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In the course of his short, dramatic life, Aleksandr Pushkin gave Russia not only its greatest poetry—including the novel-in-verse Eugene Onegin—but a new literary language. He also gave it a figure of enduring romantic allure–fiery, restless, extravagant, a prodigal gambler and inveterate seducer of women. Having forged a dazzling, controversial career that cost him the enmity of one tsar and won him the patronage of another, he died at the age of thirty-eight, following a duel with a French officer who was paying unscrupulous attention to his wife.
In his magnificent, prize-winning Pushkin, T. J. Binyon lifts the veil of the iconic poet’s myth to reveal the complexity and pathos of his life while brilliantly evoking Russia in all its nineteenth-century splendor. Combining exemplary scholarship with the pace and detail of a great novel, Pushkin elevates biography to a work of art.
“Magnificent. . . . Beguiling. . . . [Binyon] has practically inhaled all of 19th-century Russian culture.” –The New York Times Book Review
“Breathtaking. . . . Eminently readable. . . . Astonishingly detailed. . . . [Binyon] virtually recreates Pushkin’s daily life. This will surely become the standard account of the poet in English.” –The Washington Post Book World
“A lively, novelistic tapestry. . . . Sparkles with concrete historical detail and vividly realized personalities.” –Los Angeles Times Book Review
“Colorful, knowledgeable, detailed, and textured. . . . This biography will clearly be of inestimable value to anyone looking for a solid and thorough account of Pushkin’s life.” –The Christian Science Monitor
“[A] monumental biography. . . . Distinguished. . . . Rewarding. . . . [Binyon] is exact and discerning.” –The Boston Globe
“This stupendous biography is the crown of a life’s work. . . . It is the best biography I have read, not just this year but in decades.” –A. N. Wilson, Daily Mail
“Binyon’s long-awaited life of Pushkin is by far the most important to appear in many years. It is a magnificent achievement, a monument to a life of scholarship.” –Orlando Figes, The Times (London)
“Scrupulously researched, lucidly and objectively written, with an admirable lightness of touch and a good dose of dry humour.” –The Economist
“In T. J. Binyon [Pushkin] has finally found the biographer he deserves. . . . Pushkin remains immortal and he certainly lives again in this book.” –Simon Sebag Montefiore, Mail on Sunday
“One of the great biographies of recent times. . . . Such is Binyon’s skill in presenting his phenomenal research, and so patiently does he build up the reader’s interest in the man and his era, that he ends by captivating us. . . . The myths evaporate under Binyon’s scrutiny. . . . [He is] a biographer of the first rank.” –The New York Sun
“Superb. . . . Grippingly entertaining and magnificently authoritative.” –Daily Telegraph
“In this magnificent biography, T. J. Binyon tells Pushkin’s story with the patience and finesse of a detective. . . . The pace at which he leads the reader through the events of the poet’s short, strained life is careful, yet unfailingly riveting.” –Evening Standard
“Producing such a detailed yet absorbing chronicle of Pushkin’s adult life is a remarkable achievement. . . . Binyon’s book is poignant, brisk, and at times downright funny: the best possible tribute to the changeable and elusively fascinating character of its subject.” –The Guardian
“Magnificent. . . . Exemplary. . . . Lavishly illustrated.” –St. Louis Post-Dispatch