The popular theatre movement in Russia, 1862-1919


The popular theatre movement in Russia, 1862-1919

Gary Thurston

(Studies in Russian literature and theory)

Northwestern University Press, 1998


Popular theater movement in Russia, 1862-1919

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Includes bibliographical references and index



This is a study of popular theatre and its impact on post-reform and pre-Revolutionary Russia. After the emancipation of the serfs in 1861, educated Russians began to present plays as part of a crusade to "civilise" the peasants. Relying on archival and published material virtually unknown outside Russia, this study looks at how playwrights criticised current Russian social and political realities, how various groups perceived their plays, and how the plays motivated viewers to change themselves or change their circumstances. The picture that emerges is of a potent civic art rooted in the traditions of the Greek polis, where it had first appeared influential in a way that eluded and challenged authoritarian control.

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