Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Hostname: page-component-848d4c4894-hfldf Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-05-21T01:16:01.165Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

Chapter 22 - Theater

from Part III - Literature, the Arts, and Intellectual Life

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 January 2023

Anna A. Berman
Affiliation:
University of Cambridge
Get access

Summary

Tolstoy’s relationship with staged art was anxious and passionate. He was not a man of the theater – of the performing arts, music was his passion – and he was highly critical of many playwrights, such as Shakespeare and Chekhov, whom he felt abused the medium. And yet he authored several powerfully effective dramas (comedies and tragedies) as well as numerous experimental dramatized folktales and parables, and even a quasi-fictive version of his own diaries in dramatic form titled A Light Shines in the Darkness. Tolstoy composed theatrical works in two distinct periods, early and late, on either side of his spiritual turning point. This essay discusses the major plays and one exemplary didactic folk miniature (The First Distiller, 1886) in the context of nineteenth-century Russian theatrical resources, official censorship, and Tolstoy’s own evolving sense of theater’s “infectiousness” as an instrument of communication and moral growth, moving from the unsuccessful farce The Infected Family (1863) through The Power of Darkness (1886), The Fruits of Enlightenment (1889), and The Living Corpse (1900). On the stage as in his prose, Tolstoy emerges as a “realist” only in the most superficial sense. In both venues he is a rebel.

Type
Chapter
Information
Tolstoy in Context , pp. 178 - 186
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

  • Theater
  • Edited by Anna A. Berman, University of Cambridge
  • Book: Tolstoy in Context
  • Online publication: 05 January 2023
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108782876.027
Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

  • Theater
  • Edited by Anna A. Berman, University of Cambridge
  • Book: Tolstoy in Context
  • Online publication: 05 January 2023
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108782876.027
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Theater
  • Edited by Anna A. Berman, University of Cambridge
  • Book: Tolstoy in Context
  • Online publication: 05 January 2023
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108782876.027
Available formats
×