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Rolet S. How the french discovered the Lower depths. Studia Litterarum, 2018, vol. 3, no 1, pp. 154–177. (In French) DOI: 10.22455/2500-4247-2018-3-1-154-177

Author: Serge Rolet
Information about the author:

Serge Rolet, Professor, University of Lille, 42, rue Paul Duez, 59000 Lille, France.

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Received: January 17, 2018
Published: March 25, 2018
Issue: 2018 Vol. 3, №1
Department: Russian Literature
Pages: 154-177

UDK: 821.161.1.0
BBK: 83.3(2Рос=Рус)6
Keywords: Maxim Gorky, The Lower Depths, Antoine, Lugné-Poë, Eleonora Duse, trial, J. Marchlewski, Eugène Séménoff, Élie Halpérine-Kaminski, Serge Persky.


Despite the exceptional fame of Maxim Gorky in France since the very beginning of the 20 th century, the French public did not discover The Lower Depths until October 1905, later than other European countries. The competition between two translators, Eugène Séménoff and Élie Halpérine-Kaminski, lead to a lawsuit, which delayed the staging of the play for two years. Following the end of the trial, the play was immediately produced by Lugné-Poë at L’Œuvre Theatre; the press had advertised the play as the pinnacle of the theatrical season. The most noteworthy event was the performance on October 23, 1905 when Italian tragic actress Eleonora Duse played the part of Vassilissa in Italian, while other actors played their parts in French.


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