×

Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

The Lower Depths
     

The Lower Depths

by Maxim Gorky
 

See All Formats & Editions

The Lower Depths (Russian: На дне, Na dne, literally: 'At the bottom') is perhaps Maxim Gorky's best-known play. It was written during the winter of 1901 and the spring of 1902. Subtitled "Scenes from Russian Life," it depicted a group of impoverished Russians living in a shelter near the Volga. Produced by the Moscow Arts Theatre on

Overview

The Lower Depths (Russian: На дне, Na dne, literally: 'At the bottom') is perhaps Maxim Gorky's best-known play. It was written during the winter of 1901 and the spring of 1902. Subtitled "Scenes from Russian Life," it depicted a group of impoverished Russians living in a shelter near the Volga. Produced by the Moscow Arts Theatre on December 18, 1902, Konstantin Stanislavski directed and starred. It became his first major success, and a hallmark of Russian socialist realism.

The characters of The Lower Depths are said to have been inspired by the denizens of the so-called Bugrov Homeless Shelter (Russian: Бугровская ночлежка, Bugrovskaya nochlezhka) in Nizhny Novgorod, which had been built in 1880-83 by the Old Believer grain merchant and philanthropist Nikolai Alexandrovich Bugrov (Russian: Николай Александрович Бугров) (1837—1911) in memory of his father, A.P. Bugrov. When the actors of the Moscow Arts Theatre were preparing the play for its first run in 1902, Maxim Gorky supplied them with photographs of the Nizhny Novgorod underclass taken by the famous local photographer, Maxim Dmitriev (Максим Дмитриев), to help with the realism of the acting and costumes.

When it first appeared, The Lower Depths was criticized for its pessimism and ambiguous ethical message. The presentation of the lower classes was viewed as overly dark and unredemptive, and Gorky was clearly more interested in creating memorable characters than in advancing a formal plot. However, in this respect, the play is generally regarded as a masterwork.
The theme of harsh truth versus the comforting lie pervades the play from start to finish, as most of the characters choose to deceive themselves from the bleak reality of their condition.

Alexei Maximovich Peshkov (28 March 1868 – 18 June 1936), primarily known as Maxim Gorky was a Russian and Soviet author, a founder of the Socialist Realism literary method and a political activist.

Gorky’s reputation as a unique literary voice from the bottom strata of society and as a fervent advocate of Russia's social, political, and cultural transformation grew. By 1899, he was openly associating with the emerging Marxist social-democratic movement which helped make him a celebrity among both the intelligentsia and the growing numbers of "conscious" workers. At the heart of all his work was a belief in the inherent worth and potential of the human person (личность, 'lichnost'). In his writing, he counterposed individuals, aware of their natural dignity, and inspired by energy and will, with people who succumb to the degrading conditions of life around them. Both his writings and his letters reveal a "restless man" (a frequent self-description) struggling to resolve contradictory feelings of faith and skepticism, love of life and disgust at the vulgarity and pettiness of the human world.

He publicly opposed the Tsarist regime and was arrested many times. Gorky befriended many revolutionaries and became Lenin's personal friend after they met in 1902. He exposed governmental control of the press. In 1902, Gorky was elected an honorary Academician of Literature, but Tsar Nicholas II ordered this annulled. In protest, Anton Chekhov and Vladimir Korolenko left the Academy.

From 1900 to 1905, Gorky’s writings became more optimistic. He became more involved in the opposition movement, for which he was again briefly imprisoned in 1901. In 1904, having severed his relationship with the Moscow Art Theatre in the wake of conflict with Vladimir Nemirovich-Danchenko, Gorky returned to Nizhny Novgorod to establish a theatre of his own. Both Constantin Stanislavski and Savva Morozov provided financial support for the venture. Stanislavski saw in Gorky's theatre an opportunity to develop the network of provincial theatres that he hoped would reform the art of the stage in Russia, of which he had dreamed since the 1890s.

Product Details

BN ID:
2940015553949
Publisher:
Balefire Publishing
Publication date:
10/04/2012
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
190
File size:
6 MB

Meet the Author

Alexei Maximovich Peshkov (28 March 1868 – 18 June 1936), primarily known as Maxim Gorky was a Russian and Soviet author, a founder of the Socialist Realism literary method and a political activist.

Gorky’s reputation as a unique literary voice from the bottom strata of society and as a fervent advocate of Russia's social, political, and cultural transformation grew. By 1899, he was openly associating with the emerging Marxist social-democratic movement which helped make him a celebrity among both the intelligentsia and the growing numbers of "conscious" workers. At the heart of all his work was a belief in the inherent worth and potential of the human person (личность, 'lichnost'). In his writing, he counterposed individuals, aware of their natural dignity, and inspired by energy and will, with people who succumb to the degrading conditions of life around them. Both his writings and his letters reveal a "restless man" (a frequent self-description) struggling to resolve contradictory feelings of faith and skepticism, love of life and disgust at the vulgarity and pettiness of the human world.

He publicly opposed the Tsarist regime and was arrested many times. Gorky befriended many revolutionaries and became Lenin's personal friend after they met in 1902. He exposed governmental control of the press. In 1902, Gorky was elected an honorary Academician of Literature, but Tsar Nicholas II ordered this annulled. In protest, Anton Chekhov and Vladimir Korolenko left the Academy.

From 1900 to 1905, Gorky’s writings became more optimistic. He became more involved in the opposition movement, for which he was again briefly imprisoned in 1901. In 1904, having severed his relationship with the Moscow Art Theatre in the wake of conflict with Vladimir Nemirovich-Danchenko, Gorky returned to Nizhny Novgorod to establish a theatre of his own. Both Constantin Stanislavski and Savva Morozov provided financial support for the venture. Stanislavski saw in Gorky's theatre an opportunity to develop the network of provincial theatres that he hoped would reform the art of the stage in Russia, of which he had dreamed since the 1890s.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews