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Eugene Onegin

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss Eugene Onegin by Alexander Pushkin (1799-1837), often described as his masterpiece, which tells the tragic story of Onegin, Lensky and Tatyana.

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss Alexander Pushkin's verse novel, the story of Eugene Onegin, widely regarded as his masterpiece. Pushkin (pictured above) began this in 1823 and worked on it over the next ten years, while moving around Russia, developing the central character of a figure all too typical of his age, the so-called superfluous man. Onegin is cynical, disillusioned and detached, his best friend Lensky is a romantic poet and Tatyana, whose love for Onegin is not returned until too late, is described as a poetic ideal of a Russian woman, and they are shown in the context of the Russian landscape and society that has shaped them. Onegin draws all three into tragic situations which, if he had been willing and able to act, he could have prevented, and so becomes the one responsible for the misery of himself and others as well as the death of his friend.


Andrew Kahn
Professor of Russian Literature at the University of Oxford and Fellow of St Edmund Hall

Emily Finer
Lecturer in Russian and Comparative Literature at the University of St Andrews


Simon Dixon
The Sir Bernard Pares Professor of Russian History at University College London

Producer: Simon Tillotson.

Available now

49 minutes

Last on

Thu 22 Jun 2017 21:30


Andrew Kahn at the University of Oxford

Emily Finer at the University of St Andrews

Simon Dixon at University College London

Eugene Onegin (Pushkin and Sterne)’ by Viktor Shklovskii (trans. Emily Finer) - Comparative Critical Studies (June 2004)

Alexander Pushkin – Wikipedia



John Bayley, Pushkin. A Comparative Commentary (Cambridge University Press, 1971)

David Bethea (ed.), The Pushkin Handbook (University of Wisconsin Press, 2005)

T. J. Binyon, Pushkin: A Biography (HarperCollins, 2002)

Paul Debreczeny, The Other Pushkin: A Study of Alexander Pushkin’s Prose Fiction (Stanford University Press, 1983)

Alyssa Dinega Gillespie (ed.), Taboo Pushkin: Topics, Texts, Interpretations (University of Wisconsin Press, 2012)

Caryl Emerson, C., Boris Godunov:  Transpositions of a Russian Theme (Indiana University Press, 1986)

Monika Greenleaf, Pushkin and Romantic Fashion: Fragment, Elegy, Orient, Irony (Stanford University Press, 1994)

Paul Hamilton (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of European Romanticism (Oxford University Press, 2016), especially “Pushkin as a Romantic” by Luba Golburt

Andrew Kahn (ed.), Cambridge Companion to Pushkin (Cambridge University Press, 2006)

Andrew Kahn, Pushkin's Bronze Horseman (Duckworth, 1998)

Andrew Kahn, Pushkin’s Lyric Intelligence (Oxford University Press, 2012)

Catriona Kelly, Russian Literature: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2001)

Olga Peters Hasty, Pushkin’s Tatiana, (University of Wisconsin Press, 1999)

Alice Randall, Pushkin and the Queen of Spades (Houghton Mifflin, 2004)

Stephanie, Sandler, Distant Pleasures:  Alexander Pushkin and the Writing of Exile (Stanford University Press, 1989)

Stephanie Sandler, Commemorating Pushkin: Russia’s Myth of a National Poet (Stanford University Press, 2004)

Andrei Sinyavsky (trans. Catharine Theimer Nepomnyashchy and Slava I. Yastremski), Strolls with Pushkin (Yale University Press, 1993)

William Mills Todd III, Fiction and Society in the Age of Pushkin: Ideology, Institutions, and Narrative (Harvard University Press, 1986)


Role Contributor
Presenter Melvyn Bragg
Interviewed Guest Andrew Kahn
Interviewed Guest Emily Finer
Interviewed Guest Simon Dixon
Producer Simon Tillotson


  • Thu 22 Jun 2017 09:00
  • Thu 22 Jun 2017 21:30

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