The Prisoner of the Caucasus
AuthorAlexander Pushkin
Original titleКавказский пленник
TranslatorRoger Clarke
CountryRussian Empire
GenreNarrative poem
Publication date
Media typePrint

The Prisoner of the Caucasus (Russian: «Кавказский пленник» Kavkázskiy plénnik), also translated as Captive of the Caucasus, is a narrative poem written by Alexander Pushkin in 1820–21 and published in 1822. Dedicated to his friend General Nikolay Raevsky, it was inspired by the poet's time spent in Pyatigorsk during his southern exile.[1]

The poem is about a Byronic Russian officer who is disillusioned with elite life and decides to escape by seeking adventure in the Caucasus. He is captured by Circassian tribesmen but then saved by a beautiful Circassian woman. Despite its Romantic and Orientalist themes, Pushkin's use of academic footnotes and reliable ethnographic material gave it credibility in its day.[2] It was highly influential on popular perceptions of the Caucasus for its time.[3] The poem remains one of Pushkin's most famous works and is often referenced in Russian popular culture, in films such as the Soviet comedy Kidnapping, Caucasian Style.[4]

English translations

See also


  1. ^ Layton, Susan (1995). Russian Literature and Empire: Conquest of the Caucasus from Pushkin to Tolstoy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 26. ISBN 978-0521444439.
  2. ^ Layton, p. 28
  3. ^ King, Charles (2008). The Ghost of Freedom: A History of the Caucasus. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 110-112. ISBN 978-0195177756.
  4. ^ "Russian Film: 'Кавказская Пленница' – 'Kidnapping, Caucasian Style'". Ruslanguage School. Retrieved 15 April 2017.