The Captain’s Daughter and A History of Pugachóv

 This volume brings together two important works of Pushkin that refer to the same turbulent period of Russian history in the eighteenth century – his only completed historical novel The Captain’s Daughter (1836) and his only completed work of history A History of Pugachóv (1834). Both works are in translations (only lightly edited) by the late Professor Paul Debreczeny published in 1983.

The Captain’s Daughter

 The Captain’s Daughter is set in the reign of Catherine the Great, who ruled Russia from 1762 to 1796.  The fast-moving narrative tells of a young Russian nobleman, Pyotr Grinyóv, who joins the army and is caught up in a bloody uprising, led by the peasant Yemelyán Pugachóv, that raged through the Ural and Volga regions of Russia between 1773 and 1775.  In the course of his adventures Grinyóv rescues Masha, an army captain’s daughter, whose parents have been killed by the rebels.  But their adventures are not over until Masha seeks the intervention of the Empress herself.

A History of Pugachóv

 In A History of Pugachóv Pushkin gives a factual account of the career of the rebel leader Pugachóv (c.1742-75).  The work is carefully researched: Pushkin not only went back to the documentary evidence of contemporaries, but he also travelled to the heartland of the rebellion in the Urals and the lower Volga, where he viewed the topography and talked with surviving eye-witnesses of the rebellion. 

The History is accompanied by Pushkin’s extensive notes, summarising the outcome of his researches. These were not included in Debreczeny’s edition, and I have newly translated them for this volume.

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