Wednesday, July 25, 2012

ALEXANDER PUSHKIN (6 June 1799 – 10 February 1837), THE BLACK RUSSIAN WHO DEVELOPED RUSSIAN LITERATURE AND RUSSIA`S GREATEST POET

Alexander Pushkin (6 June 1799 – 10 February 1837)
Alexander Pushkin is usually credited with developing Russian literature and is considered by many to be the greatest Russian poet. 
Pushkin was notoriously touchy about his honor and fought 29 duels. This may have been due to that fact that Pushkin’s Grand Father, Abram Petrovich Gannibal was an African possibly from Eritrea. He was ransomed and sent to Russia at the request of Pyotr Andreyevich Tolstoy, the Grandfather of another prominent Russian author Leo Tolstoy. Abram Petrovich Gannibal. initially, he was presented as a gift to Peter the Great who came to respect and admire Gannibal as a child and adopted him as his son. As a result, Gannibal was raised as a philosopher, scientist and military general
 Pushkin Genealogy

Russian Nobility

Although the vast majority of African Americans are unfamiliar with Pushkin's monumental works, most students of literature are at least aware of his "Blackamoor of Peter the Great," an unfinished romance which relates the biographical data of the poet's great-grandfather, Ibrahim Petrovitch Gannibal his black great-grandfather.
Some early critics wrongly suspected that Pushkin attempted to aggrandize the African lineage of this black forebear by playing up the family tradition that he was an Ethiopian princeling. However, Pushkin certainly did not need to embellish his ancestor's own personal history. For the accomplishments of Ibrahim Petrovitch Gannibal are proof of what any man - despite his colour - could rise to, given the opportunity. Ibrahim was treated as no less than a member of the royal family at court and, in the biographical notes on him written either by his wife or by someone in her family shortly after his death, the following statement is made:

"....he (Peter) wished to make examples of them and put (Russians) to shame by convincing them that out of every people and even from among wild men - such as Negores, whom our civilized nations assign exclusively to the class of slave, there can be formed men who by dint of application can obtain knowledge and learning and thus become helpful to their monarch."
Russian Nobility To a divine rights monarch like Peter whose relationship to a nation of serfs was entirely paternalistic, a child as a personal gift or possession could only be regarded as one of his own kith and kin. Indeed, at the eight-year old Ibrahim's baptism, the Emperor himself was his godfather, while his godmother was the Queen of Poland.
 Although, as we now realize, no Blackamoor at any 18th century European court was merely decorative, in Ibrahim's case, Peter's expectations for him were as loaded with responsibility as those he would have had for his own son. If he was the Emperor whose patriotic duty it was to drag Russia spiritually and intellectually out of its Byzantine backwardness and into the future of the Enlightenment, then it would literally be Ibrahim's responsibility to care for his adopted country's physical formation and his defence of it. In 1717 the young blackamoor was sent to France for an education in both civil and military engineering. He studied at the Ecole d'Artillerie of La Fere under the brilliant Bernard Forest de Belidor and afterwards, at the Ecole d'Artillerie of Metz, an institution founded by the illustrious Sebastien Le Preste, Marquis de Vauban. Source: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/secret/famous/pushkingenealogy.html

Pushkin descendants

Pushkin had four children from his marriage to Natalya: Maria (b. 1832, touted as a prototype of Anna Karenina), Alexander (b. 1833), Grigory (b. 1835), and Natalya (b. 1836) the last of whom married, morganatically, into the royal house of Nassau to Nikolaus Wilhelm of Nassau and became the Countess of Merenberg.
Of Pushkin's children only the lines of Alexander and Natalia continue. Natalia married Prince Nikolaus Wilhelm of Nassau, and their grand-daughter, Nadejda, married into the British royal family (her husband was the uncle of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh). The descendants of the poet now live around the globe: in Great Britain, Germany, Belgium and the United States.

                                                       Portrait of Pushkin 1800-1802 by Xavier de Maistre.
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Pushkin

Alexander Pushkin the black Russian was way ahead of his time and produced contemporary works such as:

Narrative Poems

Verse novel

  • 1825–32 – Yevgeny Onegin (Евгений Онегин); English translation: Eugene Onegin

Drama

  • 1825 – Boris Godunov (Борис Годунов); English translation: Boris Godunov
  • 1830 – Malenkie tragedii (Маленькие трагедии); English translation: The Little Tragedies
    • Kamenny gost (Каменный гость); English translation: The Stone Guest
    • Motsart i Salyeri (Моцарт и Сальери); English translation: Mozart and Salieri
    • Skupoy rytsar (Скупой рыцарь); English translations: The Miserly Knight, The Covetous Knight
    • Pir vo vremya chumy (Пир во время чумы); English translation: A Feast in Time of Plague

Prose

  • 1828 – Arap Petra Velikogo (Арап Петра Великого); English translation: Peter the Great's Negro, unfinished novel
  • 1831 – Povesti pokoynogo Ivana Petrovicha Belkina (Повести покойного Ивана Петровича Белкина); English translation: The Tales of the Late Ivan Petrovich Belkin
    • Vystrel (Выстрел); English translation: The Shot, short story
    • Metel (Метель); English translation: The Blizzard, short story
    • Grobovschik (Гробовщик); English translation: The Undertaker, short story
    • Stanzionny smotritel (Станционный смотритель); English translation: The Stationmaster, short story
    • Baryshnya-krestyanka (Барышня-крестьянка); English translation: The Squire's Daughter, short story
  • 1834 – Pikovaya dama (Пиковая дама); English translation: The Queen of Spades, short story
  • 1834 – Kirdzhali (Кирджали); English translation: Kirdzhali, short story
  • 1834 – Istoriya Pugacheva (История Пугачева); English translation: A History of Pugachev, study of the Pugachev's Rebellion
  • 1836 – Kapitanskaya dochka (Капитанская дочка); English translation: The Captain's Daughter, novel
  • 1836 – Puteshestvie v Arzrum (Путешествие в Арзрум); English translation: A Journey to Arzrum, travel sketches
  • 1836 – Roslavlev (Рославлев); English translation: Roslavlev, unfinished novel
  • 1837 – Istoriya sela Goryuhina (История села Горюхина); English translation: The Story of the Village of Goryukhino, unfinished short story
  • 1837 – Yegipetskie nochi (Египетские ночи); English translation: Egyptian Nights, unfinished short story
  • 1841 – Dubrovsky (Дубровский); English translation: Dubrovsky, unfinished novel

Fairy Tales in verse

   Statue of Pushkin and his wife Natalya on Arbat Street in Moscow

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