History of use

Why did Pushkin need a long nail on his little finger?

For many years, the writer and literary critic Vikenty Veresaev made extracts from various primary sources concerning the poet Alexander Pushkin: his character, moods, habits, appearance, etc. This is how the idea of ​​the book “Pushkin in Life” arose, in it the poet appears in all the contradictions of his complex character, in all the little things of life at that time. “Not the retouched, well-behaved and inspired Pushkin of his biographers, but an “insignificant child of the world,” sinful, carried away, often truly insignificant, sometimes downright vulgar, and yet, in the overall analysis, an inexpressibly attractive and charming person—a living person!” “Electronekrasovka” has re-read Veresaev’s books about Pushkin and publishes 50 little-known facts from the poet’s life. (Sources of quotes are given according to the attribution of Vikenty Veresaev in the multi-volume book “Pushkin in Life.”)

1. Pushkin was proud of being a Muscovite

“Pushkin and Delvig were always proud of the advantage that they were born in Moscow, arguing that those Russians who were not born in Moscow cannot be a judge either in terms of good pronunciation in Russian or in terms of the choice of truly Russian expressions.” P.A. Pletnev – Y.K. Grotto. Correspondence between Grot and Pletnev, III, 400

2. Pushkin was terribly superstitious

“Pushkin had a great variety of signs. He did not take a single step out of the house until, in his opinion, a certain period had passed, beyond which the ominous omen lost its force.” V.A. Nashchokina. New Time, 1898, No. 8122

3. Pushkin wrote his first children’s poems in French

“It is known that Pushkin’s first attempts at writing were in French, which, according to the general custom at that time, dominated in the house of his parents. Subsequently, Pushkin considered this kind of exercise in a foreign language harmful to Russian poetic technique.”

4. Pushkin had a phenomenal memory

“A.S. Pushkin, upon entering the Lyceum, was especially distinguished by his extraordinary memory and excellent knowledge of French literature. He only had to read a page of a poem twice, and he could repeat it by heart without any mistakes.” S.D. Komovsky according to tutor S.G. Chirikov. Ya. Grot, 218

5. Lyceum teachers did not distinguish Pushkin as a diligent student

“A. Pushkin. Frivolous, flighty, unkempt, careless, however, good-natured, diligent, courteous, and has a special passion for poetry.” S.G. Chirikov, tutor of the lyceum. Certification 30 Sep. 1818, I.A. Shlyapkin, 334

6. Pushkin even saw poetry in his dreams

“He dreamed of poems even in his sleep, so he jumped out of bed at night and wrote them down in the dark.” M.V. Yuzefovich. Memories of Pushkin. Rus. Arch., 1880, III, 441

7. Pushkin was incredibly amorous

“Pushkin was so woman-loving that, while still 15 or 16 years old, from one touch of a dancing hand, during lyceum balls, his gaze glowed, and he puffed and snorted like a zealous horse among a young herd.” S.D. Komovsky. Ya. Grot, 220

8. Pushkin highly valued literary work and was worried that he had to “trade poetry”

“Every time I feel a cruel remorse,” Pushkin once told me in a frank conversation with me, “when I remember that I was, perhaps, the first Russian to begin selling poetry. Of course, I sold my “Bakhchisarai Fountain” and “Eugene Onegin” profitably, but where will this lead our poetry, and perhaps all of our literature? It’s certainly not good.” (S.E. Raich). Galatea, 1839, part IV, 29, p. 197

9. Pushkin dreamed of becoming a cavalry officer

“Pushkin is seriously going to Tulchin, and from there to Georgia and is already delirious about the war. He doesn’t even want to hear about peaceful service.” A.I. Turgenev – Prince. P.A. Vyazemsky, March 12, 1819, Ost. Arch., 1, 202

10. Pushkin loved the bustle of city life

“When I left the lyceum, I almost immediately went to my mother’s village in Pskov. I remember how happy I was about rural life, the Russian bathhouse, strawberries, and so on. But I didn’t like all this for long. I loved and still love the noise and the crowd.” Pushkin. Fragmentary entry November 19, 1824

11. Pushkin grew his nails long – a habit that he did not change until the end of his life.

“He dressed rather casually, caring mainly only about the beauty of his long nails.” P.V. Annenkov. Materials, 111–112

12. Pushkin’s favorite drink

“Pushkin loved tea and drank a lot of it.” V.A. Nashchokina. New Time, 1898, No. 8122

13. Pushkin flaunted his passion for revelry

“Many people then riveted themselves. Pushkin also had this trait of that time: he would come to a meeting, a society, and become unsteady. – “What are you doing, Alexander Sergeevich?” – “Yes, I drank 12 glasses of punch!” But it’s all nonsense, and I didn’t even finish one!” F.N. Glinka. Rus. Star., 1871, vol. III, 245

14. Pushkin was a strong guy

“The physical organization of young Pushkin, strong, muscular and flexible, was extremely developed by gymnastic exercises. He was famous as a tireless walker, a passionate hunter of swimming and riding, and an excellent fighter on espadrons.” P.V. Annenkov. Materials, 38

15. Pushkin spent his entire life educating himself

“Pushkin’s friends unanimously testify that no one worked as hard on his further education as Pushkin. He himself spoke reproachfully about the writers of his time: “We have few writers who studied; Most of them are just unlearning.” P.V. Annenkov. Materials, 43

16. Sometimes Pushkin behaved unceremoniously

“I didn’t know Pushkin, but I met him in society three times. As a person, I didn’t like him. Some kind of nonsense, suffisance and a desire to ridicule and prick others. At the same time, many of those who knew him said that sooner or later, he would die in a duel.” I.V. Basargin (Decembrist). Notes. 1917. Ed. “Lights”, page 24

17. Pushkin was afraid of punishment for freethinking poetry

“Pushkin, having been for several days not at all in pyitic fear from his poems on freedom and some epigrams, gave me his word to calm down.” H.M. Karamzin – book. P.A. Vyazemsky, May 17, 1820 Antiquity and Novelty, book. I, page 101

18. As a child, Pushkin was obese and timid

“According to the poet’s sister, Pushkin was a fat, silent and clumsy boy, who was deliberately forced to walk and run, and who preferred to stay at home with his grandmother. In his seventh year, Pushkin became more cheeky, and the former clumsiness even turned into playfulness and playfulness.” P.I. Bartenev, Materials for biogr. Pushkin. Moscow Vedom., 1854, No. 71

19. Pushkin was not inclined to journalistic work

“Pushkin at one time, very briefly, was a journalist. But the magazine business was not his business. Urgent work was not his thing. He set to work on the magazine not from a literary perspective, but from an economic one. He needed money.” Book P.A. Vyazemsky. Full collection op., II, 370

20. Pushkin courted several ladies at the same time

“Everyone thought that Pushkin was in love with Ushakova; but he went, as he himself said later, every day to this last one, so that he could drive past Goncharova’s windows twice a day.” N.M. Smirnov. Memoirs. Rus. Arch., 1882, I, 232

21. Pushkin had a talisman

“A gold ring with a carved octagonal carnelian was presented to Pushkin in Odessa by Princess Vorontsova. He wore it constantly, even combining his talent with the fate of this ring, about which he wrote his poem “The Talisman.” On his deathbed he gave the ring to the poet Zhukovsky.” Description of the Pushkin Museum Imp. Alex. Lyceum St. Petersburg, 1899, p. 11

22. What could have made Pushkin mad?

“One could make him seriously angry. He demanded that no one enter his office from an hour to three: he spent this time at his desk or walked around the room, thinking about his creations, and greeted anyone who knocked on his door in a far from hospitable manner.” S.N. Goncharov (wife’s brother) in Tolycheva’s program. Rus. Arch., 1877, II, 98

23. Why did Pushkin carry a heavy cane in his right hand?

“My uncle once asked him: “Why are you carrying such a heavy club?” Pushkin answered: “So that the hand is firmer: if you have to shoot, so that it does not waver.” M.N. Longinov from the words of his uncle N.M. Longinova. Bibliographical notes, 1859, No. 18, p. 553

24. Pushkin was spied on by his own father during his exile in Mikhailovskoye

“My father had the weakness of agreeing to perform duties which. placed him in a false position in relation to me.” Pushkin to V.F. Vyazemskaya, per. floor. Oct. 1824 (French)

25. Pushkin wanted to flee abroad

“Pletnev instructed me to tell you that he thinks that Pushkin wants to have fifteen thousand in order to have ways to escape with them to America or Greece. Consequently, there is no need to get them for him.” A.A. Voeykova – V.A. Zhukovsky, at the end of June – beginning. July 1825, from St. Petersburg. Pushkin and his contemporaries, VIII, 86

26. Pushkin swore allegiance to the Tsar

“With hope for the generosity of Your Imperial Majesty, with true repentance and with the firm intention not to contradict my opinions with the generally accepted order (to which I am ready to commit myself by subscription and word of honor). Alexander Pushkin. May 11, 1826.”

27. Why did Pushkin love autumn?

“Of all the seasons, Pushkin loved autumn most of all, and the worse it was, the better it was for him. He said that it was only in the fall that the poet’s demon took possession of him.” M.V. Yuzefovich. Memories of Pushkin. Rus. Arch., 1880, III, 441

28. Sometimes Pushkin wrote his characters from himself

“In general, he loved to give his characters their own tastes and habits. Nowhere did he put it more clearly than in Charsky’s description (see “Egyptian Nights”).” L.S. Pushkin (the poet’s brother). L. Maikov, 111

29. Who was Pushkin’s idol?

“Pushkin, at least in those years when he lived here in the village, was decidedly obsessed with Byron; he studied him most diligently and even tried to adopt many of Byron’s habits.” K.N. Wulf in the program of M.I. Semevsky. St. Petersburg Vedom., 1866, No. 139

30. How did Pushkin study the Russian people?

“Pushkin loved to go to the cemetery when they were “voicing” over the graves of women, and to listen to the women’s “lamentations” while sitting on some grave. <.>At the fair in the Holy Mountains, Pushkin loved to walk among the people and stop at groups where beggars were pulling Lazarus, or where boys and girls played and sang, danced in a round dance, or where peasants quarreled and argued. He stood with the people for a long time. ” Dan. Serg. Sergeev-Remizov according to the recording of A.N. Moshina. A. Moshin, New information about 11 great writers. St. Petersburg, 1908, pp. 71–20

31. Was Pushkin really a Freemason?

“At one time, the hallmark of every Mason was a long nail on the little finger. Pushkin also wore such a nail; From this nail I learned that he was a Freemason, the artist Tropinin came to paint his portrait. Tropinin conveyed the book. M.A. Obolensky, who kept this portrait, that when he came to write and saw a nail on Pushkin’s hand, he made a sign to him, to which Pushkin did not answer him, but shook his finger at him.” M.I. Pylyaev. Old Moscow. St. Petersburg, 1891, p. 86

32. Pushkin was a gambler

“It is known that Pushkin was very fond of card games and especially the sensations it provided, so that at times he indulged in this passion quite strongly.” M.N. Longinov. Anecdote about Pushkin. Bibliographical notes, 1858, I, 494–496

33. Pushkin did not forgive insults

“Not inferior to anyone, Pushkin was ready to repay the slightest indiscretion against him with an epigram or a challenge to a duel.” (M.M. Popov). A.S. Pushkin. Rus. old, 1874, No. 8, pp. 684–685

34. Pushkin never envied anyone

“Alexander Pushkin’s quality was amazing. a complete absence of professional envy and a sweet, kind, true and even funny desire to see talent in every beginning, to encourage it in word and deed and to rejoice in it.” S.A. Sobolevsky – M.N. Longinov, 1855. Pushkin and his contemporaries, XXXI–XXXII, 40

35. Pushkin lived with the gypsies

“One day Pushkin disappeared and disappeared for several days. He spent these days wandering with a gypsy camp.” L.S. Pushkin. L. Maikov, 8

36. Pushkin had illegitimate children

“. With fatherly tenderness I ask you to take care of the future baby, if it is a boy. I don’t want to send him to an orphanage, but is it possible to send him to some village for the time being? My dear, I’m ashamed, by God, but there’s no time for conscience here.” Pushkin – book. P.A. Vyazemsky, in the beginning. May 1826 from Mikhailovsky

37. Pushkin allowed himself indecent jokes

(A.O. Smirnova): “Pushkin is a lover of the obscene.” (N.D. Kiselev): “Unfortunately, I know this and could never explain to myself this antithesis of the transition from the obscene to the sublime.” A.O. Smirnova. Autobiography, 224

38. Pushkin had a secret bracelet

“According to N.S. Kiselev, Pushkin wore on his left hand, between his shoulder and elbow, a gold bracelet with green jasper with a Turkish inscription. This bracelet was given to them by E.N. Ushakova.” L.N. Maikov. Pushkin, 365–377

39. Pushkin did not like dinner parties

“As much as Pushkin loved the company of people close to him, he also did not like to attend dinner parties in his honor. He often complained to me that at these dinners he felt cramped, as if at a parade.” V.A. Nashchokina. New Time, 1898, No. 8115–8122

40. Pushkin was not a gourmet

“He. did not appreciate or understand well the secrets of the art of cooking, but he was a terrible glutton for other things. I remember how on the road he ate almost twenty peaches bought in Torzhok in one breath. He also often got pickled apples.” Book P.A. Vyazemsky. Full collection cit., VIII, 372

41. Pushkin was embarrassed by his small stature

“Pushkin did not like to stand next to his wife and used to jokingly say that it was humiliating for him to be next to her: he was so small in stature in comparison with her.” P.I. Bartenev from the words of the book. V.F. Vyazemskaya. Rus. Arch., 1888, II, 311

42. Pushkin was a spender

“Pushkin did not know how to count. He associated the appearance of money with the idea of ​​the inexhaustible Pactolus, and having quickly let it slip through his fingers, he was perplexed with childish naivety at the disappearance that had taken place.” A.P. Arapova. New Time, 1907, No. 11413, ill. appendix, page 5

43. Pushkin made fun of himself

“Once on a hot summer day, Count Vasiliev, visiting him, found him almost in his ancestral suit. “Well, excuse me,” the poet laughed, shaking his hand, “the heat is African, and here in Africa they wear such costumes.” PC. Martyanov according to Count A.V. Vasilyeva. New information about Lermontov. Histor. Vestn., 1892, t. 50, p. 384

44. Pushkin was a fan of travel

“I need travel morally and physically.” Pushkin – Nashchokin, second half of February 1833

45. Pushkin loved to poke around in the garden

“According to family legend, Pushkin took the most ardent part in the arrangement of the garden and buildings: he dug the beds himself, planted many trees, which, as you know, was his passion; He also planted flowers and even took part in digging a pond.” V.P. Ostrovsky (Ostrogorsky?). Peace of God, 1898, IX, 206

46. ​​Pushkin used physical punishment on his children

“Pushkin was a strict father, his son was his favorite, and with his daughter Masha, a big screamer, he often and diligently used the rod.” P.V. Annenkov from the words of Natalya Nik. Pushkina (?). B. Modzalevsky, Pushkin, 336

47. Pushkin laughed contagiously

“When Pushkin laughed, the sound of his voice produced the same enchanting effect as his poetry.” A.S. Khomyakov according to Bartenev’s recording. Rus. Arch., 1899, II, 146

48. Pushkin carefully kept all his papers

“Pushkin carefully took care of his manuscripts, not only unpublished ones, but also draft ones, in which there were obscene passages, or distorted by censorship, or initial drafts.” P. Bartenev. Rus. arkh., 1903, No. 6

49. Pushkin was not a stingy man

“Pushkin was generous, generous with money. He never gave less than 25 rubles to the poor.” P.V. Nashchokin according to Bartenev’s recording. Stories about Pushkin, 43

50. What else did Pushkin like to do?

“Pushkin always went to fires and loved to watch cats walk on a hot roof. Pushkin said that there is nothing funnier than this view.” N.V. Gogol according to unknown recording. Diary. Rus. Arch., 1902, I, 551, 554 You will find more about books and interesting finds in the Elektronekrasovka telegram channel (@electronekrasovka) and in our VKontakte public page. Subscribe! Prepared by Elena Kolesnikova Dear friends! On Pushkin Day, we offer you some interesting facts about Alexander Sergeevich.

1 fact

Have you noticed that in many of Pushkin’s works the letter F appears very rarely or does not appear at all. For example, in the fairy tale “About the Priest and His Worker Balda” you will not find the letter F, and in such a large work as “Poltava” it appears only three times! Some lovers of the poet’s work believed that he deliberately avoided this letter, but this is absolutely not the case. It turns out that F is very rarely seen both in Lermontov’s poems and in Krylov’s fables. According to researcher L.V. Uspensky – “An unexpected thing is discovered: every word of the Russian language, in which the letter F is written at the beginning, at the end or in the middle, turns out to be not a native Russian word, but one that came to us from other languages ​​and has an international circulation.” That is, they began to be widely used later, and even if they were in use, Russian poets did not complain.

2 fact

Remember the birthday boy’s phrase: “You can be a smart person and think about the beauty of your nails”? In the famous portrait of Orest Kiprensky, we see Alexander Pushkin with a good manicure: elongated nails of a neat, uniform shape, as if after visiting a salon. And here’s what Pushkin’s contemporaries wrote about it. “Yesterday, some strange gentleman came, with signs: small, black hair, curly, dark complexion, and he baited him into “Pugachevism” and gave him gold; there must be an Antichrist, because instead of nails there are claws on his fingers [Pushkin wore nails of unusual length: it was his quirk].” V. I. Dal. “I overcame my shyness, went up to the counter where Pushkin stopped, and began to carefully and in detail examine the poet. First of all, I was struck by Pushkin’s huge nails, which looked more like claws.” I. I. Panaev. “In my entire long life I have never seen such eyes on anyone else. He spoke quickly, always joked successfully, was unusually active, cheerful, laughed contagiously and loudly, showing two rows of even teeth, the whiteness of which could only be equaled by pearls. He grew very long nails on his fingers.” V. A. Nashchokina. But why did a 19th century man need nails? Trite, but just for beauty. For example, Evgeny Onegin had the following set: “combs, steel files, straight scissors, curved scissors and brushes of thirty kinds for both nails and teeth.” Most likely, Pushkin described just his arsenal for caring for hair, sideburns and nails. The longest nail was on the poet’s little finger. It was fashionable in the 19th century. Pushkin was terribly afraid of accidentally breaking his beautiful nail at night, so he put a thimble on his little finger. The peasant did not wear long nails because of hard work, but the aristocrat could afford it (but not everyone approved of such dandyism). So, long nails are a sign of aristocracy and a tribute to the fashion of the 19th century.

3 fact

In Pushkin’s life there were 29 challenges to a duel!
Fortunately, not all duels took place. Alexander Sergeevich was an excellent shooter, but at that time this was not enough. In Russia, dueling pistols were specially purchased new and were never sighted. This made even an experienced shooter equal to someone who holds a pistol in his hands for the first time and is only able to point it towards the enemy. The reasons for duels were often trivial. See for yourself. 1819 Pushkin was challenged to a duel by his friend Wilhelm Kuchelbecker.
Reason: humorous poems about Kuchelbecker, namely, the passage “Kuchelbecker and sickening.” Result: Wilhelm shot at Pushkin, but Pushkin did not shoot at Wilhelm. According to one version, both shot, but their friends loaded their pistols with cranberries. 1822 Pushkin was challenged to a duel by staff captain Rutkovsky.
Reason: Pushkin did not believe that there could be hail weighing 3 pounds (and hailstones of that weight do exist) and ridiculed the retired captain. Result: the duel was cancelled. 1822 Pushkin challenged 65-year-old state councilor Ivan Lanov to a duel.
Reason: quarrel during a holiday dinner. Lanov called the poet a milksucker, and in response received from Pushkin the title of winesucker and a challenge to a duel. Result: The duel was cancelled, Pushkin was put under arrest.

4 fact

The famous Pushkin scholar Ilya Fainberg in his book “Abram Petrovich Hannibal” wrote about Pushkin: “But there is hardly any reason to doubt his origin from Ethiopia, from Abyssinia. The Ethiopians themselves are constantly proud of this.” The author further reports that he was able to personally visit Ethiopia and study a number of circumstances confirming this version. He talks in detail about how the country honors kinship with the great Russian writer. In the center of the capital, Addis Ababa, there is a state university, and next to it is the imperial museum of the country’s history. Opposite him stands a bust of Pushkin, and in the museum itself in one of the halls there is a portrait of the poet by V.A. Tropinin. In addition, there is a square named after the Russian writer. A lot is known about Pushkin’s work in the country and a lot of effort is being made to translate his works into Amharic. Pushkin is a close person for Ethiopians, since his great-grandfather was the son of an African prince. About the great-grandfather Abram Hannibal himself – he is also the “Arap of Peter the Great” – Ethiopians claim that he was kidnapped at the age of six during another Turkish raid, after which he was bought on a captive market by the Russian ambassador to Turkey Savva Raguzinsky and transported to Russia. There Abram Hannibal would subsequently make a military career and rise to the rank of Chief General of the Russian Empire.

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