THE SHADE OF BARKOV
(M. A. Ciavlovskij’s Reconstruction Compared with the Recently Discovered 1821 Manuscript Copy)
Edited, and preparation of the text by I. A. Pil’shchikov
Introduction by E. S. Shal’man
A ballad of Pushkin, entitled The Shade of Barkov (1814 or 1815), was first mentioned by V. P. Gaevskij in his 1863 article on Pushkin’s poems of the Lycée period. The ballad attracted heightened interest after 1928 when Pushkin’s manuscript of his narrative poem The Monk (1813) was discovered; its existence was also reported by Gaevskij, and the reliability of his information was thus confirmed. Such eminent scholars as N. O. Lerner and P. E. Shchegolev spoke without reservation in favour of Pushkin’s authorship of The Shade of Barkov. In the 1930s M. A. Ciavlovskij, using available manuscript copies, offered his reconstruction of the authentic text of the ballad and furnished it with an extensive commentary-monograph. However, this work remained unpublished for almost five decades.
Only the radical changes in social and political life could have made it possible for The Shade of Barkov to appear in print; so far, some dozen publications of the poem have seen the light of day (it has even been translated into Italian and Dutch). At the same time, it cannot get into scholarly editions; “the obscene ballad” was not included in the volume of the Lycée poems (published in 1994 under the aegis of Pushkin House), for it “is intended to be published separately as a supplement in a limited number of printed copies”.
To contribute to the progress of the work on a new edition of The Shade of Barkov, we publish parallel texts of the poem: those of Ciavlovskij’s reconstructed version, and of the oldest manuscript copy (dating from 1821) which has been found only recently.