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Old 12-03-2007, 09:52 PM   #1
Roy White
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Pushkin, Aleksandr Sergeevich: Eugene Onegin. 02 Dec 2007

From Wikipedia...

(I haven't read this one)


Eugene Onegin is a novel in verse written by Aleksandr Pushkin. It was one of the classics of Russian literature and its hero served as the model for a number of Russian literary heroes. It was published in serial form between 1825 and 1832. The first complete edition was published in 1833, and the edition on which the current accepted version is based was published in 1837.

The work's primary defining feature is that it is almost entirely written in verses of iambic tetrameter with the unusual rhyme scheme "aBaBccDDeFFeGG", where the lowercase letters represent feminine rhymes while the uppercase letters represent masculine rhymes. This form has become known as the "Onegin stanza" (or "Pushkin sonnet").

The story is told by an idealised version of Pushkin, who often digresses from the story and while the plot of the novel is quite scant the book is more loved for the telling than what is told. It is partly because of this garrulous narrator that the book has been compared to Tristram Shandy.

Plot
Eugene Onegin, a Russian dandy who is bored with life, inherits a country mansion from his uncle. When he moves to the country he strikes up an unlikely friendship with the minor poet Vladimir Lensky. One day Lensky takes Onegin to dine with the family of his fiancée Olga Larina. At this meeting Olga's bookish and countrified sister, Tatiana (Tanya), falls in love with Onegin. During the night Tatiana writes a letter to Onegin professing her love and sends it to him. While this is something a heroine in one of Tatiana's French novels would have done, Russian society would consider it inappropriate for a young, unmarried girl to take the initiative. Contrary to her expectations, Onegin does not reply by letter. The two meet on his next visit where he rejects her advances in a speech that has been described as tactful yet condescending.

Later Lensky nonchalantly invites Onegin to Tatiana's nameday celebration promising a small celebration with just Tatiana, her sister, and parents. At the celebration Onegin finds a grandiose ball reminiscent of the fast-paced world he has grown tired of. To exact revenge on Lensky Onegin proceeds to flirt and dance with Olga. Lensky leaves in a rage and in the morning issues a challenge of a duel to Onegin. At the duel Onegin kills Lensky, then flees.

Tatiana visits Onegin's mansion where she reads through his books and the notes in the margins, and through this comes to believe that Onegin's character is merely a collage of different literary heroes and so there is no "real Onegin". Later Tanya is taken to Moscow and introduced to society. In this new environment Tanya matures to such an extent that when Onegin later meets her in St Petersburg, he fails to recognise her. When he realises who she is, he tries to win her affection despite the fact that she is now married, only to be ignored. He writes her several letters and receives no reply. The book ends when Onegin manages to see Tanya and is once more rejected in a speech admitting her love for Onegin while professing absolute loyalty to her husband. In echoing the speech he previously gave her, she also demonstrates her emotional and moral superiority to Onegin.

Enjoy

Roy

Edited to remove attachment.
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Old 12-04-2007, 09:19 PM   #2
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I removed the attachment. While the original book is out of copyright, the translation is still in copyright.
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