Baltic accent

2020 Vol. 11 № 2

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The phenomenology of Pushkin’s ‘universal sympathy (based on ‘Аscene from ‘Faust’, ‘The feast in the time of plague’, and ‘the Wanderer’)



This article attempts to approach the discovery of what Dostoevsky called Pushkin’s ‘great secret’. In his essay ‘Pushkin’, Dostoevsky wrote that the poet had ‘a capacity for uni­versal sympathy’. The ‘secret’ of Pushkin is analysed in this article in the context of the gen­eral cultural problem of fundamental ontological predicates, which determined the main cul­tural codes of the literary worlds reflected in the poet’s oeuvre. The methodological approach is based on Valentin Nepomnyashchiy’s concept of the poetic momentum of Pushkin’s literary work, which is always in the stress field between the Christmas and Easter meta-codes. This field dictates the solution to the main Christian problem of correlations in the dialogue be­tween God and the human being. It is concluded that Pushkin was aware of the dangers of ‘the mystery of iniquity’, which is closely connected with the ideas of Gnosticism when par­taking spiritually and poetically of the literary phenomenology of Goethe’s tragedy Faust, John Wilson’s poem ‘The city of the plague’, and John Bunyan’s allegorical novel Pilgrim’s Progress. The article emphasises that Pushkin used his ‘capacity for universal sympathy’ to incorporate those dangers in both life and poetry. The hermeneutics of poetry is also dealt with in its connection to the hermeneutics of faith within the context of Russia’s and Western Eu­rope’s eschatological objectives, which shaped the cultural codes of the two territories.


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