Review: Robert Chandler. «Brief Lives: Alexander Pushkin»
Robert Chandler. Brief Lives: Alexander Pushkin. London: Hesperus Press, 2009. 152 pp. ISBN 978-1-84391-912-4. Paper.
As we all know and often lament, those who cannot read Russian ordinarily esteem Alexander Pushkin’s works less than they merit, largely because so much of the poet’s ingenuity and lyrical brilliance is lost in translation. Resting on such a conclusion, however, oversimplifies the problem. Even for those who can read Pushkin in Russian, a full appreciation of his genius benefits from knowledge of his life, his role in the development of Russian culture, and his place in the history of European literature. A biography that works in tandem with the translator’s mission of serving as a “post-horse of enlightenment” is thus a welcome supplement to international literature on Pushkin and his legacy. Robert Chandler’s concise biography achieves just that.