History of Literature

Russian literature


Aleksandr Sukhovo-Kobylin


Aleksandr Vasilyevich Sukhovo-Kobylin (Russian: Александр Васильевич Сухово-Кобылин) (September 29 [O.S. September 17] 1817, Moscow - September 24 [O.S. September 11] 1903, Beaulieu-sur-Mer, France), was a Russian nobleman, chiefly known for the works he authored as an amateur playwright.

A rich aristocrat who often travelled, Sukhovo-Kobylin was arrested, prosecuted and tried for seven years in Russia for the murder of his French mistress Louise-Simone Dimanche, a crime of which he is nowadays generally believed to have been innocent. He only managed to achieve acquittal by means of giving enormous bribes to court officials and by using all of his contacts in the Russian elite. According to his own version as well as the generally accepted view today, he was targeted precisely because he had the financial capabilities to give such bribes. Based on his personal experiences, Sukhovo-Kobylin wrote a trilogy of satirical plays about the prevalence of bribery and other corrupt practices in the Russian judicial system of the time - "Krechinsky's Wedding" (Russian: Свадьба Кречинского) (1850-1854, begun in prison), "The Trial" (Russian: Дело) (1869), and "Tarelkin's Death" (alternatively titled "Rasplyuyev's merry days" (Russian: Смерть Тарелкина, Расплюевские веселые дни) (1869). The first work had immediate success and became one of Russia's most frequently performed plays. It is also considered Sukhovo-Kobylin's best. The trilogy in its entirety was published in 1869 under the title "Scenes from the Past" (Russian Картины прошлого). Attempts to stage the last two plays ran into difficulties with censorship; in particular, "Tarelkin's Death" was only staged in 1899. While popular, the two sequels failed to achieve the same success as the first play.


Discuss Art

Please note: site admin does not answer any questions. This is our readers discussion only.

| privacy