Saturday, February 15, 2014

Eugene Onegin Readalong, 7 & 8

Eugene Onegin Readalong, 7 & 8

Darn it, I finished Eugene Onegin days ago, but procrastinated my post too long.  I feel out of the loop now! Tanglewood is a little late too.

Poor Lensky is gone, and Olga recovers quickly, marrying another young man.  Onegin has fled and is traveling to escape his guilt.  Tatiana is left on her own to brood, and winds up in Onegin's library, reading his books and realizing how little she knows this man.  (Small note: Onegin's favorite book is Melmoth, a fact I did not notice the first time around.  Now that I know what it is I see it everywhere.  I might need to read it for Gothic October...)  Is there even a real Onegin, or is he just a collection of literary tropes? Tatiana's parents decide that it is high time she stopped mooning about, and so they take her to Moscow in hopes of marrying her off.

Several years later, Onegin returns to Russia and goes to St. Petersburg.  He is ready to be bored stiff by the same old round of parties, but a young woman, graceful and serious, the perfect hostess, catches his eye.  It is Tatiana, now married to an older general.  Now Onegin realizes her worth and falls for her; he writes endless letters and follows her around, but she ignores him completely.  Finally he visits her and declares his feelings in person.  Tatiana confesses that she still loves him, but also points out that he may only like her now because of her social success.  She will remain true to her husband.

Tatiana now understands Onegin; she knows that he's not worthy of her.  She loves him anyway, but acts according to her own ideas of what is right.  Although it is not said, I'm sure she is also thinking about how Lensky died and is wisely avoiding such a scenario for herself (it just kills me that this is exactly how Pushkin died himself--in a duel over his wife's alleged affair).  But duel or not, she acts like the virtuous heroine of a novel.

I really enjoyed reading this poem/story again, and I think I got a lot more out of it this time.  Thanks, Tanglewood, for hosting!




4 comments:

Amateur Reader (Tom) said...

Melmoth is awesome. Also insane.

Jean said...

That's what I hear! So clearly I have to read it. I have it on my tablet and everything, which isn't as good as a book but what are you gonna do. I'm thinking October. Wonder if anyone wants to do an insane awesome readalong?

Marian said...

Melmoth is on my list, too, and this Onegin reference intrigues me. I'm in if there's a read-along!

You know, I've been wondering during this read-along whether Tatyana learned more about herself in books than about her husband-to-be. That is, she expected Onegin to be the knight in shining armor, but in the end, she was the one to act nobly. Pushkin was ahead of his time. :)

Amateur Reader (Tom) said...

To extend the idea, she at one point ironically learns about herself (and Onegin) in Onegin's books!