Evgenii Shvarts

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Shvarts, Evgenii L’vovich


Born Oct. 9 (21), 1896, in Kazan; died Jan. 15,1958, in Leningrad. Soviet Russian writer.

The son of a physician, Shvarts studied at the law faculty of Moscow University from 1914 to 1916. He was first published in 1923; he contributed to the magazines Ezh and Chizh. A subtle understanding of the psychology of children, a fine sense of humor, and a keen perception of the poetry of childhood are evidenced in his novellas The Adventures of Shura and Marusia (1937), Somebody Else’s Girl (1937), and The Girl in the First Grade (1949).

Shvarts displayed an original imagination in his early plays—Underwood (staged 1929, published 1930), The Treasury (staged 1933, published 1934), and the satirical comedy The Adventures of Hohenstaufen (1934). These works contain a number of witty plays on the meaning and sound of words. Shvarts made use of plots from folktales and H. C. Andersen’s stories to create living, original characters and his own fictional world in the plays The Naked King (1934, published 1960), Little Red Riding Hood (1937), The Snow Queen (1938), and The Shadow (1940). During the war he wrote the antifascist play The Dragon (1944, staged 1962, director N. P. Akimov, Leningrad Theater of Comedy), one of the most profound and original works of Soviet satirical drama.

In the postwar years Shvarts focused on the psychology of contemporary life and on details of everyday reality in such plays as An Ordinary Miracle (1956) and A Tale of a Young Couple (1958). Shvarts wrote the screenplay for such films as Cinderella (1947), The Girl in the First Grade (1948), and Don Quixote (1957, based on the novel by Cervantes).


Skazki, povesti, p’esy, 2nd ed. Leningrad, 1969.
P’esy: Klad, Snezhnaia koroleva, Krasnaia shapochka. Leningrad, 1972.


Tsimbal, S. Evgenii Shvarts: Kritiko-biograficheskii ocherk. Leningrad, 1961.
Akimov, N. “Skazka na nashei stsene.” In his O teatre. Leningrad-Moscow, 1962.
My znali Evgeniia Shvartsa. Leningrad-Moscow, 1966.
Kalmanovskii, E. “Shvarts.” “In Ocherki istorii russkoi sovetskoi dramaturgii, vol. 3: 1945–1967. Leningrad, 1968.
Rakhmanov, L. “Zhizn’ druga—eto i tvoia zhizn’.” In his P’esy, povesti, vospominaniia. Leningrad, 1972.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Kharms and Vvedenskii withdrew into the realm of children's literature, writing for the children's publishing house Detgiz, known fondly as the 'Marshak Academy' (run by the redoubtable children's writer, Samuil Marshak, and involving too the playwright Evgenii Shvarts).
A small group of writers, which included Daniil Kharms and Aleksandr Vvedenskii (originally members of the radical avant-garde literary group, OBERIU or 'Association of Real Art') and the playwright Evgenii Shvarts, found there was increasing intolerance of their approach to literature in the late 1920s.