Aleksandr Afinogenov

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Afinogenov, Aleksandr Nikolaevich


Born Mar. 22 (Apr. 4), 1904, in Skopin, Riazan Province; died Oct. 29, 1941, in Moscow. Soviet Russian playwright. Member of the CPSU from 1922.

Afinogenov graduated from the Moscow Institute of Journalism in 1924 and published his first play, Robert Tim, that same year. Afinogenov’s early plays— On That Side of the Crack, Raspberry Jam, and others—reflected the influence of Proletkul’t’s aesthetic principles, with their simplification of types. The play The Wolf’s Path (1928) clearly indicates Afinogenov’s liberation from schematism. The Eccentric (1929, produced by the second Moscow Art Theater) was one of the first Soviet plays about the builders of socialism and the struggle against bureaucrats and narrowmindedness. In this play Afinogenov created realistic psychological types. His play Fear (1930), devoted to the ideological reeducation of old scholars and the education of young scholars, is distinguished by the sharpness of its problems, the dramatic nature of its conflict, and the subtlety of its psychological analysis.

In the early 1930’s, Afinogenov was one of the leaders of RAPP (Russian Association of Proletarian Writers). His work Creative Method in the Theater: The Dialectics of the Creative Process (1931) reflected his enthusiasm for the slogans of that organization. In the 1930’s he wrote Far Away (1935), Salute, Spain! (1936), and The Mother of Her Children (1939). The lyrical comedy Mashen’ka (1940) is devoted to the beauty of the inner world of Soviet people and to the lightness of youth. From the beginning of the Great Patriotic War, Afinogenov headed the literary section of the Sovinform bureau. In September 1941 he finished On the Eve, dealing with the struggle of the Soviet people against the fascist invaders. He was killed during a raid by enemy airplanes on Moscow. Afinogenov made an important contribution to the development of contemporary themes in writing for the theater and to the development of psychological drama and lyrical comedy.


P’esy. Moscow, 1956.
Stat’i: Dnevniki: Pis’ma: Vospominaniia. Moscow, 1957.
Dnevniki i zapisnye knizhki. Moscow, 1960.


Boguslavskii A. O. A. N. Afinogenov. Moscow, 1952.
Karaganov, A. Zhizn’ dramaturga: Tvorcheskii put’ Afinogenova. Moscow, 1964.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Hellbeck covers a somewhat wider range of materials than does Paperno, examining the diaries of well-known writers such as Dmitrii Furmanov, Iurii Olesha, and Aleksandr Afinogenov as well as those kept by members of the former intelligentsia, who resisted and then struggled to adapt to the new order, and, most symptomatic of all, those of several vydvizhentsy, men who ascended from obscure provincial or rural origins to acquire an education (typically technological) and some sort of public role (e.g., as brigade leader at work, as agitator, etc.).
In a far more complex record, the playwright Aleksandr Afinogenov agonized over the criticism to which his plays were subjected and sought to "kill" the old self inside him and undergo a radical rebirth; the whole enterprise was laden with religious metaphors, which anyway were never far from Stalinist ideology.

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