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Onegin Fandom pimp post [Nov. 17th, 2010|08:40 pm]
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I'm actually really surprised that I'm the only person who is offering Alexander Pushkin's Eugene Onegin (wiki article, online text) this year for Yuletide.

Basic storyline? Russia, 1820s-30s. Eugene Onegin, a wealthy Petersburg dandy utterly bored with life, inherits his uncle's country estate and goes to live there for some time. He befriends his neighbor, Vladimir Lensky who introduces Onegin to Olga and Tatiana Larin (his fiance and her sister). The dreamy and poetic Tatiana falls in love with Onegin and even goes as far as to write him a letter. But she's a simple country girl and he;s not interested and tells her so. Later, Lensky drags Onegin to Tatiana's name day party where Onegin is bored and uncomfortable under Tatiana's love-struck gaze. He flirts with Olga to rile Lensky up as a sort of revenge for dragging him to the affair. Lensky -- naive and childish as he is -- challenges Onegin to a duel. Let's just say it doesn't go well and Onegin leaves for Europe devastated. He returns to Petersburg 6 years later where to suddenly finds Tatiana -- married and in high society circles. This time around he's the one doing the chasing...

NOW. Aside from a nice love story and Pushkin's exquisite poetry (which is somewhat lost in translation, sadly) there is this whole Onegin and Lensjy thing. Boy!friendship or boy!love?

Lensky of course was quite untainted
by any itch for marriage ties;
instead the chance to get acquainted
with Eugene proved a tempting prize.
So, verse and prose, they came together.
No ice and flame, no stormy weather
and granite, were so far apart.
At first, disparity of heart
rendered them tedious to each other;
then liking grew, then every day
they met on horseback; quickly they
became like brother knit to brother.


He smiled as Lensky talked: the heady
perfervid language of the bard,
his mind, in judgement still unsteady,
and always the inspired regard --
to Eugene all was new and thrilling;
he struggled to bite back the chilling
word on his lips, and thought: it's sheer
folly for me to interfere


``I?''``Saturday. The invitation
Olinka and her mother sent:
Tatyana's name day celebration.
It's right and proper that you went.''
"But there'll be such a rout and scrabble
with every different kind of rabble...''
``No, no, I'm sure the party's small.
Relations. No-one else at all.
Let's go, our friendship's worth the labour!''
``All right, I'll come then...'' ``What a friend!''


Pleasant, in spite of its compression,
gentlemanly, quite precise,
Vladimir's challenge found expression
that, though polite, was clear as ice.
Eugene's response was automatic;
he informed this envoy diplomatic
in terms where not a word was spared:
at any time he'd be prepared.
Zaretsky rose without discussion;
he saw no point in staying on,
with work at home; but when he'd gone,
Evgeny, whom the repercussion
left quite alone with his own soul,
was far from happy with his role.
In second place the poet might
have been a fool; yet he'd a right,
at eighteen years, to some compassion.
Eugene loved him from his heart,
and should have played a different part

Their friendship, Vladimir's excessive jealousy when Onegin dances with Olga and the fact that he can forgive Olga but not Eugene, how remorseful Eugene is about the duel....there is this intense chemistry between them.