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Border CrossingRussian Literature into Film$
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Alexander Burry and Frederick White

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781474411424

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474411424.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 03 April 2020

A Slap in the Face of American Taste: Transporting He Who Gets Slapped to American Audiences

A Slap in the Face of American Taste: Transporting He Who Gets Slapped to American Audiences

Chapter:
(p.140) Chapter 7 A Slap in the Face of American Taste: Transporting He Who Gets Slapped to American Audiences
Source:
Border Crossing
Author(s):

Frederick H. White

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9781474411424.003.0007

This chapter discusses the impact of Leonid Andreev’s 1915 play He Who Gets Slapped on the U.S., where it was adapted into three genres: film, novel, and opera. Andreev’s play represents an example of his invented genre of panpsyche theater, in which the external action is driven by inner, psychological struggle, in this case of a clown who runs from a failed marriage and tries to find solace in the world of the circus. Victor Sjöström’s 1924 film of the play, the first MGM production, emphasized motifs of romance and revenge rather than Andreev’s focus on psychological development. Later, the play was adapted into a novel by George Carlin (1925) and a 1956 opera by Robert Ward and Bernard Stambler. The semiotic system of the circus allowed this play to be transported successfully to American audiences.

Keywords:   Andreev, Carlin, circus, clown, MGM, panpsyche theater, Sjöström, Stambler, Ward

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