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Eugene Oneguine [Onegin] A Romance of Russian Life in Verse   By: (1799-1837)

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In Aleksandr Sergeevich Pushkin's 'Eugene Onegin: A Romance of Russian Life in Verse,' readers are transported into a world of unrequited love, societal expectations, and the complexities of human emotions. Set in the early 19th century in Russia, this poetic novel explores the intricacies of relationships and the consequences of one's actions.

The story revolves around the lives of two central characters: Eugene Onegin, a sophisticated and aloof aristocrat, and Tatiana, a naïve and romantic young woman. From their first encounter, a deep connection forms between them, but circumstances and personal choices prevent their love from blossoming. As Onegin embarks on a journey of personal growth, he is haunted by the choices he made in the past, while Tatiana, who has matured and married another man, is burdened by her enduring feelings for Onegin.

Pushkin's mastery lies in his ability to convey the characters' internal struggles and motivations through beautifully crafted stanzas and lyrical verses. Through his poetic language, he delves into the depths of human nature, exploring themes such as love, desire, regret, and the passage of time.

The characters in 'Eugene Onegin' are not easily defined or stereotypical. Onegin, though initially portrayed as a cold-hearted cynic, gradually reveals his vulnerable side, allowing readers to empathize with his inner turmoil. Tatiana, on the other hand, evolves from a shy and innocent girl into a strong-willed woman who grapples with her past and present choices.

One of the strengths of Pushkin's work is his ability to capture the essence of Russian society during that era. Drawing from his own experiences and observations, he presents a vivid portrayal of the social hierarchy, highlighting the constraints and expectations placed upon individuals based on their social standing. This deep exploration of societal norms adds depth and complexity to the narrative, elevating it beyond a mere love story.

While the poetic nature of the novel might be daunting to some readers, it ultimately enhances the storytelling by creating a unique rhythm and atmosphere. Though the translation from the original Russian might lose some of its intricacies, the essence of Pushkin's words resonates strongly, allowing readers to immerse themselves in the emotional journeys of the characters.

In conclusion, 'Eugene Onegin: A Romance of Russian Life in Verse' is a timeless literary masterpiece that delves into the depths of human emotions. Pushkin's skillful writing and profound exploration of themes make this novel an unforgettable read. Whether one is a fan of Russian literature or simply appreciates a well-crafted story, this work is a must-read that will leave a lasting impact.

First Page:

E text prepared by Stephen Leary


A Romance of Russian Life in Verse



Translated from the Russian by Lieut. Col. [Henry] Spalding

London Macmillan and Co. 1881


Eugene Oneguine, the chief poetical work of Russia's greatest poet, having been translated into all the principal languages of Europe except our own, I hope that this version may prove an acceptable contribution to literature. Tastes are various in matters of poetry, but the present work possesses a more solid claim to attention in the series of faithful pictures it offers of Russian life and manners. If these be compared with Mr. Wallace's book on Russia, it will be seen that social life in that empire still preserves many of the characteristics which distinguished it half a century ago the period of the first publication of the latter cantos of this poem.

Many references will be found in it to our own country and its literature. Russian poets have carefully plagiarized the English notably Joukovski. Pushkin, however, was no plagiarist, though undoubtedly his mind was greatly influenced by the genius of Byron more especially in the earliest part of his career. Indeed, as will be remarked in the following pages, he scarcely makes an effort to disguise this fact... Continue reading book >>

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