Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Literarture, Art & the Aristocracy

So, here's the Pushkin post that got subverted by an animated hippo and a dancing dog. Somewhere the literary gods are shaking their heads in shame. I am not what you would call a fan of Russian literature, it's a bit gloomy for my taste. However, there is one novel that is an exception to that rule: Yvgeny Onegin by Alexander Pushkin. To say that I love this novel would be a gross understatement. I happen to have a few portraits of Pushkin and some of his progeny.

Natalia Gonchorova Nikolaevna Pushkina, wife of Alexander Pushkin

Countess Anastasia Mikhailovna deTorby, later Lady Zia Wernher,
daughter of the Countess of Merenburg, Grand-daughter of Pushkin.

And so my parting gift today is the final scene from Martha Fiennes brilliant cinematic version of Pushkin's novel, Onegin. To set the scene, Tatyana is a wild-eyed country girl who falls in love with Yvgeny, a young dandy who has inherited the nearby estate. He rejects her because she isn't sophisticated. Heartbroken, Tatyana moves to Moscow, debuts in society and marries into the aristocracy. Onegin and Tatyana meet again and he decides he wants her to be his mistress. Below is the final scene where she rejects him (Three cheers for strong women!). I can't help it, I love it when she asks him if she's noble enough for him now. When you think about when this novel was written, and that it was written by a man, it is pretty amazing that she doesn't swoon into Onegin's arms and surrender to his desires. And that, ladies and jellyspoons, is what makes me wish I had 5 minutes to ask Pushkin a few questions.


Liz said...

Whoa. You would make one heck of an English lit professor!

Jennie said...

I think I've seen that! I watched the clip then went to look at the trailer and I remember the pistols at dawn part... ooh I think I have to rent this now!
Alexander Pushkin is very good looking and his wife is very pretty.

Mrs. Fox said...


Evidently, he did duel with a man who had insulted his wife (she was accused of having had an affair) and died of his wounds two days later. Talk about foreshadowing!