Onegin's Album: A Creative and Literary Crossroads
Abstract: Onegin's Album is a set of journal entries in verse originally destined for canto VII of Eugene Onegin. There has been a rather polarized scholarly debate as to what the entries meant for the portrayal of Onegin in the novel and why Pushkin in the end decided not to incorporate them. This essay presents the omitted Album as a more nuanced and ultimately ambiguous work, part of the confession of a "child of the times." Pushkin's eventual shift of focus from the Album to the significant books in Onegin's library took place at a crossroads in the writing of Onegin, one which was also a literary crossroads, since at this juncture we follow the thread of a hidden allusion to Charles Nodier's romantic novel Jean Sbogar. The sequence in which Tatiana visits Onegin's rooms and finds his notebook closely parallels Nodier's novel, as does her characterization of the riddle which Onegin represents. In omitting the Album Pushkin finally chose to leave the riddle of his main character unresolved.
Key words: album, Onegin's library, "Vospominanie," Baratynsky, Psyche, Charles Nodier, Jean Sbogar.