César Antonovich Cui (1835-1918), a Russian of French-Lithuanian descent, was by vocation a professor of fortifications in St. Petersburg's military schools, but also a prolific composer and music critic. Although much of his musical output—except for some standard songs and piano pieces—was largely forgotten after his death until recently, he is remembered in Russian musical life as spokesman in the 1860s-80s for the "mighty handful," or "new Russian school," that group of composers which was headed by Milij Balakirv, mentored by Vladimir Stasov, and included Nikolaj Rimskij-Korsakov, Modest Musorgskij, Aleksandr Borodin, and Cui himself.
J. Thomas Shaw. Pushkin's Poetics of the Unexpected: The Nonrhymed Lines in the Rhymed Poetry and the Rhymed Lines in the Nonrhymed Poetry. Columbus, Ohio: Slavica, 1994. 369 pp.
It goes without saying that Tom Shaw is the doyen of American Pushkinists. From his translation of the letters through the dictionary of Pushkin's rhymes (now available on the Internet) and innumerable articles, to this last monument of erudition and scholarship, Shaw has set the standard by which all work on pushkin must be measured, and has made Wisconsin the centre for Pushkin scholarship in America.
Pushkin's role as Russia's "first love" may have become a cliché, but challenges to the truism more often than not simply intensify Pushkin's primacy, as in Maiakovskii's "Iubileinoe" or Tsvetaeva's "Stikhi k Pushkinu." Atttudes toward him have changed dramatically, perhaps even cyclically, and creating a Pushkin in one's own image marks the work of many Russian poets and some epochs as well. In Cultural Mythologies of Russian Modernism, edited by Boris Gasparov, Robert P. Hughes and Irina Paperno, several essays take this point further: using a cultural semiotic approach they demonstrate how Silver Age poets and writers modeled their careers on Pushkin's example. One result of these and other essays may be our different understanding of how "Pushkin" has operated as a sign in Russian culture.