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The Samuel Johnson Prize 2003

The Samuel Johnson Prize 2003

The Winner

Pushkin: A biography (HarperCollins)

ALEXANDER SERGEEVICH PUSHKIN (1799-1837) is Russia's greatest poet - a tragic genius who is revered by Russians as their Shakespeare and Mozart rolled into one. Born in Moscow, literary prodigy Pushkin was expelled from St. Petersburg at the age of twenty as a result of his satirical writings. He remained in internal exile, under the supervision of the Emperor, for the next seven years. Throughout his life he continued to excite official disapproval for his political and religious beliefs - and many love affairs. With his wild passions for gambling and women, Pushkin's brief life was as turbulent and dramatic as anything in his work. In 1828 he married society beauty, Natalya Goncharova, who then captivated the heart of a French cavalry officer. Enraged by this, Pushkin engaged in a duel with him, and died at the age of 37, defending his honour.

Winning Author

T.J. Binyon

Pushkin is one of literature's most romantic and intriguing figures and his life and writings have inspired and influenced generations of devotees. This important and long-awaited biography by a leading Russian scholar is the first full length and authoritative account of Pushkin’s life and times since 1937. It is the most detailed account of the poet's life and times yet published. Binyon tells us his story with perfectly-judged pace, elegant wit, exacting scholarship and deep compassion. After reading Modern Languages at Oxford, T.J.Binyon, aged 63, spent some time in the Soviet Union and taught at Leeds University before returning to Oxford, where he lectures on Russian literature. He is Senior Research Fellow at Wadham College, Oxford. T. J. Binyon is also the author of two crime novels and is currently working on a biography of Lermantov.