Masterpieces of the Russian Drama - Vol. 1


The purpose of this volume is to group together a dozen of the best Russian plays in such a way as to illustrate the historic development of the Russian drama, its scope and variety. The period covered is from 1782 to 1921. Four of the plays selected are comedies, five are tragedies, two are of the intermediate sort common in Russian literature, one is an extravaganza. Five deal with country life and five with city life in the time of their authors; one is an historical tragedy of the sixteenth century. Nine are in prose and three in verse.

With the exception of Wit Works Woe, the translations in this volume are here printed for the first time. The Young Hopeful, The Poor Bride, A Bitter Fate, Professor Storitsyn, and Mystery-Bouffe have never before been translated into English. When two or more translators are named for one play, the main credit belongs to the first mentioned; the others added merely corrections or suggestions on style. Unless otherwise stated, the notes throughout the book are by the translators. I am indebted to Mr. Arthur A. Sykes for his courteous permission to use his excellent translation of The Inspector (The Inspector-General, London, 1896) in revising a few passages of the present translation: some notes on the text are also taken from his work.

The translation of Griboyedov's masterpiece by Sir Bernard Pares appeared under the title The Mischief of Being Clever in the Slavonic Review ( London) for June and December, 1924, and was later published separately by the School of Slavonic Studies, London. Sir Bernard Pares has kindly consented to its inclusion in the present volume under the title, Wit Works Woe, and has approved some trifling changes in the style of printing and in the text.

The Introduction aims to explain the main lines of the development of Russian drama in relation to Russian literature as a whole, with special reference to the plays here printed.

Additional information

  • 1
Includes content by:
  • Alexander Sergeyevich Griboyedov
  • Nikolay Vasilyevich Gogol
  • Ivan Sergeyevich Turgenev
  • Alexander Nikolayevich Ostrovsky
  • Alexey Feofilaktovich Pisemsky
Publisher: Place of publication:
  • New York
Publication year:
  • 1960


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