Select your language

logo br en 1

A.M. Gorky Institute
of World Literature
of the Russian Academy of Sciences

IWL RAS Publishing

A.M. Gorky Institute of World Literature
of the Russian Academy of Sciences


Povarskaya 25a, 121069 Moscow, Russia



Types of publications

  • Classification – name: Literary studies
  • Author: Liudmila I. Saraskina
  • Pages: 653–684
  • Publisher: A.M. Gorky Institute of World Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IWL RAS Publ.)
  • Rights – description: Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 (СС BY-ND)
  • Rights – URL: Visit Website
  • Language of the publication: Russian
  • Type of document: Research Article
  • Collection: Dostoevsky’s Novel The Adolescent: Current State of Research
  • DOI:
  • EDN:

  • Year of publication: 2022
  • Place of publication: Moscow
  • PDF

  • Saraskina, L.I. “Arkady Dolgoruky in Cinema and Theatre: Debut Decisions.” Dostoevsky’s Novel The Adolescent: Current State of Research. Editor-in-Chief T.A. Kasatkina. Moscow, IWL RAS Publ., 2022, pp. 653–684. (In Russ.)

Information about the author:

Liudmila I. Saraskina, DSc in Philology, Director of Research, Department of Mass Media Arts, State Institute for Art Studies, Kozitskiy Lane 5, 125009 Moscow, Russia.


E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


The paper investigates the fate of Fyodor Dostoevsky’s novel The Adolescent in cinema and theatre, comparing it with the stories of several film and stage adaptations of other works by the same author. The problem here discussed concerns the acceptable limits of interpretation, in cinema and theatre, of a literary work. The paper considers the following controversial aspects:

— to what extent film and stage adaptations of a literary work may prove the success of the work as a piece of literature?

— do film and stage adaptations expand (amplify) the contents of their literary source?

— do they treat honestly the ideas and images of their source?

The paper analyses the reasons why both cinema and theatre for many decades did not pay attention to The Adolescent and perhaps even deliberately bypassed it. The only film adaptation of The Adolescent so far was made in USSR in 1983 by the director Yevgeny I. Tashkov, with Andrei Tashkov as Arkady Dolgoruky and Oleg Borisov as Andrei Versilov. Of particular interest is the process of transforming the novel first-person narrative (Ich-Erzählung) into the language of cinema. However, the cinema debut of the novel and its characters cannot be described as a success. The film freed itself from the meaningfulness of the literary original, did not treat adequately its main ideas, and chose easy ways in all respects: in the script, the work of the director, and the actors’ performances. Still more simplified has been the stage adaptation of The Adolescent at the Maly Drama Theatre in Saint Petersburg (the premiere took place on May 12, 2013). The director Oleg Dmitriyev, a disciple of Lev Dodon, abridged considerably the plot of the novel. The character of Versilov was deleted, shifting accents, and disfiguring the whole composition of the plot. In the novel, Arkady had dreamed all through his youth to come to know “the whole truth” about Versilov. In the stage adaptation, Arkady is presented not as a young and maturing person, but as a grown-up man who goes through a “middleage crisis”: he turns into Versilov himself. He appropriates Versilov’s right to be extravagant and scandalous, thus playing the role, not of a witness but the central figure in the culmination of the story.

  • Keywords: Dostoevsky, The Adolescent, film adaptation, theatre performance, language of cinema, fate in cinema and theatre, Arakady Dolgoruky, Versilov, debuts.


Find book in the current section