Krechinsky's Wedding: Comedy in Three Acts

Krechinsky's Wedding: Comedy in Three Acts

Krechinsky's Wedding: Comedy in Three Acts

Krechinsky's Wedding: Comedy in Three Acts

Excerpt

A wealthy Russian nobleman, Alexander Vasilyevich Sukhovo-Kobylin, devoted most of his long life ( 1817-1903) to philosophical writings which were destroyed in a fire before they could be published. Sukhovo-Kobylin's fame rests solely on three plays -- his entire literary output.

This trilogy was written under the tragic impact of his seven- year struggle ( 1850-57) to clear himself of the charge that he murdered his French mistress. In the end he was acquitted, but had to spend part of that period in prison where, in 1854, he wrote the final scenes of Krechinsky's Wedding. Its premiere took place the next year.

Unlike the two plays that followed ( The Affair, completed in 1861, and The Death of Tarelkin, in 1868), grotesque and savage in their bitterness, Krechinsky's Wedding is a light fast-moving farce in which Sukhovo-Kobylin displays superb command of language and of stagecraft.

Probably the only masterpiece of pure comedy in Russian literature, this play has, for generations of theatergoers in old and new Russia, rivaled in popularity the two immortal comedies of social satire, Griboyedov Wit Works Woe and Gogol The Inspector-General.

In 1902 Sukhovo-Kobylin was named an honorary member of the Literature Branch of the Academy of Sciences -- the highest form of recognition that could be accorded to a writer in prerevolutionary Russia.

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