The great Russian poet Alexander Pushkin (1799–1837) wrote his novel in verse Eugene Oneguin — one of the most important works of Russian literature — for seven years, from 1823 to 1831, while the events described in the novel take place from 1819 to 1925. That is, the time of the creation and the time of the action of the novel almost coincide. The centre of the plot is the sad love story of Eugene and Tatiana, but the book is not only interesting by its plotline. The breadth of the topics covered, the details of everyday life, the branched storyline, the depth of the character descriptions faithfully demonstrate the readers the features of the life of that era. Literary critic Vissarion Belinsky called the novel Eugene Oneguin “an encyclopedia of Russian life” with good reason.
We offer the English-speaking readers the 1881 translation of the novel by Henry Spalding. The translator accompanies the text with a detailed commentary on the realities of Russian life in the first quarter of the 19th century.