Today I Wrote Nothing: The Selected Writing of Daniil Kharms

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Duckworth, 2007 - Literary Criticism - 287 pages
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Daniil Kharms has long been heralded as one of the most iconoclastic writers of the Soviet era, but the full breadth of his achievement is only in recent years, following the opening of Kharms's archives, being recognized internationally. In this brillant translation by Matvei Yankelevich, English-language readers now have a comprehensive collection of the prose and poetry that secured Kharms's literary reputation--a reputation that grew in Russia even as the Soviet establishment worked to suppress it. A master of formally inventive poetry and what today would be called "micro-fiction," Kharms built off the legacy of Russian futurist writers to create a uniquely deadpan style that developed out of, and in spite of, the absurdities of everyday life in Stalinist Russia. Featuring the acclaimed novella "The old woman" and darkly humorous short prose sequence "Events" (Sluchai), Today I wrote nothing also includes dozens of short prose pieces, plays, and poems long admired in Russia, but never before available in English. Including a comprehensive introduction to Kharms's work and life and notes on the text, this bold look at the work of a neglected master is both an invaluable contribution for students of Russian literature, and an exciting discovery for readers of innovative writing eveywhere.--Book jacket flap.

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User Review  - dagseoul - LibraryThing

i bought an uncorrected proof awhile back and wore it out, then lent it out, and never received it back. All my notes in it lost because i write everything i am thinking in books because i have poor ... Read full review

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User Review  - jon1lambert - LibraryThing

Nonsense at first sight, then you get the hang of it. Excellent. The author stated in 1937, as the preface confirms, `I am interested only in nonsense; only in that which has no practical meaning'. Read full review


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About the author (2007)

Matvei Yankelevich was born in 1973 in Moscow, USSR, from where his family emigrated to the Boston area in the late 1970s. He is the author of ALPHA DONUT (United Artists Books, 2012) and a previous book--a novella in fragments--BORIS BY THE SEA (Octopus Books, 2009), and several chapbooks: Writing in the Margin (Loudmouth Collective, 2001), The Present Work (Palm Press, 2006), The Nature Poetry of Matvei Yankelevich (Knock-Off, 2010), and Bending at the Elbow (Minutes Books). Yankelevich is a widely published translator of Russian poetry; his translations of the eccentric early 20th Century writer Daniil Kharms have appeared in many journals, including Harpers, The New Yorker, and NEW AMERICAN WRITING, and were collected in Today I Wrote Nothing: The Selected Writings of Daniil Kharms (Overlook, 2007; Ardis/Overlook paperback, 2009). He has taught at the Russian Department of Hunter College, Columbia University School of the Arts, and the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts at Bard College. He is a member of the volunteer editorial collective of Ugly Duckling Presse, a nonprofit publisher based in Brooklyn, New York.

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