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Pushkin's Parable of the Prodigal Daughter: The Evolution of the Prose Tale from Aestheticism to Historicism

Pushkin's Parable of the Prodigal Daughter: The Evolution of the Prose Tale from Aestheticism to... INCE THEIR PUBLICATION in 1831, Pushkin’s The Tales of the Late Ivan Petrovich Belkin have excited critical controversy. Anticipating that the appearance of these tales would provoke a scandal, Pushkin suggested to his publisher P.A. Pletnev that the tales be published anonymously, a decision that likely indicated a desire to deflect the inevitable critical attacks of such opponents as F.V. Bulgarin from the sphere of personal rivalry to that of public criticism, and thus to direct attention to the purely literary and intellectual differences between himself and Bulgarin that would become even clearer in the ensuing scandal.1 By publishing The Tales of Belkin, his first major collection of prose fiction, Pushkin clearly intended not only to stir up the critics, but also to “defamiliarize” and engage the reading public. But what was at stake in the debate Pushkin sought to provoke? Literary history, which eventually recognized the achievement of The Tales of Belkin and the artistic superiority of Pushkin over Bulgarin, has largely ignored or forgotten the scandal surrounding the publication of Pushkin’s work, as well as distanced us from the intellectual atmosphere of the day.2 Indeed, although critics such as Gukovsky, Eikhenbaum, and Lotman have argued that http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Comparative Literature Duke University Press

Pushkin's Parable of the Prodigal Daughter: The Evolution of the Prose Tale from Aestheticism to Historicism

Comparative Literature , Volume 56 (2) – Jan 1, 2004

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Publisher
Duke University Press
Copyright
Copyright 2004 by University of Oregon
ISSN
0010-4124
eISSN
1945-8517
DOI
10.1215/-56-2-130
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

INCE THEIR PUBLICATION in 1831, Pushkin’s The Tales of the Late Ivan Petrovich Belkin have excited critical controversy. Anticipating that the appearance of these tales would provoke a scandal, Pushkin suggested to his publisher P.A. Pletnev that the tales be published anonymously, a decision that likely indicated a desire to deflect the inevitable critical attacks of such opponents as F.V. Bulgarin from the sphere of personal rivalry to that of public criticism, and thus to direct attention to the purely literary and intellectual differences between himself and Bulgarin that would become even clearer in the ensuing scandal.1 By publishing The Tales of Belkin, his first major collection of prose fiction, Pushkin clearly intended not only to stir up the critics, but also to “defamiliarize” and engage the reading public. But what was at stake in the debate Pushkin sought to provoke? Literary history, which eventually recognized the achievement of The Tales of Belkin and the artistic superiority of Pushkin over Bulgarin, has largely ignored or forgotten the scandal surrounding the publication of Pushkin’s work, as well as distanced us from the intellectual atmosphere of the day.2 Indeed, although critics such as Gukovsky, Eikhenbaum, and Lotman have argued that

Journal

Comparative LiteratureDuke University Press

Published: Jan 1, 2004

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