Andrey Fedotov will defend his doctoral thesis titled "Russian Theatrical Magazine in the Cultural Context of the 1840s" ("Русский театральный журнал в культурном контексте 1840 -х годов") on 25 February 2016 at 14.00 at the UT Senate Hall.
Supervisor: Professor Ljubov Kisseljova.
Olga Kuptsova, Moscow State University
Aleksei Balakin, Institute of Russian Literature
The present thesis is concerned with the first Russian specialized theatre magazine Repertuar i Panteon (Repertoire and Pantheon, 1839–1856) through the example of which several points of the 1840s Russian theatre press are studied. The magazine appeared as a result of a publishing experiment in integration of different types of West European contemporary periodical publications devoted to theatre issues, and it was an unprecedented blending of specific features of newspapers and magazines. In Russia theatre was the only existing social platform where different social groups got together, and this is why government control over the theatre life was particularly severe. The thesis studies those censorial and administrative hardships that the editors of the magazine had to overcome. Repertuar i Panteon publishers, editors and contributors belonged to the new generation of democratically spirited cultural figures. In this study special emphasis is placed upon the fact that they examined readers' demand and response as well as dealt with the new and the future potential audiences. It was found that the editorial-review board followed events of the theatre life in Russia, published no less than 300 pieces of current repertoire and made several attempts to reform the Russian theatre criticism of the 1840s which was mainly characterised by its excessive wariness and superficiality. Repertuar i Panteon published the better part of the plays written by Nikolay Polevoy, one of the central figures in dramatic art of the time. It has emerged that in his playwriting Polevoy followed the theoretical principles proposed by a French critic Arnould Frémy who substantiated the differences between the 'high' drama and the 'repertoire' drama intended for the mass audience. The thesis has interdisciplinary nature since within it various lines of approach are applied including historical-literary and historical-journalistic approaches the same as theatre studies-oriented approach. Moreover, in a number of chapters certain analytical tools of "The New Economic Criticism" were used as well (e.g. the history of the Repertuar and Panteon magazines merger in 1842; the role Faddey Bulgarin played in that process; the history of Apollon Grigoryev's cooperation with the magazine). Furthermore, in this thesis some approaches of the semiotics of everyday behavior were applied too. A number of vaudevillian mock pieces about the life of Ivan Pesotsky and Fyodor Koni as well as the reputation they had during their lifetime have been studied thoroughly. Repertuar i Panteon is not only the object of this thesis but also the specific 'expresser' of a certain point of view insomuch as it was both a magazine and a literary venture where through an innumerable number of administrative, artistic, everyday social behavior and realia phenomena typical of the 1840s Russian cultural context freely manifested themselves. From the present study perspective it is no coincidence that when in 1852 Repertuar i Panteon became a literary magazine it lost its specific theatre-oriented nature and its readership dropped off as well which eventually led to cessation of the magazine's existence.