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How an Orthodox German became the father of Russian theatrical comedy – Rossiyskaya Gazeta

Date: July 12, 2024 Time: 17:51:21

-You, Your Imperial Majesty, are too merciful. At least Lafontaine is needed here! – answered the man with the mother-of-pearl buttons, bowing.

The blacksmith Vakula, who flew to St. Petersburg and, together with a delegation of Cossacks-Cossacks, received a reception in the Winter Palace, begs Catherine II to give him slippers for his bride Oksana. The comical thing about the situation is that the Cossacks came to the northern capital to ask the empress for a serious favor for the Sich, who had recently begun to be oppressed.

“What is the fault of the Zaporozhye army?” the head of the delegation asks the queen, “is it because it transferred its army through Perekop and helped its generals defeat the Crimeans?”

Next to Catherine is Prince Potemkin Tauride, the same peacekeeper of the “Crimeans”, and he frowns because his honor and merits are damaged here. The situation is political and extremely, as they would say today, “sensitive” and dangerous. If the naive (in fact, the more cunning) Vakula had not unloaded him with his absurd admiration for the queen’s shoes, it is still unknown how he would have ended up. But the queen laughed at her words and ordered her to bring exactly the same slippers. And at the same time he forgave the Cossacks.

This happens in high politics.

The second historical figure next to Catherine is the court satirist Fonvizin (Fon-Vizin was written in the 18th century). Modest, but also aware of his dignity. He must describe this story; The queen herself assigns him that task. He didn’t have time, he died of paralysis before he turned fifty. But he died, passing on his legacy to Griboyedov and Gogol.

It is not known exactly what year he was born. His 280th birthday was celebrated last year, is being celebrated this year and will be celebrated in the future. But it’s worth it, because it was this Orthodox German who became the father of Russian theatrical comedy.

He was born on April 14 in the family of State Councilor Ivan Andreevich Von-Wiesin (Russian voice of the German Von-Wiesen). The founder of the family was a German baron, captured by the Russians during the Livonian War of 1558-1583.

It is even curious how much foreigners captured by Russian literature did. Pushkin’s great-grandfather, Abram Petrovich Hannibal, was the son of a black African prince captured by the Turks. “Arapchonka” was brought to Moscow by an Istanbul merchant of Croatian-Serbian origin. Pushkin’s teacher, poet and translator, Vasily Andreevich Zhukovsky, was the son of a captured Turkish woman, Salha. The founder of Russian novelism, the author of “Ivan Vyzhigin” Thaddeus Venediktovich Bulgarin originally bore the name Jan Tadeusz Krzysztof, was a Pole by birth and a captain in the French army who was captured during the war with Napoleon. They also say that democracy creates a “melting pot” of nations. Nothing like this. It is generated by empires and times of colonial wars.

As a child, Fonvizin was intelligent and talented, thanks to which he successfully studied at the Moscow University Gymnasium, visited St. Petersburg among the first students, met the almighty statesman Ivan Ivanovich Shuvalov and met MI Lomonosov and the creator of the Russian theater FG Volkov. He was accepted into the service of the Faculty of Foreign Affairs as a translator and became secretary to another statesman, writer and philosopher and, of course, to the prominent freemason IP Elagina. By the way, Freemasonry is the second side of the coin of the origins of our secular literature after “foreignism”.

In St. Petersburg, young Fonvizin became famous for his sharp tongue, so he easily made friends and enemies. At the same time, he worked intensively as a literary translator. In his arsenal are Ovid and Voltaire, with whom Catherine II herself corresponded. But real fame, as far as it was possible in the narrow literary circle of the 18th century, came to him after writing the original comedy “The Brigadier.” The same one that is mentioned in Gogol’s first story.

In a comedy that consists of five acts, there are only eight characters. And only two of them have a name: Brigadier Ivanushka’s son and Counselor Sofia’s daughter. And only one character has a last name, but he is so “revealing” that one cannot doubt his virtues: Dobrolyubov. “Talking” surnames are generally characteristic of the 18th century. The reader and viewer had to immediately understand what “product” was being offered to them in the book or on the stage. Then, both theater and literature began to abandon “speaking” names. Readers have taken notice and “marketing” has become more sophisticated. But even in “Woe from Wit”, if the colonel is a fanfare, then he is Skalozub, and in “The Inspector General”, if he is a liar and a talker, then he is Khlestakov.

Fonvizin’s second comedy, which is still included in the school curriculum, is “The Minor”. There are twice as many characters here: 15. But the names and surnames are also beyond doubt. A man of old mental yeast: Starodum. Kind and simple: Prostakov. Pleasant in every way – Milon. And the most negative character is, naturally, Skotinin. It is curious, however, that “The Skotinins, the gray-haired couple” later migrated to the novel “Eugene Onegin”…

Pushkin appreciated Fonvizin. Both Gogol and Belinsky appreciated it. “Like first love” (from the Russian comedy scene), “the heart of Russia will not forget.” It is not for nothing that Pushkin considered this German baron “from the Russian to the Russian.”

* This website provides news content gathered from various internet sources. It is crucial to understand that we are not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information presented Read More

Hansen Taylor
Hansen Taylor
Hansen Taylor is a full-time editor for ePrimefeed covering sports and movie news.
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