Vol. 04 Articles / Статьи

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Critical responses to “Podrazhaniia Koranu” (1824) have tended to treat the relationship between Pushkin and the Koran as a straightforward case of appropriation, of simple imitation, as the title of the poetic cycle implies. The appropriation usually pointed out by scholars is not just of a style and lexicon (some phrases echo the Koran almost verbatim), and of a set of themes (wandering in the desert, prophecy), but of a whole spirit and metaphysical worldview as well. On this appropriatory model, Pushkin’s poem conveys a distilled quintessence of the Muslim sacred scripture—stylistically, thematically, and metaphysically—in an unques­tioning reframing of the original according to the poet’s interests at the time.
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The best that Mickiewicz and Pushkin had to say about each other was high praise indeed. In 1827 Mickiewicz wrote to Edward Odyniec that Pushkin had “noble and elevated ideas about poetry”; in 1837 in his obituary for the Russian poet (reprinted in this issue) he wrote that Pushkin had a character “generous, noble, and given to effusion. His faults came from the circumstances in which he was raised, while what was good in him came from the depths of his heart.” In 1834 Pushkin wrote of Mickiewicz, laconically, that he “was inspired from above, and looked on life from the heights.” The frequent quotation of these passages by scholars of the poets would have us focus chiefly on the poetic context for interaction between them.
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Curiosity is indeed a curious concept. It is that which prompts us to look beyond established limits. It leads to the opening up of new horizons in knowledge and therefore may represent a challenge to established authority and received opinion. Curiosity may, then, be either good or bad depending on the point of view from which it is apprehended, a function of what Neil Kenny has termed its "extraordinary moral reversibility."[3] In this context, as far as the historical fortunes of the concept are concerned, the seventeenth century witnessed a distinct shift in Western Europe, a shift particularly noticeable in associations of curiosity and travel. Thus, Christian K. Zacher, in his Curiosity and Pilgrimage, points to the distinction drawn by medieval Christian thinkers between two understandings of knowledge [...]
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Общеизвестно, что событием, во многом определившим восприятие личности Пушкина современниками, стала высылка поэта из Петербурга в мае 1820 г.,—так называемая «южная» ссылка. Значительно реже отмечалось, что в пушкинском творчестве этому, бесспорно, ключевому событию соответствуют две различные интерпретации: первая оценивает расставание с Петербургом как добровольный отъезд, вторая—как изгнание. Первая представлена в стихотворениях «Погасло дневное светило ... » («Искатель новых впечатлений / Я вас бежал, отечески края; / Я вас бежал, питомцы наслаждений...»—II, 147) и «Я видел Азии бескрайние пределы...», в начальной главе «Кавказского пленника», в «Эпилоге» «Руслана и Людмилы», [...]

Vol. 04 Bibliography / Библиография

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Since the last installment of this bibliographic series two important events have occurred in Pushkin studies. The first was the publication of Lauren Leighton’s excellent update of Pushkin scholarship in English marking the bicentennial of the poet’s birth. The second was the bicentennial itself. Each, in its own way, made the task of this compilation a bit more difficult.