Aleksandr Pushkin, Poltava

Polina Rikoun (University of Denver)
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Alexander Pushkin’s long narrative poem


, composed in 1828, centers on a historical figure, the Ukrainian hetman Mazepa [or ‘Mazeppa’], telling the story of his disastrous love affair with his god-daughter Maria [or ‘Mariia’] and unsuccessful aspiration to rule Ukraine independently from Russia. A highly complex work,


weaves together diverse narrative and stylistic strands: its plot combines romance with political intrigue, its exposition dovetails third-person narrative into dramatic dialogues, its hybrid genre synthesizes neo-classical, romantic, realist, and folkloric elements. Pushkin considered


his most mature and original work up to that date. However, the poem was strongly criticized upon publication for lack of unity, and generally underestimated…

2678 words

Citation: Rikoun, Polina. "Poltava". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 17 December 2007 [, accessed 23 June 2024.]

11203 Poltava 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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