Alexander Ostrovsky – regarded playwright
Alexander Ostrovsky was one of nineteenth-century Russia’s most highly regarded playwrights. He was the founder of Russian national drama. He wrote and coauthored fifty plays, translated foreign plays into Russian.
Alexander Nikolayevich Ostrovsky was born on March 31, 1823. He was the son of a lawyer and his mother’s family had run a bakery. Alexander was the first of four children in the family. His mother died when the boy was eight and his father married Swedish baroness. At the age of 12, the boy entered the First Moscow Gymnasium and spent five years there. In 1840 he enrolled at Moscow University to study law.
Three years later he was dropped out the university, because he spent too much time attending performances at the Moscow Imperial Theater. In 1843, Ostrovsky worked as a copyist in court offices near Red Square and the famous debtors’ prison.
He began writing his first plays around 1846 and the first one was originally titled The Claim Request. But it was published as “Picture of Family Happiness. Pictures of Moscow Life”.
In March 1850 the author published his second play The Bankrupt. It caused trouble. The play was banned from production and Ostrovsky was put under police surveillance.
Keep to Your Own Sledge! was his first play to be staged at the Bolshoi Petrovskii Theater in January of 1853.
Critics consider The Storm to be one of Ostrovsky’s best plays. It won the prestigious Uvarov prize for literature.
In 1862 he went abroad and visited several countries in Europe.
Ostrovsky’s common-law wife, Agafia, died in early 1867. Two years later he married actress Maria Vasilevna Bakhmeteva by whom he already had three children.
In 1886 he became a director of repertoire for the Moscow Imperial Theaters and administrator of the Theater School.
Alexander Ostrovsky died on June 2, 1886. He was at his desk translating one of Shakespeare’s plays into Russian.