“Diagnosing” literary genius: A concise look at the life and works of Alexander Pushkin

Yulia Furlong, Michael Fitzmaurice

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper examined the phenomena of literary genius by providing a retrospective case study and an analysis of the creative works of Russian poet Alexander Pushkin (1799-1837). Taking the readers into Pushkin’s unique world, we attempted to elucidate salient points of his short life, to understand his giftedness and his creative evolution, and to solve the mystery surrounding his spectacular downfall.
Building on the works of Cesare Lombroso and Howard E. Gruber, we have utilised unique phenomenological method in “diagnosing” Pushkin. We considered several hypotheses relating to a number of neurodevelopmental and psychiatric conditions, and highlighted ADHD-associated cognitive and behavioural profile which may have contributed to Pushkin’s creativity and subsequent demise. Recognizing that Pushkin was confronted by psychological tensions and interpersonal issues and both sublimated and sought resolution in his poetry, we argue that the vicissitude of his life and his literature were inextricably interrelated. The riddle of Pushkin’s literary genius prompted us to probe further into the nature of literary creativity and freedom of speech.
Original languageEnglish
Article number4
Pages (from-to)44-58
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Genius and Eminence
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2020


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