The Cultural-Historical and Biographical Context of Pushkin’s Stanza About “Erivan Carpets”
Based on the material of the facts from the biography of the poet, the cultural-historical context of one of the important motive lines of the poem “In the Cool of the Sweet Fountains. . .” by Alexander Pushkin first published in 1911 is interpreted. Previously, researchers addressed the issues of the recipient of the work, of textual features of the draft manuscript, but the line about “Erivan carpets” remained unexplained. The author of the article cites evidence (geographical, cultural, religious, ethnographic biographical components of the meaning) confirming Pushkin’s choice in favor of the epithet “Erivan” in the line “As Erivan carpets. . .” of the fourth stanza of this poem. Among friends and acquaintances close to the poet during the lyceum years, then during his exile to the south and during the writing of the poem “In the Cool of the Sweet Fountains. . .”, there were prominent figures of Armenian descent in the cultural circles of the capital city. They became the national pride of the Armenians, clearly showed themselves in Russian history by faithfully serving for the good in the Russian Empire. The epithet “Erivan” is the geographical and historical reference to the motive of centuries-old traditions of wisdom, feasts of the spirit and the mind. The motive was part of the key figurative and semantic lines of the poem. The author of the article reveals the publicism of this line significant for the genre of the fragment: the multi-layer, semantically important reference to events associated with the name of the first patriarch of the Christian world Gregory the Illuminator, with the ancient history of Armenia, the world’s first Christian country, in which the Christian faith became the state religion in 301. Erivan was the capital of the state which had more than 2.5 thousand years of history at the time Pushkin wrote his poem. The poet repeatedly convinced himself of the loyalty, nobility, a high degree of giftedness of the Armenians persecuted since ancient times because of their faith and religion. In the Armenian circles of Pushkin, both in the capital and in Armenia Maritima (“Maritime Armenia”, that is in the Crimea), there were highly educated people. In the Abameliks’ house, the young poet witnessed that, despite the ordeals, the Christian Armenian population created and built, preserved its identity and national traditions, native language and faith; thus they brought enlightenment and culture to the world, strengthened the economic and military power of Russia. This is evidenced by archival documents, essays, drafts and manuscripts, letters, memoirs and diaries of the poet’s contemporaries. In his works, Pushkin appealed to the images that came from Armenian culture. In the dynamics of the meanings of “In the Cool of the Sweet Fountains. . .”, the line about “Erivan carpets” is the synthesis of creativity and history as the understanding of the epic of the centuries-old components of the integrated artistic picture of the Crimean plot organic for Pushkin.