Arthur Adamov

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Adamov, Arthur


Born Aug. 23, 1908, in Kislovodsk. French dramatist. Left Russia with his family in 1914; settled in Paris in 1924. Wrote surrealist verses in his youth.

When Adamov opposed the pro-Hitler Vichy government in 1942, he was put in a concentration camp. His novella Recognition (1946) is permeated with a sense of futility. His dramas Parody (published 1950) and Incursion (1950), which were written for the avant-garde theater, were extremely pessimistic, as were his plays A Major and Minor Maneuver (1953) and Everyone Against Everyone (1953). Social criticism can be detected in his comedy Ping Pong (1955); the bourgeois way of life is ridiculed in the farce Paolo Paoli (1957) and the sketch Intimacy (1958). His optimistic tragedy The Spring of’71 (1961, Russian translation 1968) re-created the heroic characters of the Paris Communards. Contemporary racism is the object of criticism in his grotesque play The Politics of the Outcast (1962). Through his treatment of medieval obscurantism in the tragicomedy Holy Europe (1966), he satirizes imperialism. Bitter humor characterizes the burlesque piece The Moderate (1968), whereas in the drama Off Limits, which Adamov wrote the same year, his humor acquires menacing overtones, reflecting the tragic atmosphere of the American way of life. The movement of Adamov’s aesthetic thought toward realism and his reactions to the innovations of A. P. Chekhov, B. Brecht, and S. O’Casey are reflected in the anthology Here and Now (1964). His life and spiritual development are treated in a volume of reminiscences entitled Man and Child (1968). Adamov is a member of the National Committee of French Writers.


Théâtre, vols. 1–4. Paris, 1953–68.
Lesâmes mortes: D’après le poème de N. Gogol. Paris, [I960]. In Russian translation:
“Paolo Paoli.” In P’esy sovremennoi Frantsii. Moscow, 1960.


Balashov, V. “Pobeda Artiura Adamova.” Inostrannaia literatura, 1962, no. 7.
Proskurnikova, T. Frantsuzskaia antidrama (50–60–e gg.). Moscow, 1968.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Produite en 2016 par le Theatre regional de Guelma, la piece est une libre adaptation de l'œuvre [beaucoup moins que] Le Professeur Taranne [beaucoup plus grand que] de l'ecrivain et auteur dramatique francais Arthur Adamov (1908-1970), mise en scene par Ali Djebara sur un texte d'Amir Frik.
E claro que, com excecao de Arthur Adamov, nenhum desses dramaturgos reconhece essa influencia.
In 1969 I interviewed Arthur Adamov apropos of his Social Theater (politically involved works from about the time of the evenements de Mai) plays.
Although only one of Artaud's plays, Les Cenci (1935), based on works by Percy Bysshe Shelley and Stendhal, was ever produced to illustrate these theories, his ideas influenced the productions of Jean-Louis Barrault, Jerzy Grotowski, Jean Vilar, and The Living Theatre as well as the work of such playwrights as Arthur Adamov, Jean Genet, and Jacques Audiberti.