Academic Commons

Theses Doctoral

Pushkin's Tragic Visions, 1824-1830

Hanukai, Maksim

This dissertation traces the development of Alexander Pushkin's sense of the tragic in the context of Russian and European Romanticism. Pushkin was a self-proclaimed skeptic in matters of literature: though deeply influenced by Romantic poets and theorists, he never subscribed to any one school or creed, experimenting in a range of genres to express his changing tragic vision. Many of his works move seamlessly between the closed world of traditional tragedy and the open world of Romantic tragic drama; and yet, they follow neither the cathartic program prescribed by Aristotle nor the redemptive mythologies of the Romantics. My study explains Pushkin's idiosyncratic approach to tragedy by re-situating his works within their literary, historical, and philosophical contexts. In my readings of The Gypsies, Boris Godunov, and The Little Tragedies, I connect Pushkin's works to those of a range of European writers, including Shakespeare, Racine, Rousseau, Goethe, Schiller, the Marquis de Sade, and Hugo; and I examine such topics as tragedy and the tragic, the sublime and the grotesque, the relationship between literature and history, irony and tragic ritual. While I ground my work in traditional Russian philology, I use recent Western scholarship to help frame my study theoretically. In particular, I aim to contribute to the ongoing debate between scholars who claim that Romanticism marked "the death of tragedy" and those who see the change less as a death than as a redefinition.


  • thumnail for Hanukai_columbia_0054D_12149.pdf Hanukai_columbia_0054D_12149.pdf binary/octet-stream 1.69 MB Download File

More About This Work

Academic Units
Slavic Languages and Literatures
Thesis Advisors
Gasparov, Boris
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
July 7, 2014
Academic Commons provides global access to research and scholarship produced at Columbia University, Barnard College, Teachers College, Union Theological Seminary and Jewish Theological Seminary. Academic Commons is managed by the Columbia University Libraries.