What is the style of Alexander Pushkin's writing in his short stories?

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vangoghfan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In his introduction to The Complete Prose Tales of Alexandr Sergeyevitch Pushkin, Gillon R. Aitkin makes a number of points about the nature of Pushkin’s short fiction, including the following:

  • its focus on Russian concerns and Russian subject matters
  • its debt to Russian folklore
  • its “simplicity and precision” of phrasing
  • its “ease and vitality” of phrasing
  • its ability to

bring at once to life a situation or a character [through] the range and strength of [Pushkin’s] imagination.

In introducing his own translations of Pushkin’s complete fiction, Paul Debreckzeny comments on a number of features of Pushkin’s short stories, including the following that appear in in The Tales of Belkin:

  • relatively simple subject matter
  • relatively simple narrators
  • uneducated narrators
  • sentimentalism (sometimes)
  • romanticism (sometimes)
  • parody (sometimes)
  • satire (sometimes)
  • comedy (sometimes)
  • the absurd (sometimes)
  • the macabre (sometimes)
  • the grotesque (sometimes)
  • symbolism (sometimes)

In commenting on the volume titled A History of the Village of Goriukhino, Debreckzeny mentions a number of specific traits of the stories in this collection, including  naïve comedy that reveals dark truths about Russian village life.

Debreckzeny’s remarks on “The Queen of Spades,” often considered Pushkin’s best short story, mention the following traits of that work:

  • “detached narration”
  • “an intricate system of images”
  • “complex characters”
  • “a system of symbols worthy of epic poetry”

As these remarks suggest, Pushkin’s short fiction exhibits a good deal of variety in tone, phrasing, and subject matter.  Easy generalizations about his short stories should probably be avoided.


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