Ostrovsky, Aleksandr Nikolayevich (əlyĭksänˈdər nyĭkəlĪˈyəvĭch əstrôfˈskē) [key], 1823–86, Russian dramatist. Ostrovsky's first play, The Bankrupt (1847; reworked as It's a Family Affair, 1850), was widely read but was banned from the stage. He left a government clerical post in 1851 to devote his time to writing. Most of his more than 50 plays deal with the merchant or petty-official classes and the conflicts within their patriarchal families. All but eight of his works were written in blank verse, using colloquial language. Ostrovsky's masterpiece is The Storm (1860), the tragedy of a woman driven to suicide. The play is the basis for Janáček's opera Katia Kabanova. Ostrovsky's popular play Poverty Is No Crime (1854) concerns a marriage of convenience. Rimsky-Korsakov used his Snow Maiden (1873) as the libretto of an opera and Tchaikovsky drew upon several plays by Ostrovsky as inspiration for musical works.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.