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(1990) Russian theatre in the age of modernism, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan.

Mortal masks

Yevreinov's Drama in two acts

Spencer Golub

pp. 123-147

There are few figures in the history of the modern Russian theatre who are at once so representative of its central concerns and yet so unmistakably idiosyncratic as Nikolay Yevreinov. While not a Symbolist, Yevreinov combined the movement's pre-revolu-tionary tendencies toward Godseeking and life-building into a fully performative "theatre-in-life" philosophy. In the years of "derealised reality" (c. 1905–17), Yevreinov the extreme subjectivist defined the world as a text to be closed or left open according to his whim. In 1917 the seductive maskings, double realities, romantic fictions and adulterous betrayals of commedia dell"arte, his preferred form, were eclipsed by the "unalterable betrayal" of the Revolution. To employ a quintessentially Yevreinovian literary analogy, the Gyntian storyteller became the Gyntian traveller, settling in Paris in 1925, the beginning of his permanent exile. From there he conducted a dialogue with a new Soviet authority that was in the process of defining itself, with both "authors' recreating history as a mask for the story they wanted to tell. For Yevreinov the story was "Paradise Lost"; for the Soviets, it was "Paradise Achieved".

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/978-1-349-20749-7_6

Full citation:

Golub, S. (1990)., Mortal masks: Yevreinov's Drama in two acts, in R. Russell & A. Barratt (eds.), Russian theatre in the age of modernism, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 123-147.

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