Our Notes & References
Pushkin on one sheet: an excellent copy preserved as a single folded broadsheet, unstitched and unopened, including the printed wrappers. This is the second edition, published the same year as the first.
This unfinished narrative poem, written in 1822, had appeared in ‘Polarania zvezda’ [Pole Star] for 1825; it was inspired by the Russian folk play ‘The Boat’.
“The Boat is clearly a dramatic version of the songs celebrating the seventeenth-century outlaw Stepan Razin. Its cast features a band of outlaws on a boat on the Volga. A stranger appears and tells his story: he and his brother were highwaymen; they were caught and put in prison; his brother died there but he escaped, having killed a prison guard. The stranger is welcomed with open arms. The next scene shows the outlaws sacking the estate of a rich landowner. The action is repeatedly interrupted by the singing of robber songs. The main stage effect is created by the actors’ sitting on the floor and making the motions of rowing a boat. “The Boat”, like the epic songs on the same subject, is explicit in its sympathy for the outlaws and in its hatred for landowners and government authorities” (Victor Terras).
Robert Eden Martin (b. 1940; American lawyer and noted collector of Russian, British and American literature works).
Kilgour 881; Smirnov-Sok., Pushkin 10