Pushkins Lyric Intelligence

Paperback | May 31, 2012

byAndrew Kahn

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Alexander Pushkin (1799-1837) is Russia's greatest poet, a 'founding father' of modern Russian literature, and a major figure in world literature. His poetry and prose changed the course of Russian culture, and his works inspired operas by Musorgsky and Tchaikovsky (as well as Peter Shaffer'sAmadeus). Ceaselessly experimental, he is the author of the greatest body of lyric poetry in the language; a remarkable novelist in verse, and a pioneer of Russian prose fiction; an innovator in psychological and historical drama; and an amateur historian of serious purpose. Like Byron, whosewriting and personality were an inspiration to him, Pushkin had a sensational life, the stuff of Romantic legend. His writing treats all the most important themes that great literature can addresss-the nature of identity, love and betrayal, independence and creativity, nature, the meaning of life,death and the afterlife-in an elegant style and highly personal voice. Lyric intelligence refers to Pushkin's capacity to transform philosophical and aesthetic ideas into poetry. Arguing that Pushkin's poetry has often been misunderstood as transparently simple, this first major study of this substantial body of work traces the interrelation between his writing and theinfluences of English and European literature and cultural movements on his understanding of the creative process and the aims of art. Andrew Kahn approaches Pushkin's poetic texts through the history of ideas, and argues that in his poetry the clashes that matter are not about stylistic innovationand genre, as has often been suggested. Instead the poems are shown to articulate a range of positions on key topics of the period, including the meaning of originality, the imagination, the status of the poet, the role of commercial success, the definition of genius, represenation of nature, thedefinition of the hero, and the immortality of the soul. Drawing on an extensive knowledge of Pushkin's library and his intellectual context, Pushkin's Lyric Intelligence addresses how theories of inspiration informed Pushkin's thinking about classicism and Romanticism in the 1820s and 1830s. The story of the unfolding of the imagination as a vital poeticpower and concept for Pushkin is a consistent theme of the entire book. It is this movement towards a fuller apprehension and application of the imagination as the key poetic power that guided Pushkin's transitions through different phases of his creative development. The book looks at theintersection of Pushkin's knowledge of important ideas and artistic trends with poems about the creative imagination, psychology, sex and the body, heroism and the ethical life, and death.

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Alexander Pushkin (1799-1837) is Russia's greatest poet, a 'founding father' of modern Russian literature, and a major figure in world literature. His poetry and prose changed the course of Russian culture, and his works inspired operas by Musorgsky and Tchaikovsky (as well as Peter Shaffer'sAmadeus). Ceaselessly experimental, he is th...

Andrew Kahn is Professor of Russian Literature at the University of Oxford and Fellow and Tutor in Modern Languages at St Edmund Hall, Oxford. He has degrees from Harvard and Oxford in Russian and Classics. His scholarly research draws on his wide-ranging interests in European literature, most especially Greek, Latin and French, and d...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:416 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.68 inPublished:May 31, 2012Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199654336

ISBN - 13:9780199654338

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Table of Contents

Introduction1. Tradition and Originality2. Invention and Genius3. The Meaning of Beauty4. A Reticent Imagination5. Nature and Romantic Subjectivity6. Genius and the Commerce of Poetry7. The Hero8. Body and Soul

Editorial Reviews

"Pushkin's Lyric Intelligence is handsomely produced by Oxford University Press... with splendid illustrations for the chapter on heroism. Kahn writes elegantly and incisively" --Stephanie Sandler, East European Journal