My Life in Art

Hardcover (Print)
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $19.56
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 56%)
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (12) from $19.56   
  • New (5) from $24.36   
  • Used (7) from $19.56   


Konstantin Stanislavski was a Russian director who transformed theatre in the West with his contributions to the birth of Realist theatre and his unprecedented approach to teaching acting. He lived through extraordinary times and his unique contribution to the arts still endures in the twenty-first century. He established the Moscow Art Theatre in 1898 with, among other plays, the premiere of Chekhov's The Seagull. He also survived revolutions, lost his fortune, found wide fame in America, and lived in internal exile under Stalin's Soviet Union.

Before writing his classic manual on acting, Stanislavski began writing an autobiography that he hoped would both chronicle his rich and tumultuous life and serve as a justification of his aesthetic philosophy. But when the project grew to 'impossible' lengths, his publisher (Little, Brown) insisted on many cuts and changes to keep it to its deadline and to a manageable length. The result was a version published in English in 1924, which Stanislavski hated and completely revised for a Soviet edition that came out in 1926.

Now, for the first time, translator Jean Benedetti brings us Stanislavski's complete unabridged autobiography as the author himself wanted it – from the re-edited 1926 version. The text, in clear and lively English, is supplemented by a wealth of photos and illustrations, many previously unpublished.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
'This wise and delightful book … is packed with sage, practical counsel to actors and actresses.' – The Times Literary Supplement

'The Stanislavski system of acting is good. What is better is the Stanislavski philosophy of art that believes in the infinitude of man ... Even those who are not primarily interested in acting will find in Stanislavski's writing an extraordinary illumination of art.' – The New York Times

"This vibrant translation assures that Staniskavski's memoir will be appreciated by a wide audience of Anglophone readers... Highly Recommended." – CHOICE

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415436571
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 4/11/2008
  • Pages: 488
  • Sales rank: 788,553
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Stanislavsky was the co-founder (with Nemirovich-Danchenko) of the Moscow Art Theatre, which took the international theatre world by storm when he began producing the plays of Anton Chekhov in 1898. (Nemirovich-Danchenko went on to set up the Moscow Art Theatre School, which is still running today.)

He is the author - with the help of his translator Elizabeth Hapgood, who also edited his scattered writings and became 'co-author' - of My Life in Art; An Actor Prepares; Building a Character; Creating a Role; and various other marginalia (put together, I suspect, postumously).

Jean Benedetti is the author of many books about acting and Stanislavsky, including The Art of the Actor (2005); Stanislavsky: An Introduction (2E 2004); and Stanislavsky and the Actor (1998). All these were co-published with Methuen and, I think, commissioned by them. Initially working as an actor, director and television writer, he turned to teaching and became the Principal of Rose Bruford College, still a highly respected drama school.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

A note on transliteration     ix
Translator's note     x
Publisher's acknowledgements     xi
Introduction: Stanislavsky's Double Life in Art   Laurence Senelick     xiii
Translator's preface: Stanislavski's Hidden Life in Art   Jean Benedetti     xxvi
Artistic Childhood     1
Obstinacy     3
The circus     9
Puppet theatre     15
Italian opera     17
Pranks     20
Schooldays     25
The Maly Theatre     29
My debut     34
Acting in life     40
Music     45
Drama school     52
Artistic Adolescence     63
The Alekseev Circle     65
A rival     72
Interregnum     75
Artistic Youth     87
The Moscow Society of Art and Literature     89
First season     91
A fortunate accident     96
Control     100
Two steps back     103
When you play a bad man look for the good in him     105
Character acting     107
Another misunderstanding     110
TheMeiningen Company     113
Hackwork     116
My first production in drama     118
Personal success     120
Meetings with Tolstoi     122
Success     127
My passion for directing     131
Experiences with professionals     135
Othello     142
A castle in Turin     150
The Sunken Bell     153
A memorable meeting     158
Waiting for the opening of the Moscow Art Theatre     164
The first season opens     177
The historico-realistic line     181
The line of fantasy and imagination     186
The line of Symbolism and Impressionism     191
The line of intuition and feeling     192
Chekhov's visit - Uncle Vanya     198
A trip to the Crimea     201
Three Sisters     204
First visit to Petersburg     207
Provincial tours     212
Savva Morozov and the building of the theatre     213
The socio-political line     215
Maksim Gorki     219
The Lower Depths     222
Instead of intuition and feeling, the line of the everyday     226
Instead of intuition and feeling, the line of historical Naturalism     228
The Cherry Orchard     232
The studio on Povarskaya Street     242
Artistic Maturity     251
Discovery of truths long since known     253
The Drama of Life     262
Ilya Satz and Leopold Sulerzhitski     266
Black velvet     268
The Life of Man     274
A visit to Maeterlinck     276
A Month in the Country     279
Duncan and Craig     285
Attempt to use the 'System' in life     297
First studio     301
Cabbage nights and the 'Chauve Souris'     309
An actor must know how to speak     313
Revolution     318
Disaster     322
Cain     324
The Bolshoi Opera Studio     328
Departure and return     335
The final balance and the future     343
Appendices: Variants and Articles     351
For the Chapter Othello     353
Chekhov remembered     356
The Moscow Art Theatre's tour in Europe and America 1922-1923     382
Endnotes     441
Chronology     451

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)