Waves Pushkin Sharon

  • Issue: November 1997
  • Designer: P. Yefimovna
  • Stamp size: 25.7 x 40 mm
  • Souvenir sheet of 1 stamp (75 x 60 mm)
  • Printers: E. Lewin-Epstein Ltd.
  • Method of printing: Offset

Pushkin took more than seven years to write his famous "Eugene Onegin" which he called "a novel in verse". Initially Pushkin was reluctant to publish the novel, which he conceived as a satirical picture of high society, because he was sure that censorship would never allow it to be printed. Later the author's intention changed greatly and the publication of the novel became possible.

Contemporary criticism was not kind to Pushkin's new work. Everyone expected him to keep writing like Lord Byron, in the style of his own southern poems, whereas by that time Pushkin had completely changed his creative style.

The negative comments, however, had no influence on the success of "Onegin" for readers who immediately recognized this novel as Pushkin's best work. The after opinion was never ever doubted in later criticism. "Eugene Onegin" proved to be quite different from Pushkin's other poems with its varied and broad picture of contemporary life, its new form (the so-called "Onegin stanza") and the vividness of the author's observations on the life of high society of St. Petersburg, his impressions of his life in Kishinyov and Odessa before settling in Mikhailovskoje and coming back to Moscow and St. Petersburg after 1826. In addition, the double plot of this "novel in verse" - the author's narration about the characters on the one hand, and about himself on the other - made many readers and critics think that the heroes of the novel were borrowed from real life. Belinsky called "Onegin" a "historical" novel and an encyclopaedia of Russian life".

"Eugene Onegin" has been translated into 86 languages, Its circulation in numerous reprints during 150 years has broken all records by staying one of the most popular pieces in world literature.

The first translations of extracts from the novel into Hebrew appeared in Russia at the end of the 1870's. The most complete and best ever translation of "Onegin" was done by Abraham Shlonsky, one of the most outstanding poets of the Third Aliyah (Abraham Shlonsky, Karyokov, Ukraine 1900- Tel-Aviv 1973) who immigrated to Israel in 1921. Among the founders of modernism in Hebrew poetry, Shlonsky combined his ongoing attachment to history from the Third Aliyah period, with his personal, multi-faceted, existential experience and his leaning towards a symbolistic aestheticism. In the language of his poetry, he combined daring, sharp, new forms with traditional Hebrew of various periods. Being an authority on the Russian language, the Israeli poet often turned to "Eugene Onegin". By careful attention to metre, rhyme and content, Shlonsky produced a Hebrew version no less enjoyable than the original Russian. Shlonsky's work gained a double success: it not only proved Hebrew to be quite a modern and lively language, capable of expressing the most delicate and profound of Pushkin's thoughts and ideas, but also confirmed a great shift in Israeli literature which until then was stylized within "biblical' language and world vision.

UNESCO has declared the year 1999 "Pushkin Year", the year when the 200th anniversary of the poet's birth will be celebrated.

Description of the souvenir sheet
At the top left there is a self-portrait of the poet. Pushkin, in 1825, with his signature to the right. Under the portrait is his handwriting and a facsimile of the title of the first notebook of his novel can be seen. In the centre of the sheet is a stamp showing a sketch by Pushkin of two people, namely the author and his hero, standing by the parapet overlooking the Peter and Paul Fortress. At the top right is copy of the title page of "Eugene One gin translated into Hebrew, with Shlonsky's signature and portrait underneath.

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Souvenir sheet Pushkin - Shlonsky