“Medicine is my lawful wife and literature is my mistress”. Anton Chekhov.
February, the month of the Olympic Winter games is coming to an end and we are still celebrating the great art and culture of Russia.
I have to comment that when I saw the Amazing Closing ceremomy of the Olympic Winter games in Sochi, Russia, I got very excited and happy when I saw the beautiful part dedicated to the many brilliant Russian authors.
Russia has given a lot of wonderful things to the world like the literature, art, cinema and music.
Leo Tolstoy and Fiódor Dostoyevski are the two giants of Russian Literature.
What else can I say about Tolstoy and Dostoyevski? So much has been written and discussed about them but I want to talk about the greatness of their works with the pretext of the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.
When we think of Tolstoy and Dostoyevski we think of the greatness of not only Russian literature but of all universal literature.
Like Victor Hugo and Charles Dickens, Dostoyevski wrote about the human psychology and the misery. His greatest works are, of course, “Crime and Punishment”, “The Brothers Karamazov” and “The Idiot”.
Leo Tolstoy wrote realistic fiction and also about the human soul. His two greatest novels are, of course, “War and Peace” and “Anna Karenina”. We can also add, “The Cossacks”, “The Death of Ivan Ilyich” and “The Kreutzer Sonata”.
When I first read Tolstoy’s and Dostoyevski’s works, I was extremely impressed.
We can add Alexander Pushkin as an another giant of the Russian literature. Many famous Russian operas are based on Pushkin’s works like “Boris Godunov”, “Ruslan and Lyudmila”, “The Queen of Spades”, “Prisoner of the Caucasus” and ” Eugene Onegin”.
Also, his poetic short drama “Mozart and Salieri” was the inspiration for Peter Shaffer’s “Amadeus”.
And what about Anton Chekhov? Chekhov is considered as one of the greatest writers of short stories in history of literature.
His originality consists in an early use of the stream-of-consciousness technique, later adopted by James Joyce and other modernists, combined with a disavowal of the moral finality of traditional story structure. He made no apologies for the difficulties this posed to readers, insisting that the role of an artist was to ask questions, not to answer them.
In America, Anton Chekhov’s reputation began its rise slightly later, partly through the influence of Constantin Stanislavski’s system of acting, with its notion of subtext:
“Chekhov often expressed his thought not in speeches,” wrote Stanislavski, “but in pauses or between the lines or in replies consisting of a single word … the characters often feel and think things not expressed in the lines they speak.”
“The Seagull”, “Uncle Vanya”, “Three Sisters” and “The Cherry Orchard” are his masterpieces.
And finally, Maxim Gorky. Maxim Gorky was one of the greatest writers of the Socialist realism literary method.
His most famous work is “The Mother”.
In 1902, Gorky was elected an honorary Academician of Literature, but Tsar Nicholas II ordered this annulled.
(Gorky befriended many revolutionaries and became Lenin’s personal friend)
In protest, Anton Chekhov and Vladimir Korolenko left the Academy.
The German modernist Bertolt Brecht based his epic play The Mother (1932) on Gorky’s novel of the same name.
Gorky’s novel was also adapted for an opera by Valery Zhelobinsky in 1938.
In 1912, the Italian composer Giacomo Orefice based his opera Radda on the character of Radda from Makar Chudra.
Well, this was a shor tribute to the greatest titans of Russian literature!