Alexander Pushkin’s lifelong engagement with French literature, language and culture is a well documented fact of Russian literary history. It has been investigated from many angles and by many Pushkinisty, including some of its most eminent practitioners (to name but a few: A.N. Veselovsky, B.V. Tomashevsky, B.G. Reizov and A.A. Akhmatova). One of the essential merits of the book under review is that it has so many new things to say about a subject about which so much has already been said.
В.С. Непомнящий, ред. «Моцарт и Салиери», трагедия Пушкина. Движения во времени 1840е-1990е. Москва: Наследие, 1997. стр. 935. ISBN: 5201132758. В преплете.
As was to be expected, the years leading to the Pushkin bicentennial resulted in an explosion of Pushkin-related publications, including numerous anthologies. Valentin Nepomniashchii’s collection presents 150 years of Russian engagement with Mozart and Salieri. The book’s 935 pages and 65 authors suggest that Nepomniashchii has chosen an encyclopedic approach to his material; unfortunately, it is that of Soviet encyclopedias. The ideological criterion for the selection of material informs and undermines the scholarly value of this publication. The sheer amount of information, however, makes it an essential volume for any Pushkin scholar.
Commentators have repeatedly characterized Pushkin's masterpiece as an exhaustive compendium: "an encyclopedia of Russian life" (Belinsky), "an encyclopedia of Russian folklore" (Grechina), "an encyclopedia of literary genres" (Stilman). In his recent study, V.A. Koshelev describes Eugene Onegin as Pushkin's attempt to create an encyclopedia of a very different order—one tht documents the "eternal law" of humanity's advance that Kliuchesvskii describeas as «то, что не проходит, как наследство, урок, неоконченный процесс» (5). Emphasizing its open, dynamic nature, Koshelev reads Onegin as a «декларация принципа своевольного созданья» (19) and focuses on Pushkin’s negotiation of the demands of the work in progress and the demands of the surrounding world. Highlighted thereby is the «принцип предельного использования всего литературного опыта современности» (15) and the «нравственный опыт» (16)—not only Pushkin’s own, but that of the entire epoch—that inform Eugene Onegin.