Alexander Pushkin is one of the most famous Russian authors. The poet left a great legacy which is essential for both Russian and world literature. His works are read across the globe. Various Pushkin’s poems and proses are plot for modern shows and movies. There is a great amount of streets, educational establishments, libraries, schools and national awards named after Alexander Pushkin in Russia. The author’s talent influenced entire Russian culture along with Lev Tolstoy, Anton Chehov, Vladimir Nabokov, Mikhail Bulgakov, Ivan Turgenev. However, Alexander Pushkin is the one who is considered as a founder and father of modern Russian language.
The poet fused vernacular with Old Slavonic language which was officially used in Russia at that time. “Inspired by the beauty of Russian dialects spoken by commoners, a poet of incredible talent was able to successfully synthesize common vernacular and existing literary language into what is now universally known as Modern Literary Russian” (Stakhnevich, Alexander Pushkin and the Russian literature).
Alexander Pushkin was born on 6 June 1799 in cultural Moscow family. Young Pushkin was surrounded by nurses and household surfs. Growing up nearby those people, the author learned folk language (Shubnaya, Russian prominents: Alexandr Pushkin). During whole his life he was devoted to use spoken language in his works. Pushkin believed that simple phrases enabled him to express life brightly and precisely (Fundamental electronic library “Russian literature and folklore,” Pushkin’s impact on Russian literature, 315). More than 200 years have passed since Pushkin wrote his masterpieces. Nowadays the language he created differs from modern one insignificantly. Its structure, lexical fond and grammar remains the same regardless changing times and different epochs. Later in his 30s Pushkin wrote a lot about his ways of getting acquainted with the vernacular. “Spoken language of common people is worth studying for they do not read foreign books and do not speak their minds in French, thanks God” (Fundamental electronic library “The Russian literature and folklore,” Pushkin’s impact on the Russian literature, 351). He also encouraged other writers to learn from old stories of Russia. “Learning of old songs, fairytales is essential to improve knowledge of the Russian language. Our critics disregard this asset in vain” (Fundamental electronic library “The Russian literature and folklore,” Pushkin’s impact on the Russian literature, 351).
The spoken language got crucial for Pushkin’s works as he firmly believed it had to be integrated in classical Russian language to enrich it. “Our language needs more freedom according to its spirit” (Pushkin, Letter to M. Pogodin, 1830). He reconsidered Russian vocabulary and changed it. Pushkin did not follow the neologism. He transformed the Russian language by using expressions and words of the vernacular. Back in 1847, the impact Pushkin made on the vocabulary was already noticeable. When comparing “Vocabulary of Russian Academy” and “Vocabulary of the Slavonic and the Russian language” of that time, it is evident that a big amount of words of the spoken language were included in the vocabulary as usual literature words without any special notes. (Fundamental electronic library “The Russian literature and folklore,” Pushkin’s impact on the Russian literature, 352). The most significant feature of Alexander Pushkin as a writer was an ability to transform simple phrases and words into sublime and lofty rows. He changed perception of the spoken language among readers, other authors and intelligence. Another remarkable Pushkin’s achievement was a selection of words and expressions. The spoken language of that time was colorful and motley. When choosing phrases, the author excluded vulgarism. Therefore, as a result of Pushkin’s work many words of the spoken language became literature ones whereas some of them got excluded for they were inappropriate.
Alexander Pushkin also stood for protecting the native language from a flow of foreign words. The author suggested both writers and scientists to try finding relative words in Russian before using foreign ones and integrating them in the native language. Pushkin also affected and changed the Russian prose. It was in a crisis and needed development at that time. Pushkin gave the prose accuracy, laconism, clarity of thoughts and simple structures. (Fundamental electronic library “The Russian literature and folklore,” Pushkin’s impact on the Russian literature, 363).
The Russian language of Pushkin’s time needed reforms and reorganizations. It had a big gap between the language of common people and literature one. Such a difference determined a rapid obsolescence of some forms of the language. Alexander Pushkin was able to change it. He united the vernacular and the literature language. As a result, renewed literature language became holistic, powerful and useful for entire nation and there were no longer need to divide it into different styles. Pushkin’s language became a standard to follow. People started learning the Russian language by his works, poems and proses. (Fundamental electronic library “The Russian literature and folklore,” Pushkin’s impact on the Russian literature, 367-368). The author contributed to vocabulary, stylistic, grammar, prose and poem of the Russian language. Since Pushkin’s time the Russian language has continued changing. Though, Pushkin’s language remains the core of the Russian literature, written and spoken language nowadays.
Fundamental electronic library ‘The Russian Literature and Folklore’. Pushkin’s Impact on the Russian Literature. Retrieved from http://feb-web.ru/feb/irl/il0/il6/il6-329-.htm.
Pushkin, A. Letter to M. Pogodin. 1830.
Stakhnevich, J. Alexander Pushkin and the Russian literature. Retrieved from http://www.netplaces.com/russian/presenting-the-russian-language/alexander-pushkin-and-the-russian-language.htm?rd=1.
Shubnaya, E. Russian Prominents: Alexandr Pushkin. Retrieved from http://russiapedia.rt.com/prominent-russians/literature/aleksandr-pushkin/.