Of heaven’s realm on Earth a witness
With all within my soul on fire
I sang before the throne of goodness
That warmth and beauty did inspire.
And love and secret inner freedom
Taught my heart hymns and honest tales.
My voice, which never was for sale,
Expressed the Russian people’s yearning.
WHY PUSHKIN MATTERS
For Russians, Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin (1799-1837) – “is our all” – the lodestar of their culture, “the sunshine of Russian poetry,” Russia’s national bard, the creator of its modern literary language, the author of its most beloved poems, tales, novels, plays, fairy tales and essays, including such masterpieces as Ruslan and Lyudmila, Eugene Onegin, The Caucasian Captive, Count Nulin, Boris Godunov, Poltava, The Tales of Belkin, Dubrovsky, The Queen of Spades, The Bronze Horseman,and The Captain’s Daughter and many others. All Russia’s great composers idolized him: countless operas, songs, ballads, romances, and orchestral pieces are set to his works.
For Dostoyevsky, Pushkin expressed the “the height of artistic perfection” with the uncanny “universal compassion of the Russian soul,” for Gogol, “Pushkin was the truest expression of the essential Russian spirit,” while Tolstoy extolled the clarity and seemingly effortless lightness of Pushkin’s graceful style. Pushkin’s mastery is suffused with cosmic warmth, a biting wit and yet with forgiveness, an easygoing delight in earthly pleasures combined with unearthly soulful yearning for holiness, truth, and love. His life was heroic, full of love and struggle. He was a dissident, a freethinker, a romantic, a humanitarian, a passionate advocate for freedom and the rule of law, a wit, famous for jokes and epigrams, and above all, a poet of love, indeed, perhaps the most romantic poet who ever lived.
— Julian Henry Lowenfeld
Julian Henry Lowenfeld is an American poet, playwright, trial lawyer, composer, and prize-winning translator, best known for his translations of Alexander Pushkin’s poetry into English. His book: My Talisman, Selected Verse and a Biography of Alexander Pushkin brings the joy of Russia’s national bard to English-speakers. In a dual-language edition, handy for academic use, as well as for bilingual households, as well as a handy English-only edition, it contains over 120 of the most beloved poems of Alexander Pushkin, illustrated by approximately 180 of the poet’s own drawings. The book also contains extensive excerpts from Eugene Onegin, Pushkin s magnificent novel in verse, and a complete biography of the poet, whose life is a thrilling tale in its own right.
THE PUSHKIN PROJECT
The Pushkin Project aims to bring the real Pushkin to the English-speaking world through the inspired translations of the American poet Julian Henry Lowenfeld, including:
- My Talisman, Selected Verse and a Biography of Alexander Pushkin
- The Little Tragedies, four verse plays by Pushkin that are virtually unknown in the West
- The Pushkin Fairy Tales
- The Bronze Horseman (perhaps the profoundest epic meditation on state power and its cruel costs)
- Eugene Onegin
- The Queen of Spades, The Tales of Belkin, The Captain’s Daughter
The first publication of the project, My Talisman will be published in two editions: A trade book for the general reader, released in November 2019, and a special edition for schools, in spring 2020.
In addition to books, the focus will be on publicizing Pushkin’s genius with the help of great British and American actors, especially those who already feel a connection to “the Russian soul” and its profound cultural legacy via poetry readings, concerts, theatrical events, and media appearances in the UK and Russia.
We are delighted to announce that the first phase of the Project took place in summer 2019 with performances in Kaliningrad and Vladivostok, Russia, Rome, Brussels, London and Dublin.