"Hidden Love", or Who was NN from Pushkin's Don Juan list?
"Hidden Love", or Who was NN from Pushkin's Don Juan list?
Pushkin's Don Juan list makes biographers still argue about the identity of the mysterious NN

On the muses of the most famous Russian writer and poet Alexander Sergeevich Pushkin a lot has been written - there were many hobbies in his life, and the names of the women who inspired him are no less famous than his own. However, to this day there are mysteries that haunt researchers. So, for example, the controversy around the "hidden love", whose name is Pushkin in his "Don Juan list"Hid under the letters NN. Who was this mysterious stranger, and why was only her name hidden?

The same Don Juan list from Ushakova's album and next to it - a self-portrait in the image of a monk tempted by a demon

Don Juan list, this list of the poet's hobbies began to be called with the light hand of the author himself. Once he wrote down in the album of Elizaveta Ushakova, in chronological order, a list of all the women with whom he was passionate until that moment. Since there were a lot of names, the list was jokingly called Don Juan. More precisely, there were two parallel lists - according to the assumption of the Pushkinists, the first contained only those women whom he loved, and the second contained fleeting hobbies.

Portrait of Maria Nikolaevna Volkonskaya (Raevskaya) by an unknown artist and drawing by A.S. Pushkin

Among the real names, behind which biographers easily considered the women with whom the poet faced fate, there was one unnamed name - "NN". Most researchers agree that even before the exile, the poet experienced unrequited love, which he was later silent about. Disputes over who this mysterious stranger was continue to this day. Some Pushkin scholars even claim that this story was fictional.

Ekaterina Andreevna Karamzina

Among the applicants for the role of "hidden love", the name of Maria Raevskaya (in the marriage of Volkonskaya) is often named. Three weeks spent in Crimea in the summer of 1820 together with the Raevsky family did not pass without leaving a trace for Pushkin - he was fascinated by the southern nature and by the three charming daughters of Raevsky. However, biographers are inclined to argue that the poet went to southern exile with a broken heart, and his beloved woman remained either in Tsarskoe Selo or in St. Petersburg.

Maria Nikolaevna Volkonskaya (Raevskaya) and Ekaterina Andreevna Karamzina

According to Yuri Tynyanov, this hidden love was Yekaterina Karamzina, the wife of Nikolai Karamzin, author of Poor Lisa and History of the Russian State. Pushkin stayed in their house after graduation from the Lyceum. Despite the fact that the woman was 20 years older than him, this did not stop the poet. Once he wrote her a love note, but she immediately showed it to her husband. The situation was taken with humor, the incident was over. Most researchers still doubt that Pushkin had reason not to mention her real name on the list.

I. Oleshkevich. Portrait of Sophia Pototskaya. J. Hayter. Portrait of Sophia Kiseleva

According to L. Grossman, Pushkin's "hidden love" was Sophia Pototskaya (Kiseleva). However, the second part of the Don Juan list contains the name Sophia. And Pushkin wrote about her to Vyazemsky as a "lustful Minerva", so this woman hardly aroused reverent feelings in him, which forced him to hide her name.

Portrait of E. N. Orlova by S. Sudarikov and a drawing by Pushkin

Pushkin also admired another daughter of Raevsky - Catherine, married to Orlova. However, her imperious and ambitious character makes one doubt that it was she who could arouse tender feelings in the poet.

Vigee-Lebrun, portrait of Empress Elizabeth Alekseevna and portrait by an unknown artist after the original by Vigee-Lebrun

The most interesting and daring version was expressed by O. Vidova: in her opinion, Empress Elizaveta Alekseevna herself was Pushkin's hidden love. It was the unattainability of the ideal, according to the researcher, that forced the poet to hide the real name of the chosen one.

Portraits of Empress Elizabeth Alekseevna by V. Borovikovsky and an unknown artist N. Ge. A.S. Pushkin in the village of Mikhailovskoye

Both the work and the biography of Pushkin attract the attention of many researchers, however, white spots still remain and raise questions, as well as death masks of great Russian writers: what secrets do they keep?

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