Under the sky of my Africa: Alexander Pushkin and blackness
Northwestern University Press, May 30, 2006 - Literary Criticism - 417 pages
A wide-ranging consideration of the nature and significance of Pushkin's African heritage
Roughly in the year 1705, a young African boy, acquired from the seraglio of the Turkish sultan, was transported to Russia as a gift to Peter the Great. This child, later known as Abram Petrovich Gannibal, was to become Peter's godson and to live to a ripe old age, having attained the rank of general and the status of Russian nobility. More important, he was to become the great-grandfather of Russia's greatest national poet, Alexander Pushkin. It is the contention of the editors of this book, borne out by the essays in the collection, that Pushkin's African ancestry has played the role of a "wild card" of sorts as a formative element in Russian cultural mythology; and that the ways in which Gannibal's legacy has been included in or excluded from Pushkin's biography over the last two hundred years can serve as a shifting marker of Russia's self-definition.
The first single volume in English on this rich topic, Under the Sky of My Africa addresses the wide variety of interests implicated in the question of Pushkin's blackness-race studies, politics, American studies, music, mythopoetic criticism, mainstream Pushkin studies. In essays that are by turns biographical, iconographical, cultural, and sociological in focus, the authors-representing a broad range of disciplines and perspectives-take us from the complex attitudes toward race in Russia during Pushkin's era to the surge of racism in late Soviet and post-Soviet contemporary Russia. In sum, Under the Sky of My Africa provides a wealth of basic material on the subject as well as a series of provocative readings and interpretations that will influence future considerations of Pushkin and race in Russian culture.
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A. S. Pushkin Abram Gannibal Abram Petrovich Abram Petrovich Gannibal African American African blood Alexander Pushkin ancestor appeared arap artist birth Blackamoor of Peter Bronze Horseman Bulgarin canto century cited color context creative critic Desdemona Dostoevsky Eros erotic essay Eugene Onegin exile fact fate father fictional figure French Gannibal's genealogy German biography great-grandfather Harlem Renaissance historical Ibragim Korsakov later Leningrad letter literary Lourie Lourie's Ludmila lyric Mikhailovskoe monk Moscow Nabokov Natalia Natasha Negro Negroid novel opera origins Othello Paris passion Paul Robeson Petersburg Petr play poem poet's poetic poetry political Poltava portrait prose Proza published Pushkin monument Pushkin's blackness race racial reference Rotkirkh Ruslan Ruslan and Ludmila Russian culture Russian literature Russian poet scene serf Shakespeare's slave slavery Soviet speech story theme tion translation tsar Tsvetaeva Tynianov University Press verse Vladimir Nabokov wife words writing wrote young