“White Nights” & “Eugene Onegin”; Literate Talks


*note; these are obviously the greek editions
September has ended and he (because September is definitely a “he”) took with him a great deal of literature, Russian literature to be exact! Like it was expected I have no complaints, Dostoevsky and Pushkin did keep me great company in those rainy and dark nights in my bed.

Having some Tchaikovsky in the background (**here she hints to you that you have to listen his “Eugene Onegin” opera**) and the unexpected sun keeping me this time company, I’m struggling to write this very review. Like every other book, I get too emotional and academically driven. You may excuse my endless ramblings and parenthesizes. Now, actually meaning it, let’s get into the deep void of Russian books!

It was a moody, tiring and very dark night at the late September when I lost my Pushkin virginity! I’m quite happy it happened with Eugene Onegin, a very, very dear character! This is where the devil is laughing at me because this edition is a prose edition and not the original, the one in verse..(and I thought everything was going excellent).
It has been almost three weeks so yes, I think I’m over it (after all; fake it, till you make it)! That being said it’s necessary to give the most of credits to Coralia Makri (my sincere apologies, if I’m translating it wrong) for attempting to do this change as well as for succeeding hugely at this transformation of text!

When it comes to judging Pushkin, I adored him! I don’t know if this applies to all of his works but this story is worth devouring in one sitting, thinking about it over the years and possibly rereading at some point! “Eugene Onegin” is not a light read, it’s the kind of heavy read that I personally categorize in Mrs. Dalloway or Othello as well. The reasoning behind my decision is very plain to be honest, for start, we have this grave melancholy and the sense of un-fulfillment in the air as well as that little laugh every tragedy tends to give the reader. Secondly, we have a tragic love, a couple that couldn’t share their passion for the wrong reasons.

“So be it then! Henceforth I place
My faith in you and your affection; I plead with tears upon my face
And beg you for your kind protection. You cannot know: I’m so alone,
There’s no one here to whom I’ve spoken,
My mind and will are almost broken,
And I must die without a moan. I wait for you … and your decision: Revive my hopes with but a sign,
Or halt this heavy dream of mine— Alas, with well-deserved derision! I close. I dare not now reread…. I shrink with shame and fear.
​But surely, Your honour’s all the pledge I need, And I submit to it securely.”
(Tatyana’s first letter to Onegin)

As much engaging as this book was, the only character that fully engaged me was Eugene! Such a complex and beautiful character, he almost seems to be written by the delightful Wilde! I mean, I can’t end this review without mentioning the Wilde aka. aesthetic-egoism syndrome in him.

“He filled a shelf with a small army of books and read and read; but none of it made sense. .. They were all subject to various cramping limitations: those of the past were outdated, and those of the present were obsessed with the past.” 

To conclude with Pushkin, I’m happy it was Eugene and Tatyana who broke my poor “Pushkin heart”!!
*fun fact; Alexander Pushkin shares my birthday! 

It was unbearable to leave Dostoevsky after finishing “Crime and Punishment” so as you have guessed I didn’t! Unfulfilled romances and tragic heroes basically made my month. Dostoevsky doesn’t fail to warm your entire being with all those dreamy, romantic, poetic chapters and then literally smashing your heart.

 “Listen, listen!” I interrupted her. “Forgive me if I tell you something else…. I tell you what, I can’t help coming here to-morrow, I am a dreamer; I have so little real life that I look upon such moments as this now, as so rare, that I cannot help going over such moments again in my dreams. I shall be dreaming of you all night, a whole week, a whole year. I shall certainly come here to-morrow, just here to this place, just at the same hour, and I shall be happy remembering today. This place is dear to me already. I have already two or three such places in Petersburg. I once shed tears over memories … like you…. Who knows, perhaps you were weeping ten minutes ago over some memory…. But, forgive me, I have forgotten myself again; perhaps you have once been particularly happy here….” 

That is our narrator..possibly the only narrator I could identify with at such an extraordinary level. Hopeless romanticism, endless dreams, a literate and philosophical approach to life and its secrets! I fell instantly in love with him and his heartbreaking, unfortunate story. Just look above or below, and if that doesn’t shake you as a human being I don’t know what will!

“I am a dreamer. I know so little of real life that I just can’t help re-living such moments as these in my dreams, for such moments are something I have very rarely experienced. I am going to dream about you the whole night, the whole week, the whole year. I feel I know you so well that I couldn’t have known you better if we’d been friends for twenty years. You won’t fail me, will you? Only two minutes, and you’ve made me happy forever. Yes, happy. Who knows, perhaps you’ve reconciled me with myself, resolved all my doubts.” 

{I could keep on and on with quotes but I don’t want to overwhelm you. Of course if you want some additional questions to the big question of why you live, please do take a look on some more quotes!}

I am so envious of Nastenka and those four nights she spent with our young man, a friend I wish I had but at the same time don’t because I wouldn’t want to take advantage of his love. I’m happy that Nastenka got her happily ever after but then again our narrator’s ending was harsh and haunting!

​Dostoevsky’s stories are so mesmerizing because indeed, the peek at your thoughts and feelings!

Time to say our goodbyes once again my dearest ladies and gentlemen, don’t forget; “But how could you live and have no story to tell?” 

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