№10 2021

About the author:

Maksim M. Gudkov, Senior Lecturer, St. Petersburg University, Universitetskaya nab. 7–9, 199034 St. Petersburg, Russia.


E-mail: m.gudkov@

УДК / UDK: 821.111

Abstract: The article attempts to present the reception of the plays by Tennessee Williams in Soviet criticism of the 1940s and 1960s to show the dynamics of changing opinions and assessments by Soviet literary and theater critics. In the late Stalinist years Soviet researchers (Michael Morozov, Veniamin Golant, Anna Elistratova, Vadim Gaevsky) were least engaged in the literary analysis of his plays, which they considered exclusively through the lens of ideology and politics. Critical judgments were reduced to a series of offensive comments on the “inferiority” of the “ideologically alien” playwright. During the Khrushchev Thaw the ideologically bound criticism were being gradually softened, its clichees being no longer relevant. There appeared articles by Georgy Zlobin, Moris Mendelson, Raisa Orlova, Vladich Nedelin, etc., that aimed to understand Williams’ peculiar and unique creative method. The analysis of the reception of Williams’ work by Soviet critics in 1940–1960s demonstrates that the recognition of the American playwright’s talent or, conversely, harsh language used against him was directly related to the political situation in the USSR and the United States, as well as to the Soviet-American relations in the realm of politics and cultural ties. As soon as the rigid ideological pressure of the state machine was relieved to some extent, Soviet critics followed the criteria of objectivity and literary taste. The study is supplemented by the bibliographic index of Soviet criticism of Tennessee Williams works, 1947–1969. The addendum is an attempt to create a complete bibliography of Soviet critical articles about Tennessee Williams’s work published in the 1940–60s.
Keywords: Tennessee Williams, American drama, Soviet criticism, Cold War, Soviet-American cultural links.
For citation:

Gudkov, Maksim. “Tennessee Williams in Soviet Criticism of the 1940–1960s.” Literature of the Americas, no. 10 (2021): 163–206.


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