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In discussions of Eugene Onegin, the role of the author-narrator often presents particular difficulty. Critics have tried to explain the contradictions underlying Pushkin's construction of this character, which appears to occupy simultaneously a fictional and a biographical plane in the work. In this paper, I propose an interpretation of this figure as a competitor to Onegin for the status of the hero. I argue that by including the author-narrator in the work, Pushkin challenges the genre conventions of the romantic poem, first distancing and parodying the Romantic hero Eugene and then replacing him with the author-narrator who represents a new kind of hero. Parallel to this experimentation with genre conventions is Pushkin's interest in reshaping the Russian literary language. As Onegin is succeeded by the author-narrator as the hero, the Russian poetic conventions of Pushkin's time are similarly distanced and replaced by Pushkin's (and the author-narrator's) verbal inventions. Finally, I suggest that the author-narrator is an example of a new complex consciousness, specifically in his ability to recreate the voices of other poets in contrast to his own poetic discourse, which shows a movement in the direction of the Russian realist novel, specifically Dostoevsky's polyphonic model of consciousness.