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  • Published: 21 July 2020
  • ISBN: 9780241207130
  • Imprint: Penguin Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 336
  • RRP: $22.99
Categories:

Selected Poetry




A new collection of Pushkin's great narrative and lyric verse, translated by Antony Wood

WINNER OF THE READ RUSSIA PRIZE 2020

Alexander Pushkin established what we know as Russian literature. This collection includes his strongly personal lyric verse, which springs spontaneously from his everyday life - his numerous loves, his exile, his hectic life in St Petersburg - while the narrative poems here, from exotic Southern tales to comic parodies and fairy tales of enchanted tsars, display his endless ability to surprise. His landmark work The Bronze Horseman, with its ghostly central figure of Peter the Great, holds the meaning of all Russian history. Antony Wood's translations reveal the variety, inventiveness and perfection of Pushkin's verse.

  • Published: 21 July 2020
  • ISBN: 9780241207130
  • Imprint: Penguin Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 336
  • RRP: $22.99
Categories:

About the author

Alexander Pushkin

Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin was born in Moscow in 1799. He was liberally educated and left school in 1817. Given a sinecure in the Foreign Office, he spent three dissipated years in St Petersburg writing light, erotic and highly polished verse. He flirted with several pre-Decembrist societies, composing the mildly revolutionary verses which led to his disgrace and exile in 1820. After traveling through the Caucasus and the Crimea, he was sent to Bessarabia, where he wrote The Captive of the Caucasus and The Fountain at Bakhchisaray, and began Eugene Onegin. His work took an increasingly serious turn during the last year of his southern exile, in Odessa.

In 1824 he was transferred to his parents' estate at Mikhaylovskoe in north-west Russia, where he spent two solitary but fruitful years during which he wrote his historical drama Boris Godunov, continued Eugene Onegin and finished The Gipsies. After the failure of the Decembrist Revolt in 1825 and the succession of a new tsar, Pushkin was granted conditional freedom in 1826. During the next three years he wandered restlessly between St Petersburg and Moscow. He wrote an epic poem, Poltava, but little else.

In 1829 he went with the Russian army to Transcaucasia, and the following year, stranded by a cholera outbreak at the small family estate of Boldino, he wrote his experimental Little Tragedies in blank verse and The Tales of Belkin in prose, and virtually completed Eugene Onegin. In 1831 he married the beautiful Natalya Goncharova. The rest of his life was soured by debts and the malice of his enemies. Although his literary output slackened, he produced his major prose works The Queen of Spades and The Captain's Daughter, his masterpiece in verse, The Bronze Horseman, important lyrics and fairy tales, including The Tale of the Golden Cockerel. Towards the end of 1836 anonymous letters goaded Pushkin into challenging a troublesome admirer of his wife to a duel. He was mortally wounded and died in January 1837.

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Praise for Selected Poetry

Re-creating Pushkin requires skills approaching magic. Antony Wood is one of the two or three best translators of Russia's greatest poet in the Anglophone world, because his Pushkin moves: you watch him dance as well as hear him sing

Caryl Emerson

Antony Wood's translations show an unusual grace and a deep knowledge of Pushkin's poetry

Elaine Feinstein

Everybody knows how difficult Pushkin's poems are to translate. Antony Wood has succeeded, within the limits of the possible

John Bayley

This Selected Poetry by Antony Wood supersedes all previous translations ... Wood's 'The Bronze Horseman' gives us Pushkin at his most tragic. 'Count Nulin' shows him at his most light-hearted. 'The Tale of Tsar Saltan' bounces along with delightful vitality. Even with the delicately musical short lyrics - still harder to translate - Wood's success rate is remarkable ... The result is a more rounded picture of Pushkin - in many ways the most universal of poets

Robert Chandler, The Financial Times

Pushkin's poetry is lyrical, beautifully simple, vivid, and endlessly emotive. It can be enjoyed by all readers, regardless of their background in poetry. And there is now one definitive book of Alexander Pushkin's poetry, the one book you need to read in order to fully appreciate Alexander Pushkin's poems: Alexander Pushkin Selected Poetry, translated with complete command and majesty by Antony Wood

Books and Bao

'Wood's lively translations grasp the irrepressible sense of freedom which is the poet's hallmark ... Pushkin is lucky in Antony Wood. Pleasure is to be found on every page of this book'

The Times Literary Supplement

A volume to keep within easy reach at most times

East-West Review

Anthony Wood is to be congratulated on this suburb collection, which renders Pushkin in all his matchless grace, wit and musicality

The Tablet

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