Pushkin's Boldino: National Myth and Provincial Reality in Contemporary Russia


Location: 138 DeBartolo Hall

Professor William Craft Brumfield, recipient of a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship (2000) and Fellow at the National Humanities Center in 1992-93, is Professor of Slavic studies at Tulane University, where he also lectures at the School of Architecture. In 2002, he was elected to the State Russian Academy of Architecture and Construction Sciences.

Biography and Photo Archives

Lecture Abstract

Russian poet (and “father of Russian literature”) Alexander Pushkin’s (1799-1837) name is forever associated with his family estates in Pskov province Mikhailovskoe, Petrovskoe, Trigorskoe), all of which Brumfield photographed in the late 1980s. Much less known, however, is the distant estate of Boldino, located in the far reaches of Nizhny Novgorod province and famous as the site of one of greatest periods of creativity in the poet’s lifetime. Very few Americans have seen—much less photographed—this fascinating region, which includes not only Boldino, but L’vovka and other nearby estate villages. Boldino is intriguing as an intersection of national myth and provincial reality (much more so than with the Pushkin estates/national park-type complex around Mikhailovskoe in Pskov oblast). On one level this lecture will comprise an informative introduction to the place itself and its architectural monuments. On another level, the lecture will comment on Boldino’s place in the national cultural myth about Pushkin.

Sponsored by the Program in Russian and East European Studies and Nanovic Institute for European Studies. Additional support was generously provided by the School of Architecture and the departments of German and Russian, History, and Art, Art History, and Design.