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Moscow, 105066, Staraya Basmannaya St, 21/4, office 518-528
phone: (495) 772-95-90*22699, *22803, *22687
 

 

School Head —
Elena Penskaja

 

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Mikhail Pavlovets

 

Deputy Head —
Irina Efimenko

 

Staff Members of the School of Philology in Berlin

Elena Penskaya, Gasan Guseynov, Ekaterina Boltunova and Natalya Sarana participated in the international conference "History and Drama: The Pan-European Tradition", held in the Free University of Berlin.

More about the conference.

Abstracts:

Gasan Guseynov. The Alternative Historical Discourse in Mid-twentieth Century South Russian Samizdat Drama

The anonymous samizdat typescript of the historical poem Vassily Lamavoy was recently found in the archive of a Russian unofficial poet Nikolay Glazkov (1919-1979), whose verse 
I watch the world from beneath a table, 
The twentieth century, the terrific, 
The more it is of interest to historians, 
The more grieving it is to contemporaries
– has become a slogan for the anonymous historical drama written in a dialect called “balachka”. Vasily Lamavoy is a bitter parody of the official history of the USSR. Written “from beneath a table” and dramatizing the social and political events in the country through a series of whimsy and grotesque portraits, this anonymous text provides a unique opportunity to imagine and to reconstruct the missing link between the official historical discourse and its silent critics behind the “iron curtain” by the end of 1960s.

Elena Penskaya. Farce Comedies by Henry Fielding (The Tragedy of Tragedies; or, The Life and Death of Tom Thumb the Great) and Ludwig Tieck (Puss in Boots, etc.) as Historical Travesty

Farce was the beginning of comedy. It is hard to find another dramatic form with the comic element so thick, condensed, and clear of genre impurities. By definition, farce is a realm of equal opportunities in society, a kingdom of freedom in a world that has not yet arrived at the very concept of freedom. Each full-fledged participant of a farce is infinitely free ‒ in their ploys. A remarkable feature of the genre is strict boundaries between 'us' and 'them'. The farce comedies of Fielding and Tieck experimentally combine fabliaux with mystery, the Medieval performance of a 'big form'. The big history is involved alongside everyday storylines. Fielding and Tieck develop a new language of description and their own scenic conception of the new history.

Ekaterina Boltunova. Historical Writings of Catherine II: Dynasty, Family and Self-fashioning
This research explores the Russian empress Catherine II’s attempt to fashion her individual and monarchical 'self' in historical plays and articles written and published in the late 18th century (“Chesmenskiy dvorets (Chesma Palace)”, “Iz zhizni Rurika (Notes on Rurik’s Life)”, “Nachalnoe upravlenie Olega (Oleg’s Initial Rule)”, etc.). The author interprets how Catherine II, as an enlightened European monarch, used theatrical stage and literature journals to communicate her political and ideological views as well as to position herself as a dynastic figure among the Rurikids, the Romanovs, and members of the European monarchical houses. She also argues that references to ancient Russian history (e.g. pre-Peterine times) in Catherine’s writings aimed to reconsider the emperor Peter the Great’s legacy and contributed towards the creation of intellectual Slavophilia at the Russian court of the late 18th century. Particular attention is given to comparative analysis of Catherine’s on- and off-stage evaluations of both her own and her ancestors’ historical roles.

Natalya Sarana. The Drama of 'Bildung': Approaches to the Study of A. Ostrovsky’s Plays 

The term 'Bildungsroman' is generally used in the theory of novel to describe a text that contains a story of the formation of a hero. Stories of this kind are well-defined in terms of plot and text structure: they represent a process of hero’s 'Bildung' from early years till the end of hero’s formation which is often articulated with his wedding or death. The purpose of the paper is to isolate the idea of 'Bildung' from the theory of novel and to argue that the 'educational' story is possible to be told with the means of drama. Moreover, it has its precedent in the history of Russian drama of 1850-1880s. This paper will analyze several plays by A. Ostrovsky such as Groza (The Storm), Zhenit’ba Belugina (Belugin’s Marriage), Bespridannitsa (Poor Bride) and Bez viny vinovatye (Guilty without Guilt). Comparing them will therefore yield insight into the dramatic possibilities of the hero’s formation story.