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Resetting the Margins

Russian Romantic Verse Tales and the Idealized Woman

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Luc J. Beaudoin

Before the 1840s, when prose began its hegemony in Russian letters, Romantic poets such as Evgenij Baratynskij (1800-1844) and his great contemporary Aleksandr Puskin (1799-1837) wrote verse tales which were intended to elevate literature to a philosophical world-view. This work examines the two writers' principal narrative poems, including Puskin's Eugene Onegin. Through a rigorous semiotic investigation, it breaks new ground in the perceptions of Romantic irony and Romantic idealism in Russian literature. Of crucial importance is the linking of the masculine narrator's voice with the feminine ideal omnipresent in these types of poems. The empowering ability of voice is seen as bound to the inherent de-constructing and re-constructing ability of Romantic irony.