ARTL 100 Essay 1

ARTL 100 Essay 1 - Gillian Antell ARTL 100 Masterpieces of...

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Gillian Antell ARTL 100 Masterpieces of the Short Story MW 10am 10/1/07 Obessions and Literary Limitations Aleksandar Pushkin was the master of many different genres of literature, and influenced countless Russian writers after his untimely death. One such writer was Mikhail Lermontov, who gained fame in 1837 after he wrote a famous letter to the aristocracy lamenting Pushkin’s death entitled “Death of a Poet.” Lermontov was greatly affected by Pushkin’s work, and tried to emulate his hero’s accomplishments throughout his own lifetime. In his short story Taman , taken from his novel, A Hero of Our Time , Lermontov incorporates a similar course of plot development to Pushkin’s Queen of Spades , marked by a strange fixation gone awry and ultimately leading to the protagonist’s denouement. Although there exist basic elements, such as character development and setting, in which Lermontov’s Taman differs from Pushkin’s Queen of Spades , the same themes of obsession, deception, and classic Pushkinian ambiguity permeate both stories. Pushkin’s Queen of Spades and Lermontov’s Taman parallel each other in many ways, but part ways in terms of the stories’ settings and many of the characteristics of the two protagonists. Most explicitly, Queen of Spades , according to Carl R. Proffer in his Practical Criticism for Students is a “model society tale,” that is, documenting in rich detail the lives of those who belong to high society, while Lermontov’s Taman takes place in the Caucasus, a remote Russian territory, and, more specifically, in a small seaside town – a far cry from the Parisian mansions and balls described in the former. In addition, the two protagonists of the stories, Taman ’s Pechorin and Queen of Spades
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Hermann, contrast in their fundamental outlooks of life. While Pechorin is an example of an emerging literary stereotype known as the “superfluous man” and is disillusioned with
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