The "texts" of Russian artist and thinker Daniil Kharms (1905-1942) were so many and varied and often unique (narrative, dramatic, philosophical, poetic, mathematical, pictographic, diagrammatic, musical, biographical) that they defied categorization—and, thus, thorough study or appreciation—through much of the twentieth century. This book, the first in English to view Kharms’s oeuvre in its entirety, is also the first to offer a complete, inclusive, and coherent understanding of the overall project of this artist and writer now considered a major figure in the modernist canon of Europe.
Russian Absurd: Selected Writings
Daniil Kharms; Translated from the Russian by Alex Cigale Northwestern University Press, 2017 Library of Congress PG3476.K472A2 2017 | Dewey Decimal 891.784209
A writer who defies categorization, Daniil Kharms has come to be regarded as an essential artist of the modernist avant-garde. His writing, which partakes of performance, narrative, poetry, and visual elements, was largely suppressed during his lifetime, which ended in a psychiatric ward where he starved to death during the siege of Leningrad. His work, which survived mostly in notebooks, can now be seen as one of the pillars of absurdist literature, most explicitly manifested in the 1920s and ’30s Soviet Union by the OBERIU group, which inherited the mantle of Russian futurism from such poets as Vladimir Mayakovsky and Velimir Khlebnikov. This selection of prose and poetry provides the most comprehensive portrait of the writer in English translation to date, revealing the arc of his career and including a particularly generous selection of his later work.