By Robert Chandler
A very good ‘brief’ summary of Pushkin’s life and work, which coming in at 150 pages is not so brief really. It gives quite a detailed account of the major milestones of his life and excellent critical analysis of some of his work. It also manages to link the two (life and work) in a natural way and give some complex opinions on his themes. Definitely more than what you would expect from a brief work. After reading I want to read more Pushkin and also read some analysis of his work as well. Nabokov did some work in this area and I think it would be quite interesting to hear what he had to say. This has effectively given me some context within which to place the works I have read recently. You can only guess as to what would have happened to Pushkin if he hadn’t been killed in the duel. His debts were spiralling out of control and it may be that if he didn’t die in this duel he may have died in another. But it’s all conjecture, Robert Chandler who wrote this biography puts across some convincing evidence that he didn’t have a death wish. However, when a person is under pressure they may take risks or act in erratic manner so,while he may not have wanted to die, if his situation didn’t improve it’s very possible something else would have occurred. At the book’s conclusion you are left with the consciousness of Pushkin’s utter genius and sadness that it was not fully expressed. This, in the same way as Blok or Mayakovsky.