The Place of Čechov’s Dramas in Peter Szondi’s Theory of Drama

Géza S. Horváth


The paper examines Peter Szondi’s theory of drama from two perspectives: 1. what traces of his new approach – i.e. textual interpretation – can be found in his early works; 2. to what extent are Szondi’s conclusions valid and original with respect to Čechov’s dramatic works? I identify common characteristics of Szondi’s conception of literature, formalist poetics, and phenomenological approaches. I also analyse two features of modern drama, epicization and the role of the intimate Self, through interpretations of Čechov’s dramas. I come to the conclusion that monologues acquire a narrative function in Čechov’s works, while through inner speech they also preserve the linguistic compactness characteristic of lyric poetry, i.e. the sound effects (alliteration, assonance and richly metaphorical language), which generates meaning-producing processes in the dramatic text.


Čechov’s drama; formalism; languageness; poetics; theory of drama

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