Aleksandr Pushkin, often considered the father of modern Russian literature, in his first significant prose work, a collection of stories entitled “Tales of the Late Ivan Petrovich Belkin,” conducted an ironic dialogue with the sentimental stories of his predecessor Nikolai Karamzin. Karamzin’s two most famous stories, “Poor Liza” and “Natalya, the Boyar’s Daughter,” both feature authoritative sentimental narrators and respectful, if not subservient, admiration for genre conventions—in these two stories those of idylls and patriotic tales of courage. Pushkin, in “The Tales of Belkin,” subverts and ironizes the solemnity and straightforward authority of his predecessor by thwarting the readers’ expectations, substituting texts/subtexts and turning the narratives inside out, all the while inserting direct references to Karamzin’s stories into his own narratives. Pushkin’s characters are shaped by the books they read, and since the books they read are Karamzin’s, he satirizes the effect of sentimentalism on contemporary Russian society.
|Keywords:||Russian Literature, Pushkin, Karamzin, Satire, Parody|
Assistant Professor / Lecturer, Department of Languages and Literature, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, USA
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