The Plays of Nikolay Erdman

  • Robert Russell


Two of the finest of Soviet comedies were written by Nikolay Erdman (1902–70), whose exceptional wit and powers of imagin­ation put him, in Meyerhold’s phrase ‘in the true traditions of Gogol’.1 His first play, The Mandate (also sometimes translated as The Warrant), written in 1924, enjoyed a successful run at the Meyerhold Theatre in the 1920s and was briefly revived in the 1950s, but the text was not published in the Soviet Union and, although often described, the play remained almost totally unknown until 1976 when it was published in Russian in Munich.


Party Member Suicide Note Soviet Society Government Inspector Black Humour 
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Notes and References

  1. 2.
    N. Erdman, Mandat (edited by W. Kasack ), ( Munich: Verlag Otto Sagner, 1976 ) p. 30.Google Scholar
  2. 7.
    E. Garin, ‘O Mandate i o drugom’ in M. Valentey (ed.), Vstrechi s Meyerkhol’dom ( Moscow: VTO, 1967 ) p. 326.Google Scholar
  3. 12.
    H. Carter, The New Spirit in the Russian Theatre ( London: Brentano’s, 1929 ) p. 215.Google Scholar
  4. 13.
    Meyerkhol’d, Perepiska ( Moscow: Iskusstvo, 1976 ) p. 309.Google Scholar
  5. 14.
    Erdman, Samoubiytsa ( Ann Arbor: Ardis, 1980 ) p. 35.Google Scholar
  6. 20.
    N. Mandelstam, Hope Against Hope ( Harmondsworth, Middx: Penguin Books, 1975 ) pp. 390–1.Google Scholar
  7. 21.
    M. Hoover, ‘Nikolai Erdman: a Soviet Dramatist Rediscovered’, Russian Literature Triquarterly, IV (1972) pp. 413–34.Google Scholar
  8. 28.
    C. Proffer, ‘Erdman’s The Suicide: An Unpublished Letter from Stalin to Stanislaysky’, Russian Literature Triquarterly, VII (1973) p. 425.Google Scholar
  9. 32.
    J. Freedman, ‘Nikolaj Erdman: An Overview’, Slavic and East European Journal XXVIII (1984) p. 467.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Robert Russell 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert Russell
    • 1
  1. 1.University of SheffieldUK

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