Review: Catharine Nepomnyashchy, et al, eds. «Under the Sky of My Africa: Pushkin and Blackness»
Catharine Theimer Nempomnyashchy, Nicole Svobodny, and Ludmilla A. Trigos, eds. Under the Sky of My Africa: Alexander Pushkin and Blackness. Foreword by Henry Louis Gates Jr. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 2006. viii + 418. Index. ISBN 0-8101-1970-6 (cloth), 0-8101-1971-4 (paper).
The anthology Under the Sky of My Africa: Alexander Pushkin and Blackness, edited by Catharine Theimer Nepomnyashchy, Nicole Svobodny, and Ludmilla A. Trigos, is an ambitious and timely collection which examines the multi-faceted ramifications of Alexander Pushkin’s mixed Russian-African heritage and their reverberations in both Pushkin’s life and oeuvre as well as in nineteenth- and twentieth-century literary and cultural history. Certainly, scholars have examined Pushkin’s African ancestry and its perceived importance in his life and oeuvre, attributing varying degrees of significance to the Gannibal branch of the poet’s genealogy. Scholars have also revealed how private and official perceptions and interpretations of Pushkin’s “blackness” have evolved in the centuries since the poet’s death, reflecting the divergent ways in which various constituencies have appropriated the poet’s mixed heritage for their own purposes. Yet Under the Sky of My Africa moves beyond the traditional historical and literary studies of Pushkin’s life and oeuvre to explore the thematic richness and complexity that accompanies the theme of Pushkin’s “blackness.”
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