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Meyerhold and Evreinov: ‘Originals’ at Each Other's Expense

  • Tony Pearson


Our occasional series of original theatre documents continues with this translation, the first in English, of an article written in 1915 by the Russian director Nikolai Evreinov attacking his contemporary and erstwhile colleague Vsevolod Meyerhold for artistic plagiarism – an attack which, of course, reveals as much about the susceptibilities and private jealousies of its perpetrator as it does about its object. Tony Pearson, who currently teaches in the Department of Theatre, Film, and Television Studies in the University of Glasgow, accompanies his translation with a full introduction and commentary, setting the polemics within the context of the Russian and early Soviet theatre, and the subsequent, separate careers of the two personalities involved.



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Notes and References

1. See Golub, Spencer, Evreinov: the Theatre of Paradox and Transformation (Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1984), p. 137 and p. 186–90.

2. Meyerhold, V. E., ‘Literaturnye predvestiya o novom teatre’ (‘The New Theatre Foreshadowed in Literature’), first published in Teatr: kniga o novom teatre (Theatre: a Book about the New Theatre, Petersburg, 1908), trans. Braun, Edward, in Meyerhold on Theatre (London, 1969), p. 34.

3. Meyerhold, V. E., O Teatre (On the Theatre, Petersburg, 1913), p. 28–9.

4. Ivanov, Vyacheslav, ‘Nenuzhnaya pravda’ (‘The Unnecessary Truth’), Mir Iskusstva (The World of Art), No. 4 (1902), cited in Meyerhold, V. E., ‘The Stylized Theatre’, first published in Teatr: kniga o novom teatre, 1908, and translated in Braun, op. cit., p. 58.

5. Golub, op. cit., p. 163.

6. C. Moody, p. xxv of Introduction to Bradda edition of N. N. Evreinov, Istoriya Russkogo Teatra (A History of the Russian Theatre, n.d.), assembled in its Russian language version in 1953 from an earlier French work (L'Histoire du théâtre russe, 1947) and published posthumously in 1955.

7. Meyerhold, V. E., letter to Darskii, M. E., 30 July 1908, in Perepiska (1896–1939) (Correspondence, Moscow, 1976), p. 115, 377–8.

8. Meyerhold, V. E., ‘Retsenziya’ (‘Review’), Birzhevye Vedomosti (Stock Exchange News), 10 02 1917, cited in Golub, op. cit., p. 251.

9. Meyerhold, V. E., letter to , Tairov, 13 09 1917, in Perepiska, op. cit., p. 189, 396.

10. V. E. Meyerhold, ‘Rekonstruktsiya teatra’ (‘The Reconstruction of the Theatre’), 1929–30, in Meyer-hold, V. E., Stati, Pis'ma, Rechi, Besedy II, 1917–1939 (Articles, Letters, Speeches, Conversations, Moscow 1968), translated in Braun, op. cit., p. 264.

11. N. N. Evreinov, Istoriya Russkogo Teatra, op. cit., p. 363–94.

12. Stark, Eduard, Starinnyi Teatr (The Ancient Theatre, Petersburg, 1922), p. 70–1, cited in N. N. Evreinov, Istoriya Russkogo Teatra, op. cit., p. 393.

13. Evreinov, N. N., ‘Nas bylo chetvero: o teatre pod sovetskoi feruloi’ (‘There were Four of Us: about the Theatre under Soviet Rule’), Vozrozhdeniye (Resurrection), Paris, XXI (1952), p. 8294; XXII, p. 116–32; XXIII, p. 89–101.

14. See , Golub, op. cit., p. 137, and Moody, C., ‘Nikolai Nikolaevich Evreinov, 1879–1953’, Russian Literature Triquarterly, No. 13 (Fall 1975), p. 678–80.

15. V. E. Meyerhold, telegram to N. N. Evreinov, Autumn 1921. See Kashina-Evreinova, Anna, Evreinov v mirovom teatre xx veka (Evreinov in the World Theatre of the Twentieth Century, Paris, 1964), p. 16.

16. Golub, op. cit., p. 210.

Meyerhold and Evreinov: ‘Originals’ at Each Other's Expense

  • Tony Pearson


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