In this volume, Sona Hoisington has gathered together and carefully translated critical essays written by prominent critics and scholars beginning with Belinsky and concluding with Yury Lotman and Sergey Bocharov. With only one exception (an excerpt from Bakhtin's The Dialogic Imagination), each essay appears for the first time in English translation. In adition to a Foreword by Caryl Emerson and Hoisington's Preface, the colection includes: Vissarion Belinsky, "Eugene Onegin: An Encyclopedia of Russian Life"; Dmitry Pisarev, "Pushkin and Belinsky: Eugene Onegin"; Fyodor Dostoevsky, "Pushkin"; Yury Tynyanov, "On the Composition of Eugene Onegin"; Yury Lotman, "The Structure of Eugene Onegin" and "The Transformation of the Tradition Generated by Onegin in the Subsequent History of the Russian Novel"; Mikhail Bakhtin, "Discourse in Eugene Onegin"; Sergey Bocharov, "The Stylistic World of the Novel."
It goes without saying that Tom Shaw is the doyen of American Pushkinists. From his translation of the letters through the dictionary of Pushkin's rhymes (now available on the Internet) and innumerable articles, to this last monument of erudition and scholarship, Shaw has set the standard by which all work on pushkin must be measured, and has made Wisconsin the centre for Pushkin scholarship in America.
Pushkin's role as Russia's "first love" may have become a cliché, but challenges to the truism more often than not simply intensify Pushkin's primacy, as in Maiakovskii's "Iubileinoe" or Tsvetaeva's "Stikhi k Pushkinu." Atttudes toward him have changed dramatically, perhaps even cyclically, and creating a Pushkin in one's own image marks the work of many Russian poets and some epochs as well. In Cultural Mythologies of Russian Modernism, edited by Boris Gasparov, Robert P. Hughes and Irina Paperno, several essays take this point further: using a cultural semiotic approach they demonstrate how Silver Age poets and writers modeled their careers on Pushkin's example. One result of these and other essays may be our different understanding of how "Pushkin" has operated as a sign in Russian culture.