Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Daniil Kharms

Daniil Kharms (1905-1942) was an avant garde Russian author.  He died while a resident guest at one of Uncle Joe's less well appointed holiday hotels.  6 weeks after he died, his flat on Mayakovsky Street in Leningrad was bombed: his friends rescued his notebooks or almost all of his work would have been lost.

Very little of his work was [permitted to be] published during his lifetime. Most notable now is Incidences, a collection of short pieces in a style unfamiliar to western readers.

Just one example is:

The Artist and The Clock

Serov, an artist, went to the Obvodny Canal. Why did he go there? To buy some india rubber. What did he want india rubber for? To make himself a rubber band. And what did he want a rubber band for? In order to stretch it. That's what for. And what else? This is what else: the artist Serov had broken his clock. The clock had been going well, but he picked it up and broke it. What else? Nothing else. Nothing, this is it, in a nutshell! Keep your filthy snout out when it's not needed! And may the lord have mercy on us!
Once there lived an old woman. She lived and lived, until she got burnt up in her stove. Served her right, too! The artist Serov, at least, was of that opinion...
Huh! I would write some more, but the ink-pot has suddenly gone and disappeared.

1 comment:

  1. John observes this:

    It helps (a bit) if you understand Russian.