Onegin's Album: A Creative and Literary Crossroads

 Leslie O'Bell


Abstract: Onegin's Album is a set of journal entries in verse originally destined for canto VII of Eugene Onegin. There has been a rather polarized scholarly debate as to what the entries meant for the portrayal of Onegin in the novel and why Pushkin in the end decided not to incorporate them. This essay presents the omitted Album as a more nuanced and ultimately ambiguous work, part of the confession of a "child of the times." Pushkin's eventual shift of focus from the Album to the significant books in Onegin's library took place at a crossroads in the writing of Onegin, one which was also a literary crossroads, since at this juncture we follow the thread of a hidden allusion to Charles Nodier's romantic novel Jean Sbogar. The sequence in which Tatiana visits Onegin's rooms and finds his notebook closely parallels Nodier's novel, as does her characterization of the riddle which Onegin represents. In omitting the Album Pushkin finally chose to leave the riddle of his main character unresolved.

Key words: album, Onegin's library, "Vospominanie," Baratynsky, Psyche, Charles Nodier, Jean Sbogar.


In Canto Seven of Pushkin’s novel in verse, Tatiana visits Onegin’s study, where she peruses his surroundings and pores over his books, an experience full of voyeuristic pleasures. In fact, this is an encounter with the enigmatic Onegin himself, with someone whose person may be absent but whose spirit is present. Tatiana’s visit to the study is placed on the central axis of the story where heroine and hero hold converse, and where she investigates the riddle which he represents for her. As has always been the case in the novel, to find out more about Onegin, to come into contact with him, Tatiana must first transgress against social prohibitions. By this point, Onegin has become the murderer of her sister’s betrothed, of her own prospective brother-in-law, circumstances which should bar our heroine from having anything to do with such a criminal. As in a dream, she comes upon his deserted house and takes her first tour by moonlight, enchanted and oblivious to the commentary of her guide, the old peasant woman. Onegin has never revealed his inner world to her; now she has invaded his territory, and the thrill is palpable. “Vse dushu tomnuiu zhivit”—she comes to life again (EO VII xix).[1] The spell of his objects and the traces of his activities hold her fascinated, down to the tutelary statuette of Napoleon guarding his study, the closest thing to a human presence in Onegin’s eerily empty quarters. But Tatiana’s first, moonlit visit with its thrills and enchantment is followed by a second, daytime sojourn, one planned and not accidental. The moment for catharsis and new discoveries has come.

Finally alone with her grief, Tatiana cries and cries. But no sooner has she dried her eyes than her “greedy soul” turns to Onegin’s books. As Pushkin was writing the novel in verse, periodically over the year 1828, what followed in the manuscript at this point were the drafts to Onegin’s Album, the original carrier of new revelations to Tatiana. It is often said that this helter-skelter collection of verse fragments was meant to diminish Onegin’s demonic aureole and present him in a more human light, motivating his behavior through glimpses into his past, with its social antipathies and also its secret passions.[2] In the album Onegin is sometimes seen as “a subtle commentator on the milieu he emerged from” and which “he has morally outgrown.”[3] Others are not so complimentary, and characterize the album as mostly trivial society verse.[4] But the manuscript only hints cryptically, “another world was revealed to her.”[5] The present essay will present a more nuanced and ultimately ambiguous view of the tantalizing album, this missing piece of the creative history of Pushkn’s novel in verse.

The narrator’s introduction to it seems to present the album in a flattering light: “in a word, the sincere journal / Or the secretly-begun diary / In which Onegin poured out his heart in his young days / The diary of his dreams and escapades” (draft, VII xxia, J. VI 430-431). However, Tatiana’s response is to become more dejected than before and to ask, “Alas, whom had she loved?” (“Tat´iana pushche priunyla/ Uvy, kogo ona liubila?”).[6] As the chapter evolved, the album served as a meaningful counterpart to the significant books in Onegin’s library. Pushkin would eventually fix on the few in which “modern man is characterized rather accurately” (EO VII xxii). So we should probably see the album as part of the confession of the child of the times, the enfant du siècle. Indeed, Onegin is shown throughout the novel in various would-be confessions to Tatiana. With Onegin’s album Pushkin, as usual, walks a fine line between sympathetic identification with his hero and ironic separation from him. These fictional extracts from Onegin’s youthful notebook possibly represent the final reworking of memories and even textual material from the diaries which Pushkin kept prior to 1825 and which he mostly destroyed before September of 1826.[7] Onegin’s journal certainly resembles its author’s notebooks in form and content. Onegin makes his jottings in an album with corners of gilded silver (at one point described as satin-bound) (J. VI 613, 640). The manuscript of chapter VII of Onegin, even as Pushkin wrote, was being entered into what N. V. Izmailov has called a “ladies’ album.”[8] It was probably given to Pushkin by Baratynsky in 1827 and inscribed with a quotation from Baratynsky’s narrative poem Feasts: “A collection of ardent notes / On the rich life of our youthful years” (“Sobran´e plamennykh zamet / Bogatoi zhizni iunykh let,” etc.).[9]

This passage from Baratynsky has its own history in association with Pushkin’s novel in verse. It figured on the cover page of the manuscript to Chapter I, coming before the title Eugene Onegin; that is, it served as the epigraph to the novel as it stood in its earliest stages—the title-page was dated Odessa 1823 (J. VI 543). Later in the life of Onegin, Pushkin included these lines as a draft epigraph to the first four stanzas from Chapter IV (Women), stanzas which were later dropped from the novel (J. VI 591). Eventually the dedication to chapters IV and V, “Not thinking to amuse proud society,” and so on, incorporated an allusion to the Baratynsky quotation in its phraseology: “a collection of motley chapters . . . the cold observations of the mind and the sorrowful notes of the heart” (J. VI 644). These new lines were first published in 1828, a measure of how far their author had come since first dashing off the quotation from Baratynsky. As every modern reader of Onegin knows, the revised dedication now opens the entire novel. This brief history of a phrase goes to show how the transformation of the album into a novel could also be inverted to yield the reverse, the changing of the novel back into an album. Note how Pushkin can use the same phrase from Baratynsky to characterize Onegin or to inscribe his own notebook. Onegin becomes one great poetic album which issues from these notebooks.[10]

We can see that in Onegin’s album Pushkin describes chaotic raw material which very much resembles the make-up of his own notebooks, a mix of “thoughts, remarks, portraits, numbers, names, initials, secret inscriptions, fragments, drafts of letters, all of which has covered the pages of the album with writing and drawings going every which way: “ispisan, izrisovan / Rukoi Onegina krugom” (J. VI 613-14, fair copy). This is the journal of Onegin’s—and Pushkin’s—youth, and it takes us back to Petersburg circa 1819 and to the psychological and social origins of the character Onegin from the experiences of his author Pushkin. Though by now it might have seemed that Pushkin had worked through all that, these memories were still very powerful, especially since Pushkin was once again circulating in the Petersburg milieu after his return from exile. In 1828 he writes the album as a “human document,” to borrow a phrase of Iury Lotman’s about Tatiana’s letter. Like the letter, the album breaks with the Onegin stanza and stands outside the structure of the novel in verse. When Pushkin allows Tatiana to read the journal, he subjects his hero and alter ego to their severest judge. Yet he also makes Onegin’s inner experience part of what Tatiana knows. Onegin had never written back to her. Now this journal is a document than answers her confessional letter—long before the invention of Onegin’s final mirroring epistle in 1831 as an inspired afterthought to the novel.

So what are the actual contents of the journal? A crazy-quilt of moods and attitudes, a fragmented stream of consciousness which reveals its hero’s complexes, his traumas and his attempts at self-justification, his social non-conformism and impatience with conventional morality as well as with things like patriotic demands for literature in Russian for Russians. We get outbursts of misogyny reminiscent of “Women” (published 1827), but with one exception made for the married woman enciphered as RS, the “Venus of the Neva,” our hero’s secret passion. As it unfolds, the journal yields the scattered episodes of a developing liaison. Solovei may be right to see this material as a study for the future Chapter VIII, when the besotted Onegin, as out of place as ever, tries to pursue an adulterous affair—with Tatiana. But it equally well puts us back in contact with the mentality of chapter I, when the narrator said he made friends with Onegin (“s nim podruzhilsia ia v to vremia” EO I xlv): the bile, the pleasures of ironic conversation, Onegin’s genius for the arts of love and the eruption of the narrator’s “love rants” (“liubovnyi bred”).

In writing the journal Onegin is preoccupied with defending himself against society’s negative views of him (as well as demonstrating his general superiority to its boorishness). He has earned a reputation for hostility, insolence and downright obnoxious behavior. The very first statement out of Onegin’s mouth, the opening line of his journal proclaims: “People don’t like me, and slander me / . . . What for?” (“Menia ne liubiat i kleveshchut / . . . Za chto?”). His explanation is that his temperament is hot, and he has been imprudent enough to express it in talk and pieces of “nonsense” (provocative behavior that offends them: “neostorozhnost´ pylkikh dush,” “razgovory,” “inye vzdory”) (J. VI 431, 614). We hear echoes of Pushkin’s continual obsession with the slander that hounded him in 1819 and which he memorialized yet again in the draft continuation to the meditative masterpiece of May 1828, “Reminiscence”: “Again cold society . . . deals my heart [injuries I cannot parry] / I hear . . . the buzz of slander” (“Vnov´ serdtsu . . .nanosit khladnyi svet [Neotrazimye obidy] Ia slyshu . . .zhuzhzhan´e klevety”) (J. III, 2, 651). Note that in “Reminiscence” the lyrical persona—consumed with regret and prey to remorse, quite unlike Onegin—reads the scroll of his life, another version of the recovered journal. But Pushkin relegated the lines about his injuries to the drafts of the poem. Onegin, however, has no such compunctions. In a further gesture of self-defense, from out of nowhere, in the fourth passage of the journal, Onegin voices familiar sentiments about the “petrified leaf,” expressing the deadening effect of the agitation of society life on a malleable and vulnerable character: “V volnen´i zhizhni tak mertveet / I vetrennyi i nezhnyi nrav” (J. VI 615, fair-copy), “V potoke sveta pylkii nrav/ Teriaet pylkost´” (J. VI 433, drafts). The drafts worked through several variants including the idea of pylkost´, the warmth or ardor that is frozen out. Onegin thus sees himself as subject to the dreadful process of becoming a petrified, rigidified semblance of his once warm and living human self, a process described as a recurrent poetic myth in Pushkin by Roman Jakobson.[11]

The final defense of the complex-laden Onegin is the most disarming: the woman he loves tells him that although she has heard so many rumors about him, he should know that, well, he is just very nice (if “nice” can convey the same overtones of good and kind as the Russian dobryi). These are the lines most often alluded to in the journal as humanizing the previously demonic character: “no vy sovsem ne tak opasny / I znali l´ vy do sei pory / Chto prosto—ochen´ vy dobry” (J. VI, 615). This is hardly authorial commentary, though, and could even be considered a form of flirtation coming from this woman (“you aren’t so dangerous, you know . . .”). In any case, the hero who supposedly poses no danger is soon seen in the journal pursuing her final seduction. The fragments continue with number 10, designated in the fair copy “I love you, etc.,” a shorthand for the insertion of a previously written stanza, in this case a cynical praise of the “easy” coquette (J. VI 581, 617). The last fragment, number 11, begins “Today I was presented to her” (“Segodnia byl ia ei predstavlen”) (J. VI 617, fair copy). Anna Akhmatova once implored fate in her poetry just to let her be kind and good, dobraia, the true outcry of the complicated spirit who longs to be simple and lovable.[12] Onegin’s argument began with the words, “They don’t like me” (menia ne liubiat), and the rhetoric of the journal tends to show that he is, after all, good underneath; he does have a better self.   So this is the rhetorically-slanted human document that Tatiana reads, but, as always, Pushkin leaves the sincerity of Onegin’s confession open to question. Waves of self-defense alternate with waves of aggressive offense against society, and women in particular. As usual, it is the tone of the album that says the most about how it should be taken, and tone is notoriously hard to judge and open to a number of readings. Still, there is something off-putting about the voice of Onegin’s youthful self as it is heard here. He can be witty and incisive but also strident, categorical, banal, disingenuously self-pitying and innocently self-congratulatory. “They don’t like me . . . What for?” Of women we hear, “They are born for the harem” but “RS is pretty as an angel.” Four times the word “I” begins the love lines: “I managed to catch the last sound of the final phrase, / I put the black sable on her shoulders . . . / I tossed the green shawl on her curls . . . / I parted the enamored crowd before the Venus of the Neva” (J. VI 616-17). The album is seasoned with more than a little of what Pushkin will call “the coarse salt of malicious society gossip” (“krupnaia sol´ svetskoi zlosti” (EO VIII xxiii), which has the effect of trivializing even the most touching or bracing elements in it. The form of the journal as album also tends to assimilate its content to “album verses,” with all that that implies of memorable bons mots mixed with ad hominen impromtu verses and flattering “madrigals” for the women. Though some of the entries are quite long—12, 14 or even 16 lines—none of them has the rhyme scheme of the Onegin stanza. More than half are short stanzas, giving them the signature of album verse. They display a virtuosic variety of rhyme structure (as far as Pushkin’s authorial formulation of them), but a kind of bewildering tumbling kaleidoscope of patterns, including even the punning rhyme of a woman’s name with a spider (“Eliza K: pauka,” J, 614). There is as tremendous gap between the drafts of the album, truly fragmentary and unformed, and the fair copy dated.

We do not know what motivated Pushkin’s decision not to publish the Album. The view of Onegin’s psyche that it makes available is actually quite ambiguous, as shown above. So I do not think we can say that the omission of it means that Pushkin had changed his position about the hero, from positive to negative, as Lotman and other commentators have concluded.[13] He certainly decided not to make any directly biographical material about his hero available at this point in the novel. Pushkin deliberately crossed out the stanza describing the album on the fair copy, thus deleting the lead-in. He did, however, preserve the text of the album itself, which he had scrupulously edited, presumably for some later use. As was often the case, in deciding to withhold the album from publication he may have wanted to conceal autobiographical references, especially as concerned women, or ones that could be taken that way. Pushkin had done his share of writing album verse and “madrigals” in 1828 to various love-interests—Olenina, the Ushakovas—thinking who-knows-what of such an occupation. Take, for example, the inane comic ditty, “My heart flies after Netty” . . . (III, 110). But should he write this sort of thing into Onegin? “Crazed love poetry” (“liubovnyi bred”), hints of a secret love (the famous utaennaia liubov´ which has fascinated so many biographers and readers), was all this necessary?

We might compare the omission of the Album with Pushkin’s well-known decision not to publish the continuation of the poem “Reminiscence,” also from 1828, with its confessional but also satirical personal chronicle. In fact, the end of the poem explicitly formulates the editorial problem. As the speaker reads the scroll of memory, he curses and weeps but “cannot wipe out the sad lines” (“no strok pechal´nykh ne smyvaiu”) (III 60). Yet this is just the point where the poet chooses to omit the biographical subtext for his tormented reflections. A manuscript variant of the famous line reads, “no strok pechal´nykh ne smyvaiu!!!” implying, “but I will not wipe them out!!!”(J. III 2 653). That is, no matter how I curse my past life, it is still mine and I will not renounce it. Pushkin hesitated, but he eventually did strike the continuation of the poem, as he did Onegin’s Album.

Along with autobiographical considerations we naturally must also consider the possible aesthetic reasons for Pushkin’s omission of the Album. Unconventional as Tatiana may be, there is something unbecoming about having her read someone else’s diary, even if albums were the social currency of the day. In the poem “Reminiscence,” Pushkin objectifies or generalizes the personal. In the novel, likewise, we are left with Onegin’s books to reveal the type of the modern man, trenchantly characterized by the narrator. Perhaps Pushkin decided to strip Onegin of his unexpectedly poetic side at this point in the novel. In Canto I Onegin had been an entirely prosaic character: “No matter how [his friends] tried, he couldn’t tell an iamb from a trochee” (I, vii). At this point, Pushkin may have been saving the Album for the long-deferred reunion of the poet/narrator with Onegin in Odessa, as part of the up-coming Journey canto. He may have used it as a template for Onegin’s behavior and social posture in Canto VIII.[14] But we do know that by the time he wrote the end of the novel Pushkin would deny Onegin any poetic abilities. Even when hopelessly in love with Tatiana, he cannot quite fathom verse: “siloi magnetizma / Stikhov rossiiskikh mekhanizma / Edva v to vremia ne postig” (VIII, xxxviii). And Tatiana, though the poet’s alter ego, has been largely defined by novel reading.[15] Without the distraction of the Album, the reader’s attention is focused on Tatiana’s response to the library with its modern novels.

David Bethea has suggested that we look at the episode in Onegin’s library as a variation on the theme of Psyche pursuing the discovery of Eros, the soul in search of the lover.[16] But Tatiana does not experience a real revelation, unlike Psyche with her lamp. She still has to operate by intuition, by gadan´e, guessing at Onegin’s identity by the indirect evidence of the marks in his books. Tatiana’s response is foregrounded at the expense of Onegin’s reality, however it might be shown in a text composed by him.[17] He is reduced to a cipher behind his library. Tatiana may best be considered as one of the company of iconographic representations of women reading. In the end, her conclusion about Onegin’s books highlights the important theme of authenticity. “Isn’t he a parody, then? (“uzh ne parodiia li on?”) / “Could she have solved the riddle?” “Could this be the answer?” (“Uzhel´ zagadku razgadala?” “Uzheli slovo naideno?”)

What is most fascinating about this sequence may be that the shift from the album to the library, with the addition of the significant phrase about the answer to the riddle, reflects Pushkin’s reworking of a hidden literary allusion. This is to Charles Nodier’s romantic novel Jean Sbogar. In Chapter III of Onegin, this work had been contrasted to Tatiana’s earlier repertoire of sentimentalist fiction as one of the newer novels where vice triumphs and where characters like “the mysterious Sbogar” become the idols of the adolescent girl (“I stal ee kumir . . . tainstvenyyi Sbogar,” EO III, xii). Tatiana’s idea of Evgeny could potentially be shaped by the image of Jean Sbogar, a noble robber figure, an outcast and an exile, a dangerous political rebel and troubling religious skeptic. So Tatiana was programmed to search for Onegin by reference to Sbogar, among other literary heroes, and it should come as no surprise that the sequence of her clandestine visit to Onegin’s house with the discovery of his notebook comes directly from Nodier’s novel. Its heroine, Antonia, pining after the sudden departure of the mysterious Lothario (also known as Sbogar) and in search of answers to her questions about him, ventures into his quarters, where she discovers and reads his notebooks, the “Tablettes de Lothario”:

She had been prevented from going back to these rooms . . . When she managed to get into them without being observed . . . she noticed at the foot of the chair where she was sitting, a little notebook bound in Russian leather, furnished with a steel clasp whose spring was broken. She picked it up, and thinking that it might contain the explanation she needed, that perhaps Lothario himself had not abandoned it in this place by accident, she eagerly opened it.

. . . on avait évité de la laisser rentrer dans cet appartement . . . Comme elle était parvenue à s’y introduire sans témoins, . . . elle aperçut au pied du siège où elle était assise, de petites tablettes de cuir de Russie, garnies d’une agrafe d’acier dont le ressort était brisé. Elle s’en saisit; et pensant qu’elles pouvaient contenir l’explication dont elle avait besoin, que peut-être même Lothario ne les avait pas abandonnées sans dessin dans cet endroit, elle les ouvrit avec empressement.[18]

If we look to commentaries, Mikhailova brushes aside the association with Lothario’s album as one which Pushkin would wish to avoid.[19] True, Onegin is not Sbogar, and the content of Onegin’s album is far different from the prose precepts of the romantic radical in Nodier’s novel, so to that extent the allusion to the Tablettes might have struck Pushkin as misleading. However, the characterization of Sbogar’s pages, which introduces the text of the notebook, might just as well be about Onegin’s fragments: “They displayed little connection among them; but almost all of them were inspired by that fatal spirit of paradox, that wild and impassioned misanthropy which was prevalent in his conversation” (“Elles offraient peu de liaison entre elles; mais presque toutes étaient inspirées par cet fatal esprit de paradoxe, par cette misanthropie sauvage et exaltée qui dominait dans ses discours (Jean Sbogar, 1832, 237). Whether Pushkin substituted books about the modern hero or whether he used Onegin’s version of the album, he opened up Tatiana’s literary horizon beyond her early mind-set, just as predicted in Chapter III. As we read the finished sequence, we realize that Tatiana is looking for a character out of Jean Sbogar when she visits Onegin’s rooms but finding someone else. However, in the concluding lines of the library stanzas, when Tatiana sums up her impressions about the riddle that is Onegin, she is still recapitulating the thoughts of Antonia after the sudden rupture of the romance with Lothario: “She saw only a terrible enigma whose solution she could not seek without feeling her heart sink and her reason falter. Only once did she think she had grasped the mystery for a moment” (“Elle n’y vit qu’une énigme affreuse, dont elle ne pouvait chercher le mot sans sentir son coeur défaillir et sa raison s’égarer. Une seule fois elle crut un moment en saisir le mystère” (Jean Sbogar, 1832, 2235-36). Tatiana wonders, could she have solved the riddle, could “parody” be the word, the answer? “Uzhel´ zagadku razgadala? / Uzheli slovo naideno?” Pushkin italicizes the word “slovo” to show its specialized figurative meaning as the answer to a riddle, le mot de l’énigme, as the commentaries tell us, the word which defines or pegs him. In this case the italics also signal a buried allusion to Jean Sbogar, the “well-known novel of Charles Nodier,” as Pushkin had reminded the reader in the notes to Chapter III (J. VI, 193).

Antonia is looking for the hidden motivation of Lothario, the thing that frustrates their union, which is actually his concealed identity as the fearsome brigand Sbogar. That is the solution to his riddle. Without realizing it, she loves the man she is supposed to hate, and he cannot face the thought of involving her in his political and personal struggles or subjecting her pure heart to his anguished religious skepticism, though he seems to be reaching out to her as his hope of salvation. This set of fantasies left its trace in Pushkin’s memory, and one can only speculate whether Onegin might have become more of a double for Sbogar against the possible background of the Decembrist uprising or military adventures in the Caucasus. However, we have no evidence for this, except for the often-cited reminiscences of Iuzefovich that in 1829 Pushkin planned to have Onegin die on the battlefield or in the revolt.[20]

So as Tatiana makes her way out of Onegin’s study, the novel crosses paths with the romantic brigand story, which Pushkin would eventually pursue in his own way, first in Dubrovsky and then in The Captain’s Daughter. These are Pushkin’s most accomplished prose treatments of the gripping mythic theme of the Robber-Bridegroom, indelibly expressed in his 1825 ballad “Zhenikh.” The radical reflections of Lothario’s notebooks also bear a certain kinship with the sentiments of the exiled malcontent Aleko in Pushkin’s Gypsies, and both have a similar Rousseauistic bias. For Nodier, the Tablettes open up the perspective of a concealed political novel behind the novel’s smokescreen of Gothic horrors. They contain Sbogar’s testament or profession of faith, though the politics is all talk.[21] The lordly Lothario has a real identity, as the noble bandit Sbogar, or perhaps he has a double identity or split personality. But Tatiana now fears that Onegin has no identity at all. Nodier’s half-crazed heroine Antonia will be called upon to identify a man standing trial for banditry before the French occupiers of Slavic Illyria (today’s Slovenia). In the melodramatic end of the novel, she exclaims in joy, “This is Lothario!” thus prompting Lothario to reveal himself as Sbogar. His two identities finally fuse in the mind of Antonia, she speaks the words Jean Sbogar, whereupon she swoons and dies, and Sbogar somberly marches off to the scaffold. No one else is privy to his secret duality or to their love. Antonia alone has solved the riddle. The wise maiden of fairy tales who solves all the riddles—Tatiana is not that. She doubts her answer even now (is he a parody?). Even as the novel closes Pushkin will leave Onegin unresolved, or is it simply undeveloped? The hero’s omitted Album, like his fragmented, mutilated Journey, leaves the reader searching for him among the marginal texts that form a kind of apocrypha around the canonical novel, Eugene Onegin.


Akhmatova, Anna. Dobroi byt´ pozvol´.In Stikhotvoreniia i poemy, 255. Leningrad: Sovetskii pisatel´, 1976.

Bethea, David. “Pushkin’s Mythopoetic Consciousness: Apuleius, Psyche and Cupid, and the Theme of Metamorphosis in Evgenii Onegin.” In Two Hundred Years of Pushkin. Volume II: Alexander Pushkin: Myth and Monument, edited by Robert Reid and Joe Andrew, 15 – 38. Amsterdam/New York, NY, 2003.

Feinberg, I´lia. “Sozhzhennye zapiski.” In Chitaia tetradi Pushkina, 137-166. Moskva: Sovetskii pisatel´, 1976.

Iezuitova, R.V. “‘Al´bom Onegina’: Materialy k tvorcheskoi istorii.” Vremennik pushkinskoi komissii, 23 (1989): 19 – 31.

Izmailov, N.V. Ocherki tvorchestva Pushkina. Leningrad: Nauka, 1975.

Jakobson, Roman. Puškin and his Sculptural Myth, edited and translated by John Burbank. The Hague: Mouton, 1975.

Lotman, Iu.M. Pushkin. Sankt-Peterburg: Iskusstvo S-PB, 1995.

Mikhailova, N.I. “’Evgenii Onegin’ i al´bomnaia kul´tura pervoi treti XIX v.” Izvestiia akademii nauk, Seriia literatury i iazyka, 55.1 (1996): 15-22.

Nelson, Hilda. Charles Nodier. New York: Twayne, 1972.

Oneginskaia entsiklopediia, vol. 1, edited by N.I. Mikhailkova, compiled by N.I. Mikhailkova, V.A. Koshelev, and M.V. Stroganov. Moscow: Russkiy Put´, 1999.

Proskurin, Oleg. “Tat´iana, Avtor i iazyk liubvi.” In Poeziia Pushkina ili podvizhnyi palimpsest, 162 – 171. Moscow: Novoe literaturnoe obozrenie, 1999.

Pushkin, A.S. Polnoe sobranie sochinenii. Izdatel´stvo akademii nauk SSSR, 1937, rpt. Moskva: Voskresenie, 1995.

———. Polnoe sobranie sochinenii v desiati tomakh. Izd. tret´e. Moskva: Nauka, 1962-66.

———. Rabochie tetradi, VI. Sankt-Peterburg-London: Rossiiskaia akademiia nauk, Institut russkoi literatury [Pushinskii dom] 1996.

Rioux, Jean-Claude. “Les Tablettes de ‘Jean Sbogar’ ou le voleur et la révolution.” In Charles Nodier: Colloque du deuxième centenaire, Besançon-Mai 1980, 113 – 32. Paris: Annales littéraires de l’Université de Besançon, 1981.

Sandomirskaia, V.B. “Rabochaia tetrad´ Pushkina 1828 – 1833 gg. (PD No. 838): Istoriia zapolneniia.” In Pushkin: Issledovaniia i materialy, X (1982): 238 – 71.

Sbogar, Jean. Charles Nodier, edited by Jean Sgard. Paris: H. Champion, 1987.

———. Oeuvres de Charles Nodier. Paris: Librairie d’Eugene Renduel, 1832.

Solovei, N. Ia. “Iz istorii raboty A.S. Pushkina nad siuzhetom Evgeniia Onegina (Al´bom Onegina).” In Zamysel, trud, voploshchenie, edited by V.I. Kuleshov, 101 – 117. Moscow: Izdatel´stvo moskovskogo universiteta, 1977.


[1] Final text from Eugene Onegin is quoted by chapter and stanza. Text from works by Pushkin other than the novel in verse are quoted from A. S. Pushkin, Polnoe sobranie sochinenii v desiati tomakh, izd. tret´e (Moskva: Nauka, 1962-66). Drafts to Onegin are quoted from volume VI of the Jubilee edition: A. S. Pushkin, Polnoe sobranie sochinenii, (Izdatel´stvo akademii nauk SSSR, 1937, rpt. Moskva: Voskresenie, 1995). Such references begin with J. All translations are my own.

[2] N. Ia. Solovei, “Iz istorii raboty A. S. Pushkina nad siuzhetom Evgeniia Onegina (Al´bom Onegina)” in Zamysel, trud, voploshchenie, ed. V. I Kuleshov (Moskva: Izdatel´stvo moskovskogo universiteta, 1977), 101-117, especially pp. 109-110.

[3] R.V. Iezuitova, “ ‘Al´bom Onegina’: Materialy k tvorcheskoi istorii,” Vremennik pushkinskoi komissii, 23 (1989): 22.

[4] Diakonov, in Iezuitova, “Al´bom Onegina,” 21.

[5] “I ei otkrylsia mir inoi” (EO VII xxi). These words were left in the final text of the novel to characterize Tatiana’s response to reading Onegin’s books.

[6] J. VI 617. See facsimile Notebook VI where this stanza is a draft-like appendage to the fair copy of the Album. A. S. Pushkin, Rabochie tetradi, VI (Sankt-Peterburg-London: Rossiiskaia akademiia nauk, Institut russkoi literatury [Pushinskii dom], 1996). Solovei writes that the stanza containing these words was erroneously printed with fair copy manuscripts in the Jubilee, rather than with drafts. She states that it was written after Pushkin had made the fair copy of the Album (“perebeliv al´bom”), yet she assumes that Tatiana’s sentiments refer to her disillusionment after reading Onegin’s books (Solovei, “Iz istorii,” 106-07).

[7] See I´lia Feinberg, “Sozhzhennye zapiski,” in his Chitaia tetradi Pushkina (Moskva: Sovetskii pisatel´, 1976), 137-166.

[8] “Damskii al´bom”: N. V. Izmailov, Ocherki tvorchestva Pushkina (Leningrad: Nauka, 1975), 42.

[9] V. B. Sandomirskaia, “Rabochaia tetrad´ Pushkina 1828-1833 gg. (PD No. 838): Istoriia zapolneniia,” Pushkin: Issledovaniia i materialy, X (1982): 240.

[10] See also N. I. Mikhailova, “’Evgenii Onegin’ i al´bomnaia kul´tura pervoi treti XIX v.,” Izvestiia akademii nauk, Seriia literatury i iazyka, Tom 55 (1996, No.1): 15-22 and her entry on the Album in Oneginskaia entsiklopediia, vol. I (Moskva: Russkii put´, 1999).

[11] As Jakobson wrote, the “animated statue evokes the opposite image of rigidified people.” See Roman Jakobson, Puškin and his Sculptural Myth, trans. and ed. John Burbank (The Hague: Mouton, 1975).

[12] “Dobroi byt´ pozvol´” in Pesen´ki, “Lishniaia” (1959). Anna Akhmatova, Stikhotvoreniia i poemy (Leningrad: Sovetskii pisatel´, 1976), 255.

[13] See Iu. M. Lotman, “Roman A. S. Pushkina ‘Evgenii Onegin.’ Kommentarii,”in his Pushkin (Sankt-Peterburg: Iskusstvo S-PB, 1995), 688-689. Lotman says that in the end Pushkin decided to present Onegin as bound to his milieu rather than in conflict with it (689). The first edition of his commentary dates to 1980. Solovei’s 1977 article on the Album, “Iz Istorii,” also treats its view of Onegin as basically positive.

[14] Solovei, "Iz istorii" 113-14.

[15] On Tatiana’s identification with the culture of the novel see the sub-chapter “Tat´iana, Avtor i iazyk liubvi” in Oleg Proskurin, Poeziia Pushkina ili podvizhnyi palimpsest (Moskva: Novoe literaturnoe obozrenie, 1999), 163-64.

[16] David M. Bethea, “ Pushkin’s Mythopoetic Consciousness: Apuleius, Psyche and Cupid, and the Theme of Metamorphosis in Evgenii Onegin” in Two Hundred Years of Pushkin. Volume II: Alexander Pushkin: Myth and Monument, eds. Robert Reid and Joe Andrew (Amsterdam/New York, NY, 2003), 29-32. Bethea writes, “I would like to suggest that . . . Tatiana’s visit(s) to Onegin’s library in Chapter 7 is a novelized version of Psyche’s adventures in Cupid’s palace” (29). I myself would say that Tatiana here is more like the Russian source character, Bogdanovich’s Dushen´ka or her successor, Pushkin’s own Liudmila, the first with her education in the palace of Cupid, and the second with the spoof on that education.

[17] Solovei, “Iz istorii,” 107.

[18] Oeuvres de Charles Nodier, Jean Sbogar (Paris : Librairie d’Eugene Renduel, 1832), 236. Quoted as probably closest to the text Pushkin read. For a modern critical edition see Charles Nodier, Jean Sbogar, ed. Jean Sgard (Paris : H. Champion, 1987).

[19] See Oneginskaia entsiklopediia,Vol. I, making fun of the fact that some lines in the Tablettes were “written in blood” (commentary to chapter VII).

[20] Lotman, “Kommentarii,” 689 ff.

[21] See Hilda Nelson, “The Generous Outlaw,” in her Charles Nodier (New York: Twayne, 1972), 54 and Jean-Claude Rioux, “Les Tablettes de ‘Jean Sbogar’ ou le voleur et la révolution,” Charles Nodier: Colloque du deuxième centenaire. Besançon-Mai 1980 (Paris: Annales littéraires de l’Université de Besançon, 1981), 113-114.


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