Dostoevsky’s Novel The Idiot in the 19th Century Dramatizations: The History of Censorship and Theatre Productions

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A staged version by V. Krylov and G. Sutugin of Dostoevsky’s novel The Idiot (1899) is the only staging of this novel in the XIX century that was approved by censors and directed in two theaters: the Maly Theater and the Alexandrinsky Theater. Other adapations were banned for scene as a result of low quality and of impropriety of the novel and Dostoevsky in general on the stage. Dostoevsky’s work seemed too realistic and pessimistic for stage and mass performances: lack of virtue and chastity in the characters and their actions gave rise to censorship assertions that Dostoevsky was absolutely not a stage author. However, intriguingly, Krylov’s play differed little in quality from the previous ones: it was also a compilation of the chapters of the novel, concentrated on the love “triangle” between Nastasya Filippovna, Rogozhin and Myshkin. But the ending of Krylov’s text (it is believed that it was Krylov who took the main part in its creation) was full of moralizations and was completely invented by the authors. Perhaps it was this fact that influenced the positive decision of the censors. In this article, we will consider censorial acts and try to puzzle out key to success by Krylov and Sutugin.

About the authors

Polina V. Babushkina

Maxim Gorky Institute of Literature and Creative Writing

Author for correspondence.
ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3523-4344

PhD student of the Department of Russian Classical Literature and Slavic Studies

25 Tverskoy boul., Moscow, 123104, Russian Federation


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