About the author
In autumn 1830, Pushkin finished four shorter drama works in Boldin, they are known as 'small tragedies' (this is what Pushkin himself named them in one of his letters): The Stingy Knight, Mozart and Salieri, The Stone Guest, andThe Feast in the Time of Plague.In these works Pushkin concentrated just on a few characters; he took consideration of the unity of action, place and time. In The Stingy Knight he presumably depicted the stinginess of his father, yet also the greed of the capitalism. The dramatic 'small tragedy' Mozart and Salieri is a play where the author tries to depict the problem of geniality and crime arising from Salieri's frustration in comparing himself to the genius Mozart. The Stone Guest is a poetic dramatisation of the story about Don Juan; it was dramatically dealt with for the first time by the Spanish writers Tirso de Molina and Lope de Vega. Pushkin was acquainted with Moliere's and Mozart's Don Juan, however it is not excluded that he knew also other texts of the kind, since this very topic served as inspiration material to a number of other authors (e.g. Goldoni: Don Giovanni Tenorio ossia Il Dissoluto, 1736). Pushkin wrote The Feast in the Time of Plague after an English romantic drama The City of the Plague by John Wilson (1816). In rewriting this text Pushkin's main concern was to be as economic as possible, so he shortened the original in many places. This was the reason he had to create new connections among paragraphs. The character of the 'pensive Mary' was created by Pushkin while Wilson named her 'sweet'. The last two strophes of her song are written completely by Pushkinand also the first three have very little original text. Pushkin's one-act tragedy is actually a rewriting of the three-act Wilson's play, so Pushkin was entitled to consider it his own play. Pushkin actually never crossed the Russian border, except in his combat march to the Turkish Arzrum, yet in his 'small tragedies' he depicted foreign environments like France, Spain and England with perfection and masterful skill.
Greatest Russian poet, founder of classical Russian poetry. Born on June 6, 1799, in Moscow, into a noble family. Took particular pride in his great-grandfather Hannibal, a black general who served Peter the Great. Educated at the Imperial Lyceum at Tsarkoye Selo, Pushkin demonstrated an early poetic gift. In 1817 was taken into the ministry of foreign affairs in Saint Petersburg; there he mingled in the social life of the capital and belonged to an underground revolutionary group. In 1820 this came to the attention of the authorities, and Pushkin was exiled to Caucasus; nonetheless, he continued to hold official posts and incurred the stern disapproval of a superior. Pushkin was dismissed from government service in 1824 and banished to his mother's estate near Pskov. In 1826 Czar Nicholas I, recognizing his enormous popularity, pardoned him. Pushkin died February 10, 1837, from wounds that he suffered in a duel which he had fought in St. Petersburg.
Pushkin provided a literary heritage for Russians, whose native language had hitherto been considered unfit for literature. He was also a versatile writer of great vigor and optimism who understood the many facets of the Russian character. His lyric poetry—said to be delightful to the Russian ear but untranslatable—and his simple, vivid prose were invaluable models for the writers who followed him. The influence of Lord Byron shows itself, along with Pushkin's own love of liberty, in many of his poems.
Most important works include a verse novel "Evgeny Onegin" ("Eugene Onegin"), which is considered the first of the great Russian novels (although in verse), as well as verse dramas "Boris Godunov", "Poltava", "Mednyi vsadnik" ("The Bronze Horseman"), "Mozart i Salieri" ("Mozart and Salieri"), "Kamennyi gost" ("The Stone Guest"), "Pir vo vremya chumy" ("Feast in the Time of the Plague"), poems "Ruslan and Ludmila", "Kavkazskii plennik" ("The Prisoner of the Caucasus", "Bakhchisaraiskii Fontan" ("The Fountain of Bakhchisarai"), "Tsygane" ("The Gypsies"), novel "Kapitanskaya dochka" ("The Captain's Daughter"). Lived in Moscow and St. Petersburg, for his social pursuits was in 1820 exiled to Kishinev and then to Odessa.