Research Programs: Fellowships for University Teachers

Period of Performance

9/1/2005 - 5/31/2006

Funding Totals

$40,000.00 (approved)
$40,000.00 (awarded)

Crime and Conscience in the Works of Alexander Pushkin

FAIN: FA-51635-05

Alyssa Wendy Gillespie
University of Notre Dame (Notre Dame, IN 46556-4635)

This project challenges the standard critical view of Alexander Pushkin's writing as classically elegant and harmonious. In a reevaluation of his major lyric, narrative, and dramatic works, I trace the psychological effects on the poet of the repressive society in which he lived. I postulate a myth of criminality in Pushkin's work that construes poetic gift as monstrosity and equates the thrill of inspiration with the pangs of a guilty conscience. Separate chapters address motifs of crime and punishment, Pushkin's imagination of the muse as temptress and victim, his use of dueling alter egos to express the turmoil of his personality, generic innovations as a drive toward transgression of boundaries, and the subversive thematics of death.