UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Denis Fonvizin "The bold master of satire" Cameron, Alan Harwood


Heretofore in the western world there has been no intensive literary study of the noted Russian author of the eighteenth century, Denis Ivanovich Fonvizin. Many western scholars assert that Fonvizin's works are valuable only as historical documents and that they possess little literary merit. Nevertheless, a close acquaintance with Fonvizin's works and a careful scrutiny of the information about them, help to put his works in a proper perspective. To perform this task I have consulted many Soviet and pre-revolutionary sources and shall report their findings along with mine. The method of approach has been to analyze the works and the available critical literature. Chapter One is devoted to a general study of the author and his career. Chapters Two and Three deal with Fonvizin's most important literary legacies Brlgadir and Nedorosl' respectively, and provide analyses of sources, structure, characterization, style, language, humour and influences. I have commented in particular on the characters as manifestations of their class in Russian society of the time and attempted to provide an insight into the plays' social meaning and use of humorous devices. The Epilogue consists of a brief summary in an attempt at formulating a conclusion about Fonvizin's place in the literary history of Russia.

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