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Title:Performing the national past: history on stage in imperial Russia
Author(s):Avkhimovich, Irina Sergeyevna
Director of Research:Sobol, Valeria
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Sobol, Valeria
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Cooper, David L; Finke, Michael; Robinson, Valleri
Department / Program:Slavic Languages & Literature
Discipline:Slavic Languages & Literature
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
19th century
Abstract:This dissertation closely examines 18th- and 19th-century Russian historical dramas set in the Time of Troubles, which was the era of dynastic crisis and the first civil war in Russian history during 1598-1613. The project demonstrates that this subgenre was essential for the development of modern theatre in Russia and for articulating vital concerns about Russian national identity. Historical drama became the first type of plays developed by the earliest modern Russian playwrights and stimulated the emergence of original stage practices. I discuss several plays that contributed significantly to the national discourse and stage history, written by the following major and minor authors: Alexander Sumarokov, Alexander Pushkin, Matvei Kriukovskii, Nestor Kukol’nik, Aleksey Khomiakov, Mikhail Pogodin, Nikolai Chaev, Alexander Ostrovsky, and Aleksey K. Tolstoy. I demonstrate that, from its beginning, modern Russian theatre was not an imitative art form but, rather, an amalgamation of various foreign influences and older Russian folk performances. I discuss articles and dramas that display proto-nationalist ideas as early as in the 1790s and 1800s, a few decades before the commonly known Romantic debates on the nation, national literature, and “narodnost’.” I also explore how the historical theatre of the 1860s becomes the experimental grounds where the concept of “historical truth” (historical accuracy) is put into practice. I maintain that this less known and less studied work of playwrights and directors of the 1860s laid the foundation for a wide range of cultural phenomena in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including historical balls, the aesthetic of the Moscow Art Theatre, and the artistic rediscovery of the national heritage during the “Silver Age.” I offer close readings of the plays and utilize the inventory of performance studies in order to discuss stage productions. I also apply the theories of modern-era nation and nationalism and include elements of cultural history. Generally, my project makes a contribution to the underexplored scholarly area of the history of pre-20th-century Russian theatre and performance.
Issue Date:2017-06-30
Rights Information:Copyright 2017 Irina Avkhimovich
Date Available in IDEALS:2017-09-29
Date Deposited:2017-08

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