Pushkin’s Ode to Liberty: The Life And Loves Of Alexander Pushkin

 

This book began as a movie script when I was a film student in 1989. The wish to bring Pushkin’s story to light in a way that had not been told before was a project of love. Being able to visit Pushkin’s home in Saint Petersburg, Russia brought me back to a time when Russia was rich with promise and possibilities. Pushkin’s poem entitled “Ode to Liberty” reveals that richness, yet over the years the mysteries surrounding his death have not been woven together in a way to share that richness, until now.

Pushkin’s fascination with dueling, his contribution to the Russian language and education, his accomplishments during his seven years in exile, his moral issues with religion, and his tribute to his comrades during the Decembrist Uprising are all revealed on the pages of this book. These pages also hold an insight into the vastness of the country, its history, its people and its struggle with its neighboring countries. For many years the identification of the author of the anonymous letter that led to Pushkin’s death was unknown until the proof finally surfaced decades after his death.

Of all the people who supported me during the writing of this book the one person who deserves the most thanks is Pushkin. He was a writer’s writer and a big influence on the golden age of Russian literature. He taught me that writing is a process, a process rich with discovery.
– M.A. DuVernet

 


Reviews

Title: Pushkin’s Ode to Liberty: The Life and Loves of Alexander Pushkin
Author: M.A. DuVernet
Publisher: XlibrisUS
ISBN: 9781499052930
Pages: 528
Genre: Literature & Fiction
Reviewed by: Allison Walker
 

Pacific Book Review

 
Search Russia’s most famous poet and one name appears over and over again: Alexander Pushkin. Exiled by the tsar for his controversial work, Pushkin’s poems were powerfully motivating to his fellow countrymen. But behind every genius must be a little madness. Author M.A. DuVernet captures the heart behind the inspired mind in her novel about the life and work of Alexander Pushkin, “Pushkin’s Ode to Liberty.”DuVernet offers a creative and imaginative glimpse into what the daily life of Pushkin might have been like. She is attentive to all aspects of the story; describing the political climate in Russia, introducing a wide cast of characters, and of course, examining in detail the writings of this famous poet. Literature is not written in a vacuum, and DuVernet knows this. She explains the history of Russia, showing readers how the political climate would have influenced Pushkin’s writing and helping us to appreciate how daring this poet could be with his work. Many of Pushkin’s poems were love poems, and through his work, as well as DuVernet’s descriptions of Pushkin’s beautiful wife Natalya, we’re able to see the depth of feeling capable by this man.

Pushkin was an ornery, volatile man, but also one of great intelligence and perceptiveness. DuVernet captures this perfectly, offering readers anecdotes and history that slowly piece together this complex character. One great example shared early on in the novel is Pushkin’s unfaltering passion for duels. “It was the quintessential combination of pretention and intellectuality that appealed to his fine sense of formality and amusement,” DuVernet explains. It was, of course, a duel that finally took the poet’s life.

A healthy portion of the novel is dedicated to Pushkin’s poetry. Offered in context to the events of Pushkin’s life, his poetry takes on a new meaning. The most significant of these is “Ode to Liberty,” the inspiration for the title of DuVernet’s novel. “Ode to Liberty” was one of Pushkin’s most controversial, and therefore popularly known, poems. Not only is it suiting to name the novel from the poem, which became synonymous with the name of the man, but also “Ode to Liberty” shows Pushkin’s character and his approach to life so clearly in itself. The poem is strong, opinionated and unapologetic.

For anyone interested in the life of poet Alexander Pushkin, DuVernet’s novel gives readers an option on the bookshelf besides dry biographies. Her novel is captivating and interesting, written as a work of fiction but strongly moored in real life events. Reading it, DuVernet gifts her readers with the appreciation and fascination she herself has for Pushkin. “Pushkin’s Ode to Liberty” should not be missed by anyone studying the life of Russia’s most famous poet.


US Review

 

Pushkin’s Ode to Liberty: The Life and Loves of Alexander Pushkin
by M. A. DuVernet
Xlibris
 
reviewed by Yuliya Geikhman
 
“The mumblings that were once a well-orchestrated convergence of words and phrases with a rhythm spoken from the heart were not just an eruption of blurts, grunts, and moans pouring out that cursed the ready paper, which lately had turned from a necessity to an expense.”

On January 27, 1827, Alexander Pushkin, the greatest Russian poet to ever live, was fatally shot in a duel. Pushkin’s life was full of controversy, passionate loves, dangerous political affiliations, and many adventures. He left behind a collection of unique writings and poetry which caught the eye of many in his time, including the Tsar himself, and are revered to this day. Named after his revolutionary poem, “Ode to Liberty,” this novel-like take on a historical figure explores the life and loves of this intriguing man. The book begins with the end, showing Pushkin as he stoically meets his dueling partner. It introduces the important players in Pushkin’s life, then takes a trip back in time to explore the events which led to that fatal day.

Told in the style of a novel, the author’s words bring historical figures to life like characters in a story. Interspersed throughout the narration are many letters, bits of poetry, and other primary sources from the poet and people who crossed paths with him. The tale is set against a rich historical backdrop, as the author places us in a world alive not just with Pushkin’s presence but with European strife, Russian tsars, ongoing wars and hardships, and the socio-political environment of the early 1800s. Pushkin and those who are close to him are given an internal (and external) voice which assumes some liberties were taken, but the author seems to truly understand the motivations of everyone to grace the pages, lending to a writing that comes across as both enjoyable and historically accurate. Although the hefty tome can be long-winded in places, the thoroughly researched writing lends a believable voice to people who have long since lost theirs. This book is a lovingly penned biographical tribute and a revealing glimpse into the mind of a literary genius.