AMPHITEATROV, Alexander Valen tinovitch, vä-len-te-nevich am-fe-ta-I'trof, a popular Russian writer of the naturalistic school. He was born at Kaluga (central Rus sia) of ecclesiastical in 1862, and studied music and jurisprudence, the latter at the Moscow University. His literary career began in 1887, when his light verse and prose commenced to appear in various humorous periodicals. As special correspondent of the foremost Russian daily, Novoye Vremia, he at one time attracted considerable attention under the pseudonym of ((The Old Gentleman)) In 1902 he was exiled to Siberia for certain ad vanced views expressed in his own periodical, Russia. Since 1905 he has been living abroad, where he edited a progressive periodical called The Red Banner. Among his extra-literary achievements perhaps the most important was the founding at Paris of The Russian School of Social Science, at which he delivered courses of lectures.
Amphiteatrov .has been an extremely pro lific writer, whose literary output, if collected, might easily fill half-a-hundred volumes. His works already published include numerous novels, dramas, critical and biographical essays, studies in history and an endless variety of humor. As none of these are available in Eng lish, it would be superfluous to enumerate them in a general reference work intended for Eng lish readers. A few characteristic titles of his more important novels are 'The Blood of Alimov' (1884), a decidedly zolaesque work with which the author first attracted general attention; (Fiedka the Murderer' (1892), a study in hereditary predisposition; 'Victoria (1907), a most interesting work dealing favorably with the woman question; The Dusk of the Demigods' (1908), a two volume work depicting the vanities and tribu lations of actors, playwrights and singers, and 'The Men of the Eighties and Nineties' (1907 10), also in two volumes, constituting the initial works of a projected series which was intended to picture, in leisurely Balzac fashion, Russian society from 1880-1910. His non-fiction in
cludes Literary Album,' a volume entitled 'Humor,' and a very creditable study of anti semitism. His dramas are commonly adapta tions from his novels—and sometimes the author reverses this process of literary manufacture.
Amphiteatrov is not in any sense a great Russian writer —not even when judged by contemporary Russian standards. He lacks the originality of Gorky, the inventiveness of Andreyev and the art of Artsybashev (qq.v.). Although he, too, is a realist, his realism is rather of the simple physiological kind of Zola than of the great Russian variety developed by Gogol, Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky (qq.v.). His special interests in human nature lie with the play of temperaments and hereditary predispo sitions, both well illustrated in 'The Dusk of the Demigods,' teeming with alcoholics, and in 'The Men of the Eighties,' full of degen eracy. This interest in the abnormal and sub normal human types, which is suggestive of Dostoyevsky and which links Amphiteatrov somewhat with Andreyev, makes most of his novels and dramas really studies in social path ology, which naturally renders their vogue ephemeral. Indeed, it is not as a writer of novels and plays that Amphiteatrov has won his real fame; his special field is literary jour nalism and humorous improvisation, as he has himself avowed, and in this field he ranks easily among Russia's greatest writers.