Pushkin's Button by Serena Vitale

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A riveting narrative about the last few months of the Russian poet Pushkin's life before his fatal duel is an astonishing tour de force of cultural history that reads like a thriller. The rich international, yet very Russian, world of St. Petersburg in the 1830s comes wonderfully to life with its imperial balls, political and literary gossip, and beautiful women, notably Natalya Pushkin, the poet's wife.

About Serena Vitale

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Serena Vitale is a professor of Russian language and literature at Universit Cattolica del Sacro Cuore di Milano. She is the author of numerous books and essays on Russian literature, and has also translated many Russian novels into Italian. Her acclaimed biographical work "Pushkin s" "Button" was translated into English in 1999.
Published March 1, 1999 by Farrar Straus & Giroux (T). 355 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Literature & Fiction, History. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Still, the drawbacks seem finally beside the point, for Vitale brings to life the drama of Pushkin’s end, from the state of the poet “whose frenzied jealousy was known to all,” to the doings of his flirtatious wife and the royal court, Pushkin’s strained relations with the tsar, and the bizarre c...

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The Guardian

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Pushkin challenged the ambassador, knowing that on grounds of age and of protocol, D'Anthès would fight in his stead.

Mar 14 1999 | Read Full Review of Pushkin's Button

Publishers Weekly

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In this tale, told as a mystery unfolding from contemporary records, Vitale (an Italian scholar of Russian literature) spares no trivia about the ""narrow-minded province of gossips, vultures, [and] voyeurs, whose unyielding, deadly rituals Pushkin not only declined to shun but actively, zealousl...

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