Readers often have regarded with curiosity the creative life of the poet. In this study, David Bethea illustrates the relation between the art and life of 19th-century poet Alexander Pushkin, the central figure in Russian thought and culture. Bethea shows how Pushkin, on the eve of this 200th anniversary, still speaks to our time. He indicates how we, as modern readers, might ""realize"" the promethean metaphors central to the poet's intensely ""sculpted"" life. The Pushkin who emerges from Bethea's portrait is one who, long unknown to English-language readers, closely resembles the original both psychologically and artistically. Bethea begins by addressing the influential thinkers Freud, Bloom, Jakobson and Lotman to show that their premises do not, by themselves, adequately account for Pushkin's psychology of creation or his version of the ""Life of the Poet"". He then proposes his own versatile model of reading, and goes on to sketch the tangled connections between Pushkin and his great compatriot, the 18th-century poet Gavrila Derzhavin.
David M. Bethea is Vilas Research Professor in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is the author of Khodasevich: His Life and Art; The Shape of Apocalypse in Modern Russian Fiction; and Joseph Brodsky and the Creation of Exile.