Two Comedies by Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia
Oh, These Times! and The Siberian Shaman
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Catherine the Great (1729-1796) wrote over two dozen plays and operettas, but not until this edition has a complete translation of any of them been available to an English- speaking readership.
Oh, These Times (1772) is a satirical attack on many vices Catherine wished to root out from her society: religious hypocrisy, superstition and slander. The main character, Mrs. Pious, is a superficially religious old woman who resembles Moliere's Tartuffe.
Catherine again sets her sights on superstition in The Siberian Shaman (1786), this time by satirizing shamanism as a deceitful profession which preys on the gullible. This play was part of a group of three plays usually known as Catherine's "anti-masonic" trilogy, written as a warning against the growing influence of the freemasons.
In a comprehensive introduction, Lurana Donnels O'Malley relates the plays to Catherine's status and philosophy.
Table of Contents
Introduction to the Series, Acknowledgements, Introduction, Oh, These Times!, The Siberian Shaman
Lurana Donnels O'Malley