Alexander Pushkin

Alexander Pushkin

Great Russian poet and playwright

"Better the illusions that exalt us than ten thousand truths"

The history of writing Ruslan and Lyudmila

A. S. Pushkin began to write the now well-known poem “Ruslan and Lyudmila” during his years of study at the Lyceum in 1817.

As a child, Arina Rodionovna often read Russian folk tales to little Pushkin, and it was thanks to the nurse that he created this masterpiece.


The writer, inspired by the work of L. Ariosto “Furious Roland”, as well as the books of Karamzin “Ilya Muromets” and Nikolai Radishchev “Alyosha Popovich”, decided to write a heroic poem. The reason to start work was the publication of the first volume of the History of the Russian State by N. M. Karamzin in 1818. Pushkin borrowed some details from there, including the names of the heroes of the poem: Ratmir, Rogdai and Farlaf. In addition, he included elements of a parody of the ballad of V. A. Zhukovsky “Twelve Sleeping Maidens” in the work. Pushkin, with the help of irony, includes comic erotic elements and grotesque fiction in the plot, reducing the sublime images created by Zhukovsky. The author wanted to create a new type of poem that would not be inferior to the heroic poem in its content and meaning. An interesting fact is that Pushkin wrote the main part of the poem during his illness.


The first edition of the poem can be considered May 1820. Excerpts of the work were published in the popular at that time magazine “Son of the Fatherland” and caused a wave of indignation and indignation from critics who considered the poem immoral and indecent. However, most of the contemporaries accepted the work with surprise and delight. The poem took the main place on the stage, breaking the classical framework and displacing the heroic epic.

The second edition of Ruslan and Lyudmila was published only in 1828. The author significantly revised it, including in the book the introduction “At the lukomorye green oak”. He wrote this famous prologue back in 1825 in Mikhailovsky, gathering Russian folk fairy-tale motifs and images together. Pushkin turned the poem into one of the fairy tales that the learned cat tells readers. The introduction to “Ruslan and Lyudmila” can be considered a separate, independent work.

In the second edition, the style of the work has changed significantly, the author excluded a number of minor lyrical digressions, rewrote some episodes in which he had previously taken liberties. A. S. Pushkin uses colloquialisms in the poem, avoiding the secular poetry of his predecessors.

Thus, the poem “Ruslan and Lyudmila” was created by A. S. Pushkin in 1818-1820. It is generally believed that it was this work, which is a mixture of chivalrous novels with poetic ballads, that brought Pushkin eternal All-Russian fame.

Source: The history of the creation of the poem Ruslan and Lyudmila Pushkin