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Alexander Pushkin: The Collected Stories Hardcover – May 18, 1999

4.7 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Pushkin is not only Russia’s primary and archetypal author but her most astonishingly versatile one . . . There is something Mozartian about his genius, which is replete in the same manner with variety, gaiety, and depth . . . [His prose stories] are not only as much masterpieces as his tales in verse, but carry the same
unmistakable and original stamp of his style and personality.”
—from the Introduction by John Bayley

About the Author

Alexander Pushkin (1799-1837) was a poet, playwright, and novelist who achieved literary prominence before he was twenty. His radical politics led to government censorship and periods of banishment from the capital, but he eventually married a popular society beauty and became a regular part of court life. Notoriously touchy about his honor, he died at age thirty-seven in a duel with his wife's alleged lover.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 616 pages
  • Publisher: Everyman's Library (May 18, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375405496
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375405495
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1.2 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #200,118 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Ray Farmer on June 27, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This book contains the major prose works of Aleksandr Pushkin, which include "The Tales of the Late Ivan Petrovich Belkin", "Dubrovskii", "The Queen of Spades", "The Captain's Daughter", and "A History of Pugachev". Also included in the book are many unfinished stories and fragments, which provide some glimpse into what Pushkin was thinking in between the years that he wrote his masterpieces.
Pushkin's stories range from melancholy to humorous to psychological and yet they are all written in a clear, and crisp style that is easy to grasp. Unlike Pushkin's poetry, little is lost in the translation of his prose works from Russian to English and thus we can fully appreciate his genius.
Although all of Pushkin's prose works are excellent, but one that continues to remain in my memory for some reason is "Egyptian Nights". Here the two main characters are Charskii, the nobleman who upholds the aesthetic and personal nature of poetry writing, and the greedy Italian improvisator, who lives by giving public shows and is able to deliver a poem (and quite astonishing at that) on any topic at a moment's notice - but for a fee. Is it possible that Charskii and the Italian both represent different facets of Pushkin's own personality? Anyway, I thought the story ending was erotic and exotic...
Even if you are not interested in Russian literature or in Russian culture in general, I would daresay that you would find it hard to put this collection of stories down after you started reading them.
The only problem that I had was with the publisher. I wish that they had provided a bookcover, because the paint on the outside of the hardcover kept coming off onto my hands!
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Format: Hardcover
English Literature has its Shakespeare, American its Melville, German its Goethe, and Russian Literature, well, it has Alexander Pushkin. Although there are a lot of well-known and frequently-read writers from the 19th century Russia, like Gogol, Tolstoi or Dostoyevski, Pushkin is supposed to be the one who started the movement which made Russian Literature part of World Literature.
Pushkin is known as a poet (his novel "Eugen Onegin", written in verses, is the crown of his art), not as a dramatist or a novelist. As a citizen of the former Soviet Union, I know from my own experience that school children have to learn his poetry by heart from the very beginning of their school career. Even if his prose couldn't reach the importance of his poetry, it could still establish some reputation because of its uniqueness. This collection unites his greatest works in prose. Since the stories vary in kind and quality, I decided to write a short comment on some of them hoping that the review will be more helpful this way.
DUBROVSKII (5 STARS): This is a story about a young man desperate to take revenge on the man who killed his father. As a wanted criminal, Dubrovskii assumes the identity of a French teacher at his enemy's and lures for the possibility to hold his word and to kill the man he hates the most. Making his plans, he didn't expect to fall in love with the daughter of his victim. Since their love is mutual, he must decide what is more important for him, his love or his revenge... This story is the most famous of Pushkin's works. It takes place in Russia of the 18th century with its problems and victories.
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Format: Hardcover
This volume brings together pretty much all of Pushkin's notable prose writings, with the exception of his narrative about the Journey to Arzum during the Turkish campaign in the late 1820s. Highlights of the collection include The Queen of Spades, a fascinating psychological look at a young man's efforts to extract a gambling secret from an 87-year old woman; The Tales of Belkin, Pushkin's first completed prose tales, each of which, in addition to being an interesting story with well- and concisely-developed characters, mildly sends up contemporary literary conventions; The Captain's Daughter, Pushkin's only novel-length prose work, a historical romance set during the Pugachev rebellion; Dubrovskii, an exciting unfinished story about a man who becomes a brigand after his family is driven off his estate by a wealthy neighbor; The Blackamoor of Peter the Great, an unfinished work about Pushkin's great-grandfather, an Abyssinian who became a confidante of Peter I; and the History of Pugachev, a nonfiction work about the famous rebellion against Catherine the Great.
Pushkin's prose was certainly heavily influenced by the literary world in which he lived--especially in Dubrovskii and The Captain's Daughter we constantly see the influence of the then-very-popular Lord Byron and Walter Scott. However, Pushkin seems to be aware of both the strengths and weaknesses of contemporary literary fashion, and the fact that he doesn't take it too seriously and strikes out on his own fairly often is surely a big part of the reason he has proven to be vastly more enduring than the likes of Scott.
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