Author (Your Name)

Hillary R. Smith, Colby College

Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis (Open Access)


Colby College. English Dept.


Patricia A. Onion

Second Advisor

Sheila McCarthy


Anna Akhmatova composed Requiem largely before 1940, but it was not published until the mid 1960s – after her death. It is now known to be one of her best works. Requiem is a cycle comprised of fifteen poems, the entireties of which are introduced by a personal reflection written in prose. Alexander Pushkin wrote his lyric ballad The Bronze Horseman in 1833 about the tremendous flood of 1824 in St. Petersburg and the involvement of the bronze equestrian statue of Peter the Great. Everything that the protagonist, Evgeny, cares for is destroyed, and he blames the Tsar for his losses. Although the subject matter of The Bronze Horseman is quite different from that of Requiem, there are several overlying commonalities in theme. Akhmatova herself and Pushkin’s Evgeny have a nearly parallel journey throughout their respective tales. There are elements of grief related insanity in both, and a small glimmer of hope towards the end. Both works have many layers of meaning. This work ends with a reflection on the life of Anna Politkovskaya. Politkovskaya serves as a link between Pushkin and Akhmatova’s works and the world of today. The themes present in The Bronze Horseman and Requiem are persistent and ever-present. Politkovskaya’s life and work continues what Pushkin and Akhmatova started, and makes their stories more accessible and understandable.


Akhmatova, Anna Andreevna, Requiem, Interpretation, Representation grief, Pushkin, Aleksandr Sergeevich, bronze horseman