Mayakovsky’s The Bedbug and Bathhouse
Vladimir Mayakovsky’s plays of the late 1920s, The Bedbug (completed in December 1928) and The Bathhouse (September 1929) share many features with NEP satires such as The Meringue Pie and The Mandate. The Bedbug, in particular, with its nepman family wishing to acquire political protection through an arranged marriage with a worker, seems to stand firmly in the tradition of NEP satire. Yet neither play can be considered purely in terms of NEP, for they both reveal Mayakovsky’s obsessive concern with the future (evident also in Mystery-Bouffe as well as numerous poems), and thus the satirical picture of current Soviet life is specifically contrasted with utopian images of the society of the future. Mayakovsky the satirist ridicules and condemns, while Mayakovsky the utopian idealist fantasises. It is a combination which makes both works ‘problem plays’.
KeywordsParty Member Cage Animal Soviet Society Revolutionary Period Western Critic
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Notes and References
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- P. Blake, ‘The Two Deaths of Vladimir Mayakovsky’ in Mayakovsky, The Bedbug and Selected Poetry, edited by Blake and M. Hayward (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1961 ) p. 37.Google Scholar
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