Information about the author:
Yakov D. Chechnev
Yakov D. Chechnev, PhD in Philology, Researcher, A.M. Gorky Institute of World Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Povarskaya 25 a, 121069 Moscow, Russia.
ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9439-0430
The choice of the research topic is explained by the need to fill in the gap in the studies about Wilde’s reception in the USSR in the 1920–1930s. The aim of the study is to show the main lines of reception of the Anglo-Irish writer in the Soviet Union. The principal focus is not on Wilde’s works per se, but on the way his name was used by representatives of the Soviet culture of the 1920s and 1930s. Wilde’s readers can be divided into admirers and detractors, to achieve their goals. The author of the article shows that Wilde’s name appeared in everyday life and on book lists in the leading periodicals of the USSR — the newspapers “Pravda” and “Izvestia”. Through the images created by the writer, everyday life and urban paintings were comprehended. Wilde’s aphorisms were used not only by his admirers, but also by his antagonists, to illustrate their ideas and reinforce certain propositions. In the 1930s, the negative attitude towards the writer intensified. The Anglo-Irish writer was perceived by critics as a representative of “bourgeois” society. His image, which was formed largely thanks to the Russian modernists, embodied the main vices of the West: sexual perversions, excessive aestheticism, inattention to social aspects of art. In the 1930s, Wilde became a part of an episode of controversy surrounding a new socialist method — social realism and accelerated the death of the peasant poet P. Oreshin. The author of the article comes to the conclusion that for two decades after the establishment of Soviet power Wilde was still relevant in the cultural consciousness of Soviet society, however, by the beginning of the 1930s his name was tabooed.