Pushkin's use of the Russian language is astonishing in its simplicity and profundity and formed the basis of the style of novelists Ivan Turgenev, Ivan Goncharov, and Leo Tolstoy. His novel in verse, Yevgeny Onegin, was the first Russian work to take contemporary society as its subject and pointed the way to the Russian realistic novel of the mid-19th century.
Even during his lifetime Pushkin's importance as a great national poet had been recognised by Nikolay Gogol, his successor and pupil, and it was his younger contemporary, the great Russian critic Vissarion Belinsky, who produced the fullest and deepest critical study of Pushkin's work, which still retains much of its relevance.
To the later classical writers of the 19th century, Pushkin, the creator of the Russian literary language, stood as the cornerstone of Russian literature, in Maksim Gorky 's words, "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 - with its nobility of conception and its emphasis on civic responsibility (shown in his command to the poet-prophet to "fire the hearts of men with his words"), its life-affirming vigour, and its confidence in the triumph of reason over prejudice, of human charity over slavery and oppression - has struck an echo all over the world. Translated into all the major languages, his works are regarded both as expressing most completely Russian national consciousness and as transcending national barriers.