He travelled in the Caucasus, the Crimea and gained the impressions for his «southern cycle» of romantic narrative poems: «Kavkazsky plennik» (The Prisoner of the Caucasus), «Bratya razboyniki» (The Robber Brothers), and «Bakhchisaraysky fontan» (The Fountain of Bakhchisaray).
In 1823 he started work on his central masterpiece, the novel in verse «Yevgeny Onegin» (1833).
From 1820 to 1824 he stayed in Kishinyov and Odessa. He led the life of a society, fought several duels, and was discharged and exiled to Mikhaylovskoye, near Pskov.
Although the two years at Mikhaylovskoye were unhappy for Pushkin, they were one of his most productive periods. Alone and isolated, he wrote «Tsygany» (The Gypsies), «Yevgeny Onegin», the poem «Graf Nulin» (Count Nulin), the historical tragedy «Boris Godunov».
Another extremely productive period is connected with Boldino, a family’s estate near Nizhny Novgorod. There he wrote the so-called «Little Tragedies» — «Skupoy rytsar» (The Covetous Knight), «Motsart i Salyeri» (Mozart and Salieri), «Kamenny gost» (The Stone Guest), and «Pir vo vremya chumy» (Feast in Time of the Plague) and the famous short story «Pikovaya Dama» (The Queen of Spades).
Eventually, he was allowed to return to St. Petersburg. Soon marriage to one of the leading beauties of the society brought its problems. Pushkin was mortally wounded defending his wife’s honour in a duel. And died on February 10, 1837.
Pushkin’s use of the Russian language is astonishing in its simplicity and profundity. His novel in verse «Yevgeny Onegin» was the first Russian work depicting contemporary society and pointing the way to the Russian realistic novel of the mid-19th century. Pushkin’s importance as a great national poet was recognized even during his lifetime. Pushkin was the creator of the Russian literary language and stood as the cornerstone of Russian literature, «the beginning of beginnings». Pushkin has thus become an inseparable part of the literary world of the Russian people. He also exerted a profound influence on other aspects of Russian culture, most notably in opera.
Pushkin’s work has struck an echo all over the world with its nobility of conception, its emphasis on civic responsibility, its life-affirming vigour, and its confidence in the triumph of reason over prejudice, of human charity over slavery and oppression.