Keywords: reception, translation, Villiers de l’Isle-Adam, Severny Vestnik, poetics, Modern Drama, Silver Age.
For citation:

Savina A.D. In the Wake of the New Drama: Villiers de l’Isle-Adam’s La Révolte and Its First Russian Translation. Studia Litterarum, 2019, vol. 4, no 3, pp. 72–91. (In Russ.)

DOI: 10.22455/2500-4247-2019-4-3-72-91

Author: Anfisa D. Savina
Information about the author:

Anfisa D. Savina, Senior Researcher, A.M. Gorky Institute of World Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Povarskaya 25 a, 121069 Moscow, Russia.

E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Received: February 15, 2019
Published: September 25, 2019
Issue: 2019 Vol. 4, №3
Department: World literature
Pages: 72-91
DOI: 10.22455/2500-4247-2019-4-3-72-91
UDK: 821.133.1+ 821.161.1
BBK: 83.3(4Фра)+83


The article deals with the special case of the Russian reception of Villiers de l’Isle- Adam’s work, namely with the publication of the Russian translation of the writer’s early drama La Révolte (“Мятеж” [Revolt], Severny Vestnik 1897, no 10). Albeit conceived as a social drama, the play is actually a philosophical and poetic work. The conflict is based on the opposition between a conceited bourgeois Felix and his wife whose monologues express the author’s own idealism. Anti-positivist and feminist ideas of the play corresponded with the views of the magazine’s editors A. Volynsky and L. Gurevich. A document discovered in the archive reveals that the translator in question was S.A. Mochan, author of several publications related to the theme of female emancipation. Distinctive features of the play include the “poetics of repetition” (Jolly) that contributes to the creation of the internal integrity of the drama as well as the emphasis on the internal rather than external action. Tracing the author’s use of the key words (réalité, rêve, sens commun, etc.) and their translation into Russian, I argue that the drama has a circular structure and that the heroine’s defeat is confirmed by the fact that she adopts her spouse’s way of speech. The Russian translation had substitutions and omissions that leveled some of the author’s devices and smoothed the originality of the characters. At the same time, the rhetorical devices used by the translator made it possible to preserve the inner action based on the change of the emotional condition of the characters. An analysis of the language of the original drama and its translation demonstrates that close attention to the word is one of the characteristic features of Villiers de l’Isle-Adam’s poetics.


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