The literary Trope of a Superfluous Man in Russian Literature and Culture

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Russian literature was very much influenced by the literary trope known as the superfluous man. This trope was ideal for writers to describe the shortcomings of Russian high-class society. There has been a witnessed general consistency when dealing with the superfluous man such as the exhibition of cynicism and existential angst, while indulging in vices such as affairs, gambling and duelling. These individuals are typically from noble birth yet refused to fit into society and disregard the societal norms. This trend can be witnessed through many examples such as Alexander Pushkin’s “Eugene Onegin” and “Diary of a Superfluous Man” by Ivan Turgenev. The characters described by these authors reflects the lifestyles of such a man, and …show more content…

Yet despite all his inherited wealth and connections he shrugs off social norms as he indulges in his sin and poetry, and because of such subversive poems in exiled. Onegin was quite entranced despite frivalities to find love, yet still cynical and poetic by such fate “He was convinced, a kindred creature would be allied to him by fate; that, meanwhile, pinched and glum of feature, from day to day she could but wait; and he believed his friends were ready to put on chains for him, and steady their hand to grapple slander's cup, in his defence, and smash it up” (II.VIII) Despite Pushkin’s Don Juan motifs, he settles down with a young noblewoman, Natalia, and like the typical superfluous man his love for this women leads to his misery. By enticing a duel, which he has done numerous times, another example of his idleness; he meets his fate as he is fatally wounded outside of St. Petersburg. The comparisons between the superfluous Onegin and the superfluous Pushkin push many bounds, as the superfluous man, as the trope of the

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