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The Absurd in Daniil Kharms’s Work in the Legal-Political Context: Абсурдизм Даниила Хармса в политико-юридическом контексте. Анализ рассказов «Случаи», «Грязная личность», «Реабилитация» в контексте советской периодики

Events

Speaker:

Mikhail Odesskii (RGGU, Moscow)

Date:

Wednesday, October 29, 2014 - 5:15pm

Location:

Pigott Hall (Building 260), Room 216

Language:

Type:

Colloquium

The Absurd in Daniil Kharms’s Work in the Legal-Political Context: Абсурдизм Даниила Хармса в политико-юридическом контексте. Анализ рассказов «Случаи», «Грязная личность», «Реабилитация» в контексте советской периодики

Colloquium by Mikhail Odessky of The Russian State University of the Humanities, Moscow

The prime years of Daniil Kharms’s creative work lasted from the second half of the 1920’s to the beginning of the 1940’s, a period in which all public activity — save for authoring children’s books — became impossible for the avant-garde writer. In his works aimed at “adult readers,” works which were not intended for publication and in which he freely promulgated his views, Kharms distanced himself from Soviet society and the Soviet press, that most powerful propaganda organ: “I never read newspapers.” Now that Kharms’s works have become the subject of scholarly study, the lion’s share of the attention has gone to the poetics of the absurd and the mystical-philosophical problems that follow. My talk is dedicated to the reverberations of the writer’s responses to the discourse of official Soviet propaganda and the central topics of the Soviet press. I analyze the stories “The Cases (Sluchai),” “A Dirty Individual (Griaznaia lichnost’),” and “Vindication (Reabilitatsiia),” considering them alongside materials from Soviet newspapers, including materials related to the show trials of “The Great Terror.” This approach allows us not only to establish the “real,” factual circumstances underlying Kharms’s absurd narratives, but also to determine the writer’s take on the events unfolding around him. For this reason, Kharms’s declaration that “I don’t read newspapers” should be interpreted a bit more specifically. Kharms’s words do not amount to a refusal to read so much as they amount to a refusal to accept both the content and style of the reports appearing in the Soviet press.

TALK WILL BE IN RUSSIAN