Symbolist Ideas in the Scripts of Gubpolitprosvet

The Theory and Practice of Proletarian Performance


  • Nina V. Braginskaya Russian State University for the Humanities



Silver age of Russian culture, third, Slavonic Renaissance, rebirth of Antiquity, theater, symbolist ideas


During the period of the so-called Silver age of Russian culture, three outstanding translators of the Greek tragedy, Tadeusz Zieliński, Innokentiy Annensky and Vyacheslav Ivanov, put forward the idea of the third, Slavonic Renaissance – the new rebirth of Antiquity, with the leading role of the Slavic peoples, particularly the Russians. They claimed that while the first Renaissance was Romanesque and the second German (in the era of Winckelmann, Goethe and German classical philology), the third one was supposed to be Slavonic. In the early Soviet period, the idea of Slavonic Renaissance brought about some unexpected results, first of all precisely in the sphere of theater. The paper focuses on how symbolist ideas got to be expressed in the performances of classical tragedies. Ivanov authored the expression “creative self-performance” that later, in the Soviet era, acquired the meaning of “non-professional performance,” such as comedies staged by “sailors and the Red Army soldiers,” Adrian Piotrovsky’s “amateur theatre,” and the pioneer reconstruction of the scenic performance of Aristophanes’ comedies done by Sergey Radlov, Adrian Piotrovsky, and others.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biography

  • Nina V. Braginskaya, Russian State University for the Humanities

    NINA BRAGINSKAYA is Chief Researcher at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities and Professor of Classics at the Institute for Oriental and Classical Studies, Head of the Sector of Classical Studies, Russian State University for the Humanities. Alumna of Moscow University (1972), she worked as a freelancer up to the end of the communist era. She translated ancient authors and wrote commentaries on Aristotle, Plutarch, Dio Chrysostom, Livy, Cicero and others, and published papers on comparative mythology, ancient theatre, arts and literature, and history of classical scholarship. Her 1992 habilitation explored Philostratus’ Imagines. She has published more than 300 scholarly works and devoted the last decade to comparative study of the ancient novel, Christian narratives, and Jewish Apocrypha. Her book Hyrgos logos (2003) is a commentary on Psellus’ epistle comparing Achilles Tatius to Heliodorus. Her recent publications include The Ancient Novel and the Early Christian and Jewish Narrative: Fictional Intersections; “Innovation disguised as tradition: commentary and the genesis of art” in Persistent forms: explorations in historical poetics; and a study on Aesop or the Mistake of God (2007 in Russian). She translated the Four Books of Maccabees, publishing them with extended commentaries and research papers (Moscow–Jerusalem 2014), and a paper on Russian Classicist Olga Freidenberg “A Creative Mind Incarcerated” in Women Classical Scholars: Unsealing the Fountain: from the Renaissance to Jacqueline Romilly (Oxford University Press, 2016).



22. 11. 2018




How to Cite

Braginskaya, Nina V. 2018. “Symbolist Ideas in the Scripts of Gubpolitprosvet: The Theory and Practice of Proletarian Performance”. Keria: Studia Latina Et Graeca 20 (3): 27-40.