Tales of Belkin and Other Prose Writings

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Penguin Books Limited, Jan 29, 1998 - Fiction - 194 pages
16 Reviews
Alexander Pushkin was Russia’s first true literary genius. Best known for his poetry, he also wrote sparkling prose that revealed his national culture with elegance and understated humour. Here, his gift for portraying the Russian people is fully revealed. The Tales of Belkin, his first prose masterpiece, presents a series of interlinked stories narrated by a good-hearted Russian squire - among them ‘The Shot’, in which a duel is revisited after many years, and the grotesque ‘The Undertaker’. Elsewhere, works such as the novel-fragment Roslavlev and the Egyptian Nights, the tale of an Italian balladeer seeking an audience in St. Petersberg, demonstrate the wide range of Pushkin’s fiction. A Journey to Arzrum, the final piece in this collection, offers an autobiographical account of Pushkin’s own experiences in the 1829 war between Russia and Turkey, and remains one of the greatest of all pieces of journalistic adventure writing.

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Review: Tales of Belkin and Other Prose Writings

User Review  - Nimrod - Goodreads

Wonderful- a close insight into Pushkin's branched world and perceptions regards the administration and the ongoing cultural metamorphosis in his time. Pushkin's characters are ordinary people who ... Read full review

Review: Tales of Belkin and Other Prose Writings

User Review  - J. Aleksandr Wootton - Goodreads

This collection is probably better-suited to someone who's previously read Pushkin and wants more, rather than as an introduction to that author. Still, I enjoyed it and look forward to reading his other work eventually. Read full review

About the author (1998)

Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin was born in Moscow in 1799. He was liberally educated and left school in 1817. Given a sinecure in the Foreign Office, he spent three dissipated years in St Petersburg writing light, erotic and highly polished verse. He flirted with several pre-Decembrist societies, composing the mildly revolutionary verses which led to his disgrace and exile in 1820. After traveling through the Caucasus and the Crimea, he was sent to Bessarabia, where he wrote The Captive of the Caucasus and The Fountain at Bakhchisaray, and began Eugene Onegin. His work took an increasingly serious turn during the last year of his southern exile, in Odessa. In 1824 he was transferred to his parents estate at Mikhaylovskoe in north-west Russia, where he spent two solitary but fruitful years during which he wrote his historical drama Boris Godunov, continued Eugene Onegin and finished The Gipsies. After the failure of the Decembrist Revolt in 1825 and the succession of a new tsar, Pushkin was granted conditional freedom in 1826. During the next three years he wandered restlessly between St Petersburg and Moscow. He wrote an epic poem, Poltava, but little else. In 1829 he went with the Russian army to Transcaucasia, and the following year, stranded by a cholera outbreak at the small family estate of Boldino, he wrote his experimental Little Tragedies in blank verse and The Tales of Belkin in prose, and virtually completed Eugene Onegin. In 1831 he married the beautiful Natalya Goncharova. The rest of his life was soured by debts and the malice of his enemies. Although his literary output slackened, he produced his major prose works The Queen of Spades and The Captain s Daughter, his masterpiece in verse, The Bronze Horseman, important lyrics and fairy tales, including The Tale of the Golden Cockerel. Towards the end of 1836 anonymous letters goaded Pushkin into challenging a troublesome admirer of his wife to a duel. He was mortally wounded and died in January1837.
Ronald Wilks studied Russian language and literature at Trinity College, Cambridge, and later Russian literature at London University, where he received his Ph.D. in 1972. He has also translated The Little Demon by Sologub and, for Penguin Classics, My Childhood, My Apprenticeship and My Universities by Gorky, The Golovlyov Family by Saltykov-Shchedrin and four volumes of stories by Chekhov: The Kiss and Other Stories, The Duel and Other Stories, The Party and Other Stories and The Fiancee and Other Stories.

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