Moscow; Leningrad: Iskusstvo, 1940. Item #1109
154 pp.,  ill.: portrait. 20x13.5 cm. In original illustrated publisher’s cloth. Fine.
First edition. Scarce. With remarkable constructivist design. ONE OF THE FIRST COMPREHENSIVE STUDIES OF VLADIMIR MAYAKOVSKY’S DRAMATURGICAL LEGACY WRITTEN BY THE SOVIET ART CRITIC AND THEORIST ALEXANDER FEVRALSKIY (1901-1984).
Following Mayakovsky’s suicide in 1930, the Soviet press witnessed the emergence of numerous publications dedicated to different genres of Mayakovsky’s work. Alexander Fevralskiy became the first to focus on Mayakovsky’s persona as a dramaturgist and to offer a detailed analysis of his oeuvre. In the book, the roots of which go back to Fevralskiy’s 1934 article ‘Teatr Mayakovskogo’ [i.e. Mayakovsky’s Theatre], the author elucidates Vladimir’s theatrical nature itself and states that the theater goes through almost all stages of Mayakovsky’s creative life and occupies a much larger place than is thought. The edition consists of 9 sections concentrating on Mayakovsky’s dramaturgical works: Vladimir Mayakovsky, the first Soviet play Mystery-Bouff, the Bedbug, the Bathhouse, and Moscow is Burning. Resting on the belief that dramaturgy was a characteristic feature of everything that flew from Mayakovsky’s pen, the text draws his work in poetry and OKNA ROSTA as somewhat of a hub of theatricalism. The author analyzes in detail each of Vladimir’s plays and highlights its high consistency with the political ambitions of the USSR. Particularly interesting is the author’s fairly defending tone regarding Mayakovsky and his controversial play the Bedbug (1929), which received harsh treatment and was widely considered as a subtle mockery of the Socialist world. Fevralskiy declines all of the allegations and protects the playwright: Mayakovsky, of course, by no means had in mind to paint a picture of a socialist society. All he wanted was to oppose the vice of the bourgeoisie a certain standard.
Aside from a comprehensive analysis of Mayakovsky’s contribution to the development of the Soviet dramaturgy, the edition also includes interesting episodes from Fevralsky’s personal meetings with the playwright and a bibliography of Mayakovsky’s work in theatre.
The Worldcat shows copies of the edition at Harvard University Libraries, Columbia University Libraries, and University of California Libraries.