Spartacus and His Early Soviet Theatrical Representation
Keywords:Spartacus, Soviet Union, Raffaello Giovagnoli, Vladimir Mazurkevich, Vladimir Volkenstein
Spartacus became one of the key figures of Soviet dramaturgy in the 1920s. He was presented as the only ancient predecessor of the Bolsheviks and his theatrical image significantly shaped the later icon of the gladiator as a brave leader of the oppressed masses and a hero acting in the name of the proletariat. This article explores the image of Spartacus in early Soviet theater and mass performance and outlines the correlation between the template of Spartacus’ portrayal, Raffaello Giovagnoli’s novel Spartaco (1874), and the first dramatic adaptations by Vladimir Mazurkevich (1920) and Vladimir Volkenstein (1921). The article examines the use of the ancient hero in Bolshevik propaganda and traces the ways in which Spartacus’ image morphs and maps onto wider shifts of Soviet political and cultural policy in the early decades of the USSR.
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