Eugene Onegin: A Novel In Verse
The Russians, revering Alexander Pushkin as a national hero, see his novel in verse, Eugene Onegin, as the pinnacle not only of his oeuvre, but of their entire literature. Its brilliant sonnets are traditionally memorized by youngsters, and even today nearly any Russian adult can quote many passages with fervor. No literary work plays a comparable role in the English-speaking world. The plot swirls around Onegin - a disillusioned roue who mourns youth's passing, his poet-friend Vladimir Lensky and two neighbor-girls - perky Olga and pensive Tanya. Infatuation leads to disappointment, jealousy to duelling, and in the end, obsession to rejection, in a twist that leaves readers hanging. But the novel's charm resides as much in its digressions as in its plot, for Pushkin exploits the "Onegin stanza" as a device for musing on wine, women's legs, poetry, hypocrisy - whatever strikes his fancy.
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Alexander Alexander Pushkin Arndt Babette Deutsch bard bored Chapter charm crowd dance dark dear deep dreams duel English epigraph epistolary novel Eugene Onegin eyes face Falen fate fear feel felt feminine rhymes flash French girl grace grand guests heart hope Lensky Lensky's life's lines look love's lyric Madame de Stael maids masculine rhymes Meanwhile memorized mind moon Moscow muse Nabokov Nanny night notes to stanza novel in verse Olga Olga's Oliver Elton once one's Onegin stanza Perhaps Petersburg phrase poem poet poet's poetic poetry Pushkin reader Russian language Russian literature Saint Petersburg seemed sighs sing sleep somehow song soon soul stares steeds strange style sweet Tanya Tatyana tears tell there's thought tongue translation turned twas Vikram Seth Vladimir Vladimir Nabokov what's who's words young youth
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