|Original title||Три смерти|
|Subject||Philosophy of death in the Ancient Rome|
Three Deaths (Russian : Три смерти, translit. Tri smerti) is a lyric drama by Apollon Maykov. Its original version, called "The Choice of Death", finished in 1851, had problems with censorship and was first published, severely cut, under the title Three Deaths in 1857, in the October (No.10) issue of Biblioteka Dlya Chtenyia . The final version of it appeared in the Complete A.N. Maykov (1893).
Russian is an East Slavic language, which is official in the Russian Federation, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, as well as being widely used throughout Eastern Europe, the Baltic states, the Caucasus and Central Asia. It was the de facto language of the Soviet Union until its dissolution on 25 December 1991. Although, nowadays, nearly three decades after the breakup of the Soviet Union, Russian is used in official capacity or in public life in all the post-Soviet nation-states, as well as in Israel and Mongolia, the rise of state-specific varieties of this language tends to be strongly denied in Russia, in line with the Russian World ideology.
Romanization of Russian is the process of transliterating the Russian language from the Cyrillic script into the Latin script.
Drama is the specific mode of fiction represented in performance: a play, opera, mime, ballet, etc, performed in a theatre, or on radio or television. Considered as a genre of poetry in general, the dramatic mode has been contrasted with the epic and the lyrical modes ever since Aristotle's Poetics —the earliest work of dramatic theory.
Three Deaths belongs to the series of Maykov's poems dealing with the history of early Christianity and its conflict with the ancient cultures of Ancient Greece and Rome. The idea, originated in the late 1830s, was first implemented in the 1841 poem "Olynthus and Esther", subtitled: "The Scenes of Rome of the 5th century AD". In the preface to Three Deaths Maykov explained that he wanted to "show the antagonism of the two ideas" that clashed in the late Roman Empire and "just couldn't co-exist peacefully... Sensuality and spirituality, the outer and the inner life emerged as enemies, in direct opposition to each other and were doomed to fight a deadly battle."Vissarion Belinsky disliked the poem but suggested some constructive criticism.
Christianity is a religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as described in the New Testament. Its adherents, known as Christians, believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and savior of all people, whose coming as the Messiah was prophesied in the Old Testament. Depending on the specific denomination of Christianity, practices may include baptism, Eucharist [Holy Communion], prayer, confession, confirmation, burial rites, marriage rites and the religious education of children. Most denominations have ordained clergy and hold regular group worship services.
Ancient Greece was a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history from the Greek Dark Ages of the 12th–9th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Roughly three centuries after the Late Bronze Age collapse of Mycenaean Greece, Greek urban poleis began to form in the 8th century BC, ushering in the Archaic period and colonization of the Mediterranean Basin. This was followed by the period of Classical Greece, an era that began with the Greco-Persian Wars, lasting from the 5th to 4th centuries BC. Due to the conquests by Alexander the Great of Macedon, Hellenistic civilization flourished from Central Asia to the western end of the Mediterranean Sea. The Hellenistic period came to an end with the conquests and annexations of the eastern Mediterranean world by the Roman Republic, which established the Roman province of Macedonia in Roman Greece, and later the province of Achaea during the Roman Empire.
In historiography, ancient Rome is Roman civilization from the founding of the city of Rome in the 8th century BC to the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD, encompassing the Roman Kingdom, Roman Republic and Roman Empire until the fall of the western empire. The civilization began as an Italic settlement in the Italian peninsula, dating from the 8th century BC, that grew into the city of Rome and which subsequently gave its name to the empire over which it ruled and to the widespread civilisation the empire developed. The Roman empire expanded to become one of the largest empires in the ancient world, though still ruled from the city, with an estimated 50 to 90 million inhabitants and covering 5.0 million square kilometres at its height in AD 117.
Before setting out to work upon the poem, Maykov had done a lot of research. "It took a long time for me to write The Three Deaths, the play came out of studying the philosophical ideas [of the time]. In fact, I started upon it several times, trying to improve one character or the other, depending which school of thought I was under the influence of, the Epicureanism or the Stoicism," he wrote in his 1850 autobiographical notes.
Epicureanism is a system of philosophy based upon the teachings of the ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus, founded around 307 BC. Epicurus was an atomic materialist, following in the steps of Democritus. His materialism led him to a general attack on superstition and divine intervention. Following Aristippus—about whom very little is known—Epicurus believed that what he called "pleasure" (ἡδονή) was the greatest good, but that the way to attain such pleasure was to live modestly, to gain knowledge of the workings of the world, and to limit one's desires. This would lead one to attain a state of tranquility (ataraxia) and freedom from fear as well as an absence of bodily pain (aponia). The combination of these two states constitutes happiness in its highest form. Although Epicureanism is a form of hedonism insofar as it declares pleasure to be its sole intrinsic goal, the concept that the absence of pain and fear constitutes the greatest pleasure, and its advocacy of a simple life, make it very different from "hedonism" as colloquially understood.
Stoicism is a school of Hellenistic philosophy founded by Zeno of Citium in Athens in the early 3rd century BC. While Stoic physics are largely drawn from the teachings of the philosopher Heraclitus, they are heavily influenced by certain teachings of Socrates. Stoicism is predominantly a philosophy of personal ethics informed by its system of logic and its views on the natural world. According to its teachings, as social beings, the path to happiness for humans is found in accepting the moment as it presents itself, by not allowing oneself to be controlled by the desire for pleasure or fear of pain, by using one's mind to understand the world and to do one's part in nature's plan, and by working together and treating others fairly and justly.
In the preface for the original version Maykov wrote: "The play centers upon the three different views upon the meaning of life, belonging to the people of the [doomed] ancient world... My objective was to represent the general character of this particular epoch, and create human characters... I might have been negligent in terms of factual correctness, but those looking for strict history should apply for Tacitus, not my play, for the latter is but a poetic representation of the spirit of the epoch."
PubliusCornelius Tacitus was a senator and a historian of the Roman Empire. The surviving portions of his two major works—the Annals and the Histories—examine the reigns of the emperors Tiberius, Claudius, Nero, and those who reigned in the Year of the Four Emperors. These two works span the history of the Roman Empire from the death of Augustus, in 14 AD, to the years of the First Jewish–Roman War, in 70 AD. There are substantial lacunae in the surviving texts, including a gap in the Annals that is four books long.
The drama was finished in 1851. Its first version, titled "Choice of Death", was much more radical than the final one, which was published in 1893. At the time it could be neither published nor produced by the Imperial Theatres, and circulated in hand-written versions, praised by many as a strong artistic statement for individual freedoms in general and freedom of speech in particular.
Imperial Theatres of Russian Empire was a theatrical organization financed by the Imperial exchequer and managed by a single directorate headed with a courtier director; was pertain to the Ministry of the Imperial Court from 1742.
In December 1854 an amateur production of the play was presented in the house of the architect A.Stackensheider, featuring Maykov as Seneca, Vladimir Benediktov as Lucan and the art teacher N.O. Osipov as Lucius.The play, under the title Three Deaths, was first published in the October 1857 issue of Biblioteka Dlya Chtenya.
An architect is a person who plans, designs and reviews the construction of buildings. To practice architecture means to provide services in connection with the design of buildings and the space within the site surrounding the buildings that have human occupancy or use as their principal purpose. Etymologically, architect derives from the Latin architectus, which derives from the Greek, i.e., chief builder.
Seneca the Younger(c. 4 BC – AD 65), fully Lucius Annaeus Seneca and also known simply as Seneca, was a Roman Stoic philosopher, statesman, dramatist, and—in one work—satirist of the Silver Age of Latin literature.
Vladimir Grigoryevich Benediktov (Russian: Влади́мир Григо́рьевич Бенеди́ктов, was a Russian romantic poet and translator, of Goethe, Schiller, Barbier, Gautier and Mickiewicz, among others.
"Maykov has written a superb poem called Choice of Death which is something unheard of in the modern history of our poetry," wrote Pyotr Pletnyov to Yakov Grot on September 29, 1851. In an October 31 letter he continued: "Maykov recited both of his new poems at my place, one being Choice of Death, another "Savonarola"... Alas, the publication of [the former] now is out of the question: our censorship behaves like a boa constrictor rushing instinctively to strangle all things still breathing.""There is no hope of seeing the new Maykov's poems in print, even if there is nothing in them but the fine poetical truth," Pletnyov wrote to Mikhail Pogodin on November 19. "It is nice to think and hard to believe that our times can still produce such works as A Family Affair and Choice of Death", wrote Grigory Danilevsky to Pogodin on December 26, 1851.
"With immense pleasure did I read... the greatest poetic work of our times, and I am now awaiting for the Complete Works of our not only the best, but the only 'objective' poet," wrote the publicist Pyotr Lavrov in the November 27, 1857, letter to Maykov after Three Deaths had finally appeared in the October 1857 issue of Biblioteka Dlya Chtenya.
"In Three Deaths we see the peak of the whole Maykov's career," wrote in 1859 liberal critic Alexander Druzhinin.Dmitry Pisarev called Three Deaths one of Maykov's best poems. It was praised by Maxim Gorky who recommended it for the inclusion into the Anthology of the Russian Poetry published by the Grzhebin Publishing house.
Mikhail Yevgrafovich Saltykov-Shchedrin, was a major Russian satirist of the 19th century. He spent most of his life working as a civil servant in various capacities. After the death of poet Nikolay Nekrasov he acted as editor of the well-known Russian magazine, Otechestvenniye Zapiski, until the government banned it in 1884. His best-known work, the novel The Golovlyov Family, appeared in 1876.
Mikhail Yuryevich Lermontov was a Russian Romantic writer, poet and painter, sometimes called "the poet of the Caucasus", the most important Russian poet after Alexander Pushkin's death in 1837 and the greatest figure in Russian Romanticism. His influence on later Russian literature is still felt in modern times, not only through his poetry, but also through his prose, which founded the tradition of the Russian psychological novel.
Ivan Alexandrovich Goncharov was a Russian novelist best known for his novels A Common Story (1847), Oblomov (1859), and The Precipice (1869). He also served in many official capacities, including the position of censor.
Nikolay Alexeyevich Nekrasov was a Russian poet, writer, critic and publisher, whose deeply compassionate poems about peasant Russia made him the hero of liberal and radical circles of Russian intelligentsia, as represented by Vissarion Belinsky, Nikolay Chernyshevsky and Fyodor Dostoyevsky. He is credited with introducing into Russian poetry ternary meters and the technique of dramatic monologue. As the editor of several literary journals, notably Sovremennik, Nekrasov was also singularly successful and influential.
Afanasy Afanasyevich Fet, later known as Shenshin ; 5 December [O.S. 23 November] 1820 – 3 December [O.S. 21 November] 1892), was a renowned Russian poet regarded as the finest master of lyric verse in Russian literature.
Apollon Nikolayevich Maykov was a Russian poet, best known for his lyric verse showcasing images of Russian villages, nature, and history. His love for ancient Greece and Rome, which he studied for much of his life, is also reflected in his works. Maykov spent four years translating the epic The Tale of Igor's Campaign (1870) into modern Russian. He translated the folklore of Belarus, Greece, Serbia and Spain, as well as works by Heine, Adam Mickiewicz and Goethe, among others. Several of Maykov's poems were set to music by Russian composers, among them Rimsky-Korsakov and Tchaikovsky.
Aleksey Nikolayevich Pleshcheyev was a radical Russian poet of the 19th century, once a member of the Petrashevsky Circle.
Apollon Aleksandrovich Grigoryev ; was a Russian poet, literary and theatrical critic, translator, memoirist and author of popular art songs.
Lev Aleksandrovich Mei was a Russian dramatist and poet.
The Simpleton is the debut novel by Alexei Pisemsky, written in the late 1840 and first published in October and November 1850 by Moskvityanin. The novel has met critical acclaim and made Pisemsky a popular author.
The Vampire is a gothic novella by Aleksey Konstantinovich Tolstoy, first published in Saint Petersburg in 1841 under the pseudonym of Krasnorogsky.
Boyarshchina is an early novel by Aleksey Pisemsky. Written in 1844-1846 under the original title Is She to Blame?, it was published only in 1858 in Biblioteka Dlya Chteniya magazine.
Biblioteka Dlya Chteniya was a Russian monthly magazine founded in Saint Petersburg, Russian Empire, in 1834 by Alexander Smirdin.
A Protégée of the Mistress is a play by Alexander Ostrovsky, first published in the No.1, January 1859 issue of Biblioteka Dlya Chteniya. Refused the permission to be produced at the Imperial Theatres in October 1859, it premiered in Maly Theatre, Moscow, only on October 21, 1863.
Two Fates is a poem by Apollon Maykov, first published in 1845 in Saint Petersburg, as a separate edition, under the title "Two Fates. A Real Story by A.N.Maykov" and with considerable censorship cuts. It hasn't been re-issued in the author's lifetime and first appeared in its original form in The Selected Works by A.N.Maykov.
Two Worlds is a tragedy in verse by Apollon Maykov first published in February 1882 issue of The Russian Messenger. It represents the final part of the poetic cycle dealing with the conflict between paganism and Christianity. In 1882 Two Worlds won its author the Pushkin Prize for literature and was hailed as his most prominent work to date.
The Wanderer is a poem by Apollon Maykov, first published in the No.1, January 1867 issue of The Russian Messenger. It was dedicated to Fyodor Tyutchev and subtitled: "First part of the drama The Thirsty One".
Boyarin Orsha is a poem by Mikhail Lermontov, written in 1835-1836 and first published by Andrey Krayevsky in the No.7, 1842, issue of Otechestvennye Zapiski.
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Alexander Filippovich Smirdin was a prominent Russian publisher and editor. Smirdin was the first in Russia to start selling books cheap enough to make them accessible to wide readership, and to develop the standard set of financial criteria for paying authors. He maintained strong links with the country's literary elite and, in retrospect, played a key role in the development of Russian literature in the early 19th century. Smirdin published all the best known works by Nikolai Karamzin, Vasily Zhukovsky, Alexander Pushkin, Ivan Krylov as well as numerous textbooks and seminal books on history and science.