A Month in the Country

History of the play

Originally entitled The Student, the play was banned by the Saint Petersburg censor without being performed. Turgenev changed the title to Two Women. In 1854 it was passed for publication, provided alterations were made — demands made more on moral than political grounds. To play down the controversy, Turgenev finally changed the name to A Month in the Country.

Following the 1872 premiere, the play was not performed again until 1879, when it became a regular part of the Russian repertoire.[1]

In the introduction to his 1994 English translation, Richard Freeborn wrote:

Turgenev's comedy has often been called Chekhovian, even though it preceded Chekhov's mature work by more than forty years. The happiest irony surrounding the play's survival is that its ultimate success was due more than anything to the popularity of Chekhov's work and the kind of ensemble playing which Stanislavsky fostered at the Moscow Art Theatre. It was his production in 1909, when he played the role of Rakitin, that finally demonstrated the true brilliance of Turgenev's long-neglected play.[2]

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