De profundis ad te clamavi. In this phrase, with his penchant for epitome, the late James Huneker summarized the masterpiece of Russia’s single living master of the drama, Maxim Gorky, as he saw it in Berlin under the German title of “Nachtasyl” or “Night Lodging.” “Na Dnye” is the Russian—literally “On the Bottom.” Partly because “The Lower Depths” is a more faithful rendering of the original than “Night Lodging” and partly because it implies so vividly the play’s keynote as the shrewd Huneker detected it beneath a guise alien to both Russian and English, the title adopted by Laurence Irving for the British version has been preferred for its introduction to American audiences by the company which discovered it and first set it on its stage in Moscow, December 31 (our calendar), 1902.
MIKHAIL IVANOFF KOSTILYOFF—Keeper of a night lodging.
VASSILISA KARPOVNA—His wife.
MIEDVIEDIEFF—Her uncle, a policeman.
VASKA PEPEL—A young thief.
ANDREI MITRITCH KLESHTCH—A locksmith.
KVASHNYA—A vendor of meat-pies.
KRIVOY ZOB and
NIGHT LODGERS, TRAMPS AND OTHERS.
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