Pushkin and the Caucasus: Literary Images of Russia's Eastern Frontier

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Ethan Helfrich


During the first half of the nineteenth century, the Russian Empire saw its military become entangled in a conflict in the Transcaucasus that would last for several decades, during which artists, writers, poets, and those at odds with Russian high society flocked to this region in search of personal freedom.  Perhaps the most notable individual who fled to the Caucasus was Russia’s national poet, Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin.  During his time in the Caucasus he wrote a famous poem entitled “The Prisoner of the Caucasus,” which caused a sensation among the Russian nobility and helped contribute to the image of the Caucasus and the noble-savage Circassian mountaineer.  Pushkin’s writing on the Caucasus and its inhabitants helped shape the popular Russian image of Russia’s southern frontier and its people for a century to come.  


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