Ostrovsky

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Ostrovsky

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1languagehat
Set 29, 2018, 8:54am

We don't seem to have talked about Alexander Ostrovsky; I've enjoyed a number of his plays -- A Family Affair, Ne v svoi sani ne sadis′ "Don’t get above yourself" (it doesn't seem to have been translated), Poverty Is No Crime, The Thunderstorm -- but I'm not sure The Forest isn't the best of the lot, and most non-Russians have never heard of it (though it's included in Michael Billington's The 101 Greatest Plays: From Antiquity to the Present), so I thought I'd link to my enthusiastic review:

http://languagehat.com/ostrovskys-forest/

2kaggsy
Set 30, 2018, 4:17am

I’m embarrassed to say that despite reading oodles of Russian fiction and poetry I don’t know if I’ve ever read any plays. Not even Chekhov... Any suggestions where to begin???

3bjbookman
Set 30, 2018, 10:02am

I am also embarrassed to admit I’m not a reader of plays. But you piqued my interest.

4languagehat
Editado: Set 30, 2018, 10:37am

>Any suggestions where to begin?

Sure! Gogol's The Government Inspector is foundational to Russian theater, much as The Overcoat is to Russian fiction ("We all came out from under Gogol's overcoat"); more important, it's hilarious, the height of barbed satire. And I personally think his The Gamblers is just as good, though hardly anybody's heard of it -- it reminds me of The Sting, and if you like that kind of cynical con-artist comedy, you'll love it. Turgenev's A Month in the Country is the best of his plays and a delightful example of the country-house drama. Pisemsky's A Bitter Fate is a classical tragedy, and one of the most powerful in Russian literature, up there with Ostrovsky's much more famous Thunderstorm. Chekhov, of course; the first I saw was The Seagull, and that's as good a place to start as any, but the famous ones are all indispensable. Evgeny Shvarts' The Dragon, a political fairy-tale play, is his masterpiece and an unforgettable read (I've never seen it performed, alas). That should get you started!

5kaggsy
Set 30, 2018, 3:51pm

Thanks languagehat! I have The Government Inspector but not oddly enough the other Gogol ones so I shall have to do some investigating. I love Gogol..... (and yes I loved The Sting too!)

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