This introductory chapter begins by discussing the objectives and theoretical background of this book. The book aims to show how Pushkin wrote poems about fundamental aspects of his creative and intellectual identity in response to the ideas and aesthetic questions of his age. Building on earlier achievements, the book seeks to add a further critical dimension by importing methods more usually applied in the area of French and British Romanticism and Romantic theory. It uses a combination of history of ideas and literary criticism to take aim at an assumption that has operated in Pushkin studies — the belief that intellectual content in Pushkin is somehow incompatible with the perfection of his formal accomplishment. An overview of the subsequent chapters is presented.
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