10.04.2020
Article Article Medium

“There is something to lose your head from”

Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin as a role model of responsible citizen at the lockdown

Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin riding a horse in the countryside
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Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin is the father of contemporary Russian language. Pupils read “Eugene Onegin”, “Belkin’s Stories”, plays “Mozart and Salieri”, “The Miserly Knight”, “A Feast during the Plague” as well as adults reread. And who can remember from his youth that all these works were written at the height of the cholera epidemic of 1830?

How Alexander Pushkin got into the backwoods far away from his friends

Pushkin and Natalia Nikolaevna Goncharova were engaged in may 1830. He obtained the consent to the marriage only from the third request. The financial affairs of the bride were so up the spout that Alexander Sergeyevich himself had to earn money for the dowry which he allegedly received. Sergey Lvovich found with difficulty a not mortgaged estate that he could give to his son.

Master's house in Bolsino, family Pushkin's estate
Master’s house in Bolsino, family Pushkin’s estate

Boldino is a village of 500 souls. The father allocated to the son a nearby village Kistenevka, a part of Boldino estate. “Collegiate Secretary Alexander Sergeev, son of Pushkin” hastened to draw it up in a separate possession and pawn to get money for the wedding. For this reason, he arrived in Nizhny Novgorod province in September. He was forced to stay there for two months due to cholera quarantine.

Why should we take the poet for a model?

He didn’t lose composure

Alexander Sergeevich wrote two dozen of letters during the autumn in Boldino. He made up with the bride. Natalia Nikolaevna agreed to marry without a dowry.

Natalya Nikolaevna Goncharova, the bride and then the wife of Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin
Natalya Nikolaevna Goncharova, the bride and then the wife of Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin

At the same time, the writer did not forget about literary and critical practice. He asked Pogodin who was the publisher of the “Moscow Vedomosti” to send his tragedy “Marfa, Posadnitsa Novgorodskaya” for criticism. And in response, Pushkin sent a poem “The Hero” written on the occasion of the appearance of Nicholas I in cholera Moscow. The poet was not embarrassed to speak out against the regime naming himself but he wanted to publish the “apocalyptic song” with approval of the autocrat’s actions anonymously.

Pushkin willingly wrote many poems in Boldino. Autumn was the most fruitful time for him. The author was glad to be unexpectedly free to write what he wished and walk where he could. That feeling was expressed to his friend Pletnev in letters.

Pushkin approved of getting information in time

He read the cholera bulletins named “The Bulletin on the State of the Moscow City” which were published in the “Moscow Vedomosti”. The suspense tormented him. Alexander Sergeyevich was worried about the health of his family and the bride. He asked her to write regularly and was upset when the letters were long. Natalya Nikolaevna’s reply of October 1, he received on the October 26th. All suspicious and unverified information about the disease was rejected by him. A year earlier Pushkin had been to Arzrum where he had seen an outbreak of the plague, so he knew that the picture of devastation and the number of victims were often exaggerated.

Pushkin's letter to Praskovya Osipova. Punctured envelopes mark "cholera" correspondence. Letters were fumigated with sulfur or chlorine through the holes for disinfection
Pushkin’s letter to Praskovya Osipova. Punctured envelopes mark “cholera” correspondence. Letters were fumigated with sulfur or chlorine through the holes for disinfection
The writer was aware of necessity of precautions and lockdown

While there were no letters from Goncharova, the poet repeatedly tried to find out where the bride was. He was angry and concerned about her staying in Moscow and advised her to go to the country. Pushkin recalled a trip to the Caucasus and asked Natalia Nikolaevna to be careful and avoid cholera places. He also tried to go to Moscow and connect with his beloved. He was ready to stay in quarantine for as long as it would be necessary, though the poet did not visit the cordoned-off areas.

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