The University of Wisconsin Press

Russian & Slavic Studies / Literature & Criticism


Pushkin and the Genres of Madness
The Masterpieces of 1833
Gary Rosenshield

Publications of the Wisconsin Center for Pushkin Studies
David M. Bethea and Alexander Dolinin, Series Editors

"Rosenshield's book is a gold mine of information not only on Pushkin but on many of his predecessors, contemporaries, and critics as well."
—Victor Terras

In 1833 Alexander Pushkin began to explore the topic of madness, a subject little explored in Russian literature before his time. The works he produced on the theme are three of his greatest masterpieces: the prose novella The Queen of Spades, the narrative poem The Bronze Horseman, and the lyric "God Grant That I Not Lose My Mind." Gary Rosenshield presents a new interpretation of Pushkin's genius through an examination of his various representations of madness.

Pushkin brilliantly explored both the destructive and creative sides of madness, a strange fusion of violence and insight. In this study, Rosenshield illustrates the surprising valorization of madness in The Queen of Spades and "God Grant That I Not Lose My Mind" and analyzes The Bronze Horseman's confrontation with the legacy of Peter the Great, a cornerstone figure of Russian history. Drawing on themes of madness in western literature, Rosenshield situates Pushkin in a greater framework with such luminaries as Shakespeare, Sophocles, Cervantes, and Dostoevsky providing an insightful and absorbing study of Russia's greatest writer.

Gary Rosenshield is professor of Slavic languages and literature at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and the author of Crime and Punishment: The Techniques of the Omniscient Author and numerous scholarly articles on Slavic studies.

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November 2003

LC: 2003005698 PG
280 pp. 6 x 9

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Paper $29.95 s
ISBN 978-0-299-18204-5
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