg. In 1820 he published his first long poem, Ruslan and Lyudmila, which amidst much controversy about its subject and style.
Upon graduation in 1817, he accepted a position with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, moved to St. Petersburg, and for three years enjoyed “Venice of the North’s” society and intellectual life as a young nobleman. He was welcomed into the literary circle, writing and publishing poetry and expressing his liberal views in such works as “Ode To Liberty” and “The Village”.A proponent of social reform, Pushkin belonged to an underground revolutionary movement that sometimes interfered with his literary career when many of his poems, plays, and historical works were censored. He turned his pen to critically satirizing various court figures of the day, which drew the Emperor’s outrage and in 1820 he was exiled to the south of Russia. He went to the Caucasus and to the Crimea, then to Kamenka and Chişinău, where he became a Freemason. Here he joined the Filiki Eteria, a secret organization whose purpose was to overthrow Ottoman rule in Greece and establish an independent Greek state. He was inspired by the Greek Revolution and when the war against the Ottoman Turks broke out he kept a diary recording the events of the great national uprising. He stayed in Chişinău until 1823 and wrote two Romantic poems which brought him wide acclaim; The Captive of the Caucasus and The Fountain of Bakhchisaray. In 1823 Pushkin moved to Odessa, where he again clashed with the government, which sent him into exile on his mother's rural estate of Mikhailovskoe (near Pskov) from 1824 to 1826.
“Pushkin’s composition is first of all and above all a phenomenon of style, and it is from this flowered rim that I have surveyed its...
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