UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES)


SERS0079 Pushkin

UCL Credits: 15

Total Learning Hours: 150

ECTS: 7.5

Level: Advanced

Course Unit: 0.5

Term 2

Module Coordinator: Dr Philip CavendishOlga Voronina

Taught By: Dr Philip Cavendish

To find out more about this module, please contact the Module Coordinator.

Weekly Contact Hours: 2.0 (1 hour seminar and 1 hour tutorial per week)
Prerequisites: Russian language at advanced level
Compulsory Module for:

Summative Assessment

2 Hour Examination (100%)

Formative Assessment

Two pieces of coursework, one essay (c.1500 words in length), and one commentary (c.1200 words in length).

Module Outline

This course consists of an extensive introduction to the poems and prose works of Aleksandr Pushkin, generally acclaimed as Russia’s most important and best-loved national poet. The works studied include: some thirty lyric poems; the ‘Southern’ narrative poem Tsygany; the novel-in-verse Evgenii Onegin; the five stories (and editor’s introduction) which constitute Povesti Belkina; and the historical novel Kapitanskaia dochka. All the texts are studied in Russian. We will be examining the evolution and development of Pushkin’s writing career within a broadly Romantic context, investigating the ways in which he pioneered a bewildering array of poetic and prose genres, and exploring the colourful but tragic nature of his life, both public and private. An introductory lecture on the lyric poetry at the beginning of the course gives important biographical information and discusses the complex relationship between autobiography and the psychology of creation. Some previous study of poetry – for example the second-year Russian poetry course – is helpful for an appreciation of Pushkin’s verse.
The texts of all the lyrical poems are available on Moodle. Ideally, these should be accessed and read before the course begins.

Indicative Texts

  • T. Binyon, Pushkin: A Biography, London, 2002
  • Elaine Feinstein, Pushkin, London, 1999
  • A. D. P. Briggs, Alexander Pushkin: A Critical Study, Bristol, 1983
  • Monica Greenleaf, Pushkin and Romantic Fashion, in particular, the introduction (‘Pushkin and the Fragment: An Introduction’) and the first chapter (‘The Romantic Fragment’), pp. 1-18 & 19-55, respectively, Stanford, California, 1994
  • Paul Debreczeny, Social Functions of Literature: Alexander Pushkin and Russian Culture, Stanford, California, 1997
  • Andrew Kahn, ‘Pushkin’s Lyric Identities’, in Kahn, ed., The Cambridge Companion to Pushkin, Cambridge, 2004, pp. 26-40



Course Code



Full Year AffiliatesRegister for SERS4014As Above 7.5
Affiliates here for Terms 2 and 3 onlyRegister for SERS4014As above 7.5

Please note: This outline is accurate at the time of publication. Minor amendments may be made prior to the start of the academic year.