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New K.A. Roman Comedy on the Russian Stage: Alexander N. Ostrovsky’s There Was Not a Penny, But Suddenly Altyn and Plautus’ Aulularia. Studia Litterarum, 2019, vol. 4, no 1, pp. 138–159. (In English)
DOI: 10.22455/2500-4247-2019-4-1-138-159

Author: Katherine Anna New
Information about the author:

Katherine Anna New, BA Oxon (Classics, Medieval and Modern Languages), Mst Oxon (Medieval and Modern Languages), Postgraduate at the Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages, University of Oxford, New College, Holywell St., Oxford OX1 3BN, Oxford, United Kingdom.
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Received: November 20, 2018
Published: March 25, 2019
Issue: 2019 Vol. 4, №1
Department: World Literature
Pages: 138-159

UDK: 821.161.1 + 821’01
BBK: 83.3(2Рос=Рус)52 + 83.3(0)3
Keywords: comedy, reception, adaptation, assimilation, reconstruction, structure, plot, dénouement, character.


The article is devoted to the analysis of literary sources of Alexander N. Ostrovsky’s comedy There Was Not a Penny, But Suddenly Altyn. The two-level approach to the study of Ostrovsky’s play has enabled the assessment of both the degree to which it assimilated Plautus’ Aulularia and the manner in which the Russian playwright reflected the comedic conventions of his literary model. At the micro-structural level of There Was Not a Penny, the extent of Ostrovsky’s assimilation of the Aulularia has been made evident by the analysis of five dramatic supra-phrasal units, which occur in both plays. At the macro-textual level, Ostrovsky’s reception of the interconnected system of dramatis personae, his assimilation of Plautus’ binary plot-line, and his adaptation of the Aulularia’s dramatic structure, develop and conclude in a strikingly similar fashion. The similarities of the dénouements of both plays consist in the harmonizing function of the closure, the fusion of both plot-lines, and the achievement of relative stability in the romantic theme. The two-level approach has also served to reveal the boundaries of Ostrovsky’s assimilation of the Aulularia, restricted to the macro- and micro-structural spheres of his play. Although Ostrovsky inherits the skeletal plot of the Aulularia and its system of characters, he endows it with an emotional intensity and psychological depth that is absent in Plautine’s comedy.


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