Eugene Onegin

Pushkin, Alexander. Eugene Onegin: a Novel in Verse. Translated by Walter Arndt. New York: Dutton, 1963.

Eugene Onegin is a novel in verse. There are eight chapters centered around two couples. Eugene and Tatyana are the main characters and Lensky and Olga support their story. Pushkin himself is narrator, an acquaintance in the story and a supporting character in his own right. Olga and Tatyana are sisters. So, now you have the groundwork for the story. The main event, if you will, is when Eugene, bored at a party, flirts with Olga relentlessly, This behavior offends Lensky to the point of no return and he challenges Eugene to a duel. What I find particularly annoying is, while both men are full of remorse, they go ahead with the duel and Lenksi dies (stupid male pride). Of course, there is a lot more to the story than just the duel and death. Eugene goes away for awhile and when he returns he reunites with Tatyana, realizing he is still in love with her. She, unfortunately, has moved on and married someone else. While she still has feelings for Eugene she opts to stay with her husband, leaving Eugene despondent.

Things that were a head-scratcher for me: there were a lot of references to the spleen and a lot of talk of feet.

Reason read: December is National Poetry month in the United Kingdom. I know, it’s a stretch, but I picked this up at a time when I didn’t have anything else to read.

Author fact: Pushkin took ten long years to write Eugene Onegin. Each section has a notation of a completion date.

Book trivia: Eugene Onegin was Pushkin’s favorite work.

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust in the chapter called “Poetry: a Novel Idea” (p 186), and again in the chapter called “Russian Heavies” (p 210).



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