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Pushkin's Lyric Intelligence$
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Andrew Kahn

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199234745

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199234745.001.0001

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Invention and Genius

Invention and Genius

(p.34) 2 Invention and Genius
Pushkin's Lyric Intelligence

Andrew Kahn (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores the influence of invention on Pushkin's idea of expression. Specifically, it focuses on invention as the creative principle that regulates poetic enthusiasm consistent with the canons of taste. Like imitation, it is a key element in Pushkin's self-description of poetic talent and underpins his classical elegance. At a time when his contemporaries hailed him as a Romantic, Pushkin was drawn to the theory of creativity and poetic invention advocated by the 18th-century theorists Jean-François La Harpe (1739-1803) and Jean-François Marmontel (1723-99). It is argued that both La Harpe and Marmontel were significant for Pushkin because their theory of the classical ideal focused on literary art as a powerful expression of sensibility, rather than on linguistic or stylistic rules. These ideas are at work in Pushkin's representation of poetic enthusiasm, where the vocabularies of craft and invention serve as touchstones of poetic taste.

Keywords:   Pushkin, lyric poetry, invention, inspiration, poetic theory, Jean-François La Harpe, Jean-François Marmontel

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