UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Alexey Feofilaktovich Pisemsky as dramatist Donskov, Andrew


If an artist were to reproduce on canvas Pisemsky's Muse, from the evidence of the scattered "objective detailed" analyses of his critics, the Muse would definitely be the ugliest thing that any author could choose for his "inspirational" source. The purpose of this study is to illustrate the unfair position accorded Pisemsky in Russian dramaturgy and to assign him a proper place in Russian drama by fresh evaluation of his abilities as the dramatist. The Introduction suggests the possible reasons for which Pisemsky was placed in an oblivion. It also argues that the scepticism, which penetrated some of his works, even if it were somewhat peculiar to him in nature, was definitely aroused by the confusing multi-party Russia of the 1860's and 1870's. Chapter One retraces the more important themes in Russian drama in an attempt to place Pisemsky in the tradition. Chapter Two is a detailed analysis of the lingering critical attitudes toward Pisemsky which claim that his works lacked the revolutionary zeal for improvement of Russia, and that he was not a playwright but an author of pamphlets. In Chapter Three an attempt is made to define the main aspects of Pisemsky's art through his letters and views implicit in his plays. It is also suggested in this Chapter that Pisemsky's plays were revolutionary in their own way, and that they were not directed at the "yawning space", but, to people, directed with harsh rebuke, yet with sincere hope in an eventually brighter future. Chapter Four and the Conclusion are devoted to the analyses of his plays in an effort to show that many of them, in their theme, structure, form and other traditional elements of drama, indeed secure him much better place in Russian dramaturgy than hitherto given him.

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