Some say Pushkin quit Romanticism in year 1825. To which literary movement do his Little Tragedies (1830) belong to, then?

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    Hi and welcome to Literature Stack Exchange. Could you please give an example of a critic claiming that "Pushkin quit Romanticism in 1925." (Or was it 1825? Pushkin died in 1837. In either case, I would appreciate it if you could provide a source.)
    – Tsundoku
    Jul 21, 2022 at 9:37
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    You will have to ask the people who say he quit Romanticism in 1825. Even his later work is widely perceived to have Romantic elements. Although there is probably a tendency towards realism. And what does it mean to belong to a literary movement - if you mean "Did Pushkin deliberately write his Little Tragedies as examples of Romantic or Realist literature, according to set principles, or in the way that Wordsworth or Tzara wrote according to manifestos?" the answer is probably no, but they have elements of various literary movements.
    – Stuart F
    Jul 22, 2022 at 15:10
  • @StuartF This is a tradition of Russian literary critique: to consider everything Pushkin wrote after 1825 as realism. Everybody writes it without a reference. I do not see anything realistic in "Little tragedies". Why do you say "The answer is probably no" for romanticism? Can you say anything specific about it?
    – Marina
    Jul 22, 2022 at 15:47
  • @StuartF I am asking anybody who has something to say about it, one way or another. Thanks.
    – Marina
    Jul 22, 2022 at 15:53

1 Answer 1


It seems that authors find elements of both realism and romanticism in Little Tragedies.

The Pushkin Handbook (2005) explains that Soviet authors overstated a case for realism for ideological reasons:

Pushkin had to be read as “progressive” and to have “overcome” romanticism, thus laying the path for critical realism.

It’s covered in more detail in the book’s chapter on Pushkin and romanticism.

Soviet researchers found realism, for example, in more complex psychology or depiction of historical processes. Yuri Lotman in his article «Пушкин. Очерк творчества» (Pushkin. Outline of the oeuvre) says (auto-translated):

The most complete expression of the realism of the Boldino period were the so-called "little tragedies". In this respect, they sum up the entire creative development of the poet since his break with romanticism. The desire for historical and ethno-cultural concreteness of images, the idea of the connection of a person's character with the environment and the epoch allowed him to achieve an unheard-of psychological fidelity of characters. […] G. A. Gukovsky saw this as a feature of Pushkin's realism, based, in his opinion, on the determination of characters by their environment.

That said, The Stone Guest, e.g., has a statue coming to life, and the play borrows some elements from Mozart’s opera (according to Wikipedia).

Some romantic elements are desribed in the article «Маленькие трагедии» (Little Tragedies, publ. in Zvezda magazine, 1999, #3) by N. V. Belyak and M. I. Virolaynen (auto-translated):

The poetics of "A Feast in time of Plague" is entirely organized according to the laws of the romantic era. First of all, this is the poetics of the fragment; the reason why the text of the tragedy is woven from someone else's text is probably connected with it. The fragment was appreciated by romantics for the fact that, devoid of borders and frames, it remained as if inseparable from the world, or vice versa — "embedded" directly into the world.

  • Soviet critics had to tow a party line: everything acceptable for CPSU is realism. Lotman followed rules also. Contemporary Russian critics studied literature in Soviet Universities. Besides, in Russia today it is considered uncultured to discard Soviet heritage. The only acceptable deviation is to take Christian views on literature. So, almost all the literary analysis today in Russia is either communist or Christian. Which makes it pretty much useless for a not-Comunist and not-Christian.
    – Marina
    May 7, 2023 at 13:07

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