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Keywords: Pushkin, Eugene Onegin, “initiation”, transformation, character, plot.
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Darensky V.J. The Plot of Spiritual “Initiation” in Eugene Onegin. Studia Litterarum, 2019, vol. 4, no 1, pp. 214–235. (In Russ.)
DOI: 10.22455/2500-4247-2019-4-1-214-235

Author: Vitaly J. Darensky
Information about the author:

Vitaly J. Darensky, PhD in Philosophy, T. Shevchenko Lugansk National University, Oboronnaja 2 a, Lugansk 91011, Ukraine.
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Received: August 26, 2018
Published: March 25, 2019
Issue: 2019 Vol. 4, №1
Department: Russian Literature
Pages: 214-235
DOI: 10.22455/2500-4247-2019-4-1-214-235
UDK: 821.161.1
BBK: 83.3(2Рос=Рус)52


The article analyzes the fate of the characters in Pushkin’s novel in verse Eugene Onegin within the framework of such model of radical personal transformation as “initiation” or “second birth”. Reading Eugene Onegin in the outlined perspective allows me to conceptualize the effect of the novel on the reader, her consciousness and mindset that is not necessarily contingent on the reader’s own cultural background. The novel highlights a number of key examples of personal transformations that the novel’s main characters undergo. The novel’s interpretation considers a broader context of Russian culture that is often regarded as a “culture of transformation,” e.g. as aimed not at the person’s individual self-assertion but on his or her transformation in the attempt to correspond to the abstract ideal. The paradoxical ending of the novel, not typical for the genre, reflects the author’s intention to transform his main character into a new person and may be better understood if read via the prism of Crime and Punishment and its final. The essay outlines a typology of the novel’s characters, structured around their intention to have spiritual transformation (“initiation”), either successful or failed. It also expands the fictional framework of the novel and analyzes the role of transformation in Pushkin’s life and work in general.


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