The Birth of Theatre: Birth of Theatre Vol 1 (Stage by Stage)

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9780720611670: The Birth of Theatre: Birth of Theatre Vol 1 (Stage by Stage)

Book by Freund Philip

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I congratulate Yuri Druzhnikov on an excellent and very important book. This is the way, gradually, that at least most Soviet lies will be revealed, if not all of them --Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Combines the scope of Solzhenitsyn with the mordant humour of Bulgakov --Observer

This stunning work of genius . . . as scathingly funny as it is unrelentingly deadly --Review of Contemporary Fiction

Originally published in Russia in 1979, this novel is set in late 1960's Moscow, at the time when Kruschev-era reforms were being turned back by the nascent Brezhnev-era repressions. The setting for this novel, which was written between 1969 and 1979, is a fictitious Soviet national newspaper, 'Trudovaya Pravda', the organ of the Central Committee of the CPSU. The employees of this paper, their lives, concerns, the machinations represent a microcosm of the Brezhnev-era period of stagnation, where inaction and self-preservation were the rules by which everyone lived. The novel opens with Igor Makartsev, the Executive Editor of 'Trudovaya Pravda', suffering a severe heart attack. It is slowly revealed that this heart attack was brought on by the appearance first of a mysterious, highly subversive, and illegal manuscript 'Russia in 1939', marked as samizdat, and second by the author himself, the Marquis Astolphe de Custine. In a scene reminiscent of Bulgakov, to whom Druzhnikov has been previously compared, the Marquis engages Makartsez, as the latter reads the manuscript, in a philosophical debate as to whether Russia's rulers treat their own people with the dignity and respect that should be accorded any human being. The issues discussed within the manuscript, although written about 1839 Russia, reflect issues of concern in the Soviet Union of the 1960's... ... While the actual time period presented in the novel is quite outdated, the themes are not. Just as the descriptions of nineteenth-century Russia are seen as true in the Soviet Union of the 1960's, so do the themes carry over to present-day Russia: petty bureaucrats climbing over each other to reach the top; a government that wishes only to speak with only one voice, drives away any remnants of an opposition press, and imposes censorship at every level; and a possible return to a cult of personality. In this way, Druzhnikov's novel is timeless. --The Samaritan Review

This stunning work of genius . . . as scathingly funny as it is unrelentingly deadly --Review of Contemporary Fiction

Reseña del editor:

Professor Philip Freund has spent over thirty years writing a monumental history of the theatre. Stage by Stage is a chronicle of world theatre from primitive rites and enactments of myths to contemporary drama. It differs from anything else in the field in that it comprises not only playwrights, but opera and composers, musical comedy, ballet, modern dance, choreographers, circuses, theatre architects, scene designs, puppetry, famous actors and directors - all the aspects of its subject. Stage by Stage is encyclopaediac, but it is not an encyclopaedia. It has a colourful and anecdotal approach to narrative. It tells how the classic dramas were produced then and how they are staged now. The social, economic and political settings of the plays are fully described, and the major dramatists profiled and analysed in considerable detail. The history is consistently objective, expressing not the opinions of the author but the views of hosts of critics and scholars, past and present. An unusual feature of the work is that it surveys many countries and regions not in other general histories. The author has travelled to more than 90 countries, some repeatedly, and has a personal acquaintance with stagings and dances in exciting places. He can, for example, describe Antigone as performed in Alaska by Inuits and in Rhodes by modern Greeks. Stage by Stage is to published in a three volume series. This first volume is an entity: it deals with the classical theatre up to the fall of the Roman Empire. The product of vast learnng, enormous research and above all a passion for theatre, these volumes represent a unique and extraordinary achievement in the literature of the stage.

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