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' Pushkin and the Russian Novel'
Desmond MacCarthy
Just a hundred years ago-on February 8, 1837-Alexander Pushkin was mortally wounded in a duel fought ' in defence of his wife's honour'; two days later he died. Thanks to an anonymous letter-writer, the greatest figure in Russian literature was killed at the age of thirty-eight.
The well-read Englishman has at least a nodding acquaintance with Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Turgenev, and Tchekov; novels and prose plays are translatable. But Pushkin, who bulks larger than any of these in the history of Russian literature as a whole, is known to a much narrower circle, mainly because a great proportion of his work was in verse. He was equally a master of the poetic play, the dramatic sketch, the novel, the short story, the narrative poem, and the tiny lyric, and it is typical of his versatility that of his two best-known novels one, ' Eugene Onegin ', is a contemporary story in verse, while the other, ' The Captain's Daughter', is an historical novel in vivid prose.


Unknown: Desmond MacCarthy
Unknown: Eugene Onegin

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Feedback about BOOK TALK, National Programme Daventry, 18.20, 21 January 1937
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