How to Cite
Tretyakova, E. Y. (2019). The Symbolism of Literary Process Renewal in Pushkin’s Manuscripts of 1830. Heritage of Centuries, (2), 34-44. Retrieved from
The Eternal Pushkin

The Symbolism of Literary Process Renewal in Pushkin’s Manuscripts of 1830

  • © Tretyakova Elena Yu.


The study of graphic sketches in the poet’s manuscripts helps to penetrate into the creative laboratory of Alexander S. Pushkin’s works, to find the key to the crystallization of ideas and images in literary texts’ creation. In this regard, the first researchers of Pushkin’s drawings paid attention to masterfully written vignettes (the rooster adorning the title of “The History of the Village of Goryukhino”, numerous arabesques of birds in the draft of “Autumn”). The vignettes are light strokes of a pen which serve as a source of a drawing, a bridge between word graphics and image graphics. This article offers the reader the idea that in a number of graphic sketches that captured the course of philosophical and poetic reflection, simpler ones, for example, pen-like strokes, are important points of meaning. The object of special analysis in the article was the role of such strokes in compositions that vary the motif of branches and trees that lost their foliage and acquired a new crown characteristic of Pushkin’s graphic art, e.g., a drawing on a sheet with a draft sketch of the first phrase of The Squire’s Daughter, a handwritten cover to The Little Tragedies, a sketch of the Preface to Chapters VIII and IX of Eugene Onegin. This made it possible to identify a set of symbols, the development of which reflected the poet’s thoughts about the crisis and the renewal of the literary process. This renewal showed in the chapters of the novel in verse Eugene Onegin, The Little Tragedies, The Belkin Tales that were written in Boldino. The author of the article puts forward the hypothesis that Pushkin could portray Ivan Petrovich Belkin among the symbols involved in this semantic layer of characters. An analysis of the graphic drawings, which are mysterious in terms of their indisputable and accurate attribution, shows that there are at least two such “portraits”. One is included in the symbolic trinity of the narrator – the author – the reader (on a sheet dated in the spring and summer of 1930 with the beginning of the first phrase of The Squire’s Daughter, Belkin’s profile duplicates the profile of the brightly and happily smiling Pushkin directly behind Belkin). The other is Belkin’s head above the desk in the study in Boldino. The portrait was drawn as a sign of the successful realization of the conceived cycle of stories (early November 1830). The hypothesis the author substantiates challenges a version existing since the 1930s and put forward by Abram M. Efros and supported by Roman O. Jakobson. According to this version, in this drawing, Pushkin depicted a plaster antique bust – a statuette which traditionally decorated the interiors of classrooms and libraries in manors of educated nobility.

Keywords: Pushkin’s manuscripts of 1830, drawings by Pushkin, graphic portraits, covers and illustrations for own works, images of characters, crisis and renewal of literary process, The Belkin Tales, The Little Tragedies, Eugene Onegin.