A powerful love story set in the class-conscious Tsarist Russia of the early 19th century. It embraces every level of that society – serf, provincial, aristocrat – in verse which is by turns beautiful, witty, wickedly perceptive and always readable. This is essential reading for anyone with a love of Russian literature, because this is where it all began. There is little pre-history to that golden age of 19th century novels. Lomonosov, a fisherman’s son turned scholar, took church Slavonic, peasant Russian, mixed in a few ‘Loan translations’ and gave a French-speaking aristocracy a literary language; Pushkin was the first truly great poet to use it; Yevgeny Onegin is his greatest work.