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American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages
The Monarch and the Mystic: Catherine the Great's Strategy of Audience Enlightenment inThe Siberian ShamanAuthor(s): Lurana D. O'MalleySource: The Slavic and East European Journal, Vol. 41, No. 2 (Summer, 1997), pp. 224-242Published by: American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European LanguagesStable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/309734Accessed: 08/09/2010 17:21
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8/13/2019 The Siberian Shaman
THE MONARCH AND THE MYSTIC: CATHERINETHE GREAT'S STRATEGY OF AUDIENCEENLIGHTENMENT IN THE SIBERIAN SHAMANLuranaD. O'Malley,Universityof Hawaiiat Manoa
You ask me whyI write so manycomedies ..Primo,because t amusesme; secundo,becauseI should like to revive the national theater,whichhasbeen somewhatneglected or lack ofnewplays;andtertio,because t is a good thingto givea bit of a drubbingo thevisionaries,whoarebecomingquite arrogant.The DeceiverandThe Deceived was a prodigious success. ... Thecreamof thejestwas that at theopening,peoplecalled for the author, who . .. remained com-pletely ncognito.1
The authorof thesewordswrote themafterthe 1786stagepremieresof twoof herplays;although heplaywrightmayhaveostensiblyremainedanony-mousto the audienceat the St. PetersburgHermitageTheatre,where bothplaysdebuted,mostof thosepresentknew that this wasno ordinarywriterand no ordinary pectacle.Theplayswerebynone otherthanthe EmpressEkaterinaII-Catherine the Great. And althoughshe assumed he maskof anonymity,Catherine'srole-playingon this evening was every bit asplayfullydeceptiveas when, one nightin 1763,she cross-dressed s a manandspent the evening flirtatiously ourtinga youngwomanat a court ball(Maroger 358-59).2Given that the stage can be a potent meansof shapingand reinforcingsocial values, the monarch-playwrights in a particularlypowerfulrole.Catherinetook advantageof this dual positioning by writingover twodozen plays and opera libretti. Her "anti-Masonic"rilogy,consistingofThe Deceiver [Obmanshchik], The Deceived One [Obol'shchennyi], andThe Siberian Shaman [Shaman Sibirskii], was one of her weapons againstMasonicorders and mysticism-along with more directpreventivemea-sures such as censorshipand imprisonment.This article will provide adetailedanalysisof the lastplayof the trilogy o be writtenandperformed,TheSiberianShaman.Thatscriptpresentsa contradictorynterpretation fshamanism, or althoughCatherinemostoften showshertitle character obe fraudulent and laughable,he sometimesappearsto be credible andSEEJ, Vol. 41, No. 2 (1997): p. 224-p. 242 224
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TheMonarchand the Mystic 225genuine.Whileat timesthe spectator s witness o eventsthatclearly ndictthe shamanas an imposter,at othertimes the audience s castin the samerole as manyof the on-stagecharacters: hat of impressionable nlooker.Drawingon my background s a literaryand theatrical cholaraswell as atheatre practitioner,I will employ an approachwhich draws on per-formativetheories of reception,with attentionto the operationswhichadramatic ext performsupon its audience.Througha readingof the sha-man's actionsin The SiberianShaman,I will reveal Catherine'sdramaticstrategy:by providinga contradictory ndambiguousportraitof the play'srepresentativeof mysticism,she asks each audiencemember to assumeactivelythe responsibilityor discerning hat character'srustworthiness-in theory,these samespectatorscouldthen applythose skillsof judgmentin their own lives as subjectsof Catherine'sEmpire.Although a public theatre existed brieflyunder Peter the Great, andcourtentertainments lourished n the 1730s underEmpressAnna, it wasnot until the reign of Elizabeth II that a permanentstate theatre wasestablished, in 1756. The director of that theatre, AleksandrPetrovichSumarokov,was to become the first significantprofessionalplaywrightwriting n Russian(previousdramatic fforts hadincludedLatinliturgicaldramaor school plays). Just as in PetrineRussia, Western(particularlyFrench)tasteswere emulatedin architecture nd in clothing.Sumarokovbased his verse dramason Frenchoriginals,so thathis playstreatRussiansubjectmatterwhile strictlyadhering o Frenchneoclassicaldramaturgicalrules. In comedy, Denis Fonvizin(with TheBrigadier Brigadir]n 1769and The Minor [Nedorosl'] n 1781) combinedneoclassicalcomedy withrecognizablyRussianpeople and situations o create a grotesquerealismthat would anticipateGogol by several decades. Thus dramaandtheatrewere thrivingduringCatherine'sreign, and the Empressactivelyencour-agedtheatreas a socialplatform,as anenlightened ormof entertainment,andasproofof Russia'scultural ophistication. ntheatre,asin everythingin her reign, Catherineendeavoredto foster the values of the EuropeanEnlightenmentwhileseekingto preservea strongsense of Russiannationalidentity, anguage,andheritage.During Catherine's ifetime, manyof her own playswere published nRussian,German,andFrench,andmost wereproducedon Russian tages.However, the general criticalconsensusover the past two centurieshasbeen to dismiss the playsas immatureand derivative.Manyfactors,per-haps includingCatherine's tatus as a womanwriter,have contributed othis lack of scholarly nterest.In the nineteenthcentury, he advent of theRomanticmovement in Russia became associatedwith the Decembristrevolt againstTsarNikolai I. Catherine'swritingswere thus out of favorboth on literaryand politicalgrounds,as the fight againstneoclassicismbecameequatedwith the fight against saristoppression.Not surprisingly,
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226 SlavicandEastEuropean ournalneither were Soviet scholars anxious to "rehabilitate" Catherine as a drama-tist. Communist historians, critical of the repressive censorship of her lateyears, called Catherine's Enlightenment hypocritical for tolerating serf-dom's inequity; they were thus hardly receptive to the Empress' drama,and tended to omit Catherine's writings in most studies of drama of thisperiod. Although her dramatic writing will never rank artistically withthose of Fonvizin or Gogol, the plays are notable for their remarkablediversity, frank satire, topical subject matter, and stylistic innovations, aswell as for the extraordinary status and influence of their author.Catherine's neoclassical comedies have devices and characters familiarfrom Moliere: the use of confidantes, of stereotypical characters, of tellingnames, of scathing references to current social customs-particularly tohypocrisy. Early examples from the 1770s are Oh, These Times [0vremia ]; Mrs. Grumbler's Name Day [Imianiny gospozhi Vorchalkinoi];Mrs. Tattlerand her Family [Gospozha Vestnikovas sem'eiu]. Of her manyplays, the comic genre predominates; writing as she did in the popularneoclassical mode enabled her to use foolish or ignorant characters both toplease (through their ridiculous dialogue and actions) and to teach. Butalthough the neoclassical mode to some extent suggests a concern for uni-versal human foibles, Catherine also addresses specifically Russian con-cerns and audiences. She tackles such contemporary national problems asignorance, superstition, Gallomania, fear of progress, and mysticism-allthrough the perspective of an enlightened monarch who hopes to root outall traces of backwardness.3
Beyond their surface neoclassical plot concerns (such as the proper mar-riage of a young woman), the three plays which form the anti-Masonictrilogy are set against a very specific background of contemporary politicalpressures, trends, and intrigue. If Catherine's reign is usually considered tohave moved from a period of relative openness and freedom to one ofparanoia and severity, one can certainly chart a change in atmosphere bylooking at the case of Nikolai Ivanovich Novikov (1743-1818). In the 1760s,Novikov was a prolificwriter and editor of several satiricaljournals; by 1792he had been arrested and imprisoned by Catherine. Her changing attitudetoward him and his literary endeavors was a direct result of his increasinginvolvement in Freemasonry in both St. Petersburg and Moscow. AlthoughCatherine eventually resorted to more direct measures, the trilogy was hermeans of publicly exposing-via comic/satiric strategies-the philosophicaland social shortcomings of her intended target: Freemasonry.Freemasonry was introduced to Russia sometime in the 1730s via West-ern European Masonic contacts in London. By the 1780s, however, theRosicrucian Order, brought first to Moscow in 1782 by Moscow Universityprofessor I. G. Schwartz, was to dominate all other strains of Freemasonryin Russia.4 Catherine distrusted the myriad forms of Freemasonry; in her
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The Monarchandthe Mystic 227writing,she uses the termsMasonry,Martinism,5nd Rosicrucianismnter-changeably,alongwithreferences o alchemy, heosophy,andshamanism.In principle,the Empressopposedthe mysticalbelief system espousedbythe Masons; he occult mageryandemphasisonprimalnstinctwereanath-ema to her Enlightenment ensibilities Baehr124). But on a moreprag-matic andpolitical evel, Catherine earedthe Masons or the samereasonsHitler persecuted them: their secret hierarchical tructureunderminedrigidnationalboundaries.Her biographer ohnAlexandercites also Free-masonry's"contactswithforeigncourts especiallyPrussia), and] tsappar-ent ability to mobilize substantial unds"(299). One potential Masonicconvert was Catherine'sown son, GrandDuke Paul, avidlyinterested nthe secretivesociety;his contactswith PrussiankingFrederickWilliamII,also a Freemason,must have been severelytroubling o Catherine.Catherine'srelationship o Freemasonry annotbe understoodwithoutreference to Novikov. Novikov has been made out, both by nineteenth-century and Soviet-era Russian historians,as a heroic figure, fightingagainstCatherine'syrannical ensorship.KennethCravenpointsout,how-ever, that their relationshipbegan cordially,and, more significantly,hat"[t]he ntroduction f enlightenmento Russiaowes most to the collabora-tive publishingachievementsof Catherine I and Nikolai IvanovichNovi-kov" (173).Fromthe mid1760s,then, Novikovwasa well-respectedmem-ber of the Russian literaryscene as he and the Empressfreely tradedsatiricalbarbs n theirrespective ournals.6Afterjoining heFreemasons nSt. Petersburgn 1775,he moved to Moscow n 1779whenhis connectionshelped him to obtain a post as directorof the MoscowUniversityPress.Fromthis influentialposition,Novikovbeganto pursueFreemasonrywithgreater ervor;hispressproduceda substantial umberof Masonicmateri-als, and he was appointeda Chief Director of the TheoreticalDegree ofRosicrucianism.Catherine,anardentbeliever n the enlighteningpowerofthe writtenword,also hadreasonto fearthatpower.Shedidnot sit idlybyto see Novikov's Masonic views promulgatedn print;she dismissedhimfrom his directorship n 1788, and ordered his arrest for insurrection n1792.7This article will suggestthat Catherine's hamancharacter n her1786 play The SiberianShaman,written in the midst of a controversysurroundingNovikov'spublishing utput, s inparta reference o him,thuslinkingshamanic"cults" o Masonicones.Another key figure who, for Catherine,symbolizedthe illogical andirrationalwas the famed Italian alchemistCount AlessandroCagliostro(1743-1795),notorious orhisalleged nvolvement n the FrenchDiamondNecklace Affair.8Cagliostro,despitehis reputationas an impostorand acharlatan,was a verypopular igurewithconnections n the highestcirclesof Europeannobility.When he visited St. Petersburgn 1779, Catherinesawhimas a dangerousnfluence;verylikelyhe servedasthemodel forthe
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228 SlavicandEastEuropean ournalalchemist Kalifalkzherston, title character of The Deceiver. Catherine or-dered him out of the country without having met him, saying "I have neverseen him near or far,-nor have I had any temptation to do so, for I do notlove charlatans" (qtd. in Anthony 298).In 1779, the year of Cagliostro's visit to St. Petersburg, Catherine wrotethe following in a letter to Grimm:3HaeTe-JIH,,rTOncy BejmHqaHiimxbKJIoHeHiii,OTOpbIM'npeaBsaicA qejioBeiecKii pojwa,npHHagnieamrHiT4)paH-i-MacoHCTBo. I HMeJiaTepnTHHe npo'HTaTb, BSbneqaTH H BbpyKOnHmCSXb, BCB CKyIHbII HeiIinOcTH, KOTOpbIMH OHH 3aHHMaK)TCSI [... ] KaKK, OHH,scrps'BIacb MexAyco6OKo,Hepacxoxoqyrcs (Ekaterina 61-62)([Do youknowthat]Freemasonrys one of thegreatestaberrationso which he humanracehassuccumbed. had thepatience o plodthroughbothpublished ndmanuscriptourcesofall the tedious nonsense with which they busy themselves [ ... ] when they encounter oneanother, how can they keep from splitting their sides with laughter?)9Six years later, Catherine had decided to marshal that laughter in a differ-ent direction by writing a series of comedies. The three plays that arecollectively known as Catherine's anti-Masonic trilogy date from 1785-86.The Deceiver,l0 The Deceived One," and The Siberian Shaman (Pypin 1:347-406) all contain quite similar elements, most noticeably the intermin-gling of two plots: that of a young woman's marriage and of an outsidedeceiver or charlatan whose deceptions are uncovered. The engagement ofthe young woman and the revelation of the charlatan's chicanery combineto create the comic ending to each play. Thus, all three plays have someform of mysticism as their topic, although the specific satirical target variesfrom Masonry (particularly Martinism), to Cagliostro's alchemy, to sha-manism.12The Siberian Shaman was the last of the three plays to be com-posed. According the diary of her literary secretary A. V. Khrapovitskii,the Empress gave him the play for corrections and amendments on June 16,1786 (Barsukov 11).13The play was first performed on 24 September 1786at the Hermitage Theatre (Barsukov 16).14How was Catherine inspired to write a satirical treatment of shamanism?The Deceiver and The Deceived One are much more explicitly critical ofMasonry itself, associating it with alchemy and foolhardy mysticism. Inrepresenting the native practices of Siberian peoples, linked since the 1552conquest of Kazan to Russia's national identity as a colonizing force, Cath-erine expands her focus eastward. Mysticism is not only found in the elitetemple-parlors of Europe, through Masonry, but also in the temple-huts ofSiberia, though shamanism. Catherine's distrust of shamanic practices wasshared by one twentieth-century inheritor of her Empire, Joseph Stalin,who persecuted shamans "as malicious deceivers" (Balzer viii).From early in her reign, Catherine had struggled to defend her empirefrom charges of backwardness and barbarity. After reading Abb6 Jean
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The Monarch and the Mystic 229Chappe d'Auteroche's Voyage to Siberia (1761), a book highly critical ofRussian traditions and behaviors, Catherine wrote her 1770 Antidote inresponse and defense.15 In it, she stressed Russia's civility, both in socialcustoms and economic and political structures. At the same time, however,Catherine was not unaware of the significance of shamanism to Siberianculture. The historians and cartographers of her own Free Economic Soci-ety were exploring distant points in Siberia in the 1760s and 1770s, bringingback information about shamanistic rituals and practices (Flaherty 118).16One other source of information was Diderot's Encyclopedia. In theletter Catherine wrote in French to Dr. Johann Zimmerman, dated 7 April1786, after remarking on her plays The Deceiver and The Deceived One,she writes of The Siberian Shaman: " . .. the article on Theosophy in theEncyclopedia furnished the framework for it" (Pypin 1: 409).17That article,ostensibly a definition of Theosophy, is a lengthy diatribe against barbarity.Here is perhaps he most remarkable ind of philosophy.Thosewho professed t regardedhumanreasonwithpity; theyhadno confidenceat all in its obscureanddeceptiveglimmer;they claimedto be enlightenedby an interiorprinciple, upernaturalnddivine,whichwasburningnthem,andwhichwould ade nandout[ . . Iwhichviolently eizedtheir magina-tion,whichagitated hem,which heydidnotcontrol,butbywhich heywerecontrolled,andwhichconducted hemto the mostimportant nd hiddendiscoveries boutGod andnature;that is what they called theosophy [ .... ] It follows from the preceding that the Theosopheswere men of an ardent magination;hatthey corruptedTheology,obscuredPhilosophy, ndtookadvantage f theirchemicalknowledge,and it is difficult o saywhether heyhavemoreharmedthan served the progressof humanknowledge.There are still some theosophesamongus [ . .. ] who havetakena violentdisliketo Philosophyand the Philosophers, ndwhowouldsucceed n extinguishingmongus the spiritof discoveryand of research,andinplunging us again into barbarism .... (Diderot 16: 253-261)The entry makes clear the dangerous nature of such practices, the threat tothe reason and the progress of the age-the opposition of Theosophe toPhilosophe is clear. Certainly Catherine's own sentiments were similar.Although the "Theosophy" entry does not mention shamanism, the Ency-clopedia's entry on "Schamans" [sic] briefly but succinctly delineates theEnlightenment perspective:It'sthe namethatthe inhabitants f Siberiagiveto imposters,whothereserve hefunctions fpriests,jugglers,sorcerers,andphysicians.Theseshamans laim to havecredenceover thedevil,whomtheyconsult o knowthefuture, o cure llnesses,andto playtrickswhichappearto be supernaturalo an ignorantand superstitious eople; for this they use tambourineswhich heyhitwithforce,whiledancing ndturningwith asurprisingapidity;when heyhavemadethemselvesnsane rom hestrength f the contortions ndfrom atigue, heyclaim hatthe devilmanifestshimself o them whenhe is in the mood.Sometimes heceremony inishesby feigningto pierce themselveswith a knife, whichintensifies he astonishment nd therespectof the foolishspectators.Thesecontortions reordinarily recededbythesacrifice fa dog or of a horse,whichthey eat whiledrinkinga good manybrandies,andthe comedyfinishesby givingmoneyto the shaman,whoprideshimselfon hisdisinterestedness o morethan other mpostersof the same sort. (Diderot14:759)
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230 Slavicand EastEuropean ournalIn true Orientalist fashion, the Encyclopedists' need to establish the sha-man as compelling dissembler reveals both their fascination with the Asi-atic Other as well as their need to create a European identity throughdifference.18 Perhaps it was the very presence of these two essays, pub-lished in volumes 14 and 16 of the Encyclopedia, that linked shamanism totheosophy and thus to Masonry in Catherine's mind.19Perhaps those finallines-"the comedy finishes"-provided the associative spark that broughttogether shamans and comedy.The plot of The Siberian Shaman revolves around the relationship of theBobin family (Bobin, Bobina, their daughter Prelesta, and Kromov,Bobina's brother), who move from Irkutsk to St. Petersburg, bringing withthem a Siberian shaman named Amban-Lai. Visitors arrive: they are theDrobin family (Sidor, Flena, and their nephew Karp-whom they are anx-ious to wed to Prelesta). Although Bobin is proud of Lai's powers, claimingthat the shaman cured Bobina, the servant girl Mavra reveals to anothervisitor, Bragin, that the cure was a hoax.The tale of the shaman and his deceptions is paralleled by the story ofIvan Pernatov and Prelesta.20The romantic intrigue of the play is a typi-cally neoclassic construction: back in Siberia, Prelesta had loved Ivan, aman whom the Bobins did not consider wealthy or prestigious enough fortheir daughter. Prelesta, lonely and homesick for Irkutsk, grows ill, and theBobins enlist Lai to cure her. Ustinia Mashkina, an affected old womanwho is traveling with the Pernatovs, arrives on the scene. Ustinia pretendsthat she and Ivan will soon marry, thus increasing Prelesta's illness. Al-though Lai tries to cure Prelesta, his healing is revealed to be a sham, andin the end he is arrested for his trickery. In the closing scene, Bobin givespermission for Prelesta to marry the man she truly loves: Ivan (who, itturns out, has acquired a substantial inheritance).A twentieth-century reader in our post-colonial era, interested in theshaman's subjectivity, may question The Siberian Shaman's anti-mysticalstance. Approaching the text from a romanticist/modernist predispositionto distrust "the civilized," (particularly the Western European ideals to-wards which Catherine strove), and to cherish "the natural," today's readermight be impressed by the shaman's rituals and by his apparent wisdom.While it is true that a large chasm separates eighteenth-century spectatorialconceptions of the Other from those of the present, the play does presentcertain paradoxes in the portrayal of its title character.On one hand, Catherine's intentions for the play and for the character ofthe shaman should be obvious. Clearly, Catherine saw her shaman char-acter as a fraud. In her own words, the play isa huge blow againstthe enthusiasts. maginea manwho has passedthrough140differentdegrees;why, f you please?to achievesuch a degreeof intellectualbeatitude hatinsteadofansweringhe peoplewhospeakto him,he behaves n all sortsof eccentricways,cries ike a
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The Monarch and the Mystic 231cat,sings ike a rooster,barks ike adog,etc. etc. etc. Yetfor allthis,he is no less apimpandarogue. (Pypin 1: 411)21
On the other hand, within the play itself Catherine often paradoxicallydepicts the shaman as intriguing, perhaps wise, and possibly even genuine.Given Catherine's goals of exposing and rooting out superstition, how arethese moments of seeming magic reconciled with the image of the shamanas a fraudulent interloper? I will now analyze the play's strategies act byact, with particular attention to Act II, in which the shaman creates atrance performance that metatheatrically implicates the spectator.In Act I of The Siberian Shaman, Catherine employs the same strategythat Moliere used to introduce his famous faker Tartuffe-she postponesbringing her title character on-stage until Act II (in Moliere's five-act play,Tartuffe does not appear until the second scene of the third act). The audi-ence must therefore form initial impressions based upon the reported obser-vations of other characters. The Bobins, who have brought the shaman withthem from Siberia to St. Petersburg, explain the exotic details of his originsto Kromov and to Sanov, a visiting friend. Born in China, the shaman wasorphaned, reared by a Tungusic dvoedanets22and then sent to study withMongolian shamans. When Bobins explain that Lai miraculously curedBobina of her illness, the characters report their varied perspectives:CAHOB. CKa3sbBaIoT,yaTo no awuyy3HaeTb yMOHatepTaHHecsKaroqeJoBKa . . .KPOMOB. M4Hbe nHcbIBaIOT, SKOMyApeUa..BOBEiH. OHnpoHHUIaTeIeH-b, 'qyBCTBHTeJIeHb Ao6po'1bTeJIeHb,..KPOMOB. Apyrie ... Ha3bIBaoT ero KOJIfIyHOMb..CAHOB; rFJynocTb H HeBTcKeCTBoBe3JSt BHURTb KOJIJOCTBOTyT'b, rrB CMbICJIn
o6bIKHoBeHHbmiHXKpaTOKb axoAtHTCI.Pypin 1: 353)(SANOV. Supposedly he can tell a person's characterjust by looking at his face....KROMOV. Some describe him as a wise man.BOBIN. He is shrewd, perceptive, and virtuous....KROMOV. Others ... call him a sorcerer....SANOV. The stupid and ignorant, when they lack common sense, see sorcery everywhere.)Just as in Tartuffe,the audience is exposed both to the devout believers (inthis case, the Bobins), as well as to skeptics like Sanov. Before we haveeven met the shaman ourselves, however, Catherine adds a final blow tohis credibility. In the act's final scene, Bragin (who we later learn is a friendof the young man Ivan Pernatov) questions the two servants about theshaman. Mavra and Prokofii reveal that they substituted water for theshaman's miracle cure-Lai's reputed healing of Bobina is a hoax. Mavra(also the name of clever servant girls in other Catherine plays such as Oh,These Times and The Misunderstanding [Nedorazumenie]) comments thatthe shaman is either intentionally blinding the Bobins, or "caMHTaK-b3axoTrJIM o6MaHyT6cs"(they wanted to deceive themselves) (Pypin 1:
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232 SlavicandEastEuropean ournal358). The play will return to this theme repeatedly-that the shaman him-self is only fulfilling the desires of those around him to believe in him. Thedeceived are as culpable as the deceiver.The second act of The Siberian Shaman is in many ways startling andunexpected; its first scene is atypical of eighteenth-century comedy. In it,stage action-without dialogue-comprises the entirety of the scene:ZEfICTBHEn. 3IBJIEHHE . Oeamp,b peocmaesiembboKouIUamaHa6 oAMBo6una..JIaUa nonyKaqbmaneuau 6 xa.Came Uwbem-banozu; nouusueu HSCKOAJbKO,acdBHem-bIlaMactccKyroodejcy u cadem na cmyae Heo6u3cuM-b cib 6ocxuu4eHHbLMbuooMb7; npe6bHUb UJiu603AJS ezo mOmumbmoJ c omeepcmoio Ktnu0zoo; HcKOibKco unym,'cnycmR,HnaHemcR:Pypin 1: 360)(ActII. Scene1. Thestagepresents heShaman's hambersn the Bobinhouse.Lai, dressed na shortcaftanor in a dressing own,issewingboots;having ewed everal,heputsonShamanicclothesandsits motionlesson a chairwitha raptvisage;beforehim or nearhimstandsa tablewithanopenbook;severalminutesater ActII, scene2] begins:)Russian neoclassical comedy, like its French counterpart, is primarilya dia-logue form. Characters enter and exit a central site of action; that actionconsists of conversations (declarations of love, revelations of intrigue, dis-plays of foolish thinking). Rarely do playwrightsdisplay non-conversationalactivities, such as duels. The genre itself is dependent on the intellectualclash of personalities-of wits ratherthan swords. Catherine's comedies areno exception, and indeed much of her writing suffers from the awkwardnessof insisting that major events must take place offstage.23The stage space is asite for reportage and reaction, rather than for events and action.Too, neoclassical Russian writers rarely show a solo character in a scene.When a character does appear alone, it is almost exclusively to deliver arevelatory soliloquy, as when a lover, left alone, presents true inner feel-ings, or a wily servant discloses recent plans. Conventionally, the soliloquyis the doorway into the truth of a character, and the mode of the typicalsolo scene is almost exclusively verbal.Thus from the first moment of II.i, the scene is unusual. We see severalsuccessive actions of the shaman, none of which is accompanied by dialogue.If we compare the scene to a typical soliloquy, we would assume, despiteAmban-Lai's silence, that he communicates through his actions, and thatwhat he communicates is genuine. First shown in a dressing gown, he sewsseveral boots-he thus confirms an earlier description by Bobin: "IHorXaOHWbHiTaeT-b KHTaHicKyIO KHHry... B'b pyroe BpeMs 'IHHHTETCBOIOoeacy ... HJIHe mibeTb o6yBb" (Well, sometimes he reads a Chinesebook ... or mends his clothes ... or sews boots) (Pypin 1: 353). Aftersewing several boots, he dons his shaman's clothes and sits motionless.What is the duration of these actions? The implication is that they areslow and sequential, appropriate for the behavior of someone alone andunwatched. Yet of course, Lai is watched; we the spectators find ourselves
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The Monarchand the Mystic 233not in the positionof quietly isteningconfidantsaswitha soliloquy)butofsilent voyeurs, seeing into the privatechambersof someonewe have notyet met. If Lai's silent sewing is genuine, then perhapsso too are hissubsequentactions: putting on shamanicclothing, sitting motionless "ceocxuu4enneHH eau6o." At this moment in the play, Catherine does notindicatethatthe shaman s feigningor crafty;he does not open his eyes tosee if his foolishdupesarecoming.Instead,Catherinegivesa very specificdurationalnote: thatII.ii begins"severalminutes ater."Thus the shamansits, unmoving,rapt,alone for several minutes-the same shamanwhom,at the close of the previousscene, the seemingly rustworthymaid Mavrarevealedto be a faker and a charlatan.Catherine eems to thusoffertwocontradictory ets of information, rom two very differentsources. Boththe initialpraisesand criticismof Amban-Laiare relayedto us by othercharacters;t is on the basis of Mavra'sverbal recollectionof past eventsthat the audienceis led, at the end of Act I, to mistrusthim. But ratherthangivingus hearsay, n II.i Catherinegivesus visual evidence. We mustjudgethe shamanby what our owneyes see: a demonstration f a shamanassuminghis ritual attire and enteringa trance state-a series of actionsthat, in the scene itself, hasno connotationof disingenuousness.One possible explanations that Catherine elies too heavilyon Mavra'snarrativeaccount of the shaman'sdeception, misjudging he voyeuristicpowerof this solo scene. In thisview,to show a scene inwhichthe shamanappears o be genuine s a dramaturgicalrror,a misjudgment.But Cather-ine was almostalwayskeener and morecapable han one anyone expectedherto be. Rather,scene II.i maybe a deliberate trategywherebyCather-ine castsher audience n the role of observer.We, like the Bobins,relyonwhat we see of Lai's behavior.Using a scientificmodel of observation,Catherine allows us to judge Lai as one of her court explorer-historiansmighthave-through a viewingof externalbehavior.And fromthat view-point, the trance tself does appear o be authentic. f we thinkso, we havebeen allied with the Bobins,andmustawaitthe unfoldingof events, to seehowwe too have been duped.Inthe solo scene ofthe shamanalone nhisroom,thespectators inastateof doubtandsuspense.But inthefollowing cene,watchingLai nteractwiththe Bobins andtheirguests,thatsamespectator ormspredictable llianceswith the normativefamily members,with whom she or he can identify.Catherinedirectlycontrasts he shaman'sbehaviorwith that of the othercharacters.To achieve this juxtaposition,Catherineemploys the meta-theatrical actic of the play-within-the-play,r rather n this case, the sha-manicritual-within-the-play.Seeingthis ritualthrough he lens of metatheatricalityrawson assump-tionsarticulatedby the field of performance tudies,which n the pasttwodecades has broadened our emphasison "theatre,"as a rigidlydefined
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234 Slavicand EastEuropean ournalsocial event, to include "performance," a broadly conceived and interdisci-plinary construct. Looking at the interstices of ritual and performance canemphasize commonalities between the drama and the ritual, such as thepresence of both performers and spectators (often in the same ritual), theuse of mask, costume, music, of a specified site, the presence of structuralelements that may parallel the dramatic notion of plot, etc. Thus, readingAmban-Lai's shamanic ritual with twentieth-century eyes, we are inclinedto view his actions as the elements of a performance.24The metatheatricalelement becomes apparent when we contrast the ritual performance's stylewith the highly formalized, rigid conventions of the neoclassical comedyThe Siberian Shaman in which the ritual is contained. That contrast is yetanother source of humor, and of commentary.Amban-Lai's shamanic ritual takes place in two scenes in Act II: scenes iiand iv, separated by a brief scene when he is offstage. In the former scene,Lai is in a trance state but is not yet verbally communicative. The comicpremise of the scene is simple-to get him to talk. Bobin explains that theymust find something that will seize hold of his imagination. Their severalattempts get various non-verbal reactions from him; rather, Lai responds ingestural statements. When Sanov asks to listen to his wisdom, Lai "isnaem-bnaHmoatuHy, ydmo ezo Ko u4eKoiemb"(does a pantomime as if someoneis tickling him) (Pypin 1:362). They show him a crutch;he shakes his head tothe right and to the left as if saying "no." They show him the clock, and he"KU6aem,b ZO.JO6OiO 6b nepe-b, u no 6oKa.Mb, KaKb KumaucCKi KCyKa.bl"(nods his head forward and to the side, in the manner of Chinese dolls) (1:362). Lai's silence contrasts with their banter as he moves, gestures, runs,pantomimes, nods. The comic suspense builds. Finally, when Bragin showshim a purse full of money, Lai stretches out his hands and begins to speak. Atthis moment, the performance-within-the-play commences, and Catherinehas succeeded in comically revealing the hidden charlatanism of her shaman,who even in trance is drawn to money.The performance begins, and is presented in three distinct sections: (1)Amban-Lai's initial verbalization (after he is shown the money), (2) hisreturn into the room with drum, and (3) the "ballet" performed by hisfollowers at the end of the scene. These events are clearly distinguishedfrom his behavior in the remainder of the play; in later scenes, he conversesin (somewhat) comprehensible Russian, and in general, assumes a more"civilized" demeanor.In the first part of the ritual/performance, when Amban-Lai finallybreaks the silence, he approaches four of the men present (note that onlymen are brought into the shaman's chambers), and for each has a differentanimalistic verbalization: to Sidor Drobin, he barks like a dog;25to KarpDrobin, he meows like a cat (which Sanov mistakes as Chinese); toKromov, he sings like a rooster; and to Bragin he clucks like a hen. By
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The Monarchand the Mystic 235vocally imitating various animals, the shaman embodies the physically ex-pressive, irrational, animalistic; he is everything that the other charactersare not, with their rigid and predictable bodily movements, their prescribeddiction, their stiff formality. He then pushes the others apart, and leavesthe room. Throughout this initial sequence, the visitors each attempt toforce Lai to communicate on their terms, refusing to accept his utterancesas serious or communicative. Kromov asks Lai if he is pretending, andBragin states that Amban-Lai must be joking.After a brief scene with the dumb struck men, Lai returns in scene fourof Act II, entering with the same rapt visage indicative of the trance state,this time holding a shamanic drum. Catherine's theatrical strategy shiftsonce again; no longer do we see Lai interact with the family members. Inthis second segment of the ritual, Lai strikes his drum, runs around theroom, sings, howls, and screams various vowel sounds before collapsing-many of these elements are accurate to actual shamanic practice. The stagedirections specify that the men are frightened by his actions. Would aspectator, perhaps a member of the nobility, safely ensconced in a seat inthe Hermitage Theatre in 1786, have been frightened as well? A. FAnisimov, a present-day Russian ethnographer of Evenk culture, foundthat one shaman's performance was "so deftly accompanied by motions,imitations of spirit-voices, comic and dramatic dialogues, wild screams,snorts, noises, and the like, that it startled and amazed even this far fromsuperstitious onlooker" (101). To what extent could such a display on-stagehave produced a comic effect; to what extent did it provoke wonder andfear in its audience, thus further underscoring their (our) own credulity?The third segment of the ritual is described in a single sentence. "CbHHM'bnpHmejnmie o KpaTKOM%bajieT yxoJFITlb" (His followers leave himafter a short ballet) (Pypin 1: 364). The presence of shamanic followers(referred to later by Sidor Drobin as "pliasuny" or dancers) comes as asurprise to the reader of this play. How and when do they enter the scene?Moreover, while the stage directions seem to imply a shamanic, ritualisticdance, paradoxically the connotations of the word "balet" tself are strictlyEuropean in origin-high art, elite, formal. Again, whatever dance Lai'sfollowers performed must have been read against the background of itssetting: a "civilized" Russian domestic interior rather than a shamanic tent.As in her description of Lai alone, here Catherine does not specify that thisdance is comic in nature, although humor might result from the perceptionof incongruity.In scene v, when Lai awakens from his trance, he speaks intelligibly andin Russian to those around him; for the first time in the play, the audiencecan rely on the shaman's own statements. He explains that he cannotremember what transpired during the trance, and that his goal is to usesilence as a means toward the attainment of non-existence. Interestingly,
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236 Slavicand EastEuropean ournalthe shaman brags about his marvelous book, in which he claims everythingis written, including information about each person in the room, each one'sumonachertanie (frame of mind). The shaman's book may be in a largersense a commentary on Catherine's age, the age of Encyclopedists, an erain which all knowledge was being catalogued, printed and disseminated.The very idea of a "shamanic book" must have seemed an oxymoron toCatherine-a book having connotations of the rational and quantifiable,shamanism having very much the opposite. But Nikolai Ivanovich Novikovwas making just such mystical books available to Catherine's subjects; thusLai's book can also be seen as a reference to Novikov's Masonic publishingefforts.27
After Lai impresses the gathering with his observations, they leave andCatherine shows us yet another view of Lai: with his guarddown, in conver-sation with the butler. In marked contrast to the philosophical discussionsof the previous scene, the two men discuss boots:gBOPELKOfI. AM6aH, He xoqeIIb JIUHpKyBO)OKH?JIAft. JlaBaH,6parb ... f5ycran,i.IBOPEUKOfI. CKOpo IHrocnojlcKHe anora nocnriboTb?JIAIf. )AaBHO6bInocnnIM ... na BHjIHmb,Heaocyrb.HBOPELUKOIf.TO-TO, paTb ... 3a MHOrOBSJIC ... IIIHJI6bITbIcanorH onpIHJiKHae.... (Pypin1:367-68)(BUTLER.Amban,don'tyouwanta glassof vodka?LAI. Give it to me, brother ... I'm tired.BUTLER. Will the master'sbootsbe done soon?LAI. Theywould have beendonea whileago ... butyoucan see howbusyI am.BUTLER.Yes,brother .. youundertook oo much.... Youshouldsewbootsa little more diligently .. )This exchange again puts wisdom in the mouth of a servant character; asdoes Mavra, the butler sees through the shaman. Just as the shaman canreveal someone's true nature by consulting his book, the butler "reads" Laiby calling him brother and treating him as a bootmaker rather than as anesteemed sorcerer, even scolding him. The solidarity between the twomen-both working men-is evident, and the scene subtly serves to demys-tify Lai.Thus, within the first two acts of her play, Catherine has created contra-dictions in the representation of her title character: between the reportedand witnessed perceptions, between his trance persona, his public de-meanor, and his (presumably) more genuine behavior alone in his roomand in interaction with the butler. Rather than behaving as a type, Lai is anunstable presence in the play; it is up to the spectator to resolve thisinstability into the single moral perspective required by the play's genre.In Act Three, Catherine introduces us yet another unseen but crucialcharacter: the Bobins' daughter Prelesta. Her story is thus intertwined with
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The Monarchand the Mystic 237the shaman's. Because she is suffering from an undetermined illness, theBobins ask Lai to heal her. The shaman is reluctant, explaining his theorythat, "Bo BCqIKOM', TSRB cyTb nHpHBJeKaTeJIbHbI BBS CHJIbI, OIHa nIJCTEIXiI,a Apyras aJIi Tsjnec-; H3JIeqeHHe6oJIT3HHIaBHCHTE OTH3rHaHiIHJIH yMHOKceHiS TOi HIJIHnpyroi" (In all flesh there are two forces ofattraction, one for the elements, and the other for the bodies. Healing anillness depends on the expulsion or increase of one or the other) (Pypin 1:374). However, he soon goes off, first to the Pernatovs to heal the illwoman traveling with them, then on to Prelesta.28Before his return in ActIV, then, the shaman has met with Ivan Pernatov (Prelesta's true love) inan offstage scene-and The Siberian Shaman's two plots intersect.
In the third scene of Act IV, when Lai returns, Sanov praises him forhaving cured the Pernatov woman by attributing the cause to jealousybetween the husband and wife. Again, Catherine points out Lai's naturalshrewdness; if his cures lack magic and mystery, he is an excellent judge ofcharacter. As he himself explains:CTpacTbKHcTi)l CBOe4i TJIaeT'bHaqepTaHiH anJIHq BcAKaro eJOBaKa:Beceine, paIocTb,cepAue, rneianb, peBHOCTb,aBHCTb, IOKcb, MUieHie,HepTMIHMOCTb,BepIocTb,ynpsMCTBO,TSHCTByIOT?bC' HapyKHI [ ... ] 3HaB'b, qeMTb JIIOJH JIBHKHMbI, TpyrJHO JI TO HpO'HTaTb B
HapyxcHoCTHOMHJIHHIHOHco6bI?(Pypin 1: 385-86)(Passion'spaintbrush ketches on the face of every person:happiness, oy, anger, grief,jealousy, envy, falsehood, vengeance, indecision, stubbornness, steadfastness-all affect theexterior [ . . ] When one knows what motivates people, is it hard to perceive this or thatdetail in external appearances?)If understood from a spiritual perspective, these words attest to the powerof Lai's abilities; a rationalist, like the playwright herself, interprets thesewords rather as a con-man's credo, a shyster's scheme for exploitingnaivete by a way of a few careful observations. The play constantly oscil-lates between these two perspectives, but in the end comes down on theside of rationalism and a view of Lai as a con artist who easily persuadedothers to accept his pronouncements as supernatural if "they wanted todeceive themselves."Such strategies fall through for the shaman in IV.iv, when Lai andPrelesta meet face to face and alone. The scene is unusual in that few youngheroines in neoclassical comedies are left alone with men; most women ofmarriageable age appear together in scenes with their maids and theirmothers, and only rarely meet alone with their fiances-except in happydenouement scenes. But no character raises an objection to leavingPrelesta alone with the shaman; his status as a healer seems to override hisethnic and class differences. Perhaps also because of those differences, heis clearly not a suitor and therefore not a threat to chastity. Lai's plan issimple: his cure for Prelesta's illness is a letter in which Ivan Pernatovprofesses his love for her. Prelesta is scornful and stubborn, however,
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238 Slavic and East European Journalrefusing to read his "prescription," and speaking disparaginglyof his hand-writing: "Hy,KaK-bTbI HaMapaJ-b o MyHraJIbCKH.. . no BaIIeMyHepa3yMeio" (Well, but if you scribbled it in Mongolian, I won't understandit ) (Pypin 1: 387). When she does realize that the prescription is a letterfrom Ivan, she refuses to read it, convinced that he is engaged to Ustinia.Ultimately her father enters and reads the letter to himself. When Bobinrealizes Lai's duplicity in proffering a cure by means of a love letter, heangrily orders the shaman to leave.The shaman does not appear in the remainder of the play; through anever-escalating series of reported stories, the audience learns of severaloffstage events: that a group of followers has assembled in Lai's chambers,forming a shaman school of sorts; that many curious people have gatheredin the courtyard of the house, all eager to learn more about the famedshaman; later, that Lai has been arrested for swindling a widow out of herfortune. The audience sees none of these events firsthand; nor does Laireturn to defend his behavior. At the play's conclusion, then, the shaman isrevealed as a sham. In a parallel plotline, Ustinia Mashkina is also shownto be a fake; her feigned engagement to Ivan is unmasked as a fraud.Catherine ties together her two plotlines by explicitly acknowledging theparallels between Ustinia's deception and Lai's lies. In the play's all-important moralistic closing pronouncement, Kromov compares Ustinia tothe shaman Lai:BbI OJHaKO CXOJICTByeTeCb IIIaMaHaMH: BbI H OHH, CJITrIy MHHMbIMTb npaBHimaM-b,o6MaHbIBaeTe c-, Haqana caMHce6s, a no TOMHTnXT, KOH aM-b noaaioTb Bsapy. (Pypin 1: 406)(You resemble these Shamans; both you and they, following rules you've invented, at firstdeceive only yourselves, but then deceive everyone else who puts their faith in you.)In these final moments, Catherine contrasts both Lai and Ustinia withPrelesta, the play's heroine. In the last scene, Bobin carefully coaxesPrelesta into revealing her love for Ivan. By speaking a third person tale,she is able to give voice to her wish to marry Ivan over Karp Drobin.Although through much of the play Prelesta has appeared shallow andfoolish, the scene emphasizes her sweetness and modesty. Where she isnaive, Lai is shrewd. Where she is modest, Lai is the opposite; where sheunderestimates her own rights and powers, he overestimates his; where shegains her happiness, he, like Ustinia, loses all.What, finally, is Catherine's case against Amban-Lai, her Siberian sha-man? As a monarch, it is abundantly clear from her writing that she re-garded shamanism (along with Masonry and alchemy and other practicesshe saw as anti-rationalist) not only as the highest form of folly but as adangerously infectious form of insubordination to the goals of her reign.Yet as playwright, she employed a subtle strategy of characterization;rather than rigidly determining the audience's perceptions of the shaman
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The Monarchandthe Mystic 239from start to finish, she allows them to remain ambiguous, shifting con-stantly until the denouement, and the final revelation of his duplicity. Thefixity of that conclusion (the shaman's arrest) provides a needed moral andinterpretive anchor to the play.In employing this unique strategy, Catherine was able to cast her specta-tors, who were also her subjects in a political sense, in the role of activetruth-seekers. In essence, the play became a kind of practice for "reallife;"her ideal spectator-subjects would learn the tools by which to recognizedeception, possibly having themselves been deceived by aspects of theshaman's performance. Catherine thus implicates the audience in the narra-tive and metatheatrical structure of her play.
If read against a background of Catherine's battle againstFreemasonry-its organizational structure, its political power, its impact on the world ofpublishing in Russia-the comedy The Siberian Shaman can be seen as thelast installment in the trilogy's critique of Novikov and his Masonic circle.The shaman himself is another parody of Novikov, who through his highstatus in the Rosicrucian Order and his publishing efforts, sponsored a rangeof inquiryoutside the bounds of Catherine the Great'sversion of the Enlight-enment. From Catherine's perspective, his Masonic ideas were just as non-sensical as a dog barking; like a shaman, Novikov was capable of entrancingthe people-her people-through his strange ideas. In Catherine'sview, theshaman Novikov deceived those who wanted to deceive themselves; part ofthe enlightening strategy of her playtext was to awaken her audience fromthe trance of his mysticism.
NOTES1 Froma letter to FrederickMelchiorGrimmon 3 April1785(Pypin1: 345);translatedfromFrenchby Pinkhamn Troyat259.Unlessotherwisendicated,all translationrom
Frenchor Russianaremyown.2 Muchof Catherine'siterary utputwasoriginally ublished nonymously,lthoughmostscholarsagree that her authorshipwas well-known o her audience and readership(Gukovskii68-69). The generalscholarlyconsensus s that Catherinewrote the playswiththe assistanceof herliteraryadvisors vanElaginand AleksandrKhrapovitskii;eeShchebal'skii 05-112 for an outlineof theevidence.Yet othersdoubtthather influencewentmuchbeyondproviding guidingdeafor a play;see Vsevolodskii-Gerngross52-254 for a refutation f Catherine's uthorshiplaims.Inmyview we canconsider hem tobe her creations not only because she herselfoften referredto them as her own incorrespondence,not only becauseshe has traditionally een held as the authorof theplaysin question.The mostconvincing videnceis the substantial ollectionof manu-scriptsof her publishedand unpublishedplays,most of whichare in Catherine's wnhandwritingsee note 13below).3 Catherinewrotein severalotherdramaticmodes. Her collectedworks ncludeadapta-tionsof Shakespeare's lays:This tisto have LinenandBuck-BasketsVotkakovo met'korzinu i bel'e] (an adaptationof TheMerryWivesof Windsor)and TheSpendthrift
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240 Slavic and East European Journal[Rastochiter]an adaptationof Timonof Athens).Another seriesof Russianhistoricalplays n the styleof Shakespeare oes awaywith fashionable eoclassicaltructuresuchas the unities n favorof a freer mitationof Shakespeare-quitea daring tylisticnnova-tion decades before Pushkin.These includeFrom theLife of Riurik Iz zhizniRiurika]and TheBeginning f theReignof Oleg[Nachal'noe pravlenieOlega].Otherof Cather-ine's works ncludeopera ibrettiand dramasbasedon folk material ndsongs.All scriptscan be foundin Russian n volumes 1-4 of Pypin.MyownEnglish ranslations f Oh,These Times and The SiberianShamanare forthcomingrom Gordon and Breach'sRussianTheatreArchiveseries.4 See Ryufor a detailedconsideration f Schwartz nd Rosicrucianismn Russia.5 Martinistswere the followersof Louis-Claude,Marquisde Saint-Martin,uthorof the1775Des Erreurs e la Verite, ublishedn Russian n 1785.6 Catherine s generallyconsidered o have been the editorand mastermind ehindAllSorts [Vsiakaiavsiachina]; ee Herzenfor a refutationof this assumption.The mostfamousof Novikov's ournalswasTheDrone[Truten'].7 When Paulaccededto the throne n 1796,Novikovwas released romprison.Fora fineexegesisof Novikov'spositionas anEnlightenmentigure,see Jones.8 In this 1785 ncident,Cagliostrowas mplicated, longwithCardinalRohan, n anallegedplotto sella false necklace o MarieAntoinette;Cagliostrowassubsequentlymprisonedin the Bastille.9 From a letter to Grimmof 7 Dec. 1779;Englishtranslation rom McArthur 31-532.10 TheDeceiverconcernsa alchemistwho attempts o swindlea gullible amily.His name,Kalifalkzherston,s perhapsa punning onnection o Cagliostro Pypin1:247-286).11 TheDeceivedOne's centralcharacters the mysticBarmotin,a swindlerwhoseactionsassociatehimwithFreemasonryPypin1:289-340).David J.Welsh inds n Barmotinaclear reference o Novikov'sclosefriend,theMasonS. Gamaleia 23).12 The playswere not Catherine'sirst iteraryattackson Masonry.Her The Secretof theAnti-AbsurdSociety,Discoveredby an Outsider Tainaprotivo-nelepagobshchestva,otkrytaiane prichastnym nomu]was "a satireon Freemasonry nd Masonicorganiza-tionsandparodiesMasonicrituals,emblems,and doctrine"Gukovskii67). Thework,probablywritten n French n 1780,was backdatedwith a 1759publication ate,possiblyto avoid the appearanceof being a directcommentary n contemporaryssues. SeeShchebal'skii 12-113fora discussion f the datingcontroversy.13 See Shchebal'skii 23 concerningKhrapovitskii's mbiguouswords n this diary entry,that he received Shaman o copy from the original,as he had done withCatherine'sversion of TheMerryWivesof Windsor.Shchebal'skii otes that this referenceto anoriginal seems to be a slip of the tongue: "BepoaTHoeMynopyIeHO6bJIOnepenHcaTbHcilejaTbHcnpaBJIeHi"Probably,Khrapovitskii]asentrusted o re-copyand to makecorrections).During my research n Catherine'sarchives,I examinedthe two extantmanuscripts f the play.Both are in Catherine'shandwriting, nd each containsmanyexamplesof theEmpress'writingprocess,through hangesandalterationsn the drafts.See the RussianState Archiveof EarlyActs [Rossisskii osudarstvennyirkhivdrevnikhaktov(RGADA, formerlyTsGADA)]in Moscow(fond10, opis 1, delo 336).Archivalresearch or this articlewas supportedby a grantfromthe InternationalResearchandExchangesBoard,withfundsprovidedby the US Department f State(TitleVIII)andthe NationalEndowment or the Humanities.None of theseorganizationss responsiblefor theviewsexpressed.14 Vsevolodskii-Gerngross71givesperformance ates n Moscowas August11,Sept. 15,andNovember5 of 1787.15 The full French itle isAntidote,ouexamendumauvais ivre ntituleVoyagen Siberieaiten 1761;see volume7 of Pypin or thecomplete ext.
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The Monarch and the Mystic 24116 One particularly oteworthypublishedaccount is Pallas;becauseCatherineand theImperialAcademyof Sciencesdirectlysupportedhis work,she is certain o have been
familiarwithPallas'saccounts n specific hamanisticustoms.17 Note that this letter to Zimmerman redatesher givingthe copy to Khrapovitskiioramendment, nd alsopredates hepremiere.18 See Flaherty, hapter ive,on Diderot's nterest n shamanism.19 Catherinehad drawnheavilyon theEncyclopediawentyyearsearlieras sheformulatedherInstructionNakaz] Alexander101).20 The surnamePernatovmayderive fromthe adjectivepernatyi feathery).Prelesta s aspeakingname with severalpossibleconnotations.Although n generalusage,thewordprelest'means oveliness,or charm, n the eighteenth-century,thersynonymsncludedobman(deception)orsoblazn(seduction) Gribble).21 Froma 30 Sept. 1787 etterinFrench o Grimm.22 Literally, ne whopaystwotributes;nthiscontext,most ikelyreferringo one whopaidiasak(tribute) o bothRussiaand China Dal').23 Cf. scene III.iii of The Deceiver:whenthe alchemistKalifalkzherston'sauldronbursts
offstage.24 Pallascompared he shamans'rituals o such dramaticormsas farces or pantomimes(Flaherty 3).25 The wordforbarkingused here is theRussianword".nai" r laimeaningbarking;hus tis a punon Lai'sname.26 Theirpossiblepresence n II.i complicateshe readingof thissceneas a gestural olilo-quy.Were hesefollowerspresentwhen Lai was alonein his chamber?27 Onepossiblevisualcluethat theAmban s beingsatirized s a Freemason s thepresenceof the open book. A Bible, openedto a particular assageas a sourceof wisdom, s atraditional artof the setting n a Masonicodge (Mackey113).28 Inmy colleagueRuthP. Dawson's orthcoming ssay,sheexamines he issuesof marriageandfamilystabilityas theyrelate to occultism n thistrilogy,observinghat in both TheDeceiverand The SiberianShaman, t is the female characterswho are ill andmustbecured.
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