In all probability he exploited a situation already known, already used (and which
, let me say in passing, might be added to the “thirty-six dramatic situations” of G.
Polti).” This, however, in no way diminishes Pushkin's literary inventivness; quite
Author: Waclaw Lednicki
Table Talk was the title Pushkin gave, following the example of William Hazlitt or Samuel Taylor Coleridge, to the collection of historical anecdotes jotted down in the years 1830-1836. Pushkin had in his library the T able Talk of both Hazlitt and Coleridge. The question which book prompted his own title has been much discussed. There can be no doubt that Coleridge occupies a very important position in the list of literary sources which Puskhin utilized. It is curious that in the fall of 1830 at Boldino, hence at the period of his greatest literary activity, when he composed a number of his most splendid masterpieces, Puskhin had Coleridge's works with him; not only had his works, but read them anew. Among the Boldino master pieces was also, as we know, the famous "little tragedy" Mozart and Salieri, of which the ultimate psychological-moral peripeteia revolves about Mozart's remark that "genius and crime are two incompati ble things"--"geny i zlodeystvo dve veschi nesovmestnye ..." When I looked through Coleridge's Table Talk I was struck with the following observation, under the date of the 29th of August, 1827: "genius may co-exist with wildness, idleness, folly, even with crime: but not long, believe me, with selfishness, and the indulgence of an envious disposition. Envy is kdkistos kai dikai6tatos the6s, as I once saw expressed some where in a page of Stobaeus: it dwarfs and withers its worshippers.