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DENIS FONVIZIN

"THE BOLD MASTER OP SATIRE"

by

ALAN HARWOOD CAMERON


B. A., U n i v e r s i t y o f C a l g a r y , 1968

A' THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF


. THE. REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
MASTER OF ARTS

i n the Department
of
SLAVONIC STUDIES

We accept t h i s t h e s i s as conforming t o the


required standard

THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA


April, 1970
In presenting this thesis in p a r t i a l fulfilment of the requirements for

an a d v a n c e d degree at the U n i v e r s i t y of British Columbia, I agree that

the Library shall make it freely available for r e f e r e n c e and study.

I f u r t h e r agree tha permission for extensive copying of this thesis

for scholarly purposes may be g r a n t e d by t h e Head o f my D e p a r t m e n t or

by h i s representatives. It is understood that copying or publication

of this thesis for financial gain shall not be a l l o w e d w i t h o u t my

jwr i t ten. pe rm i s s i o n .

Department of Slavonic Studies

The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Columbia
V a n c o u v e r 8, C a n a d a

Date A p r i l \0 r 1970
ABSTRACT

Heretofore i n the western world t h e r e has been no i n t e n s i v e

l i t e r a r y study o f the noted R u s s i a n author o f the e i g h t e e n t h cen-

t u r y , Denis I v a n o v i c h F o n v i z i n . Many western s c h o l a r s assert

t h a t P o n v i z i n ' s works are v a l u a b l e o n l y as h i s t o r i c a l documents

and t h a t they possess l i t t l e l i t e r a r y merit. Nevertheless, a

c l o s e acquaintance w i t h P o n v i z i n ' s works and a c a r e f u l s c r u t i n y

o f the i n f o r m a t i o n about them, h e l p t o put h i s works i n a proper


p e r s p e c t i v e . To p e r f o r m t h i s t a s k I have c o n s u l t e d many S o v i e t

and p r e - r e v o l u t i o n a r y sources and s h a l l r e p o r t t h e i r f i n d i n g s

along w i t h mine.

The method o f approach has been t o a n a l y z e the works and the

a v a i l a b l e c r i t i c a l l i t e r a t u r e . Chapter One i s devoted t o a g e n e r a l

s t u d y o f the author and h i s c a r e e r . Chapters Two and Three d e a l

w i t h P o n v i z i n ' s most i m p o r t a n t l i t e r a r y legacies Brlgadir and

Nedorosl' r e s p e c t i v e l y , and p r o v i d e a n a l y s e s of sources, struct-

u r e , c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n , s t y l e , language, humour and i n f l u e n c e s .

I have commented i n p a r t i c u l a r on the c h a r a c t e r s as m a n i f e s t a t i o n s

of t h e i r c l a s s i n Russian s o c i e t y o f the time and attempted t o p r o -

v i d e an i n s i g h t i n t o the p l a y s ' s o c i a l meaning and use o f humor-

ous d e v i c e s . The E p i l o g u e c o n s i s t s o f a b r i e f summary i n an attempt

at f o r m u l a t i n g a c o n c l u s i o n about P o n v i z i n ' s p l a c e i n the l i t e r -

ary h i s t o r y o f R u s s i a .
iii

TABLE OP CONTENTS

Chapter Page

I. D. I . PONVIZIN--LIFE AND WORKS 1

II. BRIGADIR 2k

III. NEDOROSL' 53

EPILOGUE.... 87

FOOTNOTES

Introduction.... 89

Chapter 1 90

Chapter I I 9k

Chapter I I I • 97

Epilogue 101

APPENDIX A—CHRONOLOGY 1 0 2

APPENDIX. B--BIBLIOGRAPHY. . 10l|


iv

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

I should like to express my s i n c e r e appreciation t o my

adviser Dr. Z. Polejewski, to Dr. M. Putrell and P r o f e s s o r P.

Beardow for their interest and assistance in the preparation

of this study.
V

INTRODUCTION

Eighteenth-Century Russian literature was studded with

dramatists: Sumarokov, Kolichev, Plavil'shchikov, Catherine the

Great, Krylov, Lornonosov, Matinsky, Lukin, Ablesimov, Kapnist,

Knyazhnin and Ponvizin are prominent. Many of the works of these

writers were not original; principally they imitated the classics

of Seventeenth-Century Prance: Corneille, Racine and Moliere .

Russian theatre attempted to follow the principles formulated by

these greats. The classical tradition of the unities of time,

place and action were introduced into the Russian drama. Moreover,

the classics believed in the idea that the play reflect society,

that it present things the way they are.^* A c c o r d i n g to them,

drama should present a tableau of good and evil characters re- •

presentative of society in a conflict of ideas. * Finally, the

play should be a complete work of art providing a unified theme. .

However, unlike Jean Racine who. t u r n e d to antiquity (e.g.

Phedr.e. Britannicus, Andromaque) , or Pierre Corneille, also

concerned with ancient themes (e.g. Polyeucte, Horace) , many

Russian dramatists set their plays in an eighteenth-cent-

ury milieu with "Russians" as the main characters. But

often they retained the themes of the classics which resulted at

times in drama that seetned artificial to the Russian audience.

Mostly the plays were mere adaptations of the F r e n c h and conse-

quently did not at all fit the Russian milieu. In the' main the

fledgling Russian dramatists followed classical rhyme and rhythm,and

since these forms were inappropriate to the linguistic patterns


vi

of the Russian language, the plays were frequently stilted and

artificial.

Because Russian satire flourished in the 1700's, i t was

natural that it extend to drama. Once again, satirical drama

was at first highly imitative of the French models, Moliere.in

particular. However, unlike Racine or Corneille, he set his plays

in contemporary times. He r i d i c u l e d h u m a n f o i b l e s such as miser-

liness (L1Avare), hypocrisy (Le Medecin malgre l u i , Dom Juan),

or falsity (Les Femmes Savantes, Le M i s a n t h r o p e ) . Moliere advoc-

ated correcting evils through their vivid portrayal in a vibrant

array of characters. Although Moliere's themes were, m o r e _ . p r o p o s ;

to the Russian scene, his settings and personages were not. Once

again, the direct i m i t a t i o n ' by the Russians resulted in artific-

iality sice they did little to modify characters, style or settin

to make them more in line with Russian society. The R u s s i a n drama

tists also attempted to employ the ideas of Denis Diderot who . h a d

suggested that strong characters and a believable plot were essen

t i a l . 3 .

But creativity in eighteenth-century Russian dramatic sat

ire arrived in a man who moulded h i s play around -the classical pri

nciples but used a distinctive Russian milieu, characterization

and above all vibrant Russian dialogue. His creations had great

impact on Russian society. His name was Denis Ivanovich Fonvizin.


CHAPTER I
...D. . I..FONVIZIN - - LIFE AND WORKS
- "He 3a6yflb -?OH—BH3HH& n H c a T b , _?OHBH3HH. . ^ T O OH ea HexpHCTB .?
OH -pyccKHS, H3 nepepyccKHx pyccKHH."

Denis Fonvizin was born on the third of A p r i l 171+5 (ac-

cording to the old style calendar) in Moscow.2» His father Ivan

was of an old noble family descended from a Livonian knight

taken prisoner in the sixteenth century. During the early part

of the l600's his descendants had made an honourable name for

themselves on the b a t t l e - f i e l d fighting l o y a l l y for Russia.

Ivan Andreyevich Fonvizin, though only a minor o f f i c i a l in the

service of the tsar, was quite an extraordinary man: unlike

most of the contemporary government o f f i c i a l s he was exceedingly

honest in the execution of his duties. " He (Denis' father) had

an innate horror of l i e s ; i f someone were to l i e in front of him,

he would blush in shame for the' l i a r . " - ^ ' There is no doubt that

this astute honesty of Denis' father played a large role

in the formation of the young man's own ' sincere charac-

ter .li-
x.

When Denis began school he proved to be a remarkable stu-

dent. It was reported that at the age of only eight years, he

knew more than most boys at twelve.- 3 * However, his teachers at

the Moscow Gymnasium were no paragons of pedantry: his mathemat-

ics teacher was an alcoholic and his Latin teacher often d e r e l i c t

in his duties. Fonvizin gives us a humorous anecdote in

his memoirs concerning the conduct of this much esteemed

Latin pedagogue:
"On t h e eve o f t h e e x a m i n a t i o n o u r L a t i n t e a c h e r came
i n a f t e r an a b s e n c e o f s e v e r a l m o n t h s , w e a r i n g a k a f t a n w i t h
f i v e l a r g e b r a s s b u t t o n s and a w a i s t c o a t w i t h f o u r . A little
s u r p r i s e d a t h i s s t r a n g e c o s t u m e , I a s k e d h i m why he was
d r e s s e d so s t r a n g e l y . ' M y b u t t o n s may seem r i d i c u l o u s t o y o u
he s a i d , ' b u t t h e y w i l l p r o v e y o u r s a l v a t i o n and s a v e my r e -
p u t a t i o n ; f o r t h e - b u t t o n s of the kaftan rep resen t the f i v e
d e c l e n s i o n s and t h o s e on t h e w a i s t c o a t t h e f o u r c o n j u g a t i o n s .
' S o ' , he c o n t i n u e d , s t r i k i n g t h e t a b l e w i t h h i s h a n d , ' l i s t e n
t o what I h a v e t o s a y . When t h e y a s k y o u what d e c l e n s i o n any
noun i s , n o t i c e w h i c h o f my c o a t b u t t o n s I t o u c h . If, for
e x a m p l e , i t i s t h e s e c o n d f r o m t h e t o p , ansx^er b o l d l y t h e
second d e c l e n s i o n . And i f t h e y b o t h e r y o u a b o u t v e r b s , l o o k
s h a r p a t my w a i s t c o a t and y o u w i l l make no m i s t a k e s 1' This
was t h e t y p e o f e x a m i n a t i o n we h a d l " ° *

Perhaps e v e n more i l l u m i n a t i n g was t h e g e o g r a p h y exam-

ination t h a t the young P o n v i z i n passed i n r a t h e r unorthodox

fashion. The e x a m i n e r a s k e d the c l a s s i n t o which sea flowed

the V o l g a . After many w r o n g a n s w e r s h a d been p r o f f e r e d : : from

various p u p i l s i t became D e n i s ' turn to r e p l y . He a n s w e r e d

v e r y c a n d i d l y ' ' H e 3Haio." v{± 3 outspoken confession of ignor-

,ance pleased the examiners so much t h a t y o u n g D e n i s was award

ed t h e g o l d medal.?*

At the t e n d e r age o f t h i r t e e n P o n v i z i n was e l e c t e d to

s t u d y at the u n i v e r s i t y i n S t . Petersburg. He was impressed

w i t h the q u a l i t y o f s c h o l a r s h i p t h e r e ^ * and s t u d i e d h a r d for

t h e n e x t two y e a r s . The y o u n g man had g r e a t success partic-

ularly i n the Russian and German l a n g u a g e s , f o r i n 1760 t h e

director of t h e u n i v e r s i t y named h i m one o f t h e b e s t pupils

in St. Petersburg. It was t h e r e t h a t D e n i s made t h e acquain-

tance of t h e g r e a t M i k h a i l L o m o n o s o v and saw h i s f i r s t thea-

trical performance. His f i r s t experience at seeing a live

performance of a p l a y on s t a g e h a d a t r e m e n d o u s effect on t h e

boy? 1
3

" I t i s i m p o s s i b l e to d e s c r i b e the e f f e c t t h a t the p e r -


f o r m a n c e h a d on me. The p l a y was r a t h e r s t u p i d I t h o u g h t b u t
I r e g a r d e d i t as a w o r k o f t h e h i g h e s t f o r m o f a r t , and t h e
a c t o r s - g r e a t p e o p l e t o know I t h o u g h t , and i t w o u l d be o f
my g r e a t w e l l - b e i n g t o become a c q u a i n t e d w i t h t h e m . I nearly
went mad w i t h j o y when I l e a r n e d t h a t some o f t h e a c t o r s v i s -
i t e d my u n c l e ' s h o u s e where I was t o l i v e . " 9 .

Here P o n v i z i n a l s o became f r i e n d l y with Volkov, Dmitryevsky,

Shumsky and o t h e r n o t e d a c t o r s of t h e t i m e ; he h i m s e l f became

an a c t o r o f no s m a l l n o t o r i e t y . So t h e d i e was c a s t : his

intense interest i n the t h e a t r e would never wane.

Ponvizin r e t u r n e d t o Moscow and resumed intensive study;

this t i m e he a v i d l y p u r s u e d F r e n c h . He knew t h a t F r e n c h was

the language o f the g r e a t e s t contemporary dramatists of Eur-

ope and a l s o t h e t o n g u e o f l i t e r a t u r e and a d v a n c e d philosophy.

The y o u n g s c h o l a r a l s o c o n t i n u e d t o s t u d y German and i n 1761

he won t h e g o l d m e d a l f o r e x c e l l e n c e i n the advanced class.^»

Because o f these t a l e n t s he e a s i l y acquired a position

as translator f o r the " C o l l e g e o f F o r e i g n A f f a i r s " i n Moscow..

Shortly thereafter came F o n v i z i n ' s f i r s t published work: a

translation o f a number o f fables b y t h e Dane L u d v i g H o l b e r g .

The n e x t y e a r t h e r e f o l l o w e d t r a n s l a t i o n s from b o t h F r e n c h

and L a t i n of O v i d ' s Metamorphoses, V o l t a i r e ' s A l z i r e ou les

Ame'ricains, and L a V e r t u H e ' r o i q u e ou l a v i e de S e t h , roi

d'Egyptei by T e r r a s s o n . . The l a t t e r was v e r y r e m i n i s c e n t o f

Fenelon's Tele'maque and was t h e o n l y one o f t h e s e t h r e e t o be

p u b l i s h e d i n the e i g h t e e n t h c e n t u r y . 1 1 •

These works b r o u g h t F o n v i z i n an e x c e l l e n t r e p u t a t i o n and

he h a d t h e good f o r t u n e t o be a b l e to o b t a i n a p o s i t i o n i n the

Foreign Service as secretary to a cabinet minister I.P. Yelagin


T h i s new p o s i t i o n was actually an e x t e n s i o n of h i s previous job.

B e c a u s e Y e l a g i n was also a theatre manager he was o f course very

much i n v o l v e d w i t h R u s s i a n drama o f t h a t time. In fact i t was his

translation of-Holberg's p l a y upon w h i c h F o n v i z i n was to later

base h i s own p l a y B r i g a d i r . At t h i s time there also- appeared' Torg

Semi Muz (The H a g g l e o f t h e Seven M u s e s ) , another Russian trans-

lation from L a t i n . Some s c h o l a r s have stated that i t was at this

time t h a t F o n v i z i n wrote the first draft of ' Hedorosl'. We

shall examine this problem in depth in Chapter Three when

we d i s c u s s the actual sources of the play.

I n 176)4. F o n v i z i n finished his psychological comedy i n verse

Korion. It was a c t u a l l y a Russian adaptation of Sydney by Gres-


12
set. * Fonvizin's method was not to t r a n s l a t e directly but

rather to omit . parts or add sections and above all to

place the p l a y i n a R u s s i a n m i l i e u w i t h which h i s Russian audience

c o u l d i d e n t i f y . The p l a y i s not p a r t i c u l a r l y admirable yet shows

one very interesting trait.. The h e r o , a young socialite

Korion, is in appearance almost a forerunner of the "lish-

nii chelovek"' so famous in the nineteenth century. Korion

has betrayed his t r u e l o v e Z i n o v i y a and f e e l i n g pangs o f conscience,

he decides to leave the bustling haute societe and trav-

el t o h i e d a c h a i n t h e c o u n t r y . T h e r e he becomes more disappointed

in l i f e and i n c r e a s i n g l y b i t t e r o v e r losing his l o v e d one and fin-

ally decides to kill himself. He takes poison but sud-

d e n l y meets Z i n o v i y a a g a i n . He d i s c o v e r s that she l o v e s him as

before b u t now i t is too l a t e : Korion must die. Everything


5

ends h a p p i l y h o w e v e r , b e c a u s e K o r i o n ' s s e r v a n t Andrei, wishing

t o save h i s m a s t e r , has substituted water f o r the p o i s o n . E x -

cept f o r t h i s melodramatic ending there are t r a c e s o f Fonviz-

in's dramatic genius, but the p l a y i s g e n e r a l l y too i m i t a t i v e

and t h e c h a r a c t e r s are not r e a l l y Russian.13» N e v e r t h e l e s s , it

does n o t d e s e r v e t h e scathing judgment t h a t D r . A . Coleman

gives: "Korion and e a r l y p l a y o f F o n v i z i n d a t i n g from 176^

shows t h i s same i m i t a t i v e t e n d e n c y . A l t h o u g h the t i t l e does

not acknowledge the p l a g i a r i s m , the whole p i e c e is nothing

more t h a n f r e e t r a n s l a t i o n from the S i d n e i o f G r e s s e t , a

Frenchman o f a slightly earlier g e n e r a t i o n . "l^-» The r e a s o n for

the u n f a i r n e s s of D r . Coleman's statement is that is was gener-

ally accepted at the time t h a t t h e p l a y was a f r e e adaptation

and n o t an o r i g i n a l p l a y . ^ - 5 . M o r e o v e r i t was g e n e r a l practice

in t h i s p e r i o d to i m i t a t e f o r e i g n c l a s s i c s , a statement rein-

f o r c e d i f we examine t h e works o f S u m a r o k o v , K n y a z h n i n and o t h e r

dramatists who r e l i e d h e a v i l y on f o r e i g n a u t h o r s . The main i m -

portance o f K o r i o n was t h i s R u s s i a n m i l i e u and t h e c h a n g e s i n

principle t h a t F o n v i z i n made: "Fonvizin transformed this

(comedie larmoyante) i n t o a comedy o f manners b y t h e ingenious

addition of 'bytovoj1 traits of Russian l i f e ; these included

t h e use o f S l a v o n i c names, a Russian s e r f - v a l e t called Andrej,

references to ' m e r r y - m a k i n g ' i n M o s c o w ' , t h e sound o f Moscow

church-bells and s a t i r i c a l r e f e r e n c e s to 'preferment' i n the

government service."lb.

A t a p p r o x i m a t e l y t h e same t i m e a p p e a r e d some o t h e r re-

markable though immature works o f s a t i r e s u c h as Poslaniye n


6

k slugam moim (Message t o my S e r v a n t s ) , Poslaniye k Yamshchi-

k o v u .(Message t o Y a m s h c h i k o v ) and K umu moemu (To my M i n d ) .

They are a l l w r i t t e n i n v e r s e but F o n v i z i n finished only the

first. The f i r s t poem i s addressed to h i s servants Shumilov,

V a n ' k a and P e t r u s h k a . Fonvizin attacks church education and

blind faith in religion. The a u t h o r ' s keen s e n s e o f w i t and

pungent s a t i r e were e v i d e n t even in this work w r i t t e n before

he was.twenty:
"Tpacemb, DlyMHjiOB, T M cefloM CBoen rjiaBOK,
-He 3Ha», - ro-BopHiHB - He 3Haio H T o r o , 1 7
MBI c o 3 f l a H H Ha CBeT H KeM H RJIK qero."

Moreover, i n t h e u n f i n i s h e d K umu moyemu w h i c h g r e a t l y echoes

Kantemir's work o f similar t i t l e , Fonvizin further demonstrat-

ed h i s i n n a t e sense o f s a t i r e :
"Bo <3?paHHHH TapH$ H3BecTeH HaM KaKOB: 1 R

^TOS 6bITB C|)paHI];y3CKHMH H3 pyCCKHX fly'paKOB. . . "

Perhaps the b e s t of h i s e a r l y o r i g i n a l w o r k s was t h e fable

Lisitsa-Koznodei (The F o x - P r e a c h e r ) . It marks the first step

in Fonvizin's p o l i t i c a l satires: t h i s w i t t y yet malicious

short poem e x p o s e d t h e grovelling praise that was g i v e n t o mon-

archy by t h o s e around them. Lisitsa-Koznodei is a remarkably

b o l d poem and a p t l y shows F o n v i z i n ' s g r e a t c o u r a g e , for he

wrote it immediately after the d e a t h o f the Empress Elizabeth

t h o u g h i t was n o t p u b l i s h e d until 1787. W i t h humour and

tongue-in-cheek Fonvizin pokes fun at the endless panegyrics ..

to Russian despots. This t i m e , however, it is t h e f o x who is.

eulogizing after the death of the "tsar-lion":


7

" 0 jiecTB nofljieftinafl, - meiiHyji Co6aKe K p o T . -


H 3Haji JIbBa K O P O T K O : OH 6HJI npecymnft C K O T ,
H 30JI, H 6eCT0JIK0B, H CHJIOH BHHIHeH BJiaCTH. Q
OH TOJIbKO HaCHlHaJI CBOH THpaHCKH CTpaCTH. "

D u r i n g the next two y e a r s F o n v i z i n w o r k e d on two more tran-

slations: Bitaube's Iosif (Joseph) and de L a s s e ' s Torguyushcheye

dvoryanstvo (The T r a d i n g N o b i l i t y ) . Both these translations

are more, m a t u r e and b e t t e r developed than h i s earlier ones.2*-1.

I n a d d i t i o n i t was a l s o at this t i m e t h a t he w r o t e Sokrashch-

eniye o v o l ' n o s t i frantsuzskogo d v o r y a n s t v a i o p o i ' ze t r e t ' ego

china -'• ( Brief- about the Freedom o f the F r e n c h A r i s t o c r a c y

and about t h e Use o f the T h i r d E s t a t e . ) T h i s document can be ex-

p l a i n e d b y t h e t i t l e and b a s i c a l l y i s . meant t o i n f o r m t h e Russian

public about the p o l i t i c a l system in France.

I t was at this t i m e t h a t F o n v i z i n met Sumarokov.Kheraskov

and o t h e r l e a d i n g men o f e i g h t e e n t h - c e n t u r y R u s s i a n belles-

lettres . Then i n t h e e a r l y months o f 1769 a p p e a r e d his first

true masterpiece Brigadir. T h i s p l a y was v e r y s u c c e s s f u l and

marked a c r e s t in Fonvizin's l i t e r a r y career. Because i t i s of

such great importance B r i g a d i r w i l l be . -dis'e'ussed -<;in \?d;e-- • •••

tail i n C h a p t e r Two.

Towards t h e end o f 1769 F o n v i z i n gradually lost interest

in his p o s i t i o n w i t h Y e l a g i n and was drawn t o t h e l i b e r a l nobi-

l i t y w h i c h was g r o u p e d around N . I . Panin. Fonvizin continued

t o s e r v e t h e F o r e i g n O f f i c e b u t was now u n d e r P a n i n ' s guidance.

Fonvizin soon d i s t i n g u i s h e d h i m s e l f h e r e and s e c u r e d the post

Qf s e c r e t a r y o f the " C o l l e g i a " . 2 1 * He a l s o p u b l i s h e d a transla-

tion of A r n a u t ' s Sidne" et S i l l i , a t y p i c a l domestic tale i n the .


8

English style. S e r v i n g i n the " C o l l e g i a " Denis " d e s i r e d to

s e r v e n o t t h e whims o f a d e s p o t b u t t h e R u s s i a n state, as he

understood its interests to b e . " 2 2 . Panin's l i b e r a l group i n -

fluenced Ponvizin and a l l o f R u s s i a v e r y much as i t gained more

power i n t h e 1770' s : i t organized i t s e l f almost as a fu'sed

political movement. Actually this aristocratic liberalism as-

serted itself s t r i v i n g towards "reaction" particularly in the

wake o f t h e P u g a c h e v R e b e l l i o n . I n 1771 Ponvizin finished his

document S l o v o n a v y z d o r o v l e n i y e ego i m p e r a t o r s k o g o vysochestva

gosudarya t s e s a r e v i c h a _i v e l i k o g o k n y a z y a P a v l a P e t r o y i c h a v

1771 gode (Notes, on t h e R e c o v e r y o f H i s I m p e r i a l M a j e s t y H e i r to

t h e S t a t e and G r e a t P r i n c e P a u l P e t r o v i c h i n t h e Y e a r 1 7 7 1 ) .

T h i s work expressed in elegaic terras the wish f o r the h e i r to

r e g a i n h i s h e a l t h and c o n c l u d e d w i t h an i m p a s s i o n e d p l e a for

all loyal Russians t o come t o t h e a s s i s t a n c e o f M o t h e r Russia.

Fonvizin himself protested against the enslavement o f the

serfs as w e l l as the l a w l e s s n e s s g e n e r a l l y i m p l a n t e d i n the

a u t o c r a c y o f the p o l i c e system. M e a n w h i l e he s h a r p l y sensed

the u t t e r displacement o f c l a s s o r d e r and c o n s c i o u s n e s s that

had a l r e a d y broken o u t over E u r o p e . 2 3 . B u t i n R u s s i a the peas-

ants, though i n r e b e l l i o n , were s t i l l e n t i r e l y h e l d back by

the c o n s e r v a t i v e n o b i l i t y . Thus i t was t h a t F o n v i z i n wrote

an i m p o r t a n t r e b e l l i o u s document t o w a r d 177^ t h a t was no't p u b -

1'ished however• u n t i l 1863. T h i s was t h e e x p l o s i v e Rassuzhdeniye

o gosudarstve voobshche, otnositel'no chisla voisk, potrebnogo

d l y a z a s h c h i t y onogo, i kasatel'no oborony vsekh predelov


9

( T e s t a m e n t about the S t a t e in general, r e l a t i n g to the Number

of T r o o p s N e c e s s a r y f o r the D e f e n s e of the a b o v e . and c o n c e r n -

ing the L i m i t s of a l l B o u n d a r i e s ) . 2 1 ; * L u c k i l y for the author

Catherine did not pay too much a t t e n t i o n to i t and. i t slipped

by u n n o t i c e d . P o t e m k i n d i d manage to d i s m i s s C o u n t P a n i n with

disfavour from h i s post f o r h i s c o m p l i c i t y with Yeraelian P u g -

achev.

A n o t h e r p o l i t i c a l document which appeared at t h i s time

but was not p u b l i s h e d u n t i l much l a t e r was the Rassuzhdeniye

o N e p r e m e n n y k h gosudarstvennykh z-akonakh ( T e s t a m e n t a b o u t I n -

dispensible State S t a t u t e s ) « 2 ^ * This document a s s e r t e d certain

fundamental r i g h t s for the c o n t r o l of a r b i t r a r y power by the

monarch. This project f o r fundamental laws was'conceived by

Ponvizin and the P a n i n b r o t h e r s . But-Ponvizin.wrote it, and

performed the t a s k at h i s eloquent b e s t . 2 ^ * According to Pon-

vizin and P a n i n one o f the g r e a t e s t c a l a m i t i e s o f the Russian

s t a t e was f a v o u r i t i s m b y the monarchs. They hated the tsar's

c r o n i e s who robbed and cheated the people by embezzlement and

open c h i c a n e r y under f u l l view o f the t s a r . Indeed, Ponvizin

saw P o t e m k i n - Catherine's " r i g h t hand man" ( i n more ways

than o n e ) - as t h e v i l e usurper and e v i l p l u n d e r e r of "Mother

Russia":

" T y r , KTO MoaceT, noBeaeBaeT, HO HHKTO HEraeM He ynpaBjineT, H6O


npaBHTB flooiaceHCTBOBajiH 6u 3aK0Hbi, KOH BHine ce6a HH^ero He Tep-
ILHT. TyT no#flaHHbie nopaSoiijeHH rocyflapio, a r o c y ^ a p b O6BIKHOB6H-
HO CBoeMy' HejiocToHHOMy jnoSHMny .fl Ha3Baji e r o HeflOCTofiHbiM noTOMy,
"-Lttro Ha3BaHHe JiK>6HMHa He npHnHCbiBaeTCH "HHicorfla ^ocTOHHOMy Myacy,
OKa3aBineMy OTe^ecTBy HCTHHHbie 3acjiyrH, a npHHafljieacHT O6HKHOB-
eHHO MejiOBeny, ^ocTHrmeMy BHCQKHX CTeneHeM no y#aqHOH CBoeit .
XHTpOCTH HpaBHTBCH TOCyflapK). "
10

This a t t a c k was so scathing that i t was n o t p u b l i s h e d until

1861 i n L o n d o n i n t h e I s t o r i c h e s k y S b o r n i k .

In A u g u s t o f 1777 "began a .new..stage :;in Denis F o n v i z i n ' s

life. He made t h e f i r s t of his three long t r i p s abroad2^* trav-

elling throughout Europe f o r a y e a r b u t s p e n d i n g much t i m e i n

France in particular. P o n v i z i n h a d m a r r i e d a r i c h widow three

years before and s i n c e n e i t h e r o f them e n j o y e d good h e a l t h , the

j o u r n e y s were made t o a s s i s t their bodily functions. During his

s o j o u r n i n P r a n c e f r o m 1777-1778 P o n v i z i n w r o t e l e t t e r s profuse-

ly, mainly to h i s sister and C o u n t P a n i n . Although "Ponvizin

was r e c e i v e d e v e r y w h e r e , b y f o r e i g n e r s and R u s s i a n s alike, with

honours and a t t e n t i o n n o t u s u a l l y g i v e n t o a p r i v a t e traveller','29.

he came t o h a v e a v e r y n e g a t i v e attitude towards Prance and

F r e n c h m e n i n g e n e r a l even' t o w a r d s the greats l i k e Voltaire, Rous-

s e a u and d ' A l e m b e r t .

" I h a v e a l r e a d y seen V o l t a i r e t h r e e t i m e s . D'Alembert,


o f a l l F r e n c h l e a r n e d men, h a s s u r p r i s e d me t h e m o s t . I imagin-
e d a s e r i o u s , v e n e r a b l e , a p p e a r a n c e , b u t f o u n d t h e w o r s t shape
and t h e m e a n e s t p h y s i o g n o m y . . .
Y e s t e r d a y t h e r e was a m e e t i n g a t t h e Academy o f S c i e n c e s .
V o l t a i r e was p r e s e n t ; I s a t q u i t e n e a r h i m and d i d n o t t a k e my
eyes o f f the r e l i c . I h a v e b e e n p r o m i s e d t o be shown R o u s s e a u
and as s o o n as I see h i m t h e n I can s a y t h a t I h a v e seen a l l
the sages o f t h i s c e n t u r y . . .
. . . G e n e r a l l y s p e a k i n g , t h e good -here you can f i n d i f you
go o u t and l o o k f o r i t , w h i l e t h e b a d h i t s y o u i n t h e e y e s .
L i v i n g i n P a r i s f o r a l m o s t h a l f a y e a r now, I have become f a m i -
l i a r e n o u g h w i t h i t t o know t h a t I c e r t a i n l y w o u l d n o t r e t u r n
a g a i n o f my own f r e e w i l l . . . .
T o d a y we are g o i n g t o S t . C l o u d . Many p e o p l e a r e g o i n g
t o be t h e r e . Tomorrow m o r n i n g w i l l be a l e a r n e d one a t my
p l a c e ; . I am s p e n d i n g i t w i t h D ' A l e m b e r t . W e l l , t h e s e a r e t h e
p l e a s u r e s I have h e r e : l e a r n e d y a p p e r s , p l a y s , and p r o m e n a d e s .
B u t even t h e s e h a v e c o m e ' t o b o r e me. B o t h o f us a r e a n x i o u s t o
p u t an end t o o u r w a n d e r i n g s . We w i l l i n d e e d be h a p p y when we
r e a c h home a g a i n . F a r e w e l l I '.'30.
11

P r a n c e made a v e r y p a i n f u l i m p r e s s i o n on P o n v i z i n . The o l d

feudal regime was d i s i n t e g r a t i n g before one's eyes and it

greatly distressed him:


" O H BHfleji HBCTBeHHO' npHSjiHsceHne KpyineHHH e T a p o r o peacHMa, O H B H ^ e j i
TopKeCTBO BojiBTepa - r p a H f l H 0 3 H y i o fleMOHCTpauHio, ycTpoeHHyio Beji-
H K V M B p a r y #ecnoTH3Ma H $aHaTH3Ma.$paHHV3CKHM Hapo,n;OM, H O O H He
6HJI oxBa^eH na$ocoM rpa^ymux noBefl 6ypacya3HK, O H 6pK33Kaji, e r o .
pa3flpascajio T O , HTO 6HJIO B CTpane Ha^ajiOM oSHOBJieHHa, TeM S o j i e e ,
^T0 O H He Mor ropeBaTB H O npomjiOM, B O <5paHHHH OH^yBHfleji o c T a T -
KH T O H Xe T H p a H H H KOTOpVK) O H H e H a B H f l e j I B POCCHH." *

P o n v i z i n has been accused of being prejudiced and "jaundiced"

in his c r i t i c i s m s of Prance,32. but for a liberal minded R u s -

sian these accusations are rather unfounded. Ponvizin did not

wish to appear l i k e so many o f h i s contemporaries who were

q u i c k to praise a l l things G a l l i c and o v e r l o o k t h e f a u l t s of

everything French; instead he d e s i r e d to place things in a pro-

per perspective by p o i n t i n g out t h a t i n any c o u n t r y t h e r e are

as many bad qualities as good ones.

"The m a i n t a s k w h i c h F o n v i z i n seems t o h a v e s e t h i m s e l f
i n h i s . . a p p r a i s a l o f F r e n c h s o c i e t y was t o d i s t i n g u i s h t h e m y t h
from r e a l i t y : to d i s c o v e r not o n l y whether the F r e n c h r e p u t a -
t i o n i n t h e w o r l d h a d any b a s i s i n f a c t , b u t a l s o w h e t h e r t h e
image F r e n c h s o c i e t y had o f i t s e l f , as e x p r e s s e d i n i t s l a w s ,
i n s t i t u t i o n s , and l i t e r a t u r e , c o r r e s p o n d e d t o r e a l i t y . The c o n -
c l u s i o n was f o r e g o n e , b u t i t i s i m p o r t a n t f o r t h e s t u d y o f R u s -
s i a n a t t i t u d e s towards Europe t o d i s c o v e r where a R u s s i a n o f
t h e e i g h t e e n t h c e n t u r y f o u n d t h i s c o r r e s p o n d e n c e l a c k i n g and i n
w h a t t e r m s h i s c r i t i c i s m was f o r m u l a t e d . The c h o i c e o f a t a r -
g e t as w e l l as t h e l a n g u a g e e m p l o y e d s h o u l d f u r n i s h a c l u e t o
t h e c l a i m s t h a t w o u l d be made d i r e c t l y o r b y i m p l i c a t i o n f o r
R u s s i a n r e a l i t y b y way o f c o n t r a s t w i t h E u r o p e a n p r e t e n s i o n s . " 3 3 .

Our author r e a l i z e d and a c c e p t e d the formal structure of

the F r e n c h l e g a l s y s t e m b u t he was q u i c k t o p o i n t o u t .that be-

cause o f c o r r u p t i o n i n the execution of the l a w s , that there

was l i t t l e safeguard for the l i b e r t e of the individual as he


12

v e r y a p t l y demonstrated in this letter dated J a n u a r y IJp, 1778

(O.S.) :

" . . . f o r e x a m p l e - I began b y s a y i n g t h a t as f a r as I
c o u l d see- t h i s f i r s t r i g h t o f man i s p i o u s l y p r e s e r v e d i n
Prance. To t h i s t h e y w o u l d r e p l y e n t h u s i a s t i c a l l y t h a t l e F r a n -
g a i s e s t ne l i b r e , t h a t t h i s r i g h t c o n s t i t u t e s t h e i r t r u e h a p -
p i n e s s , t h a t t h e y would sooner d i e than t o l e r a t e the s l i g h t e s t
infringement of i t . A f t e r l i s t e n i n g to t h i s , I would b r i n g the
c o n v e r s a t i o n a r o u n d t o t h e i n j u s t i c e s I h a d n o t i c e d and w o u l d
i n s e n s i t i v e l y d i s c l o s e t o them my o p i n i o n t h a t i t w o u l d be d e -
s i r a b l e i f l i b e r t y were more t h a n an empty word among t h e m . I
t r u s t y o u w i l l b e l i e v e , my d e a r s i r , t h a t t h e s e v e r y same p e o p l e
who b e f o r e h a d e n t h u s e d o v e r t h e i r l i b e r t y i m m e d i a t e l y a n s w e r e d
m e :
'0 m o n s i e u r , vous a y e z r a i s o n I L e F r a n c a i s e s t e c r a s e , l e
Francais est e s c l a v e ' . H a v i n g d e c l a r e d t h i s , t h e y would then
f a l l i n t o t h e most ' f r i g h t f u l r a g e o f i n d i g n a t i o n and i f t h e y
were n o t q u i e t e d t h e y w o u l d be h a p p y t o r e p r o v e t h e g o v e r n m e n t
and a b a s e t h e i r own p o s i t i o n s f o r days on end."3l|«

Fonvizin reiterates this theme t h a t i n F r a n c e e v e r y t h i n g was

merely e x t e r n a l appearance; t h e r e was no v e s t i g e o f good f a i , t h

left in France.-^* Our a u t h o r w i s h e d t o show t h a t R u s s i a had a

good c i v i l i z a t i o n also and t h a t t h e s i t u a t i o n t h e r e was as good

as anywhere i n t h e world.36.

I t was s h o r t l y t h e r e a f t e r that Fonvizin presented his

translation o f A n t o i n e Tome's work o f e l e v a t e d oratorical style.

T h i s was c a l l e d S l o v o p o k h v a l ' n o y e M a r k u A v r e l i y u (Message

P r a i s i n g Marcus A u r e l i u s ) . After r e t u r n i n g f r o m F r a n c e i n 1778

Fonvizin's l i t e r a r y a c t i v i t y grew i n s t r e n g t h . He t o o k up h i s

pen and c o m p l e t e d h i s f i n e s t w o r k N e d o r o a l ' i n 1782. Once

again because of t h i s w o r k ' s i m p o r t a n c e and i n f l u e n c e , an e n -

tire chapter - Chapter Three - i s d e v o t e d t o an a n a l y t i c a l study

of the p l a y . I n t h e i n t e r m e d i a r y p e r i o d b e t w e e n 1778 and 1782

appeared F o n v i z i n 1 s t r a n s l a t i o n i n t o R u s s i a n o f an i m p o r t a n t

philosophical esquisse: Ta - G i o ' i i i V e l i k a y a Nauka Z a k l y u c h a - •


13

y u ' s h c h a y a v sebe V y s p k u y u K i t a i s k u y u F i l o s o f i y u ( T a G-ip. o r the

Great Science C o n t a i n i n g High Chinese Philosophy).37. It was

published anonymously i n the S t . Petersburg V e s t n i k o f May 1779.

The f i r s t publication of this work h a d been a Latin translation

from the Chinese done b y Z . B a i y e r i n h i s b o o k Museum S i n i c u m

of 1730. Pierre M. Cibot in turn translated the work i n t o

F r e n c h from the C h i n e s e . Fonvizin used t h i s version for his

translation into Russian, so i t must be n o t e d that Fonvizin's

work is not a direct translation. The e s q u i s s e t e l l s about the

ideal m o n a r c h and h i s d u t y t o w a r d s his subjects. Moreover, Fon-

vizin attempts to a c q u a i n t the R u s s i a n r e a d e r w i t h some politi-

cal facts of early China which p a r a l l e l very closely the, situ-

ation in Russia of that time. He d e s t r o y s the idea of the div-

ine o r i g i n of kings and e m p e r o r s b y d e m o n s t r a t i n g that monarchs

are similar to a l l p e o p l e x ^ i t h t h e i r , own s h o r t c o m i n g s and f e a r s :


"IIpHMep uapcKoii ceM&H eine fleftcTBHTejibcHee OTicpuBaeT JIIOSOBB . K
,ii;o6pofleTejiH H T y C K J I O H H O C T B KO S j i a r y , c KOTOpoio Bee jnoflH Ha C B e i -
poflHTCH. E C J I H ,n,pyxejiio6He H CHHCxoscfleHHe Bcex cepflna B MOHap-
ineM flOMe' c o e f l H H a e T , TO noflpascaHHe OHbie B03pacTHT, V M H O X H T H BO
Bcex ceMBHx HaBcer,n;a pacnpocTpaHHT'. Ho. ecjiH HenpaBOcy^He H 3JIO-
flefitcTBO T y f l a B C T y n a T , Tor.ua norH6HeT Bee, T O r a a HCKpa C M . n p o -
H3Be,ii;eT noacap' H cOBepmHT BceoSmyio norti6ejiUh'

Needless to say, this translation caused quite a stir in Russia.

But F o n v i z i n had just ;:be.gun. The b e l o v e d C o u n t P a n i n d i e d in

1783 b u t Fonvizin c o n t i n u e d the struggle for his own i d e a l s

against tyranny. Although t h e death o f Panin coupled w i t h t h e

vicious censorship of Nedorosl' w a s v e r y burdensome to Fonvizin,

instead of submitting t o g r i e f he p r e s s e d on e v e n h a r d e r . The

year 1783 was one o f t h e most p r o l i f i c i n h i s life. During


Ill,

this year i n the j o u r n a l Sobesednik L y u b i t e l e i Rossiiskogo

Slova (Interlocutor of Lovers of the R u s s i a n Word)t appeared

no l e s s than f i v e of his journalistic articles i n various num-

bers of the magazine. The i s s u e o f May 20, 1783 c a r r i e d a .

portion of a literary-linguistic article Opyt R o s s i i s k o g o Sos-

lovnikg,-^* (An E x p e r i m e n t i n Russian Word C l a s s i f i c a t i o n ) . It

a p p e a r s t o be a d i c t i o n a r y g i v i n g a semantic analysis of syn-

onyms and n u a n c e s o f m e a n i n g b u t i t is actually a satirical ar-

ticle or a'"parody in miniature". Fonvizin gives several exam-

ples of his b i t i n g personal commentary on t h e n o b i l i t y :

"KTO He JIK>6HT H C T H H H , T O T ^acTO oSMaHy T. 6biBaeT. ITpoMaHHBaTb

ecTb SojibuiHx 6onp H C K V C C T B O . . . O y M a c S p o j BecbMa onaceH, Korfla B


CHJie. . .TjiyilLliM CMeiDHbl B 3HaTH. . . B H H 3 K 0 M COCTOHHHH MOXHO HMeTb
GjiaropoflHeSmyio flymy, paBHO K a K . g BecbMa Sojibinoft 6apHH MoaceT
6biTb BecbMa nofljibiii. ^tejiOBeK...."

In the t h i r d i s s u e o f Sobesednik appeared F o n v i z i n ' s fa-

mous l i s t of questions Neskol'ko voprosov mogushchikh vozbudit'

v umnykh i chestnykh lyudakh osoblivoye vnimaniye (Some Quest-

ions w h i c h can A r o u s e S p e c i a l . A t t e n t i o n in Intelligent and H o n -

est People). Fonvizin submitted anonymously these h o l d quest-

ions of a d i s t i n c t p o l i t i c a l tinge and t h e y i m m e d i a t e l y offend-

ed t h e E m p r e s s . Catherine proceeded to answer these queries in

h e r own g a z e t t e B y l i .i H e b y l i t s y . This l i t e r a r y polemic was

v e r y much a k i n t o t h e l a t e r and much more l e n g t h y journalistic

d i s c u s s i o n s between t h e E m p r e s s and N . I . N o v i k o v . A t any

rate Fonvizin reached his point immediately; straightaway he

asked " O T ^ e r o MHornx ^o6pux Jiiofleft B H ^ H M B OTCTaBKe?" - an

obvious reference to the d i s m i s s a l o f Count P a n i n - t o which

Catherine replied "MHOrne flo6pbie JIIOJI,H BHiH&t H3 cnyscfibi,. B e p o -


15

HTHO , fljiH T o r o , ^TO HanuiH• Bbiro^y 6HTB B OTCTaBKe."

Ponvizin a g a i n made r e f e r e n c e to the p a r a s i t i c a l system of

court and o f f i c i a l favourites t h a t he d e t e s t e d so much when he

asked " O T n e r o B npeacHHe BpeMeHa myTH , nmuHH is Sajiarypbi MHHOB

He HMejiH , a HbiHe HMeiOT is -BecbMa SojibinHe ?" Thunderstruck

C a t h e r i n e c o u l d o n l y manage a weak "IIpeflKH Hamn He Bee


4-3

rpaMOTe yMejiH " It seems a l m o s t r i d i c u l o u s t h a t Cather-

i n e would dare t o answer i n p r i n t 'these s e a r i n g questions so

critical of her regime, y e t she h e r s e l f felt that she could

take some o f t h e s t i n g o u t o f t h e satire by p l a c i n g , h e r answers

r i g h t beside the q u e s t i o n s . ^ - * Ponvizin later replied in a state-

ment a d d r e s s e d t o t h e e d i t o r o f B y l i :i N e b y l i t s y s t a t i n g that he

asked the questions i n order to c a l l a t t e n t i o n to various i n -

justices i n the r e g i m e , t h a t he d e s i r e d universal justice in

the R u s s i a n state and t h a t t h e answers, were c o n t r i v e d and ob-

v i o u s l y u n s a t i s f a c t o r y . 45. C a t h e r i n e d i d not r e p l y to this

article, h o w e v e r , and t h e l i t e r a r y p o l e m i c s b e t w e e n Ponvizin

and t h e E m p r e s s h a d ended.

However, P o n v i z i n continued his journalistic exploits by

p u b l i s h i n g more a r t i c l e s i n the Sobesednik. In the f o u r t h is-

sue appeared more o f t h e R o s s i i s k o g o S o s l o v n i k a along with the

Chelobitnaya R o s s i i s k o i Minerve ot R o s s i i s k i k h P i s a t e l e i (Peti-

tion to the R u s s i a n M i n e r v a from R u s s i a n W r i t e r s ) , a document

to C a t h e r i n e c o m p l a i n i n g about the e x p l o i t a t i o n by the self-

indulgent n o b i l i t y . The p e t i t i o n marks a protest.against the

course of action of the p r i v i l e g e d c l a s s e s and a d e s i r e for

l i t e r a r y men t o e s c a p e t h e i n f l u e n c e o f t h i s nobility.W>»
16

I t was at approximately this time t h a t F o n v i z i n wrote

his Vseobshchaya P r i d v o r n a y a G r a m m a t i k a (The U n i v e r s a l C o u r -

t i e r s ' Grammar). The a u t h o r incorporated this work i n t o his

unfinished j o u r n a l Drug c h e s t n y k h l y u d e i i i i Starodum (Staro-

dum, o r t h e F r i e n d o f H o n e s t People) w h i c h was o n l y published

posthumously i n t h e e d i t i o n o f I83O b y P . B e k e t o v . ^ * The

journal i t s e l f was w r i t t e n d u r i n g t h e l a s t nine years of Fon-

v i z i n 's life and c o n t a i n s many i n t e r e s t i n g and i m p o r t a n t ar-

ticles. They are i n the form'of letters w h i c h the author of

Nedorosl' addresses to various characters of the p l a y . He

writes t o them as living p e r s o n s and makes h i s own comments

about the contemporary social and p o l i t i c a l s i t u a t i o n . k & » The

most r e m a r k a b l e of the .contents o f the journal is the aforement-

ioned C o u r t i e r s ' Grammar. A l t h o u g h never published during Fon-

v i z i n 's l i f e t i m e , h a n d w r i t t e n c o p i e s were v e r y much c i r c u l a t e d

because of the g r e a t demand f o r this v e r y amusing work.^9.

L e t us e x a m i n e certain e x c e r p t s from t h i s Courtiers1 Gram-

mar. In form i t consists of a number o f q u e s t i o n s t h a t F o n v i z i n

answers i n a s a r d o n i c vein. F o r example "Question: 'What is

Courtiers' Grammar'? Answer: 'Courtiers' Grammar i s the A r t

or Science, of f l a t t e r i n g c u n n i n g l y , w i t h t o n g u e and p e n . ' Q.:

'What i s meant b y " f l a t t e r i n g cunningly"'? A.: 'It means ut-

tering and w r i t i n g s u c h u n t r u t h as may p r o v e p l e a s i n g to those

of high s t a t i o n and, at t h e same t i m e , of benefit to the flat-

terer.' Q.: 'What i s Courtly Untruth'? A.: 'It is the ex-

pression of a soul i n g l o r i o u s before the soul vainglorious. It


17

consists o f shameless p r a i s e s heaped upon a G r e a t Man f o r those

services w h i c h he n e v e r p e r f o r m e d and t h o s e v i r t u e s w h i c h he

never h a d . ' " ^ * F o n v i z i n maintains t h i s c u t t i n g a t t i t u d e - -•

t h r o u g h o u t t h e C o u r t i e r s ' Grammar. He c r i t i c i z e s t h e aristo-

cracy for t h e i r toadyism, f l a t t e r y , untruths, deception and

greed. The a u t h o r f i n i s h e s by humourously p o i n t i n g out that

t h e v e r b most f r e q u e n t l y c o n j u g a t e d at court i s " t o be i n debt".

•It i s only conjugated i n the present and t h e f u t u r e b u t never

in the past s i n c e c o u r t i e r s are never out o f debt.^1*

Two o t h e r j o u r n a l i s t i c works by F o n v i z i n appeared i n the

Sobesednik i n 1783. T h e y were P o v e s t o v a n i y e ranimogo glukhogo

i nemogo ( N a r r a t i v e o f an I m a g i n a r y D e a f and Dumb Man) and

Poucheniye, govorennoye y dukhov den1 Iyereyem V a s i l i y e m v sele

F-s:--::-?:- (Sermon . G i v e n on W h i t Monday b y l y e r e i V a s i l i i i n the Vil-

l a g e o f P*-.-»--») . The f o r m e r i s a s a t i r i c a l a r t i c l e that was

first devised by F o n v i z i n i n A u g u s t 1778 as we can. see from a

letter to Panin from t h a t t i m e . ^ 2 * The i n f l u e n c e o f Jean-Jac-

ques R o u s s e a u ' s C o n f e s s i o n s on t h i s k w o r k was-., e n o r m o u s . Fon-

vizin also desired to " l a y bare h i s s o u l " w i t h o u t .any p r e t e n s i o n .

In f a c t he f o l l o w s t h e s t r u c t u r e and b a s i c i d e a s o f the F r e n c h

philosophe in this p a r t i c u l a r work almost to the l a s t detail.

The a u t h o r b e l i e v e s t h a t he has found a true insight into the

i n t e r n a l n a t u r e o f man. He p r e s e n t s the n o t e s o f the i m a g i n -

ary deaf and dumb man g i v i n g t h e i m p r e s s i o n s that t h a t man

w o u l d h a v e o f Moscow i n 1762. In g e n e r a l t h i s work i s a witty

p a r o d y o f R u s s i a n moeurs as w e l l as o f g e n e r a l human foibles.£3»


18

A perfect example of this is Fonvizin's comment:

• ".. .H6O OnjieymHH 6HJI TaKOH MacTep TOiraT.b n e ^ H , ^ T O Te, #JIH K O -


TOP-HX O H T o n n j i , flOBegg e r o CBoeio npoTeiujHeio HapcoHen. H #0 mna.6- '
o$HH,epcKoro mma..." .

w h e r e he a t t a c k s t h e n o b i l i t y ' s manner o f o b t a i n i n g a career.

The a u t h o r again criticizes f a v o u r i t i s m by the monarch with

BbiB B cjiyacSe B SOJIBIIIOM nwy, HMeji O H caMyio Mejucyio flynry, KpOMe

c e 6 a , HHKOMy floSpa He c u e a a j i , CKOIIHB SoraTCTBO, peinmiCH 3a6jiaro-

BpeMeHHO y6paTbCH B OTCTaBKy ', jiacKaacn floacHBaTb CBOK> C T a p -

OCTb B MOCKBe..."

By c o n t r a s t there is very l i t t l e political satire in the

Poucheniye but the s a t i r e is rather social: " c a T H p a Ha pyxo-

BeHCTBO TaKoe ace rpy6oe , SecicyjibTypHoe, Kan H cejibCKoe

flBOpHHCTBO , KOTOpOMy OHO CJiyXHT . " *

On November 11, 1783 F o n v i z i n wrote h i s last journalistic

article of the year w h i c h was n o t p u b l i s h e d , however, until af-

ter his death. This article was e n t i t l e d N a c h e r t a n i y e dlya

sostavleniva Tolkovogo s l o v a r y a slavyanorossiiskogo yazyka,

sochinenoye otryadom fPu-tHne^ for the C o m p o s i t i o n o f the T o l -

k o v o i D i c t i o n a r y of the S l a v i c - R u s s i a n Language). This is an

. important guide for eighteenth century Russian language and

demonstrates the development of t h e method of expression and

principles of style i n the Russian language.

Fonvizin presented i n 1781j. t h e c o m p l e t e b i o g r a p h y of Count

Panin, entitled Zhizn' G-raf a Pan i n a (The L i f e of Count P a n i n ) .

T h i s w o r k was i n fact w r i t t e n i n F r e n c h and p u b l i s h e d in St.

Petersburg, L o n d o n and P a r i s but the Russian text was not


19

r e l e a s e d u n t i l F e b r u a r y o f 1786 i n the journal of F. Tumansky

e n t i t l e d Z e r k a l o S v e t a . ^ ® * The w o r k i s quite remarkable in its

accuracy concerning Panin's life and w o r k s , y e t paradoxically

enough t h e r e are c e r t a i n e p i s o d e s and c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s which are

o v e r l y e x a g g e r a t e d and h i g h l y i d e a l i z e d . The theme i s the

s t r u g g l e o f Count Panin a g a i n s t the v i c e s and c o r r u p t i o n o f a

self-centred n o b i l i t y and an e g o c e n t r i c monarch.

A year l a t e r D e n i s F o n v i z i n ' s h e a l t h began t o f a i l badly.

I n 1785 he was s t r i c k e n w i t h p a r a l y s i s which g r e a t l y hampered

his s p e e c h and w r i t i n g c a p a c i t i e s . Indeed, i t became so very

difficult for Fonvizin to conduct h i s activities, t h a t most of

h i s works w r i t t e n i n the l a s t seven years of his. l i f e remained

unfinished, and most o f t h e s e h a d t o be d i c t a t e d from h i s bed-

side. Because o f h i s f a i l i n g health Fonvizin and h i s w i f e took

two more l o n g t r i p s abroad s p e n d i n g most o f t h e i r time of the

178I|.-1785 t r i p i n I t a l y and t h e l a s t t r i p o f 1787 in Southern

Europe, p a r t i c u l a r l y A u s t r i a and I t a l y . The c o u p l e returned

f r o m I t a l y i n A u g u s t 1785 with Fonvizin gravely i l l . He was

forced t o s t a y i n bed most o f t h e t i m e y e t he c o n t i n u e d t o w o r k .

I n 1785 there a p p e a r e d an anonymous translation of Zimmerman's

last chapter e n t i t l e d i n Russian Rassuzhdeniye £ Natsional1nom

Lyuboch.estii (Discourse on N a t i o n a l i s t A m b i t i o n s ) . Considering

his i l l health Fonvizin admirably translated this work i n t o

Russian.60. The a u t h o r ' s attitude towards translating political

documents was d i s t i n c t i v e ; he w i s h e d t h e r e a d e r to gain an i n -

sight i n t o the o r i g i n a l not o n l y through' the translation of the


20

o r i g i n a l words but a l s o by c l o s e l y f o l l o w i n g the s t y l e . This

Rassuzhdeniye is actually a very powerful emotional document:

the author conveys an a c c o u n t of a m o r a l code f o r b o t h a pa-

triot and an o r d i n a r y c i t i z e n ; o f man as an a c t i v e struggler

against despotic c o n t r o l w i t h the inner notion of dying for the

freedom o f h i s creative energy.

A year before his last t r i p abroad P o n v i z i n published in

a journal a quite remarkable story entitled Kallisfen ( C a l l i s - '

thenes) i n w h i c h he e n v i s i o n e d h i s own f a t e . The s t o r y , very

condensed, has few l y r i c a l q u a l i t i e s ' but it contains a great

deal of caustic i r o n y and f i t t i n g e x a m p l e s o f e p i g r a m m a t i c for-

mulae. Ponvizin includes scenes o f aristocratic toadyism,

cruelty and b r i b e r y . However the a u t h o r shows these events

without underscoring t h e m ; he p o i n t s them o u t u n a b l e to hide his

a n g e r and i n d i g n a t i o n . The s t o r y itself concerns t h e sage Kal-

lisfen who a t t e m p t s t o t e a c h A l e x a n d e r t h e G r e a t how t o rule

with equanimity. B u t the emperor falls t o t a l l y under the i n -

fluence of e v i l n o b l e m e n and does n o t h e e d K a l l i s f e n ' s wise ad-

vice, becoming a v e r i t a b l e tyrant. When K a l l i s f e n c a l l s the

emperor a monster, A l e x a n d e r has h i m t o r t u r e d and imprisoned^

w h e r e u p o n he d i e s . ^ 2 . The s u b t l e parallels o f P o n v i z i n ' s own

r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h the monarch are skilfully weaved throughout

the t a l e w i t h the result that Kallisfen is one o f P o n v i z i n ' s

most p o w e r f u l w o r k s , in his own w a y - P o n v i z i n d e v e l o p e d the

satirical devices o r i g i n a t e d by V o l t a i r e i n Candide y e t modi-

fied them f o r use i n the Russian sphere i n h i s exotic tale.^3.


21

It is easy to gain an a p p r e c i a t i o n f o r F o n v i z i n ' s p o w e r f u l m a t -

ter-of-fact style by"examining the c o n c l u d i n g paragraphs of

Kalliafen:

"ITo KOH^HHe caMoro ApncTOTejia HaltfleHO B S y M a r a x ero cjiefl-


y&mee IIHCBMO KajuiHC$eHOBO, niicaHHoe 3a HecKOJiBKO ^tacoB npe.ii, e r o
CMepTHio. 3flecb npefljiaraeTCH O H O c OTMCTKOK) e r o flpyra.
IIHCBMO KajuiHC$eHa:
- yMnpaio B TeMHHn;e, Snaroflapio 6oroB, ^ T O cnocoSHJu* MeHH n o c -
TpaflaTB 3a HCTHHy. AjieKcaHflp cjiymaji MOHX coBeTOB flBa , B
KOTopne c n a c a J K H S H B . flapneBa po.ua H H36aBHji acHTejieH nejion 0 6 - ,
JiaCTH OT KOHeUHOrO HCTpeSjieHHH. ITpOCTH.-

OTMeTKa pyKOK) ApncTOTejia

- ITpH r o c y f l a p e , KOToporo C K J I O H H O C T H He BOBce-pagBpameHu, BOT '


HTO qecTHbiS ^ejiOBeK B flBa A H H c^ejiaTB MoaceT.

The l a s t f i v e years of Fonvizin's l i f e were v e r y difficult

for him. He was desperately i l l ; i t was p a i n f u l f o r him. j u s t to

go on l i v i n g . Nevertheless, Fonvizin continued to w r i t e , but

was u n a b l e to f i n i s h most o f h i s l a s t works. He c o n t i n u e d t o

write hisoautobiography Chistoserdechnoye priznaniye v delakh

m o y i k h 1 p o m y s h l e n i y a k h (A S i n c e r e Confession a b o u t my A f f a i r s

and T h o u g h t s ) , (excerpts f r o m w h i c h we h a v e already examined)

but succeeded i n c o m m e n t i n g o n l y on y o u t h f u l recollections. As

for dramaturgy F o n v i z i n w o r k e d on t h r e e more p l a y s : Dobry N a s t -

avnik (A Good P r e c e p t o r ) part o f w h i c h had been p u b l i s h e d i n

1781+; a n o t h e r unnamed comedy o f w h i c h o n l y t h e f i r s t scene is

extant, and V y b o r G u b e r n e r a (The C h o i c e o f a T u t o r ) t the most

complete of the t h r e e . Another p l a y e n t i t l e d Gofmeister (The

Hofmeister) has been s u b s e q u e n t l y lost. A portion of the first

p l a y Dobry N a s t a y n i k e n t i t l e d Razgovor u K n y a g i n i Khaldinoi


22

(Princess Khaldina's Conversation), a c t u a l l y the s e c o n d scene

of the p l a y , was i n c l u d e d in Ponvizin's j o u r n a l Drug Ghestnykh

L y u d e i under the t i t l e P i s ' m o ot S t a r o d u m a d a t e d at Moscow F e b -

r u a r y oi 1 7 8 8 . 6 5 . The p a t h e t i c tutor-coachman Vral'man makes a

r e a p p e a r a n c e h e r e from N e d o r o s l ' . I t was this scene t h a t F o n v i -


•r

zin'sent to D e r z h a v i n as a t r u l y "new comedy" on the eve of Fon-

vizin's death.66.. gb.e author's hero is a French t e a c h e r who

appears i n R u s s i a from somewhere i n America and wins the confi-

dence of Sorvantsov's Aunt. She t a k e s h i m i n as a French teach-

er and a l o v e r . Here the.excerpt f i n i s h e s a b r u p t l y . It is un-

f o r t u n a t e that t h e p l a y was u n f i n i s h e d for as Pushkin stated

" . . . 3aMe^aTejiBHa' He TOJIBKO icaic jiHTepaTypHaa pe^KOCTb, HO H Kaic

jiKSomiTHOe H3o6paxceHHe HpaBOB H MHeHHH, rocnoflCTBOBaBniHx y Hac


r r-7

jieT copoK TOMy Hasaji;..."

F o n v i z i n ' s Vybor Gubernera is very n e a r l y c o m p l e t e but c a n -

n o t be compared with. B r i g a d i r or I T e d o r o s l 1 since i t is not a f i n -

ished p r o d u c t . B e c a u s e of this the play is rather flaccid and

shows l i t t l e of the p o l i s h e d d i a l o g u e of Ponvizin's two great-,

est works. The h e r o e s of the e x t r a c t the Russian tutor Nel'st-

e t s o v , and Seum t h e F r e n c h pedagogue, c o n v e r s e at l e n g t h about

the French r e v o l u t i o n . - The a u t h o r speaks t h r o u g h the m o u t h p i e c e

of N e l ' s t e t s o v to the d i s a d v a n t a g e of the Frenchman. He t a l k s ' i n

detail a b o u t l i q u i d a t i o n of government heads, r e a c t i o n a r i e s and

the e l i m i n a t i o n of o l a s s f a v o u r i t i s m .
"$OHBH3HH B KOMeflHH - Bbi6o,p r y 6 e p H e p a - H3JiaraeT CBoe
noHHMaHHe. HepaBeHCTBa. IloflflaHHbie AOJUKHH s c e p T B O B a T B CBOHMH H H -
TepecaMH HO He AILS nojib3tu T a K H x s e e , KSK H O H H , juoflefi, a £JIH
6 j i a r a n;ejioro OTe^tecTBa.' HejiBCTeijOB . TaK $opMyjiHpyeT $OHBH3HHCKVK>
23

MHCJIB: - Heo6xo,a;HMO Ha^oSHO, mo6 OflHa -qacTb noflflggHbix #JIH


6jiara n,ejioro rocyflapcTBa *teM-HH6y,n;b xepTBOBajia.-"

Fonvizin continued to t r a n s l a t e until h i s death but only

r e m n a n t s o f a few t r a n s l a t i o n s of Tacitus (which Catherine f o r -

b a d e h i m t o do) G e s s n e r and o t h e r s remain. In the course of h i s

last two y e a r s , he f e l l i n t o a deep r e l i g i o u s m y s t i c i s m w h i c h can

be a t t r i b u t e d t o h i s g r a v e illness since i t is so out-of-charac-

ter for him. B u t even i n h i s l a s t works t h e r e remain.: s i g n s of

Fonvizin's skill f o r p a r o d y and s a t i r e . ^ 9 .

Denis F o n v i z i n d i e d on December 1, 1792. He was o n l y forty

seven y e a r s o l d . 'Fonvizin was n o t an o v e r l y p r o l i f i c writer yet

many o f h i s w o r k s were v e r y i n f l u e n t i a l . But F o n v i z i n ' s main i m -

portance l i e s i n h i s two m a s t e r p i e c e s B r i g a d i r and N e d o r o s l ' .


2lx

CHAPTER II

BRIGADIR

- " E r o n p o s a <racTa, npHaTHa a TeKyma TaK, i-caic H e r o CTHXH.


OH CO^HHHJI KOMeflHio BpnrajiHp H EpHraflupma, B KOTOPOH O C T -
pbie cjiOBa.H 3aMBicjiOBaMbie myTKH paccHTam>i Ha KaxflOH
CTpaHHiiie"

As we h a v e seen i n the p r e v i o u s chapter, Fonvizin first

translated Holberg's fables i n the e a r l y 1760's. An a d a p t a t i o n

of a fable e n t i t l e d Jean de F r a n c e o r Hans F r a n d s e n h a d appear-

ed i n 1 7 6 5 « 2 * This adaptation was t h e s a t i r i c a l comedy b y I v a n

Yelagin e n t i t l e d Jean de M o l e , i i i Russki Parizhanin which un-

f o r t u n a t e l y has now-been l o s t . I t was d e s c r i b e d i n the Drama-

ticheski Slovar' o f 1787 as a "comedy c a s t i g a t i n g the f o o l i s h -

ness of parents who s e n d t h e i r c h i l d r e n abroad to acquire a for-

eign education, although the c h i l d r e n often return to Russia

despising t h e i r own l a n g u a g e . " 3 . T h i s was t h e i m p o r t a n t social

question of the day: . what were t h e r e s u l t s of f o r e i g n education

D u r i n g t h i s e r a F r a n c e was r e g a r d e d as the w o r l d ' s centre

of e n l i g h t e n m e n t so i t p r o v e d t o be the c e n t r e o f e d u c a t i o n for

young R u s s i a n n o b l e s . Until the o u t b r e a k o f the F r e n c h R e v o l u -

t i o n o f 1789, education of Russian aristocracy i n France was

the r u l e . B u t the r e s u l t s were q u i t e o f t e n ridiculous: young

g e n t r y r e t u r n e d home u n a b l e t o r e a d o r w r i t e R u s s i a n properly

and i n f a c t came t o d e s p i s e t h e w h o l e R u s s i a n l a n g u a g e and cul-

ture. These young n o b l e s r e t u r n e d from " L a B e l l e F r a n c e " as

dandified, powdered f o p s f r e q u e n t i n g t h e s a l o n s of Russian haute

soci£te\ spewing f o r t h l a v i s h p r a i s e for a l l things Gallic.

N a t u r a l l y i n s i d e t h e y were s t i l l Russian but t h e i r appearance,


25

conduct, and i n p a r t i c u l a r t h e i r ludicrous Franco-Russian jar-

gon, that is, t h e i r " G a l l o m a n i a " seemed a b s o l u t e l y ridiculous '

to Russian R u s s - o p h i l . e s A l e k s a n d r Sumarokov r i d i c u l e d t h i s Gal-

l o m a n i a i n two p l a y s o f 1750 G h u d o v i s h c h i (The M o n s t e r s ) and

S s o r a u M u z h a (A H u s b a n d ' s Quarrel). Thereafter, "Gallomania

was f i r m l y e s t a b l i s h e d as a favourite target i n comedy, and at-

t a c k s upon i t s manifestations formed p a r t of L u k i n ' s campaign

for g r e a t e r n a t i o n a l awareness i n the theatre."5.

Denis F o n v i z i n entered this campaign under the banner of

his; f i r s t o r i g i n a l play B r i g a d i r . As much as F o n v i z i n had re-

lied on Y e l a g i n ' s play, he d i d n o t i m i t a t e directlyt

" . . . F o n v i z i n , l i k e S h a k e s p e a r e r e t a i n e d the r i g h t t o t a k e c e r t a i n
b o r r o w i n g s and p r o v e d t h e f a c t t h a t t h e comedy Jean de F r a n c e
w h i c h h a d a l r e a d y a p p e a r e d i n t h e R u s s i a n t h e a t r e i n an a d a p t a -
t i o n b y I . P . Y e l a g i n u n d e r t h e t i t l e The F r e n c h - R u s s i a n , (sic)
n e v e r made anyone t h i n k o f a c c u s i n g F o n v i z i n o f p l a g i a r i s m a f -
t e r h a v i n g t a s t e d of the p e n e t r a t i o n i n t o the s p i r i t of Russian
life. N e v e r up t o t h e n h a d been made t h e t r a n s p o s i t i o n o f a
f o r e i g n work ( i n e t h n o g r a p h i c and p s y c h o l o g i c a l t e r m s ) i n t o a
R u s s i a n one w i t h s u c h a r t t h a t i t d i d n o t f o r c e one t o t h i n k o f
t h e l i t e r a r y m o d e l s ; s u c h was t h e c a s e w i t h F o n v i z i n ' s B r i g a d i r . " '

. When e x a c t l y did Fonvizin write Brigadir? A problem ari-

ses i n answering t h i s question:" t h e o r i g i n a l m a n u s c r i p t was cir-

culated f r o m hand t o h a n d and t h o u g h t h e p l a y was s t a g e d i n the

early 1780's i t was n o t p u b l i s h e d u n t i l 1790 i n the thirty-third

number o f R o s s i i s k i F e ' a t r . Some s c h o l a r s have placed the writ-

ing of B r i g a d i r a t , 1 7 6 6 . 7 . Others maintain that i t was n o t writ-

ten u n t i l 1 7 6 9 . 8 . This p a r t i c u l a r question was d e a l t w i t h , i n an

a r t i c l e by V s e v o l o d s k i - G e r n g r o s s "Kogda b y l naplsan Brigadir?"

The, a u t h o r asserts that t h e t i m e o f w r i t i n g can be l i n k e d to

the time t h a t i t was read to C a t h e r i n e by the statement which


26
V

appeared i n the K a m e r f u r 1 e r s k i Zhurnal and by F o n v i z i n ' s state-

ments in his own a u t o b i o g r a p h y . 9 . F o n v i z i n gives us t h e day June

29 b u t n e g l e c t s to mention the year.10* Moreover F o n v i z i n men-

t i o n s here t h a t he b r o u g h t both I o s i f and B r i g a d i r w i t h h i m , an-

other fact (since we know p r e c i s e l y the date o f Iosif because it

was p u b l i s h e d in a journal) w h i c h has led Vsevolodski-Gerngross

to B e l i e v e that t h e d a t e o f 1766 i s correct. H o w e v e r , as such

scholars as P . N . B e r k o v and G . Makogonenko (as r e c e n t l y as 1969)

have c a r e f u l l y pointed out, t h e e v e n t s w h i c h f o l l o w e d and preced-

ed t h e r e a d i n g t o the Empress must.be c a r e f u l l y c o r r e l a t e d with

.the somewhat jumbled r e c o l l e c t i o n s of F o n v i z i n h i m s e l f . H » After

a l o n g and c o m p l e x w e i g h i n g o f the l o g i c a l evidence based princi-

p a l l y on known f a c t s from contemporary journals, i t is generally

accepted today t h a t B r i g a d i r was w r i t t e n d u r i n g t h e w i n t e r o f

1768-1769.

As I m e n t i o n e d above F o n v i z i n r e l i e d h e a v i l y on t h e Danish

p l a y b y H o l b e r g - o r r a t h e r he r e l i e d on Y e l a g i n ' s Russian adap-

tation. Arthur P . Coleman seems t o f e e l that F o n v i z i n ' s B r i g a d i r

was v i r t u a l l y c o p i e d f r o m t h e D a n i s h p l a y . He q u o t e s Veselovsky

to maintain h i s hypothesis but it shows that h i s theory holds

water o n l y to s u p e r f i c i a l details:

• " I n t h e p i e c e o f H o l b e r g a p p e a r i n e x a c t l y t h e same man-


n e r two o l d men who h a v e d e c i d e d among t h e m s e l v e s t o m a r r y o f f
t h e i r c h i l d r e n ; t h e d a u g h t e r o f one o f them i s h o r r i f i e d a t t h e
p r o s p e c t o f m a r r y i n g a g i d d y f e l l o w who has been t o P a r i s . . .
We- a d m i t t h a t w i t h F o n v i z i n t h e r e a r e - m a n y l e a n i n g s away f r o m ,
t h e p r o t o t y p e , many o r i g i n a l and c l e v e r r e m a r k s and e s p e c i a l l y
a r e m a r k a b l e c l o s e n e s s t o a c t u a l R u s s i a n l i f e ( i n t h e s t o r i e s o f ..
t h e b r i g a d i e r and. h i s w i f e a b o u t m i l i t a r y l i f e and o f t h e c o u n -
c e l l o r ' s w i f e about j u d i c i a l s e r v i c e ) . The R u s s i a n p l a y i s much
more b o l d , b u t f o r t h i s r e a s o n f a l l s a l l t h e more s h a r p l y i n t o
caricaturization."12.<
27

There is no question that there are affinities with H o i -

berg's w o r k s , . b u t we must c a r e f u l l y scrutinize the aspects of

characterization, structure, language and humour i n Brigadir.

T h e y are very important t o - P o n v i z i n ' s work: he took a g e n e r a l

idea, plot and c h a r a c t e r types but put them i n a l i v e Russian

milieu, speaking the living R u s s i a n of the day, but above all

imbued the central theme w i t h a t y p i c a l R u s s i a n attitude.^-3.

Nevertheless, we must be c a r e f u l not to go 1 to the other extreme

and b l e s s Ponvizin's p l a y as being t o t a l l y o r i g i n a l as many con-

temporary S o v i e t c r i t i c s have done.^4*

If Ponvizin owes a great deal to H o l b e r g for s u b j e c t mat-

ter, then h i s form i s d i s t i n c t l y patterned after M o l i e r e . Chern

ishevsky emphatically points out:

"Bem-b 0 6 m e H 3 B e C T H a H ^ T O $OPMa KOMeflHH <&OHBH3HHa - MOJIb-


epoBCKaH, H.ejiHKOM'nepeHeceHHaa HM B ero H e j o p o c j i H H EpHrajHP,
H. CTapaJICH 0 6 T b H C H H T b npOHCXOXUieHHe 3 T 0 H (pOPMBI, TaKOH npoTHByx-
yfloacecTBeHHofi H npoTHByecTecTBeHHofi . Ho opnrHHajibHO JIH
coflepscaHHe KOMeflHii y <S>0HBH3HHa ? OSbiKHOBeHHO OTBe^aioT ,
MTO coBepmeHHO opnrHHajiBHO• fl CHJIBHO coMHeBaiocb B DT.OM
H O noKa AOJisceH orpaHHUHTbca O A H H M H C O M H 6 H H H M K , noTOMy
XITO He Mory flOKa3aTb 3aHMCTBOBaHHft B coflepscaHHH , He
HMen nofl pyKaMH co6paHHH $paHH.y3CKHx KOMeflnM MOJibepOB-
CKOH mKOJiH . A He coMHesaTbCH B opHrHHajibHOCTH Bcero
B KOMe^HHX $OHBH3HHa H6JIb3H . , nOTOMy ^TO K H H 3 B Bfl3eM-
C'KHH flOKa3aji , ^ITO y $OHBH3HHa MHorHe jraua H MHome
MBICJIH , KaaceTCH poAHBinnecfl H3 caMoii rjiySnHH flymn' <£>OH-
BH3HHa ", 3aHHTH H3 $paHIi;y3CKHX KHHr... H T O , KaateTCH ,
npHHaflJieacHT <3?OHBH3HHa Sojibine e r o i r a c e M
JIHUHOCTH K naHHHy m
<£>paHH,HH? A KHH3b BH3eMCKHH OILHTb —TaKH TOBOpHT , MTO BCe
nopaflOUHue H aHeK^OTbi TaM B H C K C E H B I H3 JIIOKJIO . . .
a
OCTPOTH
noHeBOJie CTaHemb coMHeBaTbca B opnrHHajibHOCfH ocTajib-
Horo. CKaxcyT : " GoBeTHHK - CIIHCOK C TapTio^a HJIH 0,2;-
HOTO H3 ero noTOMKOB , . aTO npaB^a , H O ocTajiBHbie . K O M -
H^iecKHe jiimap-y $0HBH3HHa TOCTO pyccKHe H HpaBbi micro
pyccKHe". "

Although this statement seems v a l i d , it is a l s o true that

many of M o l i e r e ' s p l a y s were i n turn t r a n s l a t i o n s o r adaptations


28

of I t a l i a n o r S p a n i s h w o r k s - Pom Juan ou l e F e s t i n # e P i e r r e ,

for example, owes a great d e a l to T i r s o de M o l i n a . In fact

who c o u l d a r g u e t h a t any p l a y owes l i t t l e to the e x p l o i t s of

Shakespeare, M o l i e r e or Racine? Fonvizin d i d borrow from Aris-

tophanes, Moliere, the I t a l i a n commedia d e l l ' a r t e and e a r l y far-

cical comedies b u t once a g a i n he a d a p t e d , m o d i f i e d and revamped

the d i s t i n c t i v e features of various g e n r e s w e a v i n g them i n t o a

d i s t i n c t l y Russian f a b r i c by u s i n g Russian dialogue as h i s thread

and R u s s i a n characters and m i l i e u as h i s loom.^-6. w e s h a l l exa-

mine s h o r t l y t h o s e d i s t i n c t i v e features of Brigadir.

What can we s a y about the stage p r o d u c t i o n s of the play?

F i r s t l y we must s t a t e t h a t F o n v i z i n ' s p l a y h a d h a d a w i d e circul-

ation among t h e s a l o n s . The p o p u l a r i t y o f B r i g a d i r r e a c h e d Cath-

erine's ear and she summoned F o n v i z i n to read i t to h e r . He d i d

so i n 1769 and C a t h e r i n e e n j o y e d it immensely, l i t t l e realizing

the b i t t e r struggle that she and t h e a u t h o r w o u l d h a v e l a t e r . In

1772 t h e r e followed a reading of the p l a y at court.17* Brigadir

c a u s e d much u n e a s i n e s s among t h e n o b i l i t y b u t was nevertheless

very popular. In f a c t its p o p u l a r i t y was so g r e a t that the pub-

lic clamoured f o r a stage p r e s e n t a t i o n . The f i r s t production of

Brigadir on s t a g e d i d n o t come u n t i l eight years l a t e r i n 178O a t

the S t . Petersburg theatre. I t was i m m e d i a t e l y v e r y popular.

Many o f t h e n o b i l i t y were w a t c h i n g t h e m s e l v e s being ridiculed.

( T h i s s i t u a t i o n was a n a l o g o u s t o M o l i e r e ' s Le B o u r g e o i s Gentil-

homrae where t h e f o p p i s h h e r o attends a p l a y and l a u g h s at a char-

acter n o t r e a l i z i n g t h a t he i s l a u g h i n g at h i m s e l f . ) But i t must


29

be remembered t h a t t h e d a n d i f i e d n o b i l i t y who a r e r i d i c u l e d in

F o n v i z i n ' s Brigadir'were considered t o be l u d i c r o u s b y t h e Russo-

philic Russian aristocracy. The s u c c e s s o f B r i g a d i r can be at-

tributed to t h i s and t o t h e f a c t that Russian theatre audiences

h a d grown u p :

"On p e u t done p e n s e r q u ' au moment ou a ete' joue'e l a p r e m -

iere corae'die de F . , les esprits etaient acquis a l a nouvelle ten-

dance, le public etait prepare, et, ce q u i e t a i t peut-etre le plus

i m p o r t a n t dans l e s conditions historiques et sociales de l'epoque,

. .. L'e'clatant succes du B r i g a d i e r p r o u v e que l a p i e c e ne venait

pas trop t6t..."l9.

The s t r u c t u r e o f the p l a y i s the next i t e m t o be considered.

D. D. B l a g o i a s s e r t s that B r i g a d i r is poorly .constructed and anti-

climactic. He i n s i s t s that t h e p l a y c o u l d be f i n i s h e d a t t h e end

of A c t i l l when D o b r o l y u b o v d i s c l o s e s t h a t he h a s won h i s s u i t . ^ - 9 .

This is not p o s s i b l e b e c a u s e t h e C o u n c i l l o r has already pledged

Sofja t o I v a n ; m o r e o v e r he does n o t w i s h h i s daughter to marry J

whom she w a n t s . Fonvizin s t r i c t l y f o l l o w e d the c l a s s i c a l unities

of time, place and a c t i o n . The e n t i r e p l a y t a k e s p l a c e within

the space o f a single day. At the b e g i n n i n g i t is early afternoon

and t h e c h a r a c t e r s are drinking tea. B e t w e e n t h e S e c o n d and Third

Acts they break for supper. A c t T h r e e ends w i t h another "tea-

break" and t h e F o u r t h A c t i s almost e n t i r e l y concerned with the

e v e n i n g c a r d game. The f i n a l act concludes the evening w i t h the

d e p a r t u r e - o f t h e B r i g a d i e r and h i s family.

Fonvizin followed- the idea of unity of place very e l o s e l y .

In f a c t the e n t i r e p l a y i s p e r f o r m e d i n j u s t one p l a c e , the salon


30

of the C o u n c i l l o r ' s house. It is obvious that t h i s is one o f the

play's faults, f o r many o f t h e l o v e s c e n e s seem a r t i f i c i a l in

their lack of discreetness. S u r e l y i t w o u l d h a v e been b e t t e r for

the author to place some o f t h e s e impassioned confessions of loVe

in some o t h e r l o c a t i o n o f the house i n s t e a d of the l a r g e salon.

Moreover, this repetition o f t h e same s c e n e becomes monotonous

and p u t s the author at an e x t r e m e disadvantage. Instead of shift-

i n g f r o m room t o room he must f o r c e t h e p e r s o n a g e s t o come and

leave f o r a r e a s o n w h i c h he h a s to devise. Very often t h i s i s i n -

g e n i o u s l y done b u t s o m e t i m e s t h e y appear f o r no r e a s o n at a l l .

F o r e x a m p l e i n A c t One t h e s e r v a n t announces t h e a r r i v a l of Dobro-

lyubov. Dobrolyubov's a r r i v a l gives a premise f o r a l l the dram-

atis personae e x c e p t . I v a n and t h e S o v i e t n i t s a t o t a k e a stroll

through the garden. The promenade g i v e s them ample o p p o r t u n i t y

to confess their l o v e i n a v e r y funny scene. This e x i t seems

reasonable. B u t . t h e e n t r a n c e o f S o f y a and D o b r o l y u b o v a t first

glance does n o t seem l o g i c a l since they have a r r i v e d t o keep I v a n

and t h e C o u n c i l l o r ' s w i f e company. However t h e a c t u a l r e a s o n for

their arriving together is that i t gives them an o p p o r t u n i t y a f t e r

Ivan and t h e S o v i e t n i t s a h a v e l e f t t o be a l o n e and c o n f e s s their

l o v e f o r one a n o t h e r . Throughout the p l a y the c h a r a c t e r s enter

t o see what i s going on, vih.a.t t h e commotion i s , to find someone,

to discuss a l e g a l p r o c e d u r e , t o c r y on s o m e o n e ' s shoulder, to

p l a y cards o r some s u c h p u r p o s e . They l e a v e the stage because

t h e y are i n s u l t e d , or chased or f r u s t r a t e d ; or because someone

looks i l l . Their exits occur to join someone, t o have t e a or to

eat dinner. Thus t h r o u g h o u t t h e p l a y F o n v i z i n attempts to l e t the


31

audience know why t h e c h a r a c t e r s h a v e l e f t or have entered.

They never exit or enter without a purpose,although at times

t h e s e p u r p o s e s seem t o o a r t i f i c i a l l y c r e a t e d by the author. Fon-

vizin has f o l l o w e d the u n i t y , of p l a c e perhaps a bit too closely

to the p o i n t o f forcing stilted action.

The c l a s s i c a l t r a d i t i o n of u n i t y of action is the third

trait closely f o l l o w e d by F o n v i z i n . In f a c t there is little ani-

mated action i n the p l a y but a great deal of lively conversation,

depending upon t h e d i r e c t i o n of the p l a y . However,, this action

is u n i t e d i n t o the form o f the v a r i o u s love-intrigues. There is

no e x t r a n e o u s action; everything is t i e d up w i t h t h e four love-

intrigues: the a f f a i r s are between Ivan and t h e S o v i e t n i t s a , the

Brigadier and t h e S o v i e t n i t s a , the S o v i e t n i k and t h e Brigadirsha,

and D o b r o l y u b o v and S o ^ t y a . We c o u l d p e r h a p s add a fifth intri-

gue between- Sofihya. and I v a n ; the b e t r o t h a l that has brought all

the characters together, but t h i s motif although e s s e n t i a l to the

b e g i n n i n g of the p l o t , is of l i t t l e importance to the development

of the main a c t i o n . The a f f a i r s a r e b u i l t up w i t h t h e use of

cumulative comic scenes i n order to conclude with, the final hilar

ious denouement scene. There is no e x t e r n a l a c t i o n which i s not

i n v o l v e d w i t h these comic c o n t r a s t s ; thus the u n i t y of action is

closely followed.

It is now p e r t i n e n t t o examine and a n a l y z e the characters


o f
Brigadir,. We f i n d in Brigadir a gallery of characters typical

of the era of Catherine's Russia so the play is important as a

document for the his"tory of s o c i e t y . 2 0 ' We see two Gallomaniacs,

typical results of the F r a n c o f i e d late eighteenth-century Russian


32

society. There i s a blustering Brigadier - General preoccupied

w i t h the m i l i t a r y rank system. A t y p i c a l C o u n c i l l o r of State, a

former j u d g e who knew a l l a b o u t b r i b e s , is also included. Fonvi-

zin paints the p o r t r a i t of a t y p i c a l avaricious o l d l a d y and two

very reserved young l o v e r s . A l l these people were v e r y t y p i c a l

of the e r a i n w h i c h the author lived.

One b a s i c f a u l t of F o n v i z i n ' s characterization -is t h a t the

person-agess do n o t d e v e l o p t o show v a r i o u s facets of t h e i r per-

sonalities. In the first act o f B r i g a d i r t h e y a p p e a r as single

minded s c h e m a t i c personages:;: d o m i n a t e d b y one c h a r a c t e r i s t i c that

is contained i n the i n t e r n a l s t r u c t u r e o f the i n d i v i d u a l r o l e . 2 1 •

This is Fonvizin's idea: t o show t h e s p e c t a t o r how many people

were o b s e s s e d b y a c e n t r a l m o t i f i n R u s s i a n society. The seven

characters (excluding the s e r v a n t who makes a b r i e f appearance)

are a b l e t o be g r o u p e d i n t o d i a m e t r i c a l l y opposed c a t e g o r i e s . Be-

cause t h r e e love affairs are included only for comic e f f e c t where-

as the f o u r t h i s genuine, i t means t h a t the couples can actually

be c o n t r a s t e d on a s c h e m a t i c plane which i s s e r i o u s o r comic as

t h e c a s e may b e . 2 2 . The two g r o u p s o f p a r e n t s f o r m one s i d e : they

represent the s t a i d older generation w h i c h has- lost its sense'and

has dizzily fallen i n l o v e . 3 . Opposed t o them a r e


2
the stuffy

young l o v e r s Sofya and D o b r o l y u b o v - who do n o t a c t much like; young

lovers. The c e n t r a l c h a r a c t e r o f the p l a y i s of course Ivanushka,

a r p u n d whom t h e c e n t r a l p l o t , a c t i o n and theme o f B r i g a d i r revolves.


;
Ivan i s t h e embodiment of the t y p i c a l f o p p i s h young n o b l e of

the e r a , who h a v i n g been e d u c a t e d i n France, has returned to Rus-

sia francofied and an t L - R u s s i a n . I v a n has no t o l e r a n c e at all:


33

"He i s c o m p l e t e l y o f t h e o p i n i o n , t h e n p r e v a l e n t among
c e r t a i n s t r a t a o f s o c i e t y , t h a t o n l y ' i n t e r c o u r s e w i t h the F r e n c h
and a j o u r n e y t o P a r i s can c i v i l i z e a t l e a s t some R u s s i a n s , ' and
t h a t ' R u s s i a c o u l d be c a l l e d c i v i l i z e d o n l y when P e t e r s b u r g b e -
comes P a r i s ; when t h e R u s s i a n t o n g u e i s s p o k e n i n f o r e i g n l a n d s
as much as F r e n c h , o r when o u r p e a s a n t s u n d e r s t a n d F r e n c h . '2q-». n

The y o u n g man i s t h e e p i t o m e o f t h e G a l l o p h i l e who i s b o r e d and

disdainful: h i s v e r y f i r s t word on s t a g e w h i c h t y p i f i e s this

attitude is " H e l a s l " , spoken w i t h a d i s g u s t e d yawn. Ivan r e i t e r -

ates h i s d i s l i k e f o r R u s s i a b y h i s words "My b o d y was b o r n i n

Russia, that's t r u e , b u t ray s o u l b e l o n g e d t o t h e crown o f F r a n c e . "

I v a n has frankly stated t h a t he c o n s i d e r s Sof'ya a rather crude

and b o o r i s h i n d i v i d u a l b e c a u s e she is unable to speak F r e n c h .

"I confess that I m y s e l f would l i k e to have a w i f e w i t h whom I

c o u l d s p e a k no o t h e r l a n g u a g e e x c e p t F r e n c h . Our l i f e would be

a g r e a t d e a l h a p p i e r . "-26. The y o u n g n o b l e a p p e a r s n o t as a Vil-

l a i n o u s i n d i v i d u a l but rather r i d i c u l o u s l y e x c e n t r i c : he i s over

come b y an o b s e s s i o n for anything French. I v a n has been frank

w i t h S o f ' j y a and has not attempted to deceive her: he i s man

enough n o t t o p l a y w i t h the f e e l i n g s of a woman b y d e c e i v i n g h e r .

There i s no a t t e m p t to take advantage of the simple nature of

a naive girl.

Humour s u r r o u n d s Ivan at almost every t u r n . His conversa-

tions with his parents i n v o l v e many e x a m p l e s of double-entendres

and m i s u n d e r s t a n d i n g s , between t h e R u s s i a n and F r e n c h . Above a l l

there i s humour s u r r o u n d i n g I v a n u s h k a i n h i s dealings with the

Councillor's wife. The i n t r i g u e o f t h e i r love a f f a i r is so typ-

i c a l l y J__t2i_i_t a n d
exaggerated that i t v j o u l d be as funny f o r a

Russian a u d i e n c e o b s e r v i n g B r i g a d i r as a F r e n c h group of specta-


35

The a f f a i r w i t h the S o v i e t n i t s a is a genuine precieux love affair,

or rather l o v e game. It is a t y p i c a l salon game o f l o v e t h a t is

v e r y much l i k e many o f the s i m i l a r ,-affairs of the era.

"EcTecTBeHHO, ^TO HBaH, CHH Bpura^Kpa, H CoBeTHHua Bjno6jieHBi


flpyr B flpyra J Meacfly HHMH Tan MHOTO o6nfero, H T O , BCTpeTHBmHCb
OflHH cpeflH/juoflefi BOBce Ha HHX Henoxoxcnx , He Morymnx HM HHCKOJI-
BKO COHyBCTBOBaTB > JIKfle'S', Ha KOTOpblX-OHH CMOTpHT KaK Ha nojiy-
acHBOTHbix , OHH HeoSxoflHMo flOJiscHH 6BIJIH ottapOBam>i .npyr
flpyrOM. KpOMe T o r o , BCH HX *CH3HB , no <k>HBH3HHy , c o -
CTOHT B CTpeMJieHHH 6HTB $paHH.y3CKaMH , - a ' <&paHiry3bi T o r ^ a
TOJIBKO H flejia flejiajiH ,. MTO • B-OJIO^HJIHCB , H poMaHbi $pa_-
u;y3CKHe c Ha^ajia #0 KOHija: SHJIH HaSHTbi O^HHM BOJIOKHT-
CTBOM, - HeJIB3H SCe 6blJ10 HM OTCTaTB OT CBQHX 06pa3l(OB ,
06a OHH TOJIBKO H AVMaJIH O BOJIOKHTCTBe" " *

Ivan is grossly disrespectful towards his parents. This

again.is a result of h i s exaggerated love for foreign nonsense.

He says "I'm indifferent to everything that concerns my f a t h e r

and m o t h e r . " 3 0 . Ivan i s not a v i l l a i n o u s character but rather a

personage dominated by o n l y - o n e q u a l i t y : his Gallomania. "Fon-

vizin shows us no o t h e r facet of his character except t h o s e donir

inated'by this. _ ¥ h a t was the author's reason for this? He

Wished, to show t h e r e s u l t s of mistaken education. This is of.

prime i m p o r t a n c e . He s l y l y i n c l u d e s h i s i d e a , what c o u l d h a v e hap'

pened if I v a n had been p r o p e r l y educated in Russia:. "If malheur-

eusement, I-had fallen i n t o t h e hands of a Russian who l o v e d his

country> p e r h a p s I w o u l d n ' t be t h e way I am."31.

The d e r i s i o n directed toward the Brigadier is much differ-

ent. 1 f r o m t h a t of h i s son. "The B r i g a d i e r h i m s e l f , a man who is

proud of' h a v i n g reached his r a n k t h r o u g h s w e a t and b l o o d , is a

coarse, blustering, i l l i t e r a t e trooper. H i s knowledge of liter-

ature is limited to the articles of war, and he c a n n o t imagine


34

tors watching Les Precieuses Ridicules. Compare t h e s e two exa-

ggerated f u n n y s c e n e s f r o m t h e two p l a y s that are v e r y s i m i l a r .

Counc. W i f e . "Very w e l l . The k i n g o f c l u b s and t h e queen o f


hearts.
I v a n . ( s p r e a d i n g t h e c a r d s ) . The k i n g i s m a d l y i n l o v e w i t h
the queen.
C o u n c . W i f e . Ah what do I h e a r . I am i n e c s t a s y , I am b e s i d e
myself with joy.
I v a n . ( l o o k i n g a t h e r t e n d e r l y ) And t h e queen i s n o t i n d i f f e r -
ent to h i m . *
C o u n c . W i f e . Ah m y d e a r i Not i n d i f f e r e n t . Say i n s t e a d , i n
love to d i s t r a c t i o n s .
Ivan. I w o u l d g i v e my own l i f e , I w o u l d g i v e t h o u s a n d s o f
l i v e s t o l e a r n who t h i s queen o f h e a r t s i s . You i r e b l u s h i n g ,
you're turning pale. Of c o u r s e , i t ' s ...
C o u n c . W i f e . O h ! How u n b e a r a b l e i t i s t o c o n f e s s o n e ' s p a s s i o n ]
I v a n , ( h a s t i l y ) . So i t ' s y o u . . .
C o u n c . W i f e . " T p r e t e n d i n g t h a t t h e l a s t word c o s t s h e r d e a r l y ) .
I, I myself.
I v a n , ( s i g h i n g ) . And who i s t h i s h a p p i e s t k i n g o f c l u b s who was
a b l e t o p i e r c e t h e h e a r t o f t h e queen o f h e a r t s ?
C o u n c . W i f e . Y o u want me t o t e l l you e v e r y t h i n g a t o n c e .
I v a n ( g e t t i n g up) . Y e s madame, y e s . I want y o u t o , and i f I am
. n o t t h a t h a p p i e s t k i n g o f c l u b s t h e n my f l a m e f o r y o u h a s
been p o o r l y r e w a r d e d .
C o u n c . W i f e . What"! Y o u a r e b u r n i n g f o r me?
I v a n . • ( g o i n g down on h i s k n e e s ) . You a r e t h e queen o f h e a r t s !
C o u n c . W i f e , ( r a i s i n g him)"".' Y o u a r e t h e k i n g o f c l u b s !
• Ivan, (in ecstasy) . 0 happiness! 0 bonheur!"27*

Mascarille

" O h ! ' o h ! je n ' y p r e n a i s pas g a r d e :


T a n d i s q u e , s a n s s o n g e r a. m a l . je v o u s r e g a r d e ,
V o t r e . o e i l en t a p i n o i s me d e r o b e mon c o e u r .
Au v o l e u r l Au v o l e u r ! Au v o l e u r i Au v o l e u r !
C a t h o s . - A h l mon D i e u l v o i l a q u i e s t p o u s s e dans l e d e r n i e r
galant.
M a s c a r i l l e . - T o u t ce que je f a i s a l ' a i r c a v a l i e r ; c e l a ne s e n t
point l e pedant.
M a g d e l o n . - I I en e s t e l o i g n e 7 de p l u s de deux m i l l e l i e u e s .
M a s c a r i l l e . - A v e z - v o u s r e m a r q u l ce commencement? O h ! o h ! V o i l a .
q u i e s t e x t r a o r d i n a i r e : ohI o h ! Comme un homme q u i s ' a v i s e
t o u t d'un coup: oh! o h ! L a s u r p r i s e : oh! o h !
M a g d e l o n . - O u i je t r o u v e ce o h ! o h ! a d m i r a b l e .
M a s c a r i l l e . - I I sem'ble que c e l a ne s o i t r i e n .
C a t h o s . - A h ! mon D i e u ! que d i t e s - v o u s ? . Ce s o n t de ces s o r t e s
de c h o s e s q u i ne se p e u v e n t p a y e r .
M a g d e l o n . - S a n s d o u t e ; e t j ' a i m e r a i s m i e u x a v o i r f a i t ce oh I
o h ! q u ' u n poeme e p i q u e . . .
36

that God s h o u l d be i g n o r a n t of the t a b l e of r a n k s . " 3 2 . ^he Brig-

adier believes wholeheartedly in central a u t h o r i t y and i t s hier-

archy. F o r h i m d i s t i n c t i o n i n r a n k and p o s i t i o n is of prime i m -

portance. He h e a r t i l y r e t o r t s to h i s w i f e ' s declaration that for

God a l l o f f i c e r s are i n the same r a n k : "Ah w i f e ! I am t e l l i n g

you, don't mix i n . Or I ' l l make s u r e t h e r e r e a l l y w o n ' t be any-

t h i n g on y o u r head to count. I f y o u knew God b e t t e r , you w o u l d n ' t

talk such nonsense. How can you i m a g i n e that G o d , who knows all,

d o e s n ' t know o u r T a b l e o f Ranks?' Shameful thing."33. The o l d

Brigadier a p p e a r s as a very negative character: he i s a crass,

ignorant b u l l y . He b e a t s h i s w i f e , is abusive to h i s son and

shows v e r y l i t t l e social decorum. Note h i s b o o r i s h n e s s in response

to I v a n ' s F r e n c h t a l k here:

I v a n . "Mon p e r e 1 D o n ' t g e t e x c i t e d .
B r i g a d i e r . . What? D o n ' t g e t e x c i t e d ?
I v a n Mon p & r e , I s a y , d o n ' t g e t e x c i t e d ?
B r i g a d i e r . Damn i t , i t ' s t h e f i r s t p a r t o f i t I d o n ' t u n d e r s t a n d ' . -
B r i g a d i e r . " . . . B u t e v e n i f y o u were a s t r a n g e r t o me, a t l e a s t
y o u s h o u l d n ' t f o r g e t t h a t I am an army b r i g a d i e r .
I v a n . Je m' en mogue.
BrigadTer. What's t h i s 'monmok'?"35.

The most r i d i c u l o u s aspect of the b u l l y - b r i g a d i e r is his affair

w i t h the S o v i e t n i t s a . We may w e l l a s k what t h i s woman h a s since

as a G a l l o p h i l e she e m b o d i e s t h e same q u a l i t i e s that he despises

so much i n h i s son. Nevertheless, she is y o u n g and beautiful.

•At any r a t e t h e B r i g a d i e r is very attracted to her but h i s efforts

i n wooing are ludicrous. He t r i e s to r e g a l e the l a d y not with

gentle romantic innuendos but rather talks like a trooper: "...

Even i n h i s shameless l o v e m a k i n g w i t h the c o u n c i l l o r ' s w i f e , the

brigadier cannot f o r g e t h i s h i g h r a n k and g r e a t e x p l o i t s . Hav-


37

ing i n t e r r u p t e d t h e r e c i t a l of t h e splendors of P a r i s b y d r i v i n g

off his son, he proceeds to e n t e r t a i n the, l a d y with t a l e s of how

he 'knocked the s t u f f i n g out of the T u r k s ' . " 3 6 . The B r i g a d i e r is.

r i d i c u l e d by F o n v i z i n because he has l e f t h i s pat way of l i f e and

has ventured f o r t h i n t o an area where he does not b e l o n g . Once

again education is the keynote; i f he t o o had been p r o p e r l y edu-

cated p e r h a p s he would be d i f f e r e n t . A t any r a t e a f t e r t h e p r o -

d u c t i o n of B r i g a d i r the rank i t s e l f became r a t h e r l a u g h a b l e . It

is true however that t h i s character is a l s o very c l o s e to.becom-

i n g a mere c a r i c a t u r e by the end of the play:

"XapaKTep BpuraflHpa , KaaceTca MHe , BbiflepacaH BepHO . B


npoflOJDKeHHe Bceft nbecbi . TOJIBKO He , coBceM HaTypaibHO ,
SyflTO O H Mor OT^aTb CbiHa B O . $ p a H i r y 3 C K H „ naHCHOH no n p o -
cb6e sceHbi , HHKorfla He Mor O H nocjiymaTbca ee B S T O M a
OTflaji e r o , yBJie^eHHbiH npHMepOM flpyrnx H coBepmeHHO npoTHB
CBoeit BOJiH , no ero coScTBeHHOMy- noHHTHio , cjieflOBajio 6u
nopaHbme 3anncaTb ero B nojiK ,^ He aceiia , a npHMep flpyrnx
7

3acTaBHJi ero cflejia.Tb miane. " ^ *

C o u n t P a n i n i n s i s t e d . t h a t a l l R u s s i a n s of- the e r a could

v i v i d l y see the B r i g a d i e r ' s wife; she was very t y p i c a l , so t y p i -

cal in fact that almost everyone had an aunt or grandmother like

h e r . 3 8 . H e r two important characteristics are stupidity and mis-

erliness: " BpHraflHpma, HanpHMep , IIOCTOHHO, O ^eM 6u . HH 3a-.

meji pa3T0B0p, BbiKa3bmaeT CBOK rjiynocTb H cKonaflOMCTBO..."

Her avarice i s ' developed to the p o i n t of being an o b s e s s i o n ;

she i s constantly concerned w i t h c o s t or l o s i n g s o m e t h i n g . The

B r i g a d i r s h a keeps accounts of every l a s t penny: "And i t ' s also

not bad to run through my household books. T h a t way cheats won't

get the best of y o u . Where you have to give four kopecks and
38

change, then you w o n ' t g i v e f i v e k o p e c k s . " 4 0 • She does n o t believe

grammar is as i m p o r t a n t as money: "Of course, grammar isn't nec-

essary. Before you s t a r t studying i t , you've still t o buy i t .

So you pay a r o u n d e i g h t g r i v n y ( a g r i v n a was a 10-kopeck piece)

b u t whether you l e a r n i t or n o t - God knows.."41 • When she suspects

that Ivan has lost something of v a l u e , the B r i g a d i r s h a i s almost

beside h e r s e l f , b u t when she discovers i t may o n l y be h i s mind,

she relaxes.

B r i g . W i f e . " W h a t ' s t h e n o i s e h e r e ? What a r e y o u so a n g r y


a b o u t , d e a r ? Have y o u c a u s e d us some l o s s , I v a n u s h k a ? Have
you l o s t a n y t h i n g ?
Brigadier. A great deal. No s m a l l l o s s .
B r i g . W i f e . ( o u t o f b r e a t h ) . What a c a l a m i t y ! What d i d he lose?
Brigadier. He l o s t h i s m i n d , i f he h a d o n e .
. B r i g . - W i f e . ( r e l a x i n g ) . P h o o , what a m i s f o r t u n e ! Thank G o d , I
a l m o s t f a i n t e d I was so s c a r e d . I thought: What i f he r e a l l y
l o s t something?"42.

In o t h e r p l a c e s i n t h e p l a y she demonstrates her greed for bur-

ied treasure and c o u n t i n g money. Her greed, however, is only ex-

c e l l e d by h e r crass stupidity. I t begins i n A c t Two, S c e n e T h r e e

where t h e C o u n c i l l o r is making o v e r t u r e s t o h e r and she misunder-

stands the•figurative usage o f "copulation."

C o u n c i l l o r . " Y o u r s i n s h a v e as much t o do w i t h me as s a l v a t i o n .
I want y o u r s i n s and mine t o be t h e v e r y same and I want n o -
t h i n g t o d e s t r o y t h e c o p u l a t i o n o f o u r s o u l s and b o d i e s .
B r i g . W i f e . B u t what i s t h i s c o p u l a t i o n , s i r ? I understand the
C h u r c h l a n g u a g e as much as I do F r e n c h . God s h e d s H i s g r a c e
on whom He w a n t s . To one. He makes known F r e n c h and G e r m a n ,
and a l l t h e r e a d i n g and w r i t i n g . But I a s i n n e r , get along
b a d l y even i n R u s s i a n . " 4 3 .

This scene r e v e a l s more q u a l i t i e s of the B r i g a d i e r ' s wife. Her

lack of perception and b a s i c unromantic nature is very evident

for she has no i d e a t h a t the o l d seducer is propositioning her.

She professes to b e l i e v e i n the s a n c t i t y of God's grace but these


39

h y p o c r i t i c a l words do n o t r i n g t r u e because of her intense avar-

ice. Of c o u r s e , r i d i c u l o u s l y enough, at t h e end o f t h e scene

after she h a s i n t e r r u p t e d t h e o l d sed.ucer t i m e and t i m e again,

the B r i g a d i r s h a i n s i s t s she w i l l do a n y t h i n g f o r h i m e x c e p t lend

h i m money. Her s t u p i d i t y i s emphasized at o t h e r t i m e s when she

misunderstands, b u t most o f a l l d u r i n g t h e c a r d game when she

hears matadores and t h i n k s t h e r e is a;.new game c a l l e d madadury.

This is an u n t r a n s l a t a b l e pun on d u r y and d u r a k i . A t any r a t e a

Russian audience c o u l d r e a d i l y see her excessive stupidity at

this point. Thus we can s u m m a r i z e t h e B r i g a d i r s h a ' s character by

s a y i n g she is avaricious, stupid, hypocritical, u n r o m a n t i c and

imperceptive.

The p l a y t a k e s p l a c e a t t h e home o f m i n o r g e n t r y o f S t . Pet

ersburg, the C o u n c i l l o r and h i s w i f e . L i k e t h e B r i g a d i e r , he is

n o t an a d m i r a b l e f i g u r e at all. He i s covetous of the seemingly

(to him) sedate, g o o d w i l l e d "Mother R u s s i a " f i g u r e o f the B r i g a -

dier's wife. It is obvious t h a t he i s rather s i c k of the behav-

i o r o f h i s f l i g h t y w i f e and w a n t s a woman who i s more "down t o

earth".^* He a d m i r e s h e r i n t e l l i g e n c e ( s i c ! ) : "In her I find

something e x t r a o r d i n a r i l y i n t e l l i g e n t that others are unable to

perceive"^-5•; and h e r faithfulness:

C o u n c i l l o r . "She i s h u m b l e , l i k e an a n g e l ; i n d u s t r i o u s , l i k e a
b e e ; l o v e l y , l i k e a b i r d o f p a r a d i s e ( s i g h s ) ; and f a i t h f u l ,
like a turtledove.
B r i g a d i e r . Or i n t e l l i g e n t , l i k e a c o w ; l o v e l y , l i k e I d o n ' t
know w h o . . . l i k e an o w l .
C o u n c i l l o r . How d a r e y o u compare y o u r w i f e t o a n i g h t b i r d ?
B r i g a d i e r . I t seems t o me t h a t i t ' s p o s s i b l e , t o l i k e n a d a y t i m e
f o o l to a n i g h t b i r d .
C o u n c i l l o r . ( s i g h i n g ) . S t i l l she s t a y s f a i t h f u l t o you i n a l l
ways."46.
It is difficult f o r us the s p e c t a t o r s t o u n d e r s t a n d why he falls

for the B r i g a d i r s h a . The o n l y r e a s o n c o u l d be t h a t she does per-

sonify a change f r o m h i s own w i f e : she is t r u l y more " d o w n - t o -

earth" and d e p e n d a b l e . He i s also very greedy. ("Perhaps this is

one r e a s o n he can i d e n t i f y w i t h t h e B r i g a d i r s h a . ) When Sof'ya

states t h a t h e r f u t u r e husband w i l l not r e s p e c t h i m he r e t o r t s by

saying that Ivan's good q u a l i t y i s his " p r e t t y good property."

M o r e o v e r , he changes h i s o p i n i o n when he d i s c o v e r s how much D o b -

rolyubov is worth:

D o b r o l . " Y e s ma'am. My s i t u a t i o n has i m p r o v e d g r e a t l y . I've


g o t two t h o u s a n d s o u l s now.
Councillor. Two t h o u s a n d s o u l s i Oh, my G o d , g r e a t h e a v e n s l
And w i t h a l l y o u r o t h e r v i r t u e s I A h , how w o r t h y you now a r e
of esteem.
C o u n c . W i f e . B y t h e w a y , w e r e n ' t you r e a l l y e v e r i n P a r i s ?
D o b r o l . N o , ma'am.
Counc. W i f e . A p i t y . T h i s one t h i n g can d a r k e n a l l y o u r o t h e r
merits.
C o u n c i l l o r . N e v e r t h e l e s s , i f a p e r s o n has two t h o u s a n d s o u l s i t
seems t o me t h a t t h e y can more t h a n make up f o r a l l h i s v i c e s .
Two t h o u s a n d s o u l s . e v e n w i t h o u t a l a n d o w n e r ' s v i r t u e s i s a l -
ways two t h o u s a n d s o u l s , b u t v i r t u e s w i t h o u t them - d e v i l w i t h
s u c h v i r t u e s . . . "1+7.

Fonvizin's evocation of the C o u n c i l l o r is also very t y p i c a l of

the t i m e . He shows us a former j u d g e who h a d no qualms about bribe-

taking. T h i s i f course was v e r y p r e v a l e n t i n the l a w - c o u r t s of

the t i m e . At Scene S i x o f A c t Three the C o u n c i l l o r mentions that

it was i m p o s s i b l e to p r o h i b i t b r i b e s and he w o u l d r e c e i v e a fav-

ourable r e s o l u t i o n i f he were f r i e n d l y to the proper p e o p l e . He

demonstrates a rather strange attitude that a l l who a r e accused

are g u i l t y i n the eyes o f the c o u r t . The c o u n c i l l o r does n o t be-

lieve i n a b s o l v i n g the i n n o c e n t ; a c c o r d i n g to him everyone is

guilty:
41

C o u n c i l l o r . " . . . T h a t ' s how i t u s e d t o be i n t h e o l d d a y s .


S o f ' y a . Thank God i t ' s n o t t h a t x^ray now.
C o u n c i l l o r . A l l the worse. Now t h e g u i l t y has t o answer f o r
h i m s e l f , so how c a n y o u s k i n anyone e l s e ? Why a r e r u l e s e s -
t a b l i s h e d i f only the g u i l t y party i s g u i l t y ? I t used t o be
that -
• S o f ' y a . B u t , F a t h e r , why s h o u l d an i n n o c e n t p e r s o n be g u i l t y ?
Councillor. Because a l l people are s i n n e r s . I m y s e l f was a
judge. I t u s e d t o be t h a t t h e g u i l t y p a i d f o r h i s g u i l t and
the i n n o c e n t f o r h i s i n n o c e n c e . In my t i m e e v e r y o n e was s a t -
i s f i e d t h a t way: t h e j u d g e , t h e p l a i n t i f f , and t h e ' defendant'.'48

The c o u n c i l l o r w a n t s t o s t a n d b y t h e o l d w a y s ; i n the f i r s t scene

of A c t I I he i s adamant that S o f ' y a should marry I v a n , not be-

c a u s e he i s s u c h a good p r o s p e c t , but r a t h e r because Ivan Is the

f i a n c e ' t h a t he has chosen, and y o u n g p e o p l e s h o u l d obey the wishes

of their parents.

In the f i n a l r e s o l u t i o n s c e n e we f i n d t h e C o u n c i l l o r acting

like a t y p i c a l husband: when h i s advances at the Brigadier's

wife are d i s c o v e r e d he q u i v e r s in his boots; w h e n , h o w e v e r , he

finds out that t h e B r i g a d i e r was p u r s u i n g h i s w i f e , he i s Insulted

and e j e c t s them a l l f r o m h i s h o u s e . The l a s t didactic speeches

of the C o u n c i l l o r reveal his desire to repent for his foolishness

and t h u s a metamorphosis in his character. The r e f e r e n c e to

" G e h e n n a " c o n c e r n s O r t h o d o x C h u r c h dogma: G e h e n n a was supposedly

that area of h e l l where S a t a n and h i s devilish crew expose the

souls of sinners to a l l kinds of t o r t u r e s . The S o v i e t n i t s a ' s re-

ference to Tartarus is from e a r l y Greek m y t h o l o g y : it is the deep

chasm where Zeus k e p t t h e o v e r t h r o w n T i t a n s . The two analogies

m e r e l y mean t h a t t h e two p e r s o n s wish to allow " D i v i n e Punishment"

to come. I n c o n c l u s i o n x^e c a n s a y t h a t the C o u n c i l l o r is dishon-

est, biased, greedy and c o v e t o u s . y e t i s an i m p o r t a n t embodiment

of a dishonest legal figure of the e r a t h a t the author wished to


k2

satirize-

A c t u a l l y we h a v e a l r e a d y e x a m i n e d i n p a r t the c h a r a c t e r of

t h e S o v i e t n i t s a when we d i s c u s s e d I v a n . She i s not a negative

character. She i s n e i t h e r s c h e m i n g n o r a v a r i c i o u s b u t r a t h e r comi-

cal b e c a u s e she i s so o v e r c o m e b y h e r G a l l o m a n i a : t h e Council-

lor's w i f e submits t o a l l t h e demands t h a t b e i n g a member o f the

haute societe pr.ecieuse e n t a i l s . ^ - 9 . She i n s i s t s that romantic

love stories should replace the l e a r n i n g o f grammar. Throughout

t h e l o v e i n t r i g u e w i t h I v a n she p l a y s t h e game: she i s the wo-

man t o be p u r s u e d i n G a l l i c frivolity; he i s the "hunter of her

heart". I n t h e s c e n e where t h e B r i g a d i e r i s m a k i n g h i s clumsy

proposition in military jargon she does n o t u n d e r s t a n d the term-

inology (yet u n l i k e the B r i g a d i r s h a , she does comprehend t h e m o t -

ives) b u t she is p o l i t e and g r a c i o u s enough t o excuse h e r s e l f with-

out causing a rude scene. As we have a l r e a d y seen f r o m h e r com-

ments a b o u t grammar she i s not a s h i n i n g l i g h t intellectually .

She does n o t s p e a k much F r e n c h t h r o u g h o u t t h e p l a y w h i c h s u g g e s t s

t o us t h a t even as a G a l l o p h i l e h e r command o f F r e n c h i s not too

s t r o n g . M o r e o v e r , h e r knowledge o f geography leaves a little to

be d e s i r e d and t h e a u t h o r w a s t e s . n o opportunity in ridiculing it:

"See my d e a r , I was n e v e r t h e r e b u t s t i l l I have a v e r y good idea

o f what F r a n c e i s like. Isn't i t t r u e t h a t m o s t l y Frenchmen l i v e

in France?"^0* The S o v i e t n i t s a i s rather d i s d a i n f u l of her ignor-

ant, g r e e d y h u s b a n d and when she has the o c c a s i o n to chastise

h i m she makes the b e s t o f i t c a l l i n g him a " T r a i t o r I B a r b a r i a n I

T y r a n t l " B u t i n summary she i s the u l t i m a t e G a l l o p h i l e : flighty,

precieuse and n o t at a l l uncharming.


lj-3

What can we s a y a b o u t D o b r o l y u b o v and S o f ' y a ? They repres-

ent the o p p o s i t i o n movement i n t h e p l a y : common s e n s e a,nd good

judgment. They are m e r e l y t y p e characters and., are in effect pre-

decessors of the s i m i l a r c h a r a c t e r s in Nedorosl'. Their one-fac-

eted character dominated by l o g i c and r e a s o n is the p o o r e s t aspect

of the p l a y . Sof'ya and D o b r o l y u b o v a r e very unconvincing because

we see them o n l y as representatives of the "new R u s s i a n " that Pon-

vizin w i s h e d t o show' us - w e l l educated (in a Russian vein) and

refined. Y e t t h e s e two w o u l d have t o be r o b o t - l i k e d u l l a r d s in-

deed t o spew f o r t h • t h e pedantry that t h e y do when t h e y a r e alone.

(This is t h e way two y o u n g l o v e r s would act when t h e y a r e alone?)

The two p a r t s o f t h e p l a y t h a t demonstrate this are A c t One S c e n e

F i v e and t h e f i r s t scene o f A c t F o u r . H e r e are some e x c e r p t s from

these scenes to show t h e i r a r t i f i c i a l i t y and s t i l t e d tone:

D o b r o l . " T h e y ' v e l e f t us a l o n e . What does i t mean?


S o f ' y a . I t means t h a t my f i a n c e ' i s n ' t v e r y j e a l o u s o f m e . " 5 l .
D o b r o l . " I have g r e a t hopes f o r the f u l f i l l m e n t of our w i s h e s .
S o f ' y a . I s t i l l d o n ' t d a r e c o u n t on i t . I can s p e a k f r a n k l y
with you. I f i t ' s t r u e t h a t my f a t h e r i s b e t r a y i n g ray s t e p -
m o t h e r , t h e n t h e change i n y o u r s i t u a t i o n c a n ' t a l t e r h i s i n -
tentions .
D o b r o l . N e v e r t h e l e s s , I saw w i t h what f e e l i n g he r e c e i v e d t h e
news o f t h e s e t t l e m e n t o f my c a s e i n my f a v o u r . I, too, can't
h i d e my t h o u g h t s f r o m y o u . . . " 5 2 .

We can a d m i r e ' F o n v i z i n ' s i n t e n t i o n i n m a k i n g two c h a r a c t e r s con-

c e r n e d w i t h a good S l a v o n i c education, yet his p o r t r a y a l i n Brig-

a d i r o f D o b r o l y u b o v and S o f ' y a is too extreme: t h e y are too re-

fined and n o t human e n o u g h . To c o n c l u d e we must r e i t e r a t e that

t h e s e two r e p r e s e n t reason as opposed t o the f r i v o l i t y that over-

comes most o f t h e characters.

" flejieHHe fleftcTByioinHx JIHU. Ha flBa narepn B KOMeflHH


kk

o6o3HaueHO HCHO . JIo6pojno6oB a Co$bH - JIKAH TOH x e c o n -


HajibHOii cpeflbi , ^TO H oSjiH^aeMbie nepcoHaxcH , HO HHHX
ySescfleHHM , HHOH MopajiH. 3TO He TpaflHHHOHHbie HOJIOSCHT-
ejibHbie repoH Kjiaccn^ecKoii KOMeflHH . ,HO6POJIIO6OB H CodpbH
poSKan H enje xyfloacecTBeHHO H e c o B e p m e H H a a nomiTKa H 3 o 6 -
pa3HTb HOBHX JIKfleS nOHBHBIHHXCH ' B P O C C H H . . . "

We can c o n c l u d e the c h a r a c t e r analysis o f our study by sum-

m a r i z i n g the r e p r e s e n t a t i o n o f each c h a r a c t e r as facets of eight-

eenth-century Russian society. The B r i g a d i e r and h i s w i f e repres-

ent the worst elements of R u s s i a n urban g e n t r y ; the C o u n c i l l o r and

his spouse are embodiments o f t h e worst of r u r a l n o b i l i t y . The

two o l d men themselves are symbolic: " C e s deux seducteurs seniles

representent la vieille Russie; tous deux h a i s s a n t l e ton et les

gouts de l a jeune- g e n e r a t i o n , gemissent sur l e s errements nouv-

eaux."5^. I v a n , and the S o v i e t n i t s a are of course G a l l o m a n i a c s , the

ridiculous result o f poor f o r e i g n e d u c a t i o n . The two m o r a l i z e r s

Sof'ya and D o b r o l y u b o v r e p r e s e n t the new e n l i g h t e n e d R u s s i a .

No a n a l y s i s of B r i g a d i r w o u l d be complete without an examin-

a t i o n of the a u t h o r ' s style and t e c h n i q u e . Because B r i g a d i r is a

comedy, we should f i r s t s c r u t i n i z e the humourous devices that the

author used. Of course each c h a r a c t e r (even S o f ' y a and D o b r o l y u -

bov to a c e r t a i n degree) is a joke in himself: each possesses

his own exaggeration and thus appears r i d i c u l o u s and humourous i n

his ovm s p e c i a l way. . The w h o l e c e n t r a l i d e a o f the o l d seducers

and mismatched couples i s humour of s i t u a t i o n in i t s e l f . However

laughs are concentrated on more s p e c i f i c means. Fonvizin uses

aside speeches coupled with d o u b l e - g n t e n d r e f o r comic e f f e c t in


45

these t h r e e extracts:

I v a n . "Madame, you speak the t r u t h . Ohi Vous avez r a i s o n . B e s i d e s


romances, I've r e a d n o t h i n g , and t h a t ' s why I am as you see me.
S o f ' y a . ( a s i d e ) . And t h a t ' s why you're a f o o l .
I v a n . M a d e m o i s e l l e , you w i s h to say something?
S o f ' y a . Only what I t h i n k about you.
I v a n . And what would t h a t be? Je vous p r i e , don't f l a t t e r

C o u n c i l l o r . ( a s i d e ) . "A t r e a s u r e , not a woman I What honeyed


l i p s she has I J u s t l i s t e n to her t a l k and you're a . s l a v e o f
s i n ; i t ' s i m p o s s i b l e not t o become tempted.
B r i g a d i e r . What i s i t you're s a y i n g neighbour? ( A s i d e ) . . The m i s -
t r e s s h e r e and my o l d woman c e r t a i n l y don't make a pair."5°•

B r i g a d i e r . " . . . I c a l l e d you a f o o l and you t h i n k I'm f l a t t e r i n g


you. What an a s s l ^
I v a n . What an ass I ( a s i d e ) . I I ne me f l a t t e p a s . . . ' •

The author a c h i e v e d humour t h r o u g h m i s u n d e r s t a n d i n g . We

have a l r e a d y seen examples


58.
where the stodgy o l d B r i g a d i e r m i s -

understands the F r e n c h e x p r e s s i o n s o f h i s son time and time again.

N o t i c e the comic e f f e c t o f t h i s scene where Ivan and h i s mother

t a l k p a s t one a n o t h e r :
B r i g . w i f e . "God g r a n t t h a t you s h o u l d l i v e the way we have.
I v a n . Dieu m'en preserve.
B r i g . W i f e . God's grace and my b l e s s i n g s be w i t h you.
I v a n . Tres o b l i g e .
B r i g . wTT'e. E i t h e r I've become.deaf or you have.
TheI v at ne .c h nN i q u1'un
e of n incomprehension
i 1 ' a u t r e . " 5 9 . f o r humour's sake i s a l s o used
d u r i n g the card game as we have a l r e a d y seen when the B r i g a d i e r ' s

Wife does not understand the name o f the game. The epitome o f

t h i s type of humour o c c u r s w i t h the two p r o p o s a l scenes between

the B r i g a d i e r and the S o v i e t n i t s a , and the C o u n c i l l o r and the

B r i g a d i e r ' s Wife. The h i l a r i o u s p i c t u r e o f two f r u s t r a t e d , stum-

b l i n g o l d codgers c l u m s i l y a t t e m p t i n g to make p a s s i o n a t e l o v e t o

the f l a b b e r g a s t e d women, n e i t h e r u n d e r s t a n d i n g what the other

s a y s , c r e a t e s an e f f e c t t h a t i s t o t a l l y f a r c i c a l . I t i s very true
1+6

t h a t humour t h r o u g h e x a g g e r a t i o n is also a basic part of the

play. Not only i s this important i n the above scenes, particu-

larly the l a t t e r , but exaggeration is the v e r y core of the G a l -

lophilic l o v e scenes between I v a n ,and t h e C o u n c i l l o r ' s ' W i f e . A

Russian audience of the e i g h t e e n t h c e n t u r y would r o a r - w i t h laugh-

ter at the a f f e c t e d , foppish gestures in their ridiculous exag-

geration . •

Moreover, Fonvizin demonstrates a skilful use:, of the

"one-basic" joke, t h e pun and t h e n o t - s o subtle stab. Ivanushka

gives us one e x a m p l e of the l a t t e r as he d i s c u s s e s h i s parental

relations: "My f a t h e r , on t h e c o n t r a r y , n e v e r d i d any p r a y i n g ,

except for retreat. They say t h a t u n t i l h i s m a r r i a g e he d i d n ' t

believe t h e r e was a d e v i l . However, a f t e r m a r r y i n g my m o t h e r he

soon b e l i e v e d i n the e x i s t e n c e of an e v i l s p i r i t . " 6 0 . & much more

subtle joke is made i n A c t I I Scene 6 when I v a n u s h k a d i s c u s s e s a

l e a r n e d b o o k • r i d i c u l o u s l y e n t i t l e d Les S o t t i s e s du Temps. The

author's skill in "one-liners" is evident i n these examples:

" Y o u ' r e q u i t e r i g h t , dear; I share your s e n t i m e n t s . I see t h a t


you h a v e powder on y o u r h e a d , b u t f o r t h e l i f e o f me I c a n ' t
see i f t h e r e ' s a n y t h i n g i n t h e h e a d . " 6 l .

Councillor. "Why, s h e ' s so s m a r t y o u c o u l d p u b l i s h e v e r y t h i n g


she s a y s .
B r i g a d i e r . Why n o t p u b l i s h i t ? I I ' v e h e a r d t h a t i n the books
t h e y p r i n t t o d a y ' t h e y l i e no more i n t e l l i g e n t l y t h a n my
wife."62.

."Dp you know t h a t I , I whom y o u see b e f o r e y o u now - t h a t I


l i v e d h e r e a t t h e p e n s i o n o f a F r e n c h coachman b e f o r e my d e p a r -
t u r e f o r P a r i s . "631 ~

We s h o u l d a l s o m e n t i o n some j o k e s already quoted: the Soviet-

n i t s a ' s question about Frenchmen (note 5*0.) and t h e Brigadirsha's

puns on d u r a k i and d u r y i n S c e n e F o u r o f A c t F o u r . Untranslatable

\
kl

puns also occur e a r l i e r d u r i n g t h e c a r d game:

CHH. . J P a s s e .
H Bee nacyioT.
CoBeTHHua. OHH H OHH.
EpHraflHpma . ^ , % o 3a OKOJiecHna - OHH H OHH ? KTO
3T0 OHH ?"° *4

Here the B r i g a d i e r ' s Wife mistakes o n i - the term " t o pass" i n

quadrille (the game t h e y are playing) w i t h o n i the Russian pro-

noun m e a n i n g " t h e y " . A private joke f o r the audience is achiev-

ed d u r i n g t h e b a n t e r i n g b e t w e e n t h e B r i g a d i e r and t h e Councillor

whom we know i s i n l o v e itfith t h e B r i g a d i e r ' s Wife:

B r i g a d i e r . "Whom? N o , my f r i e n d , I s a y t h e a n i m a l . h a s n ' t been


b o r n y e t w h o ' d t h i n k o f l o o k i n g f o r a n y t h i n g i n my w i f e .
C o u n c i l l o r . B u t what a r e y o u c a l l i n g h i m names f o r ? .
B r i g a d i e r . Am 1 r e a l l y c a l l i n g anyone names when I s a y t h a t a
p e r s o n w o u l d h a v e t o be a f i r s t - c l a s s s k i n f l i n t t o be t e m p t e d
b y my w i f e .
C o u n c i l l o r . Y o u ' r e n o t c a l l i n g names, a r e you? ( E m o t i o n a l l y )
Why s h o u l d t h e p e r s o n be a f o o l w h o ' s a t t r a c t e d t o A k u l i n a
Timof eevna?"°5«

A n o t h e r humourous i n t e r c h a n g e occurs (see note,63.) when we dis-

c o v e r d u r i n g a c o n v e r s a t i o n b e t w e e n I v a n and t h e Sovietnitsa,

that I v a n became i n t e r e s t e d i n l e a r n i n g French, from a coachman.

Ponvizin's e x c e l l e n t use of dialogue i n t e n s i f i e d the dram-

atic impact of the p l a y . Other p l a y w r i g h t s o f the e r a such as

Knyazhnin ( i n Khvastun) and L u k i n ( i n The T o y Shop V e n d o r ) used

an i n t e r c h a n g e b e t w e e n a character and a n a r r a t o r t o expose the

former's vices. P o n v i z i n however, employs revealing dialogues

b e t w e e n two " n e g a t i v e " characters t o show t h e i g n o r a n c e , stupid-

ity, folly or dishonesty of the o t h e r . The c o n v e r s a t i o n s between

I v a n and t h e S o v i e t n i t s a p o i n t o u t t h e i r G a l l o m a n i a . The c o u r t -

i n g s c e n e b e t w e e n t h e S o v i e t n i k and t h e 3 r i g a d i e r ' s W i f e show h i s


1+8

preoccupation w i t h law-terras and h e r i g n o r a n c e and l a c k o f per-

ception. The B r i g a d i e r ' s c o u r t i n g scene demonstrates his obses-

s i o n w i t h the m i l i t a r y . Finally, the arguments between the Brig-

adier and h i s w i f e show h i s a r r o g a n t b u l l y r a g g i n g and h e r rattle-

pated hebetude.

Language i s the o t h e r aspect of dialogue that is important.

Here F o n v i z i n is a true master. I t has been s a i d that B r i g a d i r

was t h e f i r s t p l a y on t h e R u s s i a n sta.ge t h a t contained natural

l a n g u a g e . 66. F o n v i z i n ' s language i s indeed n a t u r a l . The-author

u s e d many c o n v e r s a t i o n a l d e v i c e s to give the dialogue a more col-

loquial sound. N o t so much t h e w o r d s , b u t t h e way t h e y a r e ut-

t e r e d l e n d a much more " b r e e z y " t o n e t o t h e p l a y . For example,

many C h a r a c t e r s a d d r e s s one a n o t h e r i n terms o f endearment. Spec-

ifically, t h i s means t h e u s e of diminutives (particularlyQin

ushka) s u c h as "matushka", "batyushka", "svatyushka","Ivanushka",

"Sof'yuahka", " z y a t y u s h k a " and " s o s e d u s h k a " , w h i c h adds t o the

colloquial atmosphere o f the p l a y . T h i s p o i n t i s further exempli-

fied by the f r e q u e n t use o f the C h r i s t i a n name and p a t r o n y m i c

that is so common i n R u s s i a n speech. Moreover, the author employs

c o l l o q u i a l emphatic p a r t i c l e s s u c h as "to", "zhe".(zh), and "ka"

t o f o r m a more l i v e l y and u n r e f i n e d t y p e o f s p e e c h . The result

is t h a t F o n v i z i n ' s atmosphere is much more c o n v e r s a t i o n a l ; this

i s because the c h a r a c t e r s do n o t s p e a k a s t i l t e d t y p e o f Russian.

Finally, the c a r d game i n S c e n e F o u r o f A c t F o u r adds t o t h e re-

sonance o f c o n v e r s a t i o n t h r o u g h t h e u s a g e o f R u s s i a n terras d u r i n g

t h e c a r d game i n s t e a d o f u t i l i z i n g the French, t e r m s . For example

t h e y use words l i k e "oni i o n i " , "khryushki" and "zhludei".


49

Of g r e a t e r importance is the i n t e r n a l nature o f the lang-

uage o f e a c h s p e c i f i c character. E a c h i n d i v i d u a l has h i s own

vocabulary and s t y l e of speech which r e f l e c t s his personality.

Ivanushka and t h e C o u n c i l l o r ' s W i f e a r e of course preoccupied with

Gallophilia; therefore t h e y l a v i s h l y use F r e n c h e x p r e s s i o n s . In

fact t h e i r speech i s not only r e p l e t e w i t h o u t r i g h t F r e n c h words

but t h e s e two a l s o use F r e n c h words adapted to the R u s s i a n system

of inflection. For instance, the S o v i e t n i t s a takes the French

word c a p a b l e , makes i t into a Russian short adjective kapabel'na

and u s e s i t instead of sposobna.67. H e r e a r e some f u r t h e r exam-

ples taken from t h e t e x t : verbs - "diskyurirovat'" ( f r o m se dis-

cuter), "menanzhirovat'" (from menager), "ekzistiruyet" (from

exister); nouns - "bil'yedu"(from billet-doux), "rezoneman" (from

raison), "dessimyulatsii"(from dissimulation), "sentimenty" (from

sentiments); and a d j e c t i v e s - " i n d i f e r a n " (from i n d i f f e r e n t ) ,

"komplezan" (from c o m p l a i s a n t ) and " k o m o d n e y e " (from commode).

Phrases l i k e "totalement ' n e l ' z y a ' " are totalement ridiculous .

For a Russian' audience the r e s u l t of a l l this affected jargon is

very funny. These words s o u n d r i d i c u l o u s and s t i l t e d to the Rus-

sian ear; almost like pidgin Russian x^ith. a f o p p i s h tinge. The

author's purpose i s clear. The r i d i c u l o u s I ^ r a n c o f i e d speech of

these G a l l o p h i l e s r e f l e c t s t h e i r mad p r e o c c u p a t i o n with French.

Thus can t h e y be s a t i r i z e d for their ludicrous eccentricity.

The l a n g u a g e o f the B r i g a d i e r also reveals his character.

He u s e s m i l i t a r y t e r m s and a l l u s i o n s to b a t t l e s . H i s speech is

generally c o a r s e and n o t t o o c o r r e c t . His favourite term i n


5o

addressing h i s wife i s n o t " m i l a y a " o r e v e n " d o r o g a y a " " b u t rather

jus f z h e n a " B e c a u s e he i s s o preoccupied w i t h m i l i t a r y r a n k

and p o s i t i o n h i s speech c o n t a i n s a liberal s p r i n k l i n g of such

terms a s " c h j n y 1 , 1 "rangay " v o y e n n y y " b r i g a d i r ' . ' I n f a c t he h i m s e l f

says: " fl is caM, MaTymKa , He roBopio Toro , ,UTO6 3a6aBHO 6biJio

cnopHTb o TaKoi MaTepHH, KOTopaa He npHHa^jiexHT HH £ 0 eK3-

epn.Hn.HH, HH flo SaTajiHH, H HH^ero TaKoro tiT-o 6 H . . . " He often

u s e s words l i k e " b a b a " o r " e d a k o i osel"demonstrating h i s coarse-

n e s s . B u t the most r i d i c u l o u s jargon i s ' d u r i n g the courtship

scene. F o n v i z i n ' s m a s t e r y o f the l a n g u a g e s h i n e s as he shows u s

the blustering trooper, l u d i c r o u s l y attempting t o be r o m a n t i c ,

u s i n g words l i k e " a r k i b u z i r o v a l i " . "pokhodakh", "aktsii","basur-

manskoi k r o v i . " , "armii pul' ", "yader", "kartechei", "voyennoplen-

nym", "fortetsiyu" and " g e n e r a l " .

The c o u n c i l l o r ' s language r e v e a l s h i s e c c e n t r i c i t i e s as

well. He' speaks i n l e g a l terms. B e c a u s e o f h i s t r a i n i n g and exper

ience i n t h e l a w - c o u r t s , t h e S o v i e t n i k ' s everyday c o n v e r s a t i o n is

s p r i n k l e d with complicated court e x p r e s s i o n s . He counsels Ivan


69.

to "Fla^e B c e r o H3BOJIB ^HTaTb-yjioaceHHe H yica3bi" ' H e a l s o makes a

subtle v e i l e d reference to " e x t r a c t s " - " CKOJIBKO y Hac HcnpaBHbix

ceKpeTapeii , KOTopne 3KCTpaKTH - COMHHHMT 6 e 3 rpaMMaTHKH >


70

jiK)6oflOporo CMOTpeTB . ," * In the eighteenth century

these " e x t r a c t s " were c i t a t i o n s from t h e records of a l e g a l case

which t h e judge used as a basis for h i s d e c i s i o n . Throughout the

play, e v e n i n the c o u r t s h i p scene with the d o l t i s h B r i g a d i r s h a ,

the C o u n c i l l o r u s e s terms like "ukazy", "chelobitniki","tolkovat'

s
51

and " s o y o k u p l e n i y e " . A l l t h e s e examples show h i s punctilious

and c o d i f i e d personality.

As we h a v e already said the B r i g a d i e r ' s Wife i s obsessed

w i t h money. T h r o u g h o u t t h e p l a y she u s e s many e x p r e s s i o n s con-

c e r n i n g money, a c c o u n t i n g and b o o k k e e p i n g . She e m p l o y s turns of

p h r a s e s u c h as " r a s kh'odnyye t e t r a d i " , " p y a t i k o p e y e k . . . che t y r e *

k o p e y e k s_ d e n e z h k o i " , " i _ d e l o den ' g i z a den ' g i s c h i t a y u " , "altyn

za t r i d t s a t ' " , "Yesli tol'ko...ne deneg", "v d e s y a t i kopeikakh...

chto grivnoyu v d e n ' " . These instances demonstrate t h e main as-

pect of her character: avarice for money.

The l a n g u a g e t h a t P o n v i z i n e m p l o y s f o r S o f ' y a and Dobrol-

yubov i s r e v e a l i n g not through i t s v o c a b u l a r y so much as b y its

long-winded and h e a v y c o n s t r u c t i o n . The p e d a n t r y o f t h e i r com-

p l e x and b o o k i s h l a n g u a g e a c t s as a mirror t o show t h e i r intern-

al precisianist nature.:...

Thus l a n g u a g e i s a very important feature in Brigadir. The

construction and v o c a b u l a r y o f e a c h c h a r a c t e r ' s language reveals

his basic personality: it acts as a magnifying glass f o r us the

spectators t o examine the i n t e r n a l n a t u r e o f each character.

What i s the i m p o r t a n c e of B r i g a d i r i n Russian literature?

I t has been o v e r s h a d o w e d b y P o n v i z i n ' s o t h e r g r e a t p l a y M e d o r o s l ' ,

but B r i g a d i r s t i l l has many m e r i t s worthwhile for study. Briga-

dir is very well constructed, lively and humourous in a rather

sophisticated way. The d i a l o g u e is v i b r a n t and e x p r e s s i v e . Ac-

cording t o c e r t a i n - s o u r c e s B r i g a d i r was an e a r l y m a n i f e s t a t i o n of

"dramatic realism".71. Its chief limitation is thematic because

Brigadir is no l o n g e r timely. P a r a d o x i c a l l y enough, this leads


52

us t o s t u d y : ' . . ' ; t h e p l a y as an h i s t o r i c a l d o c u m e n t . Brigadir re-

flects b e a u t i f u l l y the a t t i t u d e s and c u s t o m s of the e r a , and

tells us much a b o u t what l i f e was l i k e then. Ponvizin showed ev-

ils p e c u l i a r to a Russian s o c i e t y y e t managed t o mock common hum-

an f a u l t s like ignorance, greed and c o r r u p t i o n . G e n e r a l l y though

his characters are Russian, with Russian f a u l t s as results of

Russian mistakes. The a u t h o r c r i t i c i z e d mainly Gallomania. But

he a l s o s a t i r i z e d b r i b e r y , m a l p r a c t i c e s , marriage, greed, and

most important of a l l lack of education. This is the keynote of

Ponvizin's pensle: if t h e s e p e o p l e had been p r o p e r l y educated

in a Russian m i l i e u , l e a r n i n g about life through a Russian spec-

trum, t h e n he n e v e r w o u l d h a v e h a d t o w r i t e B r i g a d i r .
53

CHAPTER III

NEDOROSL'
- "Ha3BiBajiH 6eccMepTHyro KOMeflHK H e j o p o c j i b <J>OHBH3HHa H O C H O B -
aTejibHO - ee M B a n , roptf^aa nopa npoflojraajiacb OKOJIO
nojiyBena : 3TO r p o M a ^ H O AJIH npoH3BefleHHH cjiOBa. Ho
Tenepb HeT HH OflHoro HaMeKa B Hejopocjie Ha scHByio
ffl3HB , H KOMeflHH, OTCJiySCHB CBOK) .cjiy»c6y, pSpaTHjiacb B
HCTOpH^eCKHH IiaMHTHHK"

In his g r e a t e s t x\iork N e d o r o s l 1 , F o n v i z i n s h a r p e n s many o f t h e

barbs o f h i s previous w o r k s t o c r i t i c i z e some o f the e v i l s of

Russian society. The p l a y ' s scope i s much w i d e r t h a n a n y t h i n g he

had a t t e m p t e d before since i t was c o n c e r n e d w i t h many o f t h e bas-

ic principles of Russian life and t h e treatment of the serfs by

the aristocracy in particular. Witness to t h e power and f o r c e o f

Nedorosl' is the f a c t that it is the o n l y Russian play written be-

fore 1800 t h a t is still being performed. It is important not only

as a social satire but also as an e x c e l l e n t play.

Before we a t t e m p t to analyze the p l a y we must m e n t i o n the

so-called "early v e r s i o n " of Nedorosl' and r e c o u n t the play's early

history. I n 1933 i n L i t e r a t u r n o y e N a s l e d s t v o G. Korovin published

a variant of a play e n t i t l e d N e d o r o s l ' c l a i m i n g in his commentary

that this dramatic work was a first version w r i t t e n by F o n v i z i n in

the e a r l y 1760's.2* Characterization seems t o be quite similar to

our Nedorosl' : there are two c o n t r a s t i n g y o u n g men I v a n u s h k a , M i l -

ovid, the former an e x a m p l e of an i g n o r a m u s much l i k e Mitrofan,

the latter well educated; there are ignorant p a r e n t s M r . and M r s .

Mikheich - A k s e n and U l i t a - not d i s s i m i l a r from the Prostakovs

in Nedorosl1. The a u t h o r has i n c l u d e d o n l y one r a i a o n n e u r - Dob-

romyslov (not D o b r o l y u b o v , as D. W e l s h h a s it in his article


. 54

"Satirical Themes i n l 8 t h C e n t u r y R u s s i a n Comedies")3« This

" e a r l y v e r s i o n " , c o n s i s t i n g of only three a c t s and t a k i n g up e i g h t -

een p a g e s , i s a much s h o r t e r p l a y t h a n N e d o r o s l ' . B u t i s t h i s an

e a r l y version of F o n v i z i n ' s play? I n 1954 K . V . P i g a r e v asserted

in h i s study of Denis F o n v i z i n that t h e p l a y was w r i t t e n n o t b y

D. I . F o n v i z i n b u t b y the. p e r s o n whose h a n d w r i t i n g a p p e a r s i n t h e

first pages, and t h a t i t was w r i t t e n after 1782 I n i m i t a t i o n o f

Fonvizin' s'Nedorosl'.4• However two y e a r s l a t e r V . V s e v o l o d s k y -

Grerngro.ss disagreed, i n s i s t i n g t h a t t h e p l a y was w r i t t e n b y D e n i s

Fonvizin before 1 7 8 2 . 5 . The m a i n p r o b l e m i s t h a t seven different

h a n d w r i t i n g s were u s e d , y e t none i s t h a t of D . I . F o n v i z i n . In

1966 A . P. M o g i l y a n s k y r e e x a m i n e d t h e w h o l e q u e s t i o n . In a n a t -

tempt t o s e t t l e t h e d i s p u t e , experts i n c a l l i g r a p h y examined t h e

manuscripts.6. The q u e s t i o n h a s y e t to be i n d i s p u t a b l y r e s o l v e d ,

but Mogilyansky maintains that this so-called " e a r l y v e r s i o n " was

written n o t b yFonvizin but possibly b yh i s brother:

M
n.pH3HaB CBoe nopaaceHHe, O H ocTaBHJi n b e c y He3aicoimeH-
H O H . CoxpaHeHa pyi-conHCB 6HJia, no—BHAHMOMV , naBJiOM 4>OHBH3HHHM
n o C B H 3 H ee c noHBHBmHMCH no3,n.Hee HejopocjieM e r o flpaMa JleHHca
(3HaBmero, HyacHO flyMaTb, 06 3TOM j i H T e p a T y p H O M 3aMBicjie) B KauecTBe
n p H M e ^ a T e j i B H O r o Kypbe3a.
TaKHM o6pa30M, fljia onpe,n,ejieHHH a B T O p a aHOHHMHOro
HejopQCJia Heo6xoflHMO H3y^eHHe OKpyaceHHH naBjia $OHBH3-
HHa. "

The first s t a g e p r o d u c t i o n of N e d o r o s l ' d i d not t a k e place

until September 24, 1782 a l t h o u g h the p l a y had been c o m p l e t e d i n

the p r e v i o u s year. The a u t h o r had d i f f i c u l t y i n securing permission

for this first presentation:

"Before t h i s p l a y c o u l d b e p r o d u c e d i n Moscow, the l o c a l censor


ss

r e q u i r e d the o m i s s i o n o f a number o f ' d a n g e r o u s l i n e s ' . No soon-


e r had N e d o r o s l ' been performed a t the ' P u b l i c R u s s i a n T h e a t r e '
i n M o s c o w , than C a t h e r i n e took t h e p r e c a u t i o n o f p l a c i n g the t h e -
a t r e u n d e r S t a t e c o n t r o l . N e d o r o s l ' was not produced a t C o u r t u n -
t i l f i v e years l a t e r , and although t h i s was a shortened v e r s i o n ,
i t n e v e r t h e l e s s brought upon i t s e l f the i n d i g n a t i o n o f c o u r t i e r s .
T h e y were no doubt vexed b y S t a r o d u m ' s m o r a l i z i n g on the d u t i e s
o f e n l i g h t e n e d monarchs and g e n t r y , i m p l y i n g t h e y themselves were
f a i l i n g t o c a r r y them out as R u s s i a n gentry s h o u l d . Fonvizin's
own complete e d i t i o n o f h i s works was p r o h i b i t e d i n 1788, as was
a posthumous e d i t i o n planned i n 1792.

It was a f t e r the f i r s t stage p r o d u c t i o n t h a t Poterakin supposedly

said to Fonvizin "Die Denis, o r write p l a y s no more."9. i n f a c t

Fonvizin d i d not complete any plays after this. The circumstances

behind the f i r s t stage p r e s e n t a t i o n were s i m i l a r t o those o f Brig-

adir . S h o r t l y after i t s composition, F o n v i z i n ' s f r i e n d s enthus-

iastically implored him t o r e a d h i s play i n p u b l i c . He d i d i n

f a c t read a few excerpts one evening b u t the c o u r t audience obliged

him t o read t h e p l a y i n its entirety. I n their enthusiasm they

persuaded t h e great a c t o r D m i t r e v s k y t o read i t f o r them once again!0.

A l t h o u g h the E m p r e s s ' s displeasure forced N e d o r o s l ' 1 s withdrawal

after Its f i r s t stage p r e s e n t a t i o n , i t had been r e c e i v e d with many

accolades, according t o the Dr am a t i che s k i i Slovar':

"CHH KOMeflHH, HanOJIHeHHafl 3aMHCJIOBaTBIMH H3pa*CeHHHMH H MH03C—


ecTBOM fleiicTByiomHx JIHH,, r j e KaacfltiM B CBoeM xapaKTepe H3peu-
eHHHMK pa3jiH^aeTCH , 3acjiy»CHjia BHHMaHHe OT nySjiHKH. JLna
cero H npHHTHa c OTMeHHHM yflOBOJibCTBHeM OT B c e x . . . "

Evidence o f the p l a y ' s popular a p p e a l i s the f a c t that after near-

ly two . c e n t u r i e s i t is s t i l l b e i n g performed.

Despite a remarkable technique o f a l t e r n a t i o n Fonvizin's play

is fundamentally c l a s s i c a l i n structure. The p l a y c o n s i s t s o f I+O

scenes d i v i d e d i n t o the t r a d i t i o n a l f i v e acts. The f i r s t act e m -


56

bodies an e x p o s i t i o n o f c h a r a c t e r and s e t t i n g . We see the provin-

cial g e n t r y e x e m p l i f i e d by the c r u e l and i g n o r a n t Prostakovs.

Moreover, the a u t h o r a t once i n t r o d u c e s - us t o t h e c a l a m i t o u s sit-

uation of the Russian s e r f . 1 2 . A t t h e end o f the f i r s t a c t he c o m -

licates t h e i n t r i g u e w i t h t h e r e v e l a t i o n o f S o f ' y a ' s new w e a l t h .

The second act is also e x p o s i t o r y i n t r o d u c i n g the "good" hero M i l o n

and the r i d i c u l o u s t u t o r s . D i d a c t i c elements appear i n A c t Three

w i t h S t a r o d u m and h i s l e n g t h y m o n o l o g u e s . Humour i s maintained

w i t h the t h i r d t u t o r V r a i ' m a n whose a n t i c s at the c o n c l u s i o n of

this act are hilarious. A c t P o u r c o n t a i n s more o f . S t a r o d u m ' s mor-

alizing, the b e t r o t h a l o f S o f ' y a to M i l o n and t h e a m u s i n g examina-

tion of Mitrbfan. It concludes w i t h M r s . Prostakova's decision to

kidnap Sof'ya for Mitrofan. The f i n a l act provides the moral f o r

the audience: " B e h o l d the lust reward f o r wickednessf"¥.3!-»

As i n B r i g a d i r F o n v i z i n has constructed his play according

to the c l a s s i c a l u n i t i e s of time, place and. a c t i o n . The a c t i o n

t a k e s p l a c e w i t h i n t h e s p a c e o f two d a y s . There are two t e m p o r a l

l i n k s between a c t s : P r a v d i n ' s remark at the b e g i n n i n g o f A c t I I I

t h a t he saw S t a r o d u m . c o m i n g as he l e f t the t a b l e and Starodum's

assertion at t h e c o n c l u s i o n o f A c t IV t h a t they w i l l leave at sev-'

en the f o l l o w i n g morning. A l l the a c t i o n takes place at or near the

P r o s t a k o v house-. However F o n v i z i n ' s adherence to these unities

has l e d t o some g l a r i n g i m p r o b a b i l i t i e s . The j u x t a p o s i t i o n of

Milon ( S o f ' y a ' s l o v e r o f some months b e f o r e ) , Starodum (Sof'ya's

benefactor) and P r a v d i n (the state r age\t) seems c o n t r i v e d . Prav-

din's announcement t h a t the g o v e r n m e n t w i l l expropriate all the

Prostakovs' possessions seems as factitious as any O l y m p i a n deus


57

ex machina of the Clas.sical drama.

Is there suspense? In avlmost any play it is important to

maintain suspense and h o l d the audience until the end. The cen-

tral intrigue of Nedorosl' is, who w i l l marry Sof'ya: Milon,

Mitrofan or Skotinin. However, Pravdin tells Milon at the begin-

ning of the second act that he will not allow any more mischief

by the Prosta.kov family.^k-- Since marriage to Skotinin or Mitrofan

would be a travesty of justice, Pravdin would not permit it. So

the audience realizes that the outcome will be felicitous. Fonviz.

in nevertheless attempted to maintain suspense by the implication

at the end of Act IV that Prostakova will kidnap the girl, thus re

taining a certain amount of suspense in the final act. T o be fair

suspense was not essential for the 18th century audience (witness

the classical drama whose climax 'often came m i d w a y through the

play rendering the last portion virtually denouement). Fonvizin

evidently did not regard suspense as essential, otherwise he would

not have included the long tirades by the raisonneur.

As previously mentioned, Fonvizin employed a stalking techni-

que of "alternation in Nedorosl' • Instead of concentrating on com-

plex a.ction, the author constructed the play on a series of sep-

arate scenes, which i n d i v i d u a l l y mean a great deal but in accumu-

lation mean much m o r e . For example, the entire first act consists

of many concrete details of action to provide understanding of the

coarse nature of the Prostakov family. However, the first scene

of A c t Two m a k e s a contrast to the previous accumulation of vice

and corruption. Here Pravdin and M i l o n converse at length about

virtue and love. This is the first example of vice and virtue
58

a l t e r n a t i n g throughout t h e p l a y , so t h a t the audience can see and

compare and form c o n c l u s i o n s about them. T h i s technique of a l t e r -

n a t i o n r e a p p e a r s at the c o n c l u s i o n o f t h e second a c t ( c o n t r a s t i n g

w i t h the f i r s t scenes o f t h a t act) i n the s l o t h f u l , g r a s p i n g ignor-

ance o f the P r o s t a k o v f a m i l y , and opens the t h i r d w i t h the v i r t u o u s

Starodum and P r a v d i n . A l t e r n a t e d w i t h t h e s e e a r l y scenes o f "good"

are the r e m a i n i n g scenes o f A c t I I I where P o n v i z i n demonstrates

the i g n o r a n c e and s t u p i d i t y o f t h e t u t o r s . The author r e t u r n s t o

the v i r t u o u s c h a r a c t e r s o f the p l a y f o r the f i r s t s i x scenes o f

Act I V , then s h i f t s back t o the d u l l a r d s f o r t h e l a s t three t o r e -

iterate their vices. The f i r s t two scenes o f A c t V embody " V i r t u e "

(the d i d a c t i c speeches o f Starodum) whereupon the a u t h o r s h i f t s

once a g a i n . T h i s time he a l t e r n a t e s v i c e and v i r t u e w i t h i n a scene

to promulgate the c o n c l u d i n g moral:

c "Des qu' un personnage ' n e ' g a t i f e n t r e s u r l a scene, l e comi-


que e s t relance' e t I'on r i t , jusqu'au moment ou Starodum reprend
l a p a r o l e . C e t t e r u p t u r e dans l e rhythme a - t - e l l e e t e voulue ?
C'est t r e s p r o b a b l e , puisque P o n v i z i n e a c o n f i e ce r o l e au m e i l -
l e u r a c t e u r de l'e'poque, D m i t r e v s k i j , q u i p a r t a g e a i t ses c o n v i c -
t i o n s ' c i v i l i s a t r i , c e s ' , c ' e s t done que ce personnage € t a i t a ses
yeux e s s e n t i e l . " - •
1 3

To a modern a u d i e n c e , the l o n g monologues by Starodum seem

unnatural and b o r i n g . Moreover, they weaken t h e suspense and hum-

orous impact o f the p l a y . Nevertheless, i n P o n v i z i n ' s day they

were c o n s i d e r e d important because the author's purpose was n o t

just to s a t i r i z e but also to t e a c h . ^ * I t was t h e r e f o r e i n e a r n -

e s t t h a t he i n c l u d e d these d i d a c t i c t i r a d e s hoping he c o u l d cor-

r e c t the i l l s which he lampooned.

One u n i f y i n g element i n N e d o r o s l ' s s t r u c t u r e i s i t s con-


1

s t r u c t i o n around a f a m i l y . The author l e a d s us a t once i n t o t h e


59

heart o f the P r o s t a k o v - S k o t i n i n h o u s e h o l d . In fact the Prosta-

kov house forms the p l a y ' s framework:

"Ilbeca cpa3y, c caMoro Ha^cajia B B O A H T 3pHTejiH . B . 6HT ceMBH


cii;eH0li npHMepHBaHHa HOBoro Ka$TaHa. 3aT:eMH,w3 cueHe ypoK
MHTpo<J>aHa , 3a cn.eHOH - ceMeHHbift o6efl c ceMefiHOM c K a H ^ a j i O M ,
H OHHTB - xapaKTepHoe pa3JiH^He B no^a^e pa3H0KaKecTBeH-
Horo M a T e p n a j i a : MHJIOH, ripaB#HH, GTapo^yM OTBjie^eHHO o p a -
TopcTByioT Ha OTBJie^eHHOH cueHe , IIpocTaKOBH , y^HTejia ,
c j i y r n scHByT noBceflHeBHOH JKH3HBK> B peajibHoft SBITOBOH cpefle.
3TO - JiioflH, a He aScTpaKTHbie cymecTBa, X O T H B nocTpo-
eHHH H X pojieft eme MHOro OT KJiaccHHecKoro M e T O f l a , /noflH,
CBH3aHHbie c nopoflHBmeH H X cpeflOH."

This technique of s t r u c t u r i n g the p l a y around the e v i l f a m i l y and

bringing i n o u t s i d e r s who perform " g o o d " , serves to make the play

more compact since the intrigues unfold i n t h i s setting without any

extraneous action.

To conclude our study of the structure o f N e d o r o s l ' we must

mention that F o n v i z i n proved to b e more s k i l f u l i n dramatic con-

struction than most o f his. contemporaries. I t s architecture cer-

t a i n l y has faults yet F o n v i z i n managed to d e l a y d e l i n e a t i o n o f the

plot u n t i l scene 5 of A c t I I . He a l s o employed ingenious devices

such as the " s e a r c h " entrance of Prostakova in A c t I I scene 5 and

and the " f l i g h t " exit of V r a l ' m a n at the end of A c t I I I to make h i s

p l o t more credible.

Perhaps the most s t r i k i n g aspect o f N e d o r o s l ' is the charact-

erization. T h e c h a r a c t e r s may be s c h e m a t i c a l l y arranged into three

separate groups: the protagonists (Starodum, Pravdin, Milon and

Sof'ya); the a n t a g o n i s t s (Prostakov, Prostakova, Skotinin and Mit-

rofan) and the minor f i g u r e s (Yeremeyevna, Vral'man, Kuteikin,

Tsyfirkin, Trishka and the servants)!. It is. true that'only the


60

second and third groups seem s o m e t h i n g like real people. The

protagonists appear o n l y as s t a t i c moralizers. Y e t P o n v i z i n more

t h a n made up for this d e f e c t by m a s t e r f u l l y p r e s e n t i n g h i s n e g a -

tive c h a r a c t e r s who represent various faults in eighteenth-century

Russian manners. Each, has h i s own dominant trait which renders

him unforgettable.18. _ n fact, the a u t h o r ' s n e g a t i v e c h a r a c t e r s

were so r e m a r k a b l e that t h e y became p r o v e r b i a l i n the Russian lan-

guage. The author achieved t h i s h i g h q u a l i t y by imbuing h i s char-

a c t e r s w i t h the spark of l i f e after carefully examining life i t -

self.

"•It has been s a i d t h a t when P o n v i z i n was w r i t i n g t h e s c e n e between


S k o t i n i n , M i t r o f a n and Y e r e m e y e v n a he t o o k a s t r o l l i n o r d e r t o
t h i n k i t o v e r c a r e f u l l y , and happened t o come a c r o s s a s c u f f l e b e -
tween two p e a s a n t women. He s t o p p e d 'to w a t c h n a t u r e ' , and when
he w r o t e t h e s c e n e upon h i s r e t u r n home he u s e d t h e word 'grapple',
w h i c h he had j u s t o v e r h e a r d . "

We shall now scrutinize each character separately.

The p l a y i s dominated by the p o w e r f u l f i g u r e o f the house-

h o l d head Mrs. Prostakova She i s p r o b a b l y the most famous person-

age of the,play. P r o s t a k o v a i s a development of A k u l i n a Timofey-

evna of B r i g a d i r b u t much more o f a c a r i c a t u r e than her predecessor.

Whereas t h e B r i g a d i r s h a was restricted to greed, stinginess and

ignorance, P r o s t a k o v a i s a l l those and more. Her personality is

of t h e same m a t e r i a l as h e r p r e d e c e s s o r b u t woven much more intri-

cately. She fascinates because she i s so u t t e r l y repulsive. Above

all she i s greedy and stingy a t t h e same t i m e . Prostakova i s the

t a l k o f the e n t i r e district f o r being able to e x t r a c t e v e r y ounce

of work o u t o f h e r peasants (and o u t o f T r i s h k a t h e t a i l o r , too)

yet she regrets she cannot squeeze more o u t o f them. Here i s her
61

attitude t o w a r d money: "If you f i n d money, don't share, i t with

anybody. Take i t a l l yourself, M i t r b f a n u s h k a i " 2 0 • L i k e the Brig-

adirsha she c o n s i d e r s l e a r n i n g on a p u r e l y f i n a n c i a l b a s i s , striv-

ing to e x t r a c t full value f.rom t h e t h r e e teachers:

" D o n ' t w o r k so h a r d o v e r a t r i f l e , my d e a r . I s h a l l not


g i v e h i m a k o p e k m o r e ; no r e a s o n why I s h o u l d . I t ' s n o t much o f
a science. I t ' s o n l y t o r m e n t i n g y o u ; and t h e w h o l e b u s i n e s s , I
see, i s j u s t r u b b i s h . I f you h a v e no money, why c o u n t i t ? If
y o u h a v e money, we can add i t up w e l l e n o u g h w i t h o u t ' p a f n u t y i c h ' s
help."21•

Her greed comes t o t h e f o r e when i t is announced t h a t S o f ' y a has.

i n h e r i t e d 10,000 / r o u b l e s ; i m m e d i a t e l y she decides that Sof'ya

w o u l d be t h e I d e a l match f o r Mitrofan.

P r o s t a k o v a a l s o echoes the B r i g a d i e r ' s Wife i n her h y p o c r i t -

ical religious attitude. E v e r y so o f t e n she feigns some k i n d of

religious p i e t y by a "God may be m e r c i f u l " o r " t h e L o r d has willed",

or by p r e t e n d i n g t o - cross h e r s e l f . These e x p r e s s i o n s of religious

devotion are s o l e l y for other people, p a r t i c u l a r l y Starodum and

Pravdin. There i s no d o u b t t h a t 3he i s merely t r y i n g to create an

illusion for others, but her true character is always revealed.

Prostakova is ignorant s i m p l y b e c a u s e she has no d e s i r e for

education. Ponvizin tells us o f h e r i g n o r a n c e with, the l i s t of

Dramatis Personae when we see she is named P r o s t a k o v (formed from

prostak - a simpleton). Moreover, Prostakova is vain i n her ig-

norance: she revels in the fact that she c a n n o t read - a useless

waste o f t i m e and money, she feels. T w i c e she mangles technical

words w h i c h w o u l d n o t be difficult w i t h even r u d i m e n t a r y educat-

ion. P r o s t a k o v a shows h e r s w a g g e r i n g ignorance i n having hired

three tutors of very questionable qualifications.


62

Mrs. Prostakovais the epitome o f the domineering w i f e .

She c o n s t a n t l y browbeats h e r p o o r h u s b a n d b y a c t i o n and word so

t h a t he i s reduced to a c r i n g i n g j a c k a l . 2 2 * T h i s t y r a n t has no re-

spect at a l l f o r her husband. To h e r he i s insignificant except

as a convenient scapegoat. Besides being s t i n g y , greedy, hypocrit-

ical, ignorant and d o m i n e e r i n g , M r s . P r o s t a k o v a i s extremely cruel.

Ponvizin p o r t r a y e d h e r as the w o r s t r e p r e s e n t a t i v e of a tyrannical

n o b i l i t y t h a t b a r b a r o u s l y e x p l o i t e d the p e a s a n t r y . Mrs. Prosta-

kovaf s c r u e l t y e x t e n d s to everyone around h e r . At the very b e g i n -

n i n g o f t h e p l a y we see her v i c i o u s l y i n s u l t i n g the poor t a i l o r

Trishka with a torrent of i n v e c t i v e . She t h e n g i v e s abrupt orders

to everyone and a s s a i l s h e r h u s b a n d when he m e e k l y g i v e s his opin-

ion. L a t e r on she argues w i t h S o f ' y a t h a t I t is impossible that .;.

Starodum d i d not d i e . L a t e r she actually is involved i n - a brawl

w i t h her b r o t h e r . She admits that she v i o l e n t l y r u n s the house-

hold: "...between s w e a r i n g and f l o g g i n g I h a v e no r e s t at all..."23»

When t h e f e m a l e despot d i s c o v e r s that she cannot f o r c e Sof'ya's

marriage to Mitrofan she e v e n a t t e m p t s k i d n a p p i n g to achieve her

goal. A f t e r her attempt fails P r o s t a k o v a abuses' h e r servants,

t h r e a t e n i n g them a l l w i t h d e a t h . Yet even;after'Starodum has for-

g i v e n h e r she does n o t h a v e s u f f i c i e n t presence o f mind t o realize

she should f o r g i v e . A l l she can t h i n k o f i s p u n i s h i n g t h o s e who

failed her. It is in this scene t h a t P o n v i z i n develops h i s main

idea of scorning t h e . v i c i o u s nobility:

M r s . P r o s t a k o v ? " Y o u h a v e f o r g i v e n I Ah b e l o v e d s i r ! Well!
Now I ' l l t e a c h t h o s e r a s i c a l l y s e r v a n t s o f m i n e l Now I ' l l
t a k e them one b y o n e . I ' l l f i n d o u t who l e t h e r g e t a w a y .
N o , y o u r o g u e s ; no you t h i e v e s ! I ' l l not f o r g i v e t h i s d i s -
g r a c e upon my l i f e !
63

Pravdin: But what do you want to punish your servants for?


Mrs. Prostakov: Oh, dear s i r , what a question! Am I not the
mistress of my own people?
. Pravdin: And you think you have a right to flog them when-
ever you take the notion?
S k o t i n i n : I s n ' t a nobleman at l i b e r t y to beat his servant
when he feels l i k e i t ?
Pravdin: When he feels l i k e it? What a desire I You are frank,
S k o t i n i n . (to Mrs. Prostakov.) No, Madam, nobody is at l i b -
erty to tyrannize.
Mrs. Prostakov: Not at l i b e r t y I A nobleman can't even flog his
servants whenever he l i k e s ? What about the privileges given
. by the N o b i l i t y Law?
Starodum: You are clever at interpreting the ukases.
Mrs. Prostakov: You are joking, s i r ; but I ' l l give i t to them
r i g h t now, every single one of them. (tries to go.) " M - « 2

However, even with a l l these e v i l t r a i t s Mrs. Prostakovais

not a l l black. Like a believable v i l l a i n who has to have some good

in him to be credible and not lapse into a "type", Prostakova pos-

sesses one admirable t r a i t : devotion to her son. Although she is

extremely stingy and greedy she gladly makes s a c r i f i c e s for Mitro-

fan: "We don't stint ourselves on Mitrofan's education. We hire

three teachers for him. There is a further example when Pros-

takova chastises Yereraeyevna for not allowing him to have a sixth

roll; when he becomes a l i t t l e i l l s h e thinks of sending for a

doctor.26. Her motherly devotion has become an obsession. Prostak-

ova' s complete attachment to her son has made her lose a l l sense

of proportion.27. Twice during the play she is almost beside her-

s e l f with despair as she thinks Mitrofan has been i n j u r e d . After

her brother has assaulted the young boy, Mrs. Prostakovaphysic-

a l l y assails Skotinin. Certainly she attempts the abortive kid-

napping plot at the end of the play in a desperate effort to sec-

ure for her son what she feels is h i s . Everything she has done,

she has done out of devotion to him. This is what renders her
64

portrayal so powerful: even with her cruelty, crudeness, greed

and ignorance she is s t i l l devoted:

"Toace OTHOCHTCH H K Hejopocjiio B ^acTHOCTH K p o j i e npo-


CTaKOBOfi . OHa co6HpaeT B ce6e pnfl rHycHenrnHx MepT, OHa
H36epr, H Bee ace <£OHBH3HH HaflejineT ee MaTepHHCKHM ^ y B -
C T B O M , flejiaiomHM ee ^ejiOBeKOM. B 3aKjno^HTejiBHOH ciieHe ripo-
CTaKOBa, OTBeprHyTan npeBpamaeTca B TpareflHK n o p o i c a . H He
cny^aiiHO $OHBH3HH 3acTaBJiaeT B 3TOIE MOMBHT CBOHX H^eajiB-
H H X ' regoeB noMO^b IIpocTaKOBOH , ynaBmen B O6MOP-
OK .

This l e a d s us to the t r a g i c e l e m e n t in h e r . Prostakova has been

too d e v o t e d , and when she is s p u r n e d b y M i t r o f a n at the e n d , the

result is tragic, s o s h e contains elements of b o t h comedy a n d

t r a g e d y . Thus she embodies a Tartuffian c o m b i n a t i o n o f the two. 9«2

Prostakova i s one o f the most remarkable f i g u r e s o f the e i g h t e e n t h

century Russian stage:

"BOT nepej H S M H IIpocTaKOBa - HecoMHeHHO OTpHnaT-


ejibHaa (Jmrypa , n p n STOM flaHHaa TunojiorHHecKH , BUHBJIHKHH-
aa MHoacecTBO OTpHnaTejibHbix ^tepT CBoero KJiacca. OHa HeBeac-
ecTBeHHa, KopbiCTOJiK>6HBa , acecTOKa , BjHHH^iHa , . . . Eee. MaT-
epHHCKaa JHOSOBB Toace npnoSpeTaeT 6e3o6pa3Hbie $opMbi , H O
Bce-TaKH O T O He c e 6 a juoSHBoe ^yBCTBO , D T O ocTaTOK nofl-
JIHHHOrO ^ e J I O B e t t e C K Q K O flOCTOHHCTBa , X O T H H HCKaaceHHoro #0
noejieflHefi CTeneHH." *

If as i s o f t e n s a i d opposites a t t r a c t , then Prostakova's hus-

band i s an i d e a l match f o r h e r . He i s the epitome o f the down-

trodden sycophantic male. However the author allows him a few c l e -

ver l i n e s . Although he i s g e n e r a l l y i n s i g n i f i c a n t , rendered by a


31.

good a c t o r , h i s l a c o n i c phrases could be h i g h l y e f f e c t i v e . F o r

example such words as "When you are around I have eyes f o r nothing

else."32. could be u t t e r e d with sugared i r o n y amidst the t o r r e n t

of abuse by Prostakova. Moreover, during the d i s c u s s i o n by the


65

Prostakovs and S k o t i n i n o f the f a m i l y p a s s i o n for pigs, Mr. Pros-

t a k o v says p i t h i l y : " T h e r e must be some f a m i l y t r a i t there too,

t h a t ' s what I t h i n k . . " 3 3 . He seems t o be q u i t e a k i n d l y man and

treats Sof'ya well. P r o s t a k o v l i k e h i s w i f e a p p e a r s t o be very

i g n o r a n t b u t p e r h a p s n o t so i g n o r a n t as the o t h e r s , for i t is im-

p l i e d t h a t he can r e a d a little. N a t u r a l l y by h i s r o l e he is

a timid creature and d e m o n s t r a t e s h i s ' f e a r not o n l y before his

w i f e but a l s o at t h e p o s s i b i l i t y o f c o n f r o n t i n g some s o l d i e r s who

have a r r i v e d i n the v i l l a g e . We f i n d a f u r t h e r example of Mr.

prostakov's i r o n i c comments as he m o r d a n t l y o b s e r v e s : "I love

h i m as a father should, just the same. He's such a b r i g h t youngster-

such a j o l l y fellowJ I'm often quite beside myself with joy, and

I can h a r d l y b e l i e v e that he's r e a l l y my own s o n . " 3 5 • it is true

that Prostakova's husband abhors her c r u e l t y but r e a l i z e s he can

do v e r y l i t t l e about i t - as shown i n A c t I I I s c e n e 5* L a t e r on

d u r i n g the e x a m i n a t i o n o f M i t r o f a n by Starodum and P r a v d i n , Pros-

t a k o v shows h i s own l a c k o f e d u c a t i o n b y g u l l i b l y b e l i e v i n g all

the nonsense t h a t h i s son spews f o r t h . He d e m o n s t r a t e s h i s first

sign of anger i n the c o n c l u d i n g scene of the p l a y o n l y a f t e r his

w i f e has been p u n i s h e d b y t h e a u t h o r i t i e s . V i o l e n t l y waving h i s

hands he s h o u t s at h i s w i f e " W h o ' s t o blame for this, mother I " 3 6 .

The h e n p e c k e d h u s b a n d o f the female tyrant is portrayed as a meek

creature o f no s i g n i f i c a n c e , yet nonetheless p e r m i t t e d a few i n -

cisive comments on t h e c h a r a c t e r of his w i f e . Prostakov is not

portrayed unsyrapathetically f o r we can w e l l u n d e r s t a n d how almost

any man c o u l d become s p i n e l e s s m a r r i e d t o a s h r e w l i k e M r s . Pros-

takov.
66

Mitrofan, M r . and M r s . P r o s t a k o v ' s son, is the nedorosl'37.

of the p l a y . H i s name's s i g n i f i c a n c e is a little more subtle

t h a n some o f t h e o t h e r s since It comes from G r e e k . Roughly trans-

lated it c o u l d mean "mama's b o y " . 3 8 . This sixteen-year old is the

perfect example of an i g n o r a n t p a r a s i t e . The p l a y r e v o l v e s around

him s i n c e its principal intrigue is t o have h i m m a r r y S o f ' y a . Mit-

rofan o n l y wants t o m a r r y S o f ' y a so t h a t he w i l l n o t have t o study.

This slothfulness is h i s main f e a t u r e . The y o u n g man's ignorance

is a result of his l a z i n e s s , his refusal to study. During his

a r i t h m e t i c e x a m i n a t i o n he c a n n o t even add one and one w i t h o u t d i f -

ficulty. When T s y f i r k i n tries to teach M i t r o f a n some a r i t h m e t i c ,

the boy i n s i s t s t h a t he h a v e a review lesson, so t h a t he w i l l not

have t o attempt a n y t h i n g new. He i s o n l y too happy to s t o p the

lesson once h i s m o t h e r s u g g e s t s he m i g h t g e t b r a i n damage f r o m

learning t o o much. The n a d i r o f h i s ignorance, i s demonstrated dur-

i n g the h i l a r i o u s scene o f h i s e x a m i n a t i o n b y S t a r o d u m and Pravdin:

P r a v d i n : ( t a k i n g the b o o k ) . ."I see. T h i s i s t h e Grammar. Well,


what do y o u know a b o u t i t ?
Mitrofan: A l o t . A n o u n , and an a d j e c t i v e .
Pravdin: A door, for instance: i s i t a noun o r an a d j e c t i v e ?
M i t r o f a n : A door: Which door?
Pravdin: Which door? T h i s one.
M i t r o f a n : That? I t ' s an a d j e c t i v e .
Pravdin: Why so?
M i t r o f a n : B e c a u s e i t i s added t o s o m e t h i n g e l s e , t o i t s p l a c e .
W h i l e , over t h e r e , the p a n t r y door i s s t i l l a noun, f o r i t ' s
n o t been hung f o r s i x w e e k s .
S t a r o d u m : Then f o r t h e same r e a s o n y o u w i l l s a y t h a t t h e word
f o o l i s an a d j e c t i v e , b e c a u s e i t i s a p p l i e d t o a s t u p i d man.
M i t r o f a n : Of c o u r s e .
M r s . P r o s t a k o v : H e y , how i s i t , my d e a r s i r ?
•Mr. P r o s t a k o v : W e l l , what do you t h i n k o f h i m , s i r ?
P r a v d i n : I t c o u l d n ' t be b e t t e r . H e ' s s t r o n g on g r a m m a r . " 3 9 .
When P r a v d i n asks him about g e o g r a p h y he i s so p o o r l y s c h o o l e d

t h a t he does n o t e v e n know what t h e t e r m g e o g r a p h y means. His


67

ignorance however, should not be taken for stupidity. Mitrofan

does show a small spark of cunning when h e threatens Yeremeyevna

with tattling to his mother i f she forces him to' s t u d y . H e

mistreats his servants and is cheeky to his elders, yet is clever

enough to feign some respect for the latter by addressing. Staro-

dum and Pravdin with servility. The young man is totally ungrate-

ful at the end of the play when, h e turns his back on his mother

who h a d done everything out of devotion to him. Mitrofan to some

extent is a development of Ivanushka in Brigadir, although he has

none of the latter's charm or knowledge. Whereas Ivan is the

ridiculous result of foreign teaching, Mitrofan embodies the ab-

surd consequence of neglectful teaching and parental indulgence:

" npeBpameHHHH Heflopocjib H e c r b $ O H B H 3 H H C K H H


TaKoit
MHTpOdpaH , O^eHb yCTOH^HBHH H XKBJHKU Tun B pyccKOM 06-
mecTBe , nepeacHBinHH caMoe 3aKOHOflaTejiBCTBO o Heflopocjiax
yMeBfflHH 'B3BecT&' He TOJIBKO .neTO^eK , no npeflCKa3aHHK> e r o
MaTepH rocnoacH npocTaKOBoft , HO H . B H y ^ e K , 'BpeMeH HOBefimux
MHTpoqpaHOB' KaK B B i p a 3 H j i C H nymKHH." *

Taras S k o t i n i n , Prostakova's unforgettable brother, is the

last of the first group. His character is exemplified by his

name - derived from skot (beast). Skotinin epitomizes the back-

ward country squire: crude, brash, rough, ignorant and extremely

stupid. The first time he brutishly enters the scene, Skotinin

boasts about how w e l l he can give a thrashing. He b u l l i s h l y tries

to coerce Mitrofan into giving up Sof'ya, first by verbal assault

then by fisticuffs. Skotinin is «ven involved in a brawl with his

sister. At the conclusion of the play Skotinin demonstrates his

porcine brutishness by insisting that a noble has the right to beat


68

his serfs whenever he w a n t s . Skotinin's only interest in l i f e is

pigs. H i s reason f o r wanting to marry S o f ' y a i s t o use h e r money

to buy a l l the p i g s i n the a r e a . His passion for swine i s so i n -

t e n s e t h a t he w o u l d p r o v i d e b e t t e r accommodation f o r h i s p i g s than

for his wife I S k o t i n i n boasts t h a t he has better communication w i t h

h o g s t h a n lie does w i t h people:

S t a r o d u m : " Y o u are l u c k i e r than I . P e o p l e t o u c h my e m o t i o n s .


S k o t i n i n : And p i g s - m i n e . " 4 - 2 .

Skotinin's intelligence is limited to t h a t o f h i s piggish peers;

he l a c k s t h e acumen t o t h i n k on a n y t h i n g b u t a l o w l e v e l :

S k o t i n i n : " I j u s t h a p p e n e d t o be p a s s i n g b y when I h e a r d somebody


c a l l me and t h e n I a n s w e r e d . S u c h i s my h a b i t : i f a n y b o d y
c a l l s ' S k o t i n i n ! ' , I a l w a y s s a y , ' H e r e I am s i r ! ' Why, ray d e a r
f e l l o w s , t h i s i s . t r u l y s o ! I m y s e l f have s e r v e d i n the Guards
- and r e t i r e d as a c o r p o r a l . A t r o l l c a l l , when t h e y u s e d t o
shout ' T a r a s S k o t i n i n ' then I always answered at the t o p o f
ray v o i c e , ' H e r e s i r ! '
P r a v d i n : We h a v e n o t c a l l e d y o u now, and y o u may go w h e r e v e r i t
was y o u were h e a d e d f o r .
S k o t i n i n : I w a s n ' t goirag anywhere i n p a r t i c u l a r . , I -was j u s t
s t r o l l i n g a l o n g and t h i n k i n g . I t ' s . a h a b i t I h a v e . Once I
g e t s o m e t h i n g i n t o my h e a d , no one can d r i v e i t o u t w i t h a
hammer."43•

L i k e t h e o t h e r members o f the P r o s t a k o v g r o u p , Skotinin is extremely

i g n o r a n t . B u t he shows t h a t he has an a w a r e n e s s o f h i s vulnerab-

ility on a c c o u n t o f t h i s ignorance.

" E v e n i f h e r movable p r o p e r t y has been c a r r i e d away, I w o n ' t go t o


l a w f o r t h a t . I ' m n o t f o n d o f l a w s u i t s ; I ' m a f r a i d o f ' e m . No m a t -
t e r how much my n e i g h b o u r s h a v e i n s u l t e d me, no m a t t e r how much,
damage t h e y have done me , I h a v e n e v e r h a d any l i t i g a t i o n s w i t h
t h e l a w . I s i m p l y s q u e e z e my p e a s a n t s t o c o v e r t h e l o s s and t h a t ' s
t h e end. o f i t . " 4 4 .

Noteworthy too i s S k o t i n i n ' s i n s i s t e n c e ( d u r i n g an argument with

S t a r o d u m i n A c t I V s c e n e 7) t h a t h i s ancestors were c r e a t e d before

Adam on t h e S i x t h D a y . A c c o r d i n g t o G e n e s i s , cattle were created


69

on this day. Mr. "Beastly's" absurd, g u l l i b i l i t y i s shown in the

scene of comparison with Milon, the refined intelligent young man,

when Skotinin actually believes that the other is the one who ap-

pears ridiculous. His rattlebrained-insipience is shown in his

hilarious tale about his uncle:

S k o t i n i n : " T h a t a l l l e a r n i n g i s n o n s e n s e was p r o v e d b e y o n d d i s -
pute by our l a t e uncle V a v i l a P a l e l e y e v i c h . Nobody ever heard
f r o m h i m a b o u t l e a r n i n g a n d h e d i d n ' t c a r e t o know a b o u t it
e i t h e r , y e t what a h e a d he h a d I
P r a v d i n : W h a t was h e l i k e ?
S k o t i n i n : T h i s i s what happened t o h i m . O n c e when h e was r i d i n g
h o r s e b a c k a n d was v e r y d r u n k , h e r a n i n t o a s t o n e g a t e . He was
a s t u r d y f e l l o w , t h e g a t e was t o o l o w , a n d h e f o r g o t t o stoop.
My how h e k n o c k e d h i s b r o w a g a i n s t t h e l i n t e l ! My u n c l e ' s b o d y
was t h r o w n o v e r b a c k w a r d s , and y e t h i s b r a v e s t e e d b r o u g h t h i m
a l l t h e way l y i n g f l a t o n h i s b a c k f r o m t h e g a t e t o t h e d o o r -
step. I ' d l i k e t o know i f t h e r e ' s a l e a r n e d h e a d on t h i s earth
t h a t w o u l d n ' t h a v e b e e n s p l i t b y s u c h a. w h a c k . But u n c l e ,
p e a c e b e w i t h h i m , when h e s o b e r e d u p , j u s t a s k e d i f t h e g a t e
w a s n ' t b r o k e n . "1+5.

Turning to the group of positive characters, we should first

discuss the play's principal moralizer Starodum. His name is de-

rived from "star-" (old) and "dum" (thought). Starodum is the

ra,isonneur of. the play from whose m o u t h come the long moralizing

speeches i n which Fonvizin presents a set of ideas about life. In

the eighteenth century this play was primarily didactic and so

Starodum was the central character. In later years it was common

to condense these long monologues because they slow the tempo of the

play. Starodum is a devotee of the old ways, the old beliefs. He

speaks at length about the state and the individual, constantly im-

plying that the "old ways" were much b e t t e r than the new. The

length of his speeches is such that, depending upon the version con-

sulted, (an edition of 1830 included much more of this moralizing

than Fonvizin had originally incorporated), 1$ - 20% o f the play's


70

dialogue is devoted to Starodum»s m o r a l i z i n g a f t e r he appears

on stage«4-&« The o l d u n c l e i s r e f i n e d , p o l i t e and e d u c a t e d in a

•simple way. I m m e d i a t e l y he s u g g e s t s t h a t he s p e a k s w i t h o u t cere-

mony and p r o c e e d s to praise the o l d , e s s e n t i a l l y Russian upbring-

ing :

"Many r i d i c u l e t h e m . I know i t . So be i t . My f a t h e r b r o u g h t me
up a c c o r d i n g t o t h e manners o f h i s t i m e , and I h a v e n o t t h o u g h t i t
n e c e s s a r y t o t r a i n m y s e l f anew. He s e r v e d u n d e r P e t e r t h e G r e a t .
Then a man was a d d r e s s e d as ' t h o u ' and n o t as ' y o u ' . The c o n t a g -
i o n was unknown t h e n b y w h i c h an i n d i v i d u a l t h i n k s o f h i m s e l f i n
the p l u r a l number. And y e t , n o w a d a y s , s e v e r a l men a r e o f t e n n o t
w o r t h even o n e . My f a t h e r a t t h e c o u r t o f P e t e r t h e G r e a t - "4-7.

Starodum i n s i s t s t h a t e v e n t h o u g h he has n o t had much f o r m a l e d u -

c a t i o n he c o n d u c t s h i m s e l f b y r e l y i n g on h i s h e a r t and s o u l to

act as. a human b e i n g . Throughout the r e s t o f t h e p l a y he says

much a b o u t ambition, egotism, riches, respect, flattery, reason,

happiness, duty, marriage, l o v e , and t h e t s a r and n o b i l i t y . A l l of

t h e s e can h o w e v e r be r e d u c e d t o one s p e c i f i c idea. Starodum feels

that R u s s i a should r e t u r n to the "good o l d d a y s " where p e o p l e rul-

ed t h e m s e l v e s and were g u i d e d b y t h e t s a r through "heart, soul and

common s e n s e d . He o b v i o u s l y i m p l i e s t h a t t h e r e has b e e n a decline

during Catherine's r e i g n . Despite a l l his .1Rius30ph.il n o t i o n s , Star

odum a p p e a r s o n l y as a m a s k l i k e mouth u t t e r i n g s i m p l e i d e a s on com

p l e x matters.4-8. S t a r o d u m has very l i t t l e humour and o n l y occas-

i o n a l l y do we g l i m p s e h i s p e r s o n a l i t y as i n t h e s c e n e where he at-

tempts t o shun t h e a d v a n c e s of the Prostakov f a m i l y . Otherwise

S t a r o d u m weakens the p l a y t h r o u g h h i s static presence and tedious

m o r a l i z i n g . 4 - 9 . However u n d e r p r o p e r d i r e c t i o n much o f t h i s super-

fluity c o u l d be e l i m i n a t e d and t h e p r e s e n t a t i o n strengthened.^0.

Nevertheless, we must remember t h a t i n P o n v i z i n ' s day t h e s e l o n g


71

speeches were considered very important t o the central idea o f

the play.

Pravdin i s t h e deus ex machina o f Nedorosl'. At the begin-

ning he appears as t h e house guest o f t h e Prostakovs. Unknox<rn t o

them (though the audience does know) he h a s a r r i v e d t o inspect

reported c r u e l t y i n t h e Prostakov household. Pravdin's name comes

from pravda (truth) y e the does not utter any long speeches like

Starodum. He is a refined government o f f i c i a l carefully annotat-

ing t h e atrocities committed b y t h e Prostakov family. When his

package arrives and he announces a t t h e end o f t h e play that all

the possessions o f t h e Prostakovs have been expropriated bythe

state, the a r t i f i c i a l i t y i sobvious. Pravdin's ( i . e . the state's)

interference on b e h a l f o f the serf represents what Fonvizin want-

ed the state t o do: intercede against the cruel nobility. It

must be noted that Pravdin i snot really a character but rather a

device, a deus ex machina^', that i s , an i n t e r f e r e n c e b y e x t e r n a l

forces i n t h e outcome o f the play. Moreover, Pravdin serves as an.

interlocutor for Starodum during the latter's moralizing. This i s

proved by the fact that i n t h e scenes with Starodum, Pravdin says

only a f e w words o r poses a question t o give Starodum the occasion

to talk at great length. These two a r e e s s e n t i a l l y idealists:

" P e 3 0 H e p c T B O C T a p o f l y M a H n p a B J j H H a B H B O ^ H T C H H3 H X Hfleajib- .
H O C T H . P e a j i H 3 M <i>0HBH3HHa , no MHCJIH HCCJieflOBaTejiH - opraHH^eH :
OH O K a 3 H B a j i C H c n o c o S H b i M 3 a n e ^ a T j i e B a T B npaBfly x a p a K T e p O B jiHmb
OTpHH.a.TejiBHbix nepcoHa^xeS,' HMeHHO OTpHnaTejiBHbie a s j j e H H H .neficTBHT-
ejiBHOCTH O H y M e j i n o H H T B B p e a j i H C T H ^ c K O M n j i a H e " * - 5 *

Like Dobrolyubov and Sof'ya in 3rigadir we can place together


72

MiIon and S o f ' y a o f N e d o r o s l ' . T h e y a r e static uninteresting lovers

who do n o t a c t much l i k e l o v e r s . Milon is the brave young patriot

contrasted w i t h S k o t i n i n and M i t r o f a n , his two r i v a l s . A l t h o u g h he

is courageous, as exemplified in his discourse on v a l o u r , m a n l i n -

ess and p a t r i o t i s m , 5 3 « h e still requires the i n t e r c e s s i o n of Prav-

din and S t a r o d u m to win h i s l a d y l o v e . I f he i s so b r a v e , then

s u r e l y he c o u l d e a s i l y vanquish his two a d d l e b r a i n e d rivals.^*

S o f ' y a embodies the honest i n t e l l i g e n t young g i r l . She has very

little depth to her character and does l i t t l e except look pretty

and t a k e t h e advice o f h e r u n c l e . B o t h she and M i l o n act also as

devices f o r Starodum to divulge h i s i d e a s . They are static exam-

ples of the so-called "enlightened nobility".

"CocbbH H MHJIOH, B oume K O T O P H X H3o6paxteHa floSpofleTejib


BO Bcefi ee KpacoTe, KaxcyTCH fijie^HHMH T C H H M H Kaicoro—TO H H O T O
MHpa. BjiaropoflHbie fleftcTBHH npaBHTejibCTBeHHoro ^HHOBHHica npaBflHHa
HMeioT OTHionb He peajibHbift a HfleajibHbift xapaicgep, ^ T O 6HJIO coBep-
mei-IHO HCHO $0HBH3HHy H eTO COBpeMeHHHKaM. "

Fonvizin's great talent for delineation of character is dem-

onstrated by the t h i r d group of characters. This includes Yeremey-

§ v n a the nanny, and t h e t h r e e tutors. The f o r m e r i s one positive

character who does n o t m o r a l i z e . She i s mainly revealed through

her a c t i o n s . The p o o r woman has suffered greatly at t h e hands of

the Prostakov f a m i l y , yet she is loyal. Yereraeyevna r e c e i v e s blows

and abuse f r o m P r o s t a k o v a as well as threats from M i t r o f a n but

d e f e n d s t h e young pup v e r y b r a v e l y f r o m S k o t i n i n : " I ' l l d i e on the

spot before I ' l l give up ray c h i l d I Come on m i s t e r 1 J u s t y o u t r y !

1*11 s c r a t c h y o u r e y e s o u t i " 5 6 . A l l t h e u n f o r t u n a t e servant re-

ceives for her e f f o r t s is "five roubles a year and f i v e slaps a


73

day". Because she is portrayed as a person with, c o m p l e x i t i e s , Yer-

emeyevna is more human t h a n most o f the others.

"EpeMeeBtia He TOJIBKO THII, npeflCTaBHTejib TOH KaTeropHH KpenoeTHBix,


KOTOPHe HpeBpaTHJIHCB B XOJIOnOB, 3TO H SCHBaH H H f l H B H ^ y a J I b H O C T B . B
ee cyflbSe - cyflbSe T H H H ^ H O H RJIH. pyccKOH ^epeBHH ABOpoBoS JKeHm.HH-
BI - BMecTe c TeM OTpaxceHa H H H ^ H B H jty a JIB Han r o p b K a a XCH3HB H e c ^ a c -
T H O S , 3a6HTOH MaMKH, y KOTopoft eme TenjiHTpa r^e-TO, B rjiySoKHx
TafiHHKax flymn, ^ejiOBe^ecKoe A O C T O H H C T B O . "

Moreover, i t was reported that at the f i r s t production of Hedor-

osl' w i t h the g r e a t actor Shumsky i n t h e r o l e o f Y e r e m e y e v n a ,

the character c r e a t e d was u n f o r g e t t a b l e.58• Although she has' few

lines, she h a s depth to her character.

The f i n a l characters important for our study are the three

tutors of Mitrofan,.superb parodies. Following tradition Fonviz-

i n has given clues to profession or c h a r a c t e r i n t h e i r names.

Mr. Kuteikin, the seminarist and Mitrofan's teacher of religious

studies who constantly mouths Old Church Slavonic expressions

about piety and righteousness, possesses a name w h i c h suggests

that perhaps he i s n o t so p i o u s as he w o u l d l i k e us to believe.

His surname is d e r i v e d from the verb " k u t i t ' " w h i c h means to

carouse or go on a s p r e e . Mr. T s y f i r k i n , a former sergeant who

attempts to teach Mitrofan arithmetic, has a cognomen from "tsif-

ra" - figure or number. The most r e m a r k a b l e example is the half-

Russian half-German a p p e l l a t i v e of t h e German " t u t o r " V r a l ' m a n .

The first syllable is from "vral1", a colloquial word roughly

corresponding to the E n g l i s h " l i a r " or "fibber". The l a s t sylla-

ble is of course t h e German s u f f i x "man" w h i c h when added to the

first gives the same h i l a r i o u s results as the English equivalent

"Fibberman".
7k

The three tutors are very remarkable characters. Kutei-

kin's first appearance on stage is x>?ith a prayer book, spout-

ing ecclesiastical jargon. Re tells about his background in the

local seminary but Fonvizin makes him commit a subtle faux pas

as he relates his own p e r s o n a l history to Pravdin. The eccles-

iastic insists he is a true scholar for he went as far as rhet-

oric in school i.e. no farther than the bottom class I Kuteikin

suggests that the lord willed that he go no farther for he "hath

become afraid of the abyss of wisdom and requesteth his dismis-

s a l . "59. pravdin questions h i m on a particular proverb where-

upon we discover that Kuteikin is not much, o f a scholar.

K u t e i k i n : " N o n s e n s e , Y e r e m e y e v n a . T h e r e i s no s i n i n s m o k i n g
tobacco,
Pravdin ( a s i d e . ) : Kuteikin, too,is showing off.
K u t e i k i n : Many h o l y b o o k s p e r m i t i t . In the P s a l t e r i t i s printed
'And herb for the s e r v i c e o f man'.
P r a v d i n : And where e l s e ?
K u t e i k i n : And i n t h e o t h e r P s a l t e r t h e same t h i n g i s p r i n t e d .
Our f a t h e r , the p r i e s t , has a t i n y book o f about one-eightth
o f an i n c h - a n d i n t h a t o n e i t ' s t h e same t h i n g .
P r a v d i n : (te M r s . P r o s t a k o v . ) I d o n ' t want to d i s t u r b y o u r s o n ' s
s t u d i e s ; please excuse m e . " " 0 *

Later Kuteikin shows he is definitely not an abstainer from alco-

hol as he suggests that he and Y e r e m e y e v n a d r o w n their sorrows in

a glass. The seminarist complains much a n d does not have the pro-

verbial 'grace', for he tells Tsyfirkin that he would love to

"smite" Mitrofan's neck. Although his qualifications are slight,

Kuteikin is genuinely sorry that he cannot teach Mitrofan any-

thing. We c a n speculate on the ecclesiastic's true opinion of

Mitrofan as he has the boy read Psalm 22 v e r s e 6 beginning "I am

a worm." Kuteikin is greedy, for at the conclusion of the play he


75

tries to squeeze extra funds out of the Prostakovs: "No, ray dear

sir, ray bill is not exceedingly short. They owe me for half a

year's tuition, for the shoes which I have worn out in these three

years, for my r e n t , and then again I often made trips here for

nothing, and -"61. s h o r t l y thereafter Kuteikin is ashamed of his

greediness, but runs off only when forced into personal confront-

ation with Mrs. Prostakova. The arithmetic teacher Tsyfirkin is

also poorly educated; he does accounting and teaching only because

he understands a little arithmetic. He d o e s admit at the outset

that he has had little success in teaching Mitrofan. He too com-

plains about conditions but is more distressed at Mitrofan's i n -

ability to learn: "I can't help t h i n k i n g : The L o r d has given me a

pupil, a nobleman's son. I have been struggling with him three

years; he can't even count up to three." • Like the religious

teacher Tsyfirkin is angry at Vrai'man's interruptions and would

dearly love to give the German h i s just deserts. Yet during the •

arithmetic lesson when the young upstart is rude and disrespectful,

Tsyfirkin shows amazing patience. Of the three tutors the arith-

metic teacher is the most sympathetically portrayed. He i s con-

trasted with the greedy Kuteikin at the end of the play:

P r a v d i n : " A n d f o r the tuition?


Cipherkin: Nothing.
S t a r o d u m : Why n o t h i n g ?
C i p h e r k i n : I w o n ' t c h a r g e a n y t h i n g . He d i d n ' t l e a r n a n y t h i n g f r o m
me.
S t a r o d u m : J u s t t h e same - y o u m u s t b e p a i d .
C i p h e r k i n : No r e a s o n f o r i t . I s e r v e d my t s a r f o r o v e r t w e n t y
y e a r s . I t o o k money f o r t h a t s e r v i c e ; b u t f o r d o i n g n o t h i n g
I h a v e n e v e r r e c e i v e d p a y , and I w o n ' t t a k e any now."63.

His honesty is rewarded by money f r o m M i l o n , Pravdin and Starodum.


76

Here F o n v i z i n b r i n g s out an o b v i o u s l e s s o n o f good w i l l for all to

see.

Most h e a v i l y c a r i c a t u r i z e d is the former coachman Vral'man.

A l t h o u g h he does n o t make an a p p e a r a n c e on s t a g e u n t i l the last

scene o f A c t I I I , he i s mentioned three times before t h i s . In this

way F o n v i z i n b u i l d s great interest i n h i m and p r e p a r e s the audience

for his ludicrous entrance. Me. l e a r n much a b o u t V r a l ' m a n f r o m M r s .

Prostakova
" F r e n c h and a l l t h e s c i e n c e s , he t a k e s w i t h Adam Adamych
V r a l ' m a n , a German. That f e l l o w gets t h r e e hundred r u b l e s a y e a r , .
We a l l o w h i m t o e a t a t t h e same t a b l e w i t h u s , and t h e p e a s a n t
women wash h i s l i n e n . I f he h a s t o t r a v e l a n y w h e r e , he g e t s h i s
h o r s e s ; a t t h e t a b l e he a l w a y s h a s a g l a s s o f w i n e , and a t n i g h t a
t a l l o w c a n d l e , and b e s i d e s t h a t , Fomka t i e s h i s w i g s - f o r n o t h i n g .
To t e l l t h e t r u t h , we a r e s a t i s f i e d w i t h h i m ? b r o t h e r , f o r he d o e s n ' t
d r i v e our child."64-.

Vral'man i s the p e r f e c t tutor i n Prostakova's o p i n i o n : he does not

teach. In f a c t i f he had r e c e i v e d a teaching certificate it was

through b r i b e r y or e r r o r . F o n v i z i n b e a u t i f u l l y satirizes the for-

eign tutor: he r e c e i v e s 300 r o u b l e s plus "fringe benefits" for in-

terrupting the l e s s o n s of the o t h e r tutors. V r a l ' m a n knows noth-

ing and t e a c h e s n o t h i n g , y e t he i s p a i d much more t h a n t h e other

two R u s s i a n t e a c h e r s who a t l e a s t attempt to t e a c h . The German is

a very f a r c i c a l character, His hilarious entrance, as he r u s h e s in

to stop the l e s s o n s t h a t have f e a r t h a t they w i l l break Mitrofan's

head, is one o f t h e e x a m p l e s o f farce in Nedorosl'. Vrai'man's

clumsy Russian and e x a g g e r a t e d a c t i o n s probably greatly amused the

audience of the 1 7 8 0 ' s . N o t i c e t h i s ridiculous s l i p he m a k e s :

M r s . P r o s t a k o v : " N o wonder you know t h e g r e a t w o r l d , Adam A d a m y c h .


I g u e s s i n S t . P e t e r s b u r g a l o n e you must h a v e s e e n a l o t .
V r a l ' m a n : E n o u g h , my d e a r m o d d e r , e n o u g h . I v a s a l w a y s f o n t o f
s e e i n g ze p e o p l e . On h o l i d a y s , ze c a r r i a g e s f u l l o f noplemen
77

u s e d t o come t o E k a t e r i n h o f f . A l w a y s I l o o k a t zera. S o m e t i m e s
I v o o t n e f e r g e t o f f ze c o a c h b o x . . .
M r s . P r o s t a k o v : What c o a c h b o x ?
V r a l ' m a n : ( a s i d e . ) A y , a y , a y , ayI V a t am I s a y i n g ? ( a l o u d . ) Y o u
know, modBerV i t i s e a s i e r t o s e e v e n one i s s t a n d i n g h i g h e r ,
and I u s e d t o s i t i n my f r i e p t ' s c a r r i a g e and v a t c h ze g r e a t
s o c i e t y f r o m ze c o a c h b o x . " t ' - : ) •

Vral'man represents support by a f o r e i g n e r of Prostakova's ideas -

what does a R u s s i a n n o b l e m a n n e e d w i t h a r i t h m e t i c , h i s t o r y and

grammar? In the c h a r a c t e r of Vral'man, Fonvizin again demonstrates

his d i s d a i n f o r the f o r e i g n t u t o r . V r a l ' m a n tells Starodum, his

former master, t h a t he s e a r c h e d f o r a j o b i n Moscow f o r t h r e e months

before he t o o k h i s p o s t as t u t o r to M i t r o f a n . This suggests that

being a t u t o r i n the P r o s t a k o v f a m i l y i s a l o w r u n g on t h e s o c i a l -;

ladder.

Fonvizin's three groups of characters are effectively distin-

guished from each o t h e r . A l t h o u g h h i s " p o s i t i v e " characters are

conventional and s t a t i c , and c o n s t i t u t e t h e m a j o r weakness of the

play, the author c r e a t e d memorable f i g u r e s as embodiments o f the

evils of Russian s o c i e t y t h a t he w i s h e d t o s a t i r i z e . In F o n v i z i n ' s

day t h e d i d a c t i c m o n o l o g u e s had the f u n c t i o n o f advocating changes

to c o r r e c t those e v i l s . A r e v e a l i n g anecdote of F o n v i z i n ' s charac-

terization is t h a t many o f h i s "evil" characters were so w e l l por-

trayed that c e r t a i n people were r u m o u r e d t o be t h e i r m o d e l s . °'

To c o m p l e t e o u r a n a l y s i s o f F o n v i z i n ' s N e d o r o s l ' we must

discuss the a u t h o r ' s style and t e c h n i q u e . C e r t a i n c r i t i c s have

stated that Fonvizin was n o t an a r t i s t . ^ 7 . This assertion does not

s t a n d , upon e x a m i n a t i o n o f t h e a u t h o r ' s skilful l a n g u a g e and t e c h -

n i q u e s o f humour. Each c h a r a c t e r ' s ianguage r e f l e c t s h i s own p e r -

sonality. Therefore e a c h has h i s own v o c a b u l a r y and l i n g u i s t i c


78

patterns. Prostakova is p e r s o n i f i e d by her c o l l o q u i a l , often un-

grammatical Russian, t y p i c a l of the p r o v i n c i a l gentry:

"Pe^tb U p o c T a K O B O H BbiflejineTCH npeacne B c e r o CBoen r p y S o c T b i o .


$ O H B H 3 H H nofl^epKHBaeT rpySbifi, ' C K O T C K H H ' xapaKTep IIpocTaKOBoft
M H o r o q n c j i e H H b i M H ee p y r a T e j i b C T B a M H . Ho B O T V K T O x a p a K T e p H o : Bee
3'TH p y r a T e j i B C T B a oSpameHbi Ha K p e n o c T H b i x . "

Very often N e d o r o s l ' ' s rural g e n t r y speak i n p r o v e r b s , folk say-

ings or facetious jibes.^9. ^s a member o f t h i s g r o u p Prostakova

a l s o employs b a s e , c o l l o q u i a l jargon: she o f t e n uses vocabulary

p e r t a i n i n g to animals or beasts such, as "suka", "sobach'ya" ,

"skot", " s k o t s k i i " , "telyonok", "bestiya", " k h a r y u " ' and "ryla".

These emphasize her paradoxical preoccupation with, b e a s t s : Pro-

stakova uses t h i s vocabulary to i n f e r approving or disapproving

meanings interchangeably. Mrs. Prostakovaalso uses o r d i n a r y col-

loquialisms : adjectives - "pervoyet" for "pervyi"; adverbs

"dobrom", "pota ploshe"; verbs - "tak p o d i " , " b r a n i v a l i s ' " (a re-

iterative verb g e n e r a l l y c o l l o q u i a l ) ; and c o l l o q u i a l particles

s u c h as "tka" - "sraotri-tka"-(to add e m o t i o n a l warmth) and "de"

- "kak-de" (a p a r t i c l e Xiihich can i n d i c a t e r e p o r t e d speech).

P r o s t a k o v a u s e s many e m o t i o n a l words i n h e r s p e e c h . This serves

demonstrate her character as well as r e n d e r i n g h e r more v i v i d to

the spectator.70. P r o s t a k o v a shows h e r i g n o r a n c e through her mis

pronunciation of two s i m p l e t e c h n i c a l words: e.g. "arikhmetika."

and " y e o r g a f i a " . But vocabulary i s not the o n l y remarkable ling-

uistic device t h a t P o n v i z i n has used. Colloquial intonation is

also very important:

" H e j o p o c j i b HacbimeH pa3roBopHBiMH HHTOHaiptaMH. KaK npHivrep


HCKjiio^HTejibHoro HHTOHaijHOHHOro p a 3 H O o 6 p a 3 H H n p H B e ^ e M TaicyK) p e n -
79

jiHKy J I p o c T a K O B O H : ' H e TpyflHCb n o n y c T O M y , Jtpyr M O M , r p o m a He n p n -


6aBJiK>: fla H 3a M T O . H a y x a He Tanan, jiHinb Te6e smay My^emie, a
Bee. BKacy n y c T O T a . JleHer HeT - ^ T O c r a T a T b ? J t e n b r n e c T b - co^TeM
H 6e3 HatfcHyTH^a x o p o m o x O H b K a . ' 3,necb <3?OHBH3HH ^ o c T H r a e T nojiHoro
sneMaTJieHHH HenpHH.yscfleHHOH MefljieHHoM 6eoeRu c j i e r i c a B O BpeMH
pa3roBopa KaKHM-TO flpyrHM ji;ejiOM ( i T p o c T a K O B a BHSceT KomejieK.)
He MeHee apKO ©OHBH3HH nepeflaeT rHeB, BOcxHmemie, pac-
TepHHHOCTb H flpyrne ^yBCTBa , oxBaTbiBaromHe ero repoeB.
noMTH 7 B Kascnofi penjiHKe - oSpameHHe K onpeflejieHHOMy
JIHHV.'' M
*

By the technique of low v o c a b u l a r y and coarse intonation to ex-

pose the true nature of the female tyrant, the spectator is able

to identify with her yet at the same time be well aware of Pon-

vizin' s satire.72. prostakova demonstrates moreover, her hypo-

critical nature by using a more refined type of speech to Prav-

din and Starodum.

The remaining members of the Prostakov family use similar

types of lingo. Both. M i t r o f a n and his father speak in rather

breezy colloquial terms but not so base as those of Mrs. Prostak-

ova Skotinin, however, has a coarser speech than the others. His

recipe for speech consists of words like "zachali" and "indo"

mixed with "potylitsa" (colloquial for "zatylok") liberally sprink-

led with his favourite emotive word "svin' i " boiled in a broth, of

brutish intonation. Thus the author exposes the base qualities of

the Prostakov family by their crude language.

On the other hand the second group forms a striking contrast

in language to the first. Pravdin, the government official, uses

a refined Russian with bureaucratic terminology. His sentences are

short and simple, and his speeches are unembellished. His vocab-

ulary includes words like "namest nichestvo", "opredelyon chlenom",

"Uchrezhdennl", all evoking the bureaucrat. Pravdin's language


80

shows that he i s not a raisonneur like Starodum but rather a gov-

ernment, m a n i f e s t a t i o n of justice. In contrast t o the simple yet

refined dialogue of Pravdin, Starodum's speech i s pedantic and com-

plex. His u n r e s t r a i n e d bookish philosophizing revolves around mod-

ifications o r synonyms o f three main words: "dusha", " s e r d t s e " and

I'razum".

"06mee ynoTpeSjieHHe o^HHaKOBHx CJIOB nojioscHTejiBHHMH


- repOHMH
;:
nojCTBepac^aeT KaK pa3 Ty ocoSeiraocTB a3HKa KOM-
' e&im , KOTopaa co3flaeT flBe a3HKOBbix C H C T & M H . B T O M K O H -
TeKCTe , B KOTOPOM ynoTpeSjieHH 3flecB cjiOBa ' cepjme',
' jyma' , ' p a 3 y M ' , H OHH aBjiaioTca npH3HaKOM BHCOKOBOH ,
KHHaCHOH7,pe^H , KOTOpOH rOBOpHJIH B KOMe^HH IIO JIOXCHTeJIBHHe
repoH."

Starodum c o n s t a n t l y employs bookish words like "blagonraviye , 1 1


."pro-

sveshcheniye", "prezreniye","ponosheniye" and such archaic (even i n

Fonvizin's time) expressions as "chestneye byt'"bez viny oboide-

nu...", "skaredu" and " o b o i t i t ' s y a " . Moreover, Starodum demonstrates

his belief i n t h e "good o l d days" by sprinkling h i s conversation

with "p_o t o g d a s h n e m u " to imply a recent social d e c l i n e . The young'

cavalier Milon h a s none o f this pedantic moralizing y e t also uses .

rather stilted bookish expressions like "predstavlyus'"or such a

b e l l e t r i s t i c outburst as : " Ai Jiio6e3Haa Cocf)Ba. Ha <JTO T H m y T -

KOK) M e H a Tep3aeinB ? T H 3HaeniB, KaK jierKO CTpacTHbiii MejiOBeK oro-


74.

p^aeTca H-MajiefiniHM n©fl03peHHeM."Sof'ya 1


s speech also tends t o be

bookish y e t simple. Her vocabulary i s refined; h e r sentences are

not complex.

The terms o f address o f each group a r e r e v e a l i n g . The cult-

ured positive characters use t h e formalized terms."sudarynya" ,

"sudar'" or "gospodin",or bookish expressions "lyubeznaya" or

"drug Rioi serdeshnyi", while employing most often the formal p r o -


81

noun " y y " . The c o a r s e p r o v i n c i a l g e n t r y , however, u t i l i z e "ty"

most o f t e n (Mitrofan uses i t f o r almost everyone, showing h i s lack

of respect) and e m p l o y p r o v i n c i a l i z e d modes o f a d d r e s s , much l e s s '

refined expressions s u c h as "batyushka ", "moi o t e t s " or "otets

rodnoi". A final example i s M r s . Prostakova? s change of terminology

in addressing Sof'ya. A t t h e b e g i n n i n g o f A c t I s c e n e 6 as she

talks t o S o f ' y a on an o r d i n a r y l e v e l , she addresses her simply as

" m a t u s h k a " . When P r o s t a k o v a becomes i n d i g n a n t about the possible

s u r v i v a l o f S t a r o d u m she changes to a s a r c a s t i c "sudarynya" then

to a derisive " m a t u s h k a " . H o w e v e r when she discovers that Sof'ya

is an h e i r e s s it changes to "Sof'yushka", then to " d u s h a moya"

and f i n a l l y to "mat' t y moya r o d n a y a " . A l l t h e s e f o r m s o f address

show v a r i o u s changes in attitude by the speaker and show h e r h y p o -

critical nature.

To c o m p l e t e t h e l i s t of s t y l i s t i c features i n H e d o r o s i ' we

must e x a m i n e the language of the t h i r d group of characters. Yere-

meyevna i s a v e r y s i m p l e human b e i n g , and t h e r e f o r e uses colloquial

l a n g u a g e w i t h many d i m i n u t i v e s . She h a s none o f t h e c o a r s e a n i m a l -

like vocabulary of the P r o s t a k o v f a m i l y ' s speech. Her colloquial-

isms are limited t o o r d i n a r y words s u c h as "nemnozhenko", "te"(for

"tebya") and " t a b a c h i s h c h e m " . K u t e i k i n , t h e e c c l e s i a s t i c , u s e s a

constant f l o w o f C h u r c h S l a v o n i c and a r c h a i c w o r d s , e . g . "mnogaya

leta", "_s c h a d y i domochadtsy" and " d a B o g u i z v o l i v s h u " • The form-

er soldier Tsyfirkin employs m i l i t a r y t e r m i n o l o g y and soldiers'

lingo like "vashe b l a g o r o d i y e " , "po s o l d a t s k i " and c o l l o q u i a l i s m s

typical of t h e common s o l d i e r . Vrai'man's portrayal is strength-

ened b y h i s t h i c k German a c c e n t . He p r o n o u n c e s voiced consonants


82

as u n v o i c e d and h i s u n s t r e s s e d 'o' as ' a ' , w h i c h r e s u l t s ina -

v e r y f u n n y German a c c e n t . . The f o r m e r coachman p r o n o u n c e s t h e s i b -

ilants ' z h ' a s ' z ' and ' s h ' as ' s ' ; h i s p l o s i v e s 'd' and ,'b' b e -

come ' t ' and 'p' and h i s *v' becomes ' f . M o r e o v e r , he u s e s t

rather c o l l o q u i a l l a n g u a g e and t h e o v e r a l l r e s u l t i svery hilarious

to the Russian ear.

In c o n c l u s i o n j l a n g u a g e a c t s as a m a g n i f y i n g glass to gain i n -

sight into character.

"IIo 3aM&icjiy <3?OHBH3HHa, pe^b n p e f l C T a B H T e j i e H pa3Hbix


rpynn pyccKoro oSmecTBa HacTOjibKO pa3JiH^tHa, S T H nepcoHaacH
He B cocToaHHH noHaTb xpyr flpyra. CjieflOBaTejibHO , flHHaM-
HKa p e ^ e B o r o JiBHaceHHa B .HHajiorH^ecKOM n o T O K e CKOBaHa .
BHyTpeHHue C B H 3 H , cooTHomeHHH H KOHTpacTbi o6pa30B rrepco-
Haaceit , o6pa3yK>m.He yAnoflBOflHoe T e u e H H e ' peajiHCTH^ecKoft .upaMbi,
3fleCb OTCyTCTByiOT. "

Language i s another aspect of Nedorosl' t h a t makes i t a remarkable

play. Painstaking details o f speech strengthen t h e e f f e c t t o dem-

o n s t r a t e each m a n i f e s t a t i o n o f p e r s o n a l i t y .

P o n v i z i n e m p l o y e d many d e v i c e s t o s e c u r e and m a i n t a i n humour-

in Nedorosl'. The most o b v i o u s i s embodied i n t h e c h a r a c t e r s . The

Prostakov family with i t s ignorant despot^porcine dullard, timor-

ous mouse and d o l t i s h h o b b l e d e h o y a r e a l l i n t r i n s i c a l l y funny. Hu-

mour abounds i n t h e p e r s o n a g e s o f t h e b e d r a g g l e d nanny Yereraeyevna

and t h e t h r e e p u r b l i n d pedagogues. I t i s achieved through farcital

exaggeration of. p e r s o n a l i t y t r a i t s . Skotinin's intense preoccupa-

t i o n with p i g s i s a p e r f e c t example o f t h i s technique: "I'm f o n d

of hogs, s i s t e r . Why, down o u r way, t h e r e a r e s u c h t h u m p i n g b i g

pigs that every s i n g l e one o f them, i f i t s t o o d u p on i t s h i n d legs,

would be a head t a l l e r than any o f u s . " 7 6 .


83

Exaggerated gestures maintain humour also. The gross scene

of Prostakova's ranting about St.aredum's possible survival and

the brawl between Skotinin and his sister help to create farce.

Further examples' of this technique are the hilarious tale of. Skot-

inin about his uncle, the examination of Mitrofan and the ridicu-

lous exaggeration when the brutish..Prostakovss greet the refined

Starodum:

C T a p o , a ; y M . . . "3TO K K O M V a n o n a j i c f l ?
O K O T H H H H . 3TO H , c e c T p H H 6paT.
CTapcuyM. ( y B H j a eme j B y x , c HeTepneHHeM.) A 3TO K T O eme?
r i p o c T a K O B . ( o S H H w a a . ) fl aceHHH MV#C. \ B M E C T E

MHTpo^aH.rjLjiOBH. p y K y . ) A H MaTyniKHH •.
CblHOK. "

Fonvizin achieved humour in Nedorosl' also by ironical er-

rors and double - entendres.. When Sof'ya relates how S k o t i n i n

withheld her from reading Starodum's letter, Milon, incensed, shouts

"Skotininl" The "pig-headed" idiot who was strolling by thinks he

hears someone calling him and yells "Here I ami" The double - en-

tendre is realized much b e t t e r in Russian than in translation since

Milon's shout occurs at the end of his sentence. Here is another

scene of ironic error to achieve humour:

Mrs. Prostakov: " I n bed I Oh, the t r o l l o p ! In b e d ! Just like a


lady!
Yeremeyevna: She h a s a h i g h f e v e r , m i s t r e s s ; s h e ' s raving, she.
talks nonsense.

Mrs. Prostakov: Raving! Oh! the hussy! Just like a lady tool"?"*

More irony for laughter follows the comments by the coarse charac-

ters in these two scenes:

Mrs. Prostakov: "...Let h i m be as he is; the Lord will punish any


man who d o e s me w r o n g , p o o r me I
S t a r o d u m : I n o t i c e d t h a t , m a d a m , j u s t as s o o n as you appeared at
the door.
P r a v d i n : And I h a v e b e e n w i t n e s s i n g h e r sweet temper for three
days."79.
S k o t i n i n : " " . . . I t e l l you w i t h o u t b o a s t i n g : such, men as. I am
are v e r y r a r e . (•Walks away) ft
Starodum: T h a t ' s very l i k e l y . " d U *

Humour i s again created i n an i r o n i c a l statement b y S k o t i n i n who '

does, n o t r e a l i z e t h e ' i m p a c t o f h i s words.-

Skotinin: "Bahl What's t h i s f e l l o w meddling here f o r ? - ( W h i s p e r -


i n g t o S t a r o d u m ) . Hey, i s he t r y i n g t o b e a t me o f f ?
S t a r o d u m : ( W h i s p e r i n g t o S k o t i n i n ) I t seems so t o me.
S k o t i n i n : ( i n t h e same tone')'.' B u t how? The deuce t a k e hlrril
S t a r o d u m : ( i n t h e same t o n e ) . I t ' s t o o b a d .
S k o t i n i n : ( a l o u d , p o i n t i n g t o M i l o n ) . W h i c h o f us two l o o k s r i d i -
culous? -Ha, ha, ha, h a i
S t a r o d u m : (1 aughs) . I see who i s r i d i c u l o u s .

P o n v i z i n was a m a s t e r o f t h e pun and s u b t l e jibe as w e l l as

the o n e - l i n e s e l f - c o n t a i n e d j o k e . We h a v e a l r e a d y mentioned the

common t r a i t o f puns i n n a m e s . A f u r t h e r example o f t h i s occurs

as Prostakova relates her l i n e a g e . She m e n t i o n s h e r m o t h e r ' s m a i d -

en name: "Priplodinykh" - a pun on " p r i p l o d " (progeny) appropriate

since she b o r e e i g h t e e n c h i l d r e n . A n o t h e r humorous':pun i s made on

t h e words " k r e p k i i " (strong), "uchyonyi" (learned) and "krepkolobyi"

(thick-skulled) after S k o t i n i n has r e l a t e d h i s r i d i c u l o u s tale

.about h i s u n c l e ' s thick skull:

MHJIOH."BBI rocnoflHH ce6n


a
CKOTKHHH , CSMH npH3HaeTe Hey^ieHHM
u e j i O B e K O M , OflHaKO jxyMaro , B STOM cjiyuae H Bam JIO6
6BIJI 6BI He Kpen^e y^eHoro.
GTapoflyM. (MHJIOH.V) 06 3aKga,n He 6eftca.. fl pyuax) , *ITO CKOTHHHHBI
Bee poflOM KpenKOJio6Bi. "

Puns o c c u r d u r i n g M i t r o f a n ' s e x a m i n a t i o n when he c o n f u s e s "prila-

gatel'noye" (adjective) with " p r i l a g a t ' " (to apply).

The l a s t d e v i c e to examine i s P o n v i z i n ' s simultaneous

s p e e c h e s : when two c h a r a c t e r s t a l k at t h e same t i m e . The s i m u l t a n -

eous s p e e c h e s a r e a l l short, s a y t h e same o r s i m i l a r t h i n g s and

are u t t e r e d at t i m e s o f h i g h emotion o r s u r p r i s e . The f i r s t , example


85

occurs when the Prostakovs d i s c o v e r Sof'ya i s an h e i r e s s . These

jumbled speeches create comic confusion. There are fourteen i n -

s t a n c e s of t h i s technique, twelve o f which are i n c l u d e d i n the l a s t

three acts. This proves that F o n v i z i n was a t t e m p t i n g to maintain

his comic e f f e c t t h r o u g h the slow t h i r d and f o u r t h acts i n order to

offset the static m o r a l i z i n g . Thus, t o obtain humour Fonvizin used

not o n l y c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n but also t e c h n i q u e s o f exaggeration ,

jokes, puns and s i m u l t a n e o u s speeches.

A l t h o u g h the p l o t i sf a r t o o contrived t o be a n a c t u a l ser-

ies of e v e n t s , t h e c h a r a c t e r s and m i l i e u are f i t t i n g l y taken from

e i g h t e e n t h - c e n t u r y real life b e c a u s e examples of t h e i g n o r a n t

d u l l a r d s and s t a t i c m o r a l i z e r s d i d exist i n Fonvizin's s o c i e t y . .

The a c t i o n s and speeches o f the personages, moreover, were typic-

al o f the people o f this e r a . Nedorosl' i s an o u t s t a n d i n g p o r t r a i t

of Russian s o c i e t y o f t h e 1700's.

"G B O n p O C O M O pOSCfleHHH B T B O p ^ e C T B e <l?OHBH3HHa p e a J I H C T E T C -


eCKOrO MHP0B03 3peHHH H M e T O f l a CBflSaH B O n p O C O C&0HBH3HHCK0M
H3HKe . H 3flecb $OHBH3HH npeoji;ojieBaeT K j i a c c H ^ e c K H e KaHOHg,
StaHpOBOH KJiaCCH&HKaHHH H JIHTepaTypHOH yCJIOBHOCTH peuH."

To c o n c l u d e our study o f Fonvizin's Nedorosl' we s h o u l d sum-

m a r i z e i t s theme and i m p o r t a n c e . Two m a i n ideas are proffered :

the n e e d f o r a good Slavonic education and t h e r e v e l a t i o n o f the

n o b i l i t y ' s barbarous a t r o c i t i e s against the peasantry. Fonvizin

b e l i e v e d that proper e d u c a t i o n was t h e e l i x i r to cure the evils o f

Russian s o c i e t y . The k e y n o t e was i m p r o v e m e n t t h r o u g h Slavonic en-

l i g h t e n m e n t . He d i d n o t s u g g e s t the a b o l i t i o n of serfdom in the

play'but rather a more h u m a n e m a n n e r o f t r e a t i n g t h e s e r f s . 8I4..


86

Most i m p o r t a n t of all, Nedorosl' i s a d e v i c e w h i c h we i n t h e twen-

tieth century can use t o u n d e r s t a n d a certain segment o f e i g h t e e n t h

century Russian s o c i e t y portrayed through the eyes o f t h e p l a y -

wright.

"3Ta KOMeflHH - 6ecnoflo6Hoe 3epKajio. <l>OHBH3HHy B Heft KaK


TO yflajiocb CTaTb npaMO nepefl pyccicoft fleftcTBHTejiBHOCTBio , B3rw-
HyTB Ha n e e n p o c T O , H e n o c p e f l C T B e H H O , B ynop, rna3aMH, He Boopyac-
eHHHMH HHKSKHM CTeJIKOM, B 3 T J i a f l 0 M , He npeJIOMJieHHbIM HHKaKHMH TOM—
KaMH 3peHHa , H BOcnpoH3BecTH ee c 6e30TueTHOCTbio xyfloacecTBeH-
Horo noHHMaHHH.., 3TO npoH3omjio OTToro, ^ T O Ha STOT p a 3
noaTH-qecKHH B3TJiap, aBTopa CKBO3B TO , ^TO Ka3ajiocb , n p o -
HHK flo Toro , HTO jteftcgBHTeJIBHO npoHcxoflHJio , npocTaa ,
ne^ajibHaa i r p a B j a acH3HH."

There a r e p o l i t i c a l i m p l i c a t i o n s i n the p l a y , mainly r e v o l v i n g

a r o u n d Starodum's f o r m u l a e f o r h u m a n i t y and how t h e t s a r should

rule. These a g a i n originate i n Fonvizin's tenet o f enlightenment.

There were o f c o u r s e u n i v e r s a l themes t h a t a p p l i e d t o any s o c i e t y

-cstupid egoism, a v a r i c e , c r u e l t y , b e s t i a l i t y and supreme ignor-

a n c e . So s u c c e s s f u l was t h e p o r t r a i t o f s o c i e t y i n Nedorosl' that

it inspired a spate o f i m i t a t i o n s such as Sgovor K u t e i k i n a (1789)

by P l a v i l • s h c h i k o v , Obrashchyonnyi mizantrop i i i Leb e dy an s k aya

Yarmonka (1794) °y Kop'yev, M i t r o f a n u s h k a v otstayke (1800)' b y

G o r o d c h a n i n o v , and o t h e r s ( p o s s i b l y a l s o the s o - c a l l e d "early

version" as we have seen b e f o r e ) . I n t h i s p l a y Denis F o n v i z i n

gave a simple presentation o f ignorant p r o v i n c i a l gentry and t h e i r

abuses r e s u l t i n g from l a c k o f proper e d u c a t i o n . He p r e s e n t e d e x -

cellent c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n , s e t a concrete m i l i e u fand'-employed a

vibrant s t y l e . Nedorosl' i s a fine document t o g a i n a "slice of

life" from R u s s i a n p r o v i n c i a l s o c i e t y a l m o s t two h u n d r e d y e a r s ago.


87

EPILOGUE

-" BojimeSHbiH Kpaii I T & M B CTapbi roflbi


GaTHpbi CMejibift BjiacTejiHH, ^
EjIHCTaJI $OHBH3HH, flPyr CBOSOflbl, . . . "

The chronology o f D . I . F o n v i z i n ' s life and t h e a n a l y s e s of

Brigadir and N e d o r o s l 1 have attempted t o prove that F o n v i z i n was

a w r i t e r o f no s m a l l m e r i t . I t i s obvious that F o n v i z i n does not

have the u n i v e r s a l appeal of the most famous men o f R u s s i a n let-

t e r s . B u t any s c h o l a r who d e s i r e s to g a i n i n s i g h t i n t o Russian

society and thought o f the l a t t e r 1700's cannot n e g l e c t Fonvizin.

Brigadir and N e d o r o s l ' bear witness to the remarkable tal-

ent o f t h e i r author. I n c o n s t r u c t i o n h i s two plays are fundament-

ally classical. T h e i r plots seem c o n t r i v e d yet F o n v i z i n employed

many ingenious devices to render h i s i n t r i g u e s more c r e d i b l e .

Possessing a keen sense o f pungent s a t i r e , F o n v i z i n was a master

of c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n . I n B r i g a d i r h i s negative characters are well

portrayed and r i d i c u l o u s in- t h e i r e x a g g e r a t i o n . However, the p e r -

sonages o f N e d o r o s l ' are developed beyond e x a g g e r a t i o n : they are

the epitomes o f t h e i r r e s p e c t i v e ' dominant t r a i t s . Yet in N e d o r o s l '

the reasoning c h a r a c t e r s are on stage much more and t h e i r mono-

logues slow the tempo. F o n v i z i n possessed g r e a t s k i l l of expression|.

his usage of the R u s s i a n language is among the most l i v e l y of h i s

day. The best examples of his talent inB r i g a d i r a r e the Francofied

foppish words o f the G a l l o p h i l e s , the C o u n c i l l o r ' s repetition of

l e g a l t e r m i n o l o g y and the m i l i t a r y jargon o f the B r i g a d i e r . In Ned-

o r o s l S the c r a s s c o l l o q u i a l speech o f the P r o s t a k o v s , contrasted

w i t h the r e f i n e d language o f the educated p e o p l e , i s remarkable.


88

Moreover, the s e p a r a t e l i n g o s of the three tutors (in particular

t h e h i l a r i o u s German a c c e n t o f V r a l ' m a n ) a r e more f i n e features.

Most s t r i k i n g is that the e x p e r t i s e of the author i n language

has rendered each personage's speech a s t a r t l i n g r e v e l a t i o n of his

n a t u r e . F o n v i z i n ' s m a n i p u l a t i o n o f humorous d e v i c e s resulted in

hilarity. The r i d i c u l o u s c o u r t s h i p s c e n e s , double-entendres and

miscomprehensions are the h i g h l i g h t s o f B r i g a d i r . Nedorosl''s

scenes.of b r u t i s h ignorance and c r a s s s t u p i d i t y are among t h e most

a m u s i n g on t h e R u s s i a n stage.

F o n v i z i n ' s works are valuable on b o t h t h e m a t i c and artist-

ic l e v e l s . He h a d t h e c o u r a g e to speak out a g a i n s t p o l i t i c a l and

social, tyranny. Fonvizin c o n s t a n t l y advocated liberal ideas for

e n l i g h t e n m e n t t h r o u g h e d u c a t i o n . H i s w o r k s were i m p o r t a n t testa-

ments o f a g r o w i n g n a t i o n a l awareness and p r i d e in Russia, yet

his themes were a p p l i c a b l e not o n l y to Russians but f r e q u e n t l y to

mankind i n general.
89

FOOTNOTES TO INTRODUCTION
1. E . J o u r d a i n , Ajn I n t r o d u c t i o n t o the F r e n c h C l a s s i c a l Drama,
p. lI(-6.

2. F. d e L a b r i o l l e , "La Drawaturgie de F o n v i z i n . p.77.

3. G-.Makogonenko, Ot F o n v i z i n a do F u s h k i n a , p. 36I4..
90

FOOTNOTES TO C H A P T E R I

1. From a l e t t e r to L . S . P u s h k i n i n A . S . P u s h k i n , Polnoye Sobraniye


Sochinenii, (1937)/ X , p . 1 0 8 . .
2. M o s t o f ray b i o g r a p h i c a l i n f o r m a t i o n i s t a k e n f r o m L y u b o v K u l a -
k o v a , D . I . F o n v i z i n , (1966). A detailed account of F o n v i z i n ' s
l e s s known w o r k s i s c o n t a i n e d i n G . P . M a k o g o n e n k o D . I . F o n v i z i n ,
(1961).

3. R.Pletnev, Entretiens sur la Litterature Russe, (196/4.), p. 117.


I4.. F o r a c o m p l e t e p o r t r a i t o f I v a n F o n v i z i n t h r o u g h D e n i s ' eyes
s e e D . I . F o n v i z i n , I z b r a n n y y e S o c h i n e n i y a i_ P i s ' m a , (19l|7), 1 9 0 -
192. I s h a l l h e n c e f o r t h r e f e r t o t h i s c o l l e c t i o n as D . I . F o n v i z i n
Izbr. Soch.

5. L.Kulakova, D.I.Fonvizin, 8-9.

6. D . I . F o n v i z i n , I z b r . S o c h . , 195. I have r e v i s e d a translation


from C . E . T u r n e r , S t u d i e s i n Russian L i t e r a t u r e , p . 63. I have
used i t because I f e e l i t p r o v i d e s an e x c e l l e n t insight into
F o n v i z i n ' s p e n s e e . To d e m o n s t r a t e s t y l i s t i c d e v i c e s I have
q u o t e d t h e o r i g i n a l where a p r o p o s ; o t h e r w i s e I have g i v e n
quotes from the t r a n s l a t i o n f o r the r e a d e r ' s convenience.

7. Ibid., 195-196.
8. Ibid., p.196.

9. Ibid., p. 200.

10. L.Kulakova, 0p_. cit., p. 16.

11. Akaderaiya Nauk, Istoriya Russkoi Literatury, IV, p. 153.

12. D . I . F o n v i z i n , Sobraniye Sochinenii v d v u k h t o m a k h , (1959) ,


I, p . 3. H e n c e f o r t h I s h a l l r e f e r ~ t o t h i s , c o l l e c t i o n as D.I.
F o n v i z i n , Sob. Soch.

13. B.N.Aseyev, Russkii Dramaticheskii Teatr XVII-XVIII Vekov,(1958)


233-234-. '
llx. A . C o l e m a n , Humour i n the Russian Comedy, (1966), p. 20.

15. D.J.Welsh, Russian Comedy 1765-1823, (1966), p. 15.


16. Ibid., p. 103.

17. D.I.Fonvizin, Sob. Soch., I, p. 209.

18. Ibid., I, p. 217.

1
9» Ibid., I, 207-208.
91

20. Akademiya Nauk, Op. c i t . , p. 155.

21. Ibid., p. 159.

22. G.A.Gukovsky, I s t o r i y a Russkoi L i t e r a t u r y XVIII-ogo Veka ,


(1939), -p. 3 2 7 . ' ~~

23. Akademiya Nauk, Op. c i t . , p. 160.

2Ji. T h i s d o c u m e n t , u n a v a i l a b l e i n any modern c o l l e c t i o n s o f D . I .


F o n v i z i n ' s works, i s f u l l y d i s c u s s e d i n G.P.Makogonenko ,
D . I . F o n v i z i n (1961), 1 6 6 - 1 7 0 . Makogonenko g i v e s a l s o an
e x c e l l e n t a c c o u n t o f t h e i m p r e s s i o n t h a t i t made on F o n v i z i n ' s
c o n t e m p o r a r i e s . See a l s o F . d e L a b r i o l l e , "Le P r o s v e s ' c ' e n i e e t
l e s . Luraie v res en F r a n c e " , ( 1 9 6 6 ) , 8 8 .

2 5 . I t i s r e m a r k a b l e t o n o t e t h a t i n t h e c o l l e c t i o n o f I9J4.7 e d i t -
ed b y N . L . B r a d s k y t h e document i s c a l l e d R a s s u z h d e n i y e o i_s-
t r e b i v s h e i s y a v Ross i i sovsem v s y a k o i f o r m y g o s u d a r t s v e n n o g o
p r a v l e n i y a , f o r m a l l y t h o u g h t t o be* t h e t i t l e b u t d i s p r o v e d
b y P . N . B e r k o v i n F o n v i z i n , S o b . S o c h . , I I , 679-632.

2 6 . See G . G u k o v s k y , O p . c i t . , 331 and A k a d e m i y a N a u k , Op. c i t . ,


p . 1 8 2 . G u k o v s k y c a l l s i t one o f t h e most s h i n i n g e x a m p l e s
of eighteenth-century Russian p u b l i c i s m .

27. D . I . F o n v i z i n , S o b . S o c h . , I I , 255-2.56. F o r F o n v i z i n at his


e l o q u e n t b e s t see a l s o p a g e s 2 5 8 - 2 5 9 .

2 8 . A c t u a l l y F o n v i z i n had made a s h o r t t r i p t o t h e German s t a t e s •


i n 1 7 6 2 - 1 7 6 3 b u t i t was n o t u n t i l 1777 t h a t he made an extend—;'
ed t r i p .

29. Hans R o g g e r , "The R u s s i a n National Character" (1957), p. 21.

30. H . S e g e l , The L i t e r a t u r e of Eighteenth-Century Russia, (1967),

31. G . G u k o v s k y , Op. c i t . , 3 2 8 - 3 2 9 .

3 2 . See T u r n e r , Op. c i t . , p. 6I4. and R o g g e r , Op. c i t . , p. 21.

33. H.Rogger, Op. e x t . , p. 22.

314... H . S e g e l , Op. c i t . , p.. .336.

35. D . I . F o n v i z i n , Sochineniya, (1893), 298-299.

3 6 . B . V . V a r n e k e , The R u s s i a n Theatre, (1951), P. 26.

37. F o r a c o m p l e t e h i s t o r y o f t h i s work see P.N.Berkov's commentary


i n F o n v i z i n , S o b . S o c h . , I I , 671+-679.

38. •Ibid.-, I I , p. 237.


92

39. The r e s t o f t h i s w o r k was p u b l i s h e d l a t e r the same year.


See G . M a k o g o n e n k o , " O p . c i t . , p . 29k-.

40. D.I.Ponvizin, Izbr. Soch., 119-122.

41. See G.Makogonenko, Istoriya Russkoi Zhurnalistiki (1962).

42. D. I . P o n v i z i n , Izbr. Soch., p. 132.

43. Ibid.., p. 134-.

44* G . M a k o g o n e n k o , D.I.Fonvizin, (1961), p. 299.

45. D.I.Fonvizin, Sob. Soch., II, 276-278.

46. Akademiya Nauk, Op. cit., p. 186.

47. Akademiya Nauk, Ru a ' s k i v e Dramaturgiye, (1959), p. 282.

48. G.Gukovsky, Ocherki po istorii russkoi literatury XVIII-ogo


veka, p. I87.

49. G.Gukovsky, Istoriya russkoi literatury X V I 1 1 - o go veka (1939) ,

50. B.Guerney, The Portable Russian Reader, {19kD, 22-27.

51. Ibid., p. 27.

52. D.I.Fonvizin, Sob.Soch., II, 478-479.


53. See J.J.Rousseau, Confessions, (I960).

54« D.I.Fonvizin, Sob.Soch., II, p. 13.

55. Ibid., p. 20.

56. G. Makogonenko, D.I.Fonvizin, (1961), p. 296.


57. Ibid., p. 316.

58* Ibid., p. '309.

59. L . K u l a k o v a , Op. cit.156-160.

60'. G . M a k o g o n e n k o , D.I.Fonvizin (1961), p. 317.


.61. D.I.Fonvizin, Sob. Soch., II, 308-311.

62. Ibid., p. 38. '

63. Akademiya Nauk, Istoriya Russkoi Literatury, IV, 188-189.

64* D.I.Fonvizin, Sob. Soch., II, p. 39.


93

65. Ibid., II, p. 617.

66. V. Vsevolodsky-Gerngross, Russkii Teatr Vtoroi Poloviny XVIII


veka, ( I 9 6 0 ) , p. 266.

67. A . S . P u s h k i n , Op. C i t . , 9 6 .

68. Akademiya Nauk, Russkiye Dramaturgiye, (1959), p. 287.

69. Akademiya Nauk, Istoriya Russkoi L i t e r a t u r y , IV, p. 190.


9h

FOOTNOTES TO CHAPTER II

1. N i k o l a i N o v i k o v "Opyt i s t o r i c h e s k o g o slovarya o rossiiskikh


p i s a t e l y a k h " , 1772. f r o m P . S . S h a m e s , F o n v i z i n v Russkoi K r i t -
ike t (1958), p . 7 1 .
2. See A . S t e n d e r - P e t e r s e n , G e s c h i c h t e d e r R u s s i s c h e n L i t e r a t u r ,
(1957), P . 4 0 9 , f o r a d e s c r i p t i o n o f the a f f i n i t i e s o f F o n -
v i z i n ' s w i t h Holberg's work.

3. D . J . W e l s h , R u s s i a n Comedy 1765-1823, (1966), p . 1+5.

Ix. See B e r t h a M a l n i c k ' s r e v i e w a r t i c l e o f P . N . B e r k o v ' s R u s s k a y a


K o m e d i y a i K o m i c h e s k a y a O p e r a i n t h e S l a v o n i c and E a s t E u r -
opean R e v i e w , N o . 31~Tl9"53)7~P» 571+.

5. D . J . W e l s h , O p . c i t . , p . 1+9.

6. Ettore l o Gatto, Storia delCTeatro Russo, (191+5), p . 117.

7. G . G u k o v s k y , I s t o r i y a R u s s k o i L i t e r a t u r y X V I I I v e k a , (1939), p.
3 2 6 . See a l s o N . B r o d s k y i n F o n v i z i n , I z b r . S o c h . , p . 289.

8 . G . M a k o g o n e n k o , 0_t F o n v i z i n a do P u s h k i n a , (1969), p . 227.

9. V . V s e v o l o d s k y - G e r n g r o s s , "Kogda b y l n a p i s a n Brigadir?", p . 1+60.

10. See Fonvizin, Izbr.Soch., p. 203.

11. See G.Makogonenko, D . I . F o n v i z i n , ( 1 9 6 1 ) , 131+-11+0.

12. Quoted i n A . C o l e m a n , . Humour i n t h e R u s s i a n Comedy, (>1966) ,


p . 21.

13. B.V.Varneke, History of the R u s s i a n Theatre, (195D, P . li+2.

ll+. Many S o v i e t c r i t i c s t e n d t o o v e r l o o k f o r e i g n influences. In


p a r t i c u l a r see B . N . A s e y e v , O p . c i t . , p . 231+.

15. N . G .Chernishevsky, Polnoye Sobraniye S o c h i n e n i i , (191+9), I I ,


791+.
16. Ibid., II, 803.

17. B.Aseyev, O p . c i t . , p. 2l+l.

18. F . d e L a b r i o l l e , "L'op^ra-comique russe et le drame en France",


( 1 9 6 5 ) , 1+08-1+09.

1 9 . D . D . B l a g o i , Russkaya L i t e r a t u r a X V I I I v e k a , (1955), p.285,p.288.

20. N . E v r e i n o f f , H i s t o i r e du T h 6 a . t r e R u s s e , (191+7), p . 193.


95

21. G . G u k o v s k y , O c h e r k i po I s t o r i i Russkoi L i t e r a t u r e , (1958),

22. I b i d . - , p . 185.

23. The S o v i e t n i t s a c a n n o t be i n c l u d e d s i n c e she is playing the


G a i l i c love-game.

2i|. B . V a r n e k e , H i s t o r y of the R u s s i a n Theatre, ( 1 9 5 D , p.llj.2.

25. D . I . P o n v i z i n , The B r i g a d i e r as t r a n s l a t e d in Segel, The Lit-


erature of Eighteenth-Century Russia, I I , p . 3kh»-

26. I b i d . , p. 323.

27. I b i d . , 331-332.
28. M o l i e r e , L e s Precieuses Ridicules, (1962), p . 58.

29. N . C h e r n i s h e v s k y , O p . c i t . , p. 801.

30. H. S e g e l , Op.cit., p. 329.

32. H . R o g g e r , "The R u s s i a n National Character", (1957), p . 19.

31. I b i d . , p. 368.

33. H . S e g e l , O p . c i t . , p. 325.

34. I b i d . , p. 327.

35. I b i d . , p . 345.
36. A. C o l e m a n , Op.cit., p. 78.

37. N . C h e r n i s h e v s k y , Op.cit., p. 799.

38. N . E v r e i n o f f , O p . c i t . , p . 192. See also R.Pletnev, Op.cit., p.


85 and B.VarneTke, O p . c i t . , plli.1.

39. V . I . G l u k h o v , " P r o s v e t i t e l ' s k i i Realizra...", (1967), p . 93.

I4.O. H. S e g e l , O p » c i t . , p . 32I4.. F o r a f u r t h e r interpretation see


N . C h e r n i s h e v s k y , O p . c i t . , p . 801.

41. I b i d . , p. 328.

1^2. I b i d . , p . 3I4.6.

43. I b i d . , p. 339.

Ixli, L . B a r a g , "0 R e a l i s t i c h e s k i k h T e n d e n t s i a k h . . . " , (1966) , p.l55»

45. H . S e g e l , O p . c i t . , p. 337.
96

1x6. Ibid., p. 361.

1x7. Ibid., p. 352.

1x8. Ibid., p. 335.

i+9. P. deLabriolle, "L'opera-comique russe et le drarae en Prance",


(1965), p. 73.

50. Segel, Og.clt., 34-9.

51. Ibid., p. 333.

52. Ibid., pi 353.

53. G.Makogonenko, O t F o n v i z i n a do Pushkina, (1969), p. 231.

54-.. J . Patouille, Le theatre russe et les Comedies de Moeurs, (1912)


p. 56.

55.. H.Segel, Op.cit., p. 32lx.

56. Ibid., p. 326.

57. Ibid., p. 344.

58. See notes #3/'x. a n d #35.

59. Ibid., .p. 366.

60. Ibid., p. 330.

61. Ibid., p. 330.

62. Ibid., p. 363.

63. Ibid., p. 368.

64-. Ponvizin, Sob . S o c h . , I, 86-87.

65. H.Segel, Op.cit., p. 363.

66. D.Welsh, O p . c i t . ,plOlx.

67. D . I . . P o n v i z i n , Sob . S o c h . , I,p50.

68. Ibid., p.-5l-

69. Ibid., p. .4.9. •

70. Ibid., p. 52.

71. See Barag, "0 R e a l i s t i c h e s k i k h Tendentsiakft(1966), p. 152.


97

FOOTNOTES TO C H A P T E R III .

1. I.A.Goncharov, Sobraniye Sochinenii, (1952),VIII, p. 8.

2. G . K o r o v i n , "Rannyaya Komediya D . I . F o n v i z i n a - pervaya redak-


tsiya. Nedoroslya", ( 1 9 3 3 ) , 21x3-263.

3. D.Welsh, "Satirical Themes in 18-th Century Russian Comedies",


(1965), p . 4-11.

Ix. K.Pigarev, Tvorchestvo Fonvizina, (1954-), 313-334-.

5. A. P.Mogilyansky, '"Kvoprosu-o tak nazyvayemom 'Rannera'1 'Nedoro-


s l e ' V (1966), p*J+17.

6. F o r a c o m p l e t e l i s t o f t h e v a r i o u s t y p e s o f h a n d w r i t i n g and t h e
conclusions of Vsevolodsky-Gerngross see h i s book R u s s k i i teatr
v t o r o i poloviny XVIII veka, (I960), 366-375.

7. A.Mogilyansky, Op.cit., p. 1x21.

8. D . J . W e l s h , R u s s i a n Comedy 1765-1823, (1966), p. 29. Recently


,-G.Makogonenko i n h i s book o f - 1969 has a g r e e d with Welsh's
dates.

9. Ettore LoGatto, Storia del Teatro Russo,' I, p. 129.

10. N.Evreinoff, Histoire du T h e a t r e Russe, p.. 197.

11. Akademiya Nauk, Istoriya Russkoi - L i t e r a t u r y , (194-7), IV, p. 177.

12. G.Makogonenko, Ot F o n v i z i n a do Pushkina, (1969), p. 339.

13. D . I . F o n v i z i n The M i n o r t r a n s l a t e d in G.R.Noyes, Masterpieces


of the R u s s i a n Drama, (196l) . r

Ill-, Ibid., p. 37.

15. F. deLabriolle, "La Dramaturgie de Fonvizinc",(1967), p. 77.

16. Ibid., p. 77.

17. .G.Gukovsky, I s t o r i y a Russkoi Literatury i Obshchestvennoi


M y s l i , p. 189.

18. R. Pletnev, Op.cit., p. 129.

19. B. Varneke, Op.cit., p. 11x4-.

20. G.Noyes, Op.cit., p. 59.


98

2 2 . I b i d . , p. 3 0 .

23. I b i d . , p. 4 2 .

21+. I b i d . p . ' 7 9 .
2 5 . I b i d . , p. 34.
2 6 . I b i d . , p. 31.

27. G.Makogonenko, Ot F o n v i z i n a do Pushkin a, ( 1 9 6 9 ) , ' p. 361.


28. G.Gukovsky, O p . c i t . , p. 190.

29. D.Welsh, The R u s s i a n Comedy 1765-1823, ( 1 9 6 6 ) , p. 74.

30. K l a s s i k i Russkoi Dramy, (19^2), p. 44*

3 1 . See i n p a r t i c u l a r the p o r t r a y a l o f the henpecked husband i n


the R i c h a r d L e s t e r f i l m "A Funny T h i n g Happened on the Way
to the Forum".

3 2 . G.Noyes, O p . c i t . , p. 3 0 . .

3 3 . I b i d . . p. 3 3 .
34* I b i d . , p. 34.
3 5 . I b i d . , p. 31.

3 6 . I b i d . , p. 8 0 .

37. O r i g i n a l l y a n e d o r o s l ' was a young man up t o f i f t e e n years o f


age p r e p a r i n g f o r s t a t e s e r v i c e . He then became a n o v i k and
had t o serve i n the m i l i t a r y . By a law o f 1736 the p e r i o d o f
n e d o r o s l ' was extended t o twenty y e a r s o f age.

38. E t t o r e L o G a t t o , O g . c i t . , p. 128.

3 9 . G.Noyes, O g . c i t . p . 72.

40. I b i d . , . p. 4 0 .

41. V.Klyuchevsky, Ocherki i Rechi, ( 1 8 9 6 ) , p. 293.

4 2 . G.Noyes, O p . c i t . p . 71.

43. I b i d . , p. 3 9 .

4 4 . I b i d . , p. 3 2 .

45.. I b i d . , 73-74.
99

46. V.Vsevolodsky-Gerngross, O p . c i t . , p. 210.

47. G . N o y e s , O p . c i t . ,- p . 4 7 . I t i s t o be n o t e d t h a t S t a r o d u m i s not
q u i t e c o r r e c t here s i n c e t h e p r o n o u n "vy_" was o f t e n u s e d i n
common f o r m a l a d d r e s s .

I4.8. B . R o g g e r , OjD.cit., 20-21.

49. J u d g i n g f r o m P o n v i z i n ' s memoirs t h e s u g g e s t i o n t h a t S t a r o d u m


i s an i n c a r n a t i o n o f I v a n P o n v i z i n seems r e a s o n a b l e .

$0. G . M a k o g o n e n k o , O p . c i t . , p. 346.

$1. A . S t e n d e r - P e t e r sen,-. O p . c i t . ,• p . ItlS •

5 2 . G . M a k o g o n e n k o , O p . c i t . , • p . 348. See a l s o G . G u k o v s k y , Istoriya


R u s s k o i L i t e r a t u r y X V I I I . v e k a , (1939) ,• 345-346.

53. Ibid., 357.

54« V . V s e v o l o d s k y - G e r h g r o s s , O p . c i t . , p. 216.

55. L . B a r a g , "Komediya P o n v i z i n a N e d o r o s l ' " , p. 104.

56. N o y e s , O p - . c i t . ,• p . Ill,

57. G.Makogonenko, O p . c i t . , p. 360.

58. B . V a r n e k e , Op.cit., p. 145.

59. G . N o y e s , O p . c i t . , p. 44*

60. I b i d . , p. 44.

61. I b i d . , , p. 82.

62. I b i d . , p. 57.

63. I b i d . , p. 82.Note that Noyes has Cipherkin instead of Tsyfirkin.

64« I b i d . , p . 34.
65. I b i d . , p. 66.

66. B . V a r n e k e , O p . c i t . , p. 143.

67. A.Stender-Petersen, Op. c i t . , p. 4^9.

68. Y e . P e r e l ' m u t t e r , "Yazyk i S t i l ' Komedii P o n v i z i n a N e d o r o s l ' " ,


( 1 9 4 9 ) , p.. 21.
69. A . I l y u s h i n , "0 Y a z y k e K o m e d i i D . I . P o n v i z i n a N e d o r o s l ' " , (1967),
p . 12.
100

70. L.Barag, O p . c i t . , . p. 109.


71. - I b i d . ,p!07.

72. K l a s s i k i R u s s k o i Dramy, (1952), p . i+5.

73* Y e . P e r e l ' m u t t e r , O p . c i t . , p. 21.

7J4.. P o n v i z i n , Sob.Soch.,- I, 119. See also LoGatto, Op.cit., p.128.

75. Vinogradov, 0 Yazyke Khudozhestvennoi L i t e r a t u r y , (1959) , P.4-71.

76. N o y e s , Op.cit., p. 33.

77. F o n v i z i n , S o b . S o c h . , I, p.137.

78. N o y e s , O p . c i t . , p. 53-

79. I b i d . , p. Sh-

80. I b i d . , p. 55.

81. I b i d . , p. 70.

82. F o n v i z i n . , Sob . S o c h . , I, l6ii.

83. G . G u k o v s k y , I s t o r i y a Russkoi L i t e r a t u r y i Obshchestvennoi


M y s l i , p . 191.

Qh. D . W e l s h , " S a t i r i c a l Themes i n 1 8 - t h C e n t u r y R u s s i a n Comedies",


p.. J j . l l .

85. V . K l y u c h e v s k y , O p . c i t . , p . 282.
101

FOOTNOTE TO EPILOGUE

1. A . S . P u s h k i n , Evgenii One-gin, (1968), p . $7-


102

APPENDIX A — CHRONOLOGY

171+5 Denis I v a n o v i c h P o n v i z i n born i n Moscow A p r i l 3/lij-.

17^3-1758 e a r l y s c h o o l l i f e ; wins g o l d medals.

1759-1761 s t u d i e s a t S t . P e t e r s b u r g U n i v e r s i t y ; wins g o l d medals.

1761-1769 translator f o r "Collegia f o r Foreign Affairs*.

1761- 1762 t r a n s l a t e s Holberg's f a b l e s , O v i d , V o l t a i r e , T e r r a s son;


Torg Semi Muz.
1 7 6 2 - 1763 t r a v e l s i n German s t a t e s .

1 7 6 3 - 176ii. p r e s e n t s K o r i o n , L i s i t s a - K o z n o d e i , P o s l a n i y e k slugam
moyim, K umu moyemu, P o s l a n i y e K YamshchikovuT
1765-1766 t r a n s l a t e s I o s i f , gtorguyushcheye dvoryanstvo and S o k r a -
sheniye o v o l ' n o s t i .
1769-1782 s e r v e s under Count P a n i n .

1769 Brigadir; translates Sidnei _i S i l l i

1771 S l o v o na v y z d o r o v l e n i y e . . .

177J+ m a r r i e s ; works on Rassuzhdeniye o gosudarstye voobshche...

1 7 7 6 - 1778 works on Rassuzhdeniye o nepremennykh zakonakh

1 7 7 7 - 1778 t r i p t o Prance

1777 S l o v o p o k h v a l n o y e Marku A b r e l i y u
1

1779 Ta - G i o . . .

1782 Nedorosl'

1 7 8 2 - 1792 r e t i r e s ; spends l i f e travelling and w r i t i n g

1783 P o v e s t o v a n i y e mnimogo..., Poucheniye govorennoye v dukhov .


den' . • ., C h e l o h i t n a y a r o s s i i s k o i M i n e r v e . • . , Neskol'ko vop-
r o s o v . . . , Opyt r o s s i i s k o g o S o s l o v n i k a , N a c h e r t a n i y e d l y a
Sostavleniya

1 7 8 3 - 1788 Drug chestnykh. l y u d e i (... P r i d v o r n a y a Grammatika 1 7 8 3 ) .

178k Z h i z n ' G r a f a P a n i n a ; e x c e r p t o f Dobry N a s t a v n i k .

178L-1785 t r i p abroad to Italy


103

1785 falls ill with p a r a l y s i s

1785 Rassuzhdeniye 0 natsional'nom lyubochesti

1786 Kallisfan

1787 t r i p to Southern Europe

1789- 1792 Chistoserdechnoye p r i z n a n i y e . . . (not f i n i s h e d )

1790- 1792 Vybor Gubernera (not f i n i s h e d )

"1792 dies December 1/12


10k

APPENDIX B — BIBLIOGRAPHY

BOOKS

A k a d e m i y a Nauk S S S R . I s t o r i y a R u s s k o i L i t e r a t u r y . v o l . k. I z d a t -
e l ' s t v o A k a d e m i i Nauk~ ( H e n c e f o r t h , a b b r e v i a t e d as I z . A k . N a u k )
Moscow ; L e n i n g r a d : 19lj-7.

. Iz I s t o r i i r u s s k i k h l i t e r a t u r n y k h otnoshenii XVIII v.
I z . A k T N a u k " . M o s c o w - L e n i n g r a d : 195"9.

. Russkiye Dramaturgiye. I z . A k . N a u k . Moscow-Leningrad :


T9T^rr -
. Vo p r o s y I z u c h e n i y a R u s s k o i L i t e r a t u r y X I - X X vekov.
I z . A k . N a u k ' . M o s c o w - L e m n g r a c l T~T95"8.

A.Alferov. Sbornik voprosov po i s t o r i i russkoi literatury. n.d.,n.

B . N . A s e y e v . R u s s k i i D r a m a t i c h e s k i i T e a t r 17-18 v e k o v . G o s u d a r s t -
vennoye I z d a t e l ' s t v o " I ' s k u s s T v o ^ ( T h e n c e f o r t h a b b r e v i a t e d as
G o s . I z . " I s k . " ) M o s c o w . : 1958.

I . M . B a d a l i c h and V . D . K u z ' m i n a . P a m y a t n i k i R u s s k o i S h k o l ' n o i Dramy


X V I I I v e k a . I z . A k . N a u k . Moscow : 19o"o\

P.N.Berkov. I s t o r i y a Russkoi Z h u r n a l i s t i k i XVIII veka. Iz.Ak.Nauk.


M o s c o w - L e n i n g r a d : 1952.

. L i t e r a r i s c h e W e c h s e l b e z i e h u n g e n z w i s c h e n R u s s l a n d und_
W e s t e u r o p a im 18 J a h r h u n d e r t " " R u t t e n und L o e n i n g . B e r l i n : 1968

, E d i t o r . Russkaya Komediya i Komicheskaya Opera l8-ogo


veka. G o s . I z . I s i n ^ ~ M o s c o w : 1950.
u

. Vvedeniye v izucheniye i s t o r i i r u s s k o i l i t e r a t u r y XVIII


veka. I z d a t e l ' s t v o Leningradskogo U n i v e r s i t e t a . Leningrad :196k

D . D . B l a g o i . F o n v i z i n . Gosudarstvennoye I z d a t e l ' s t v o "Khudozhestven-


n a y a L i t e r a t u r a " ( h e n c e f o r t h a b b r e v i a t e d as G o s . I z . " K h u z h . L i t . " )
Moscow : 1 9 k 5 .

- , E d i t o r . I s t o r i y a Russkoi L i t e r a t u r y . v o l . 1. Iz.Ak.Nauk
M o s c o w - L e n i n g r a d : 1958".

. I s t o r i y a Russkoi L i t e r a t u r y XVIII-ogo veka. Gosudarst-


vennoye U c h e b n o - P e d a g o g i c h e s k o y e I z d a t e l ' s t v o . T h e n c e f o r t h ab-
b r e v i a t e d as G o s . U c h . P e d . I z . ) Moscow : 1 9 k 5 .

. I s t o r i y a Russkoi L i t e r a t u r y XVIII-ogo veka. Gos.Uch.


P e d . I z . Moscow : 1 9 £ l .
io5

: . I s t o r i y a R u s s k o i L i t e r a t u r y XVIII-ogo veka. Gos.Uch.


~ P e d . I z . "T^scow": "T955T" • ~~ "'
E.B.O.E.Borgerhoff. The E v o l u t i o n o f L i b e r a l Theory and P r a c t i c e
i n the F r e n c h Theatre 1 6 7 0 - 1 7 5 * 7 . P r i n c e t o n U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s .
Princeton : 1 9 3 6 .

P e t e r Brang. S t u d i e n zu T h e o r i e und P r a x i s der r u s s i s c h e n e r z a h -


l u n g 1 7 7 0 - 1 8 1 1 . Otto H a r r a s s o w i t z . Wiesbaden :~ I960.

N . L . B r o d s k y , E d i t o r . Denis I v a n o v i c h F o n v i z i n . B i b l i o t e k a SSSR
Iraeni V . I . L e n i n a . Moscow : I9I4.5.

I.A.Bunin. R u s s k i v e P i s a t e l i . I z d a t e l ' s t v o Zeraski G o r o d s k i Dey-


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