Denis Ivanovich Fonvisin (1744–1792) was a writer and a man of letters in the epoch of Catherine the Great and the founder of the Russian satirical comedy genre.
He was born into a rich noble family. In 1755-1760, he studied in the gymnasium of Moscow University and then graduated from the Faculty of Philosophy. His works were published in magazines and he made his first translation of Ludvig Holberg’s Ethical Fables and Voltaire’s tragedy Alzira. In 1762, he went to St. Petersburg and was employed as a translator by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
His interest in theater caused him to write original Russian satirical comedies. The first writer’s independent play was The Brigadier-General (1769), which mocked many social sins and behaviors. He laughs at ignorance, bribery, hypocrisy, and blind servility to foreigners, which were characteristic of local gentry families.
In 1781, Fonvisin wrote his most important comedy The Minor. He highlighted the root of all Russia’s evils, that is serfdom and public ignorance which in Fonvisin’s opinion could be eliminated by reforms in a spirit of the Enlightenment.
Fonvisin’s satire has stayed relevant and current over three centuries.
The envelope with the original stamp features Fonvisin’s portrait; the main illustration features the paperbacks of his books and an image referring to the epoch of Catherine the Great.