Visions of Collapse: The Desecrating Satires of Vladimir Sorokin
Speaker(s): Vladimir Sorokin (Russian Writer and Dramatist) and Max Lawton (Translator)
Join Vladimir Sorokin and Max Lawton for a reading and conversation between the writer and his translator.
Vladimir Sorokin was born in a small town outside of Moscow in 1955. He trained as an engineer at the Moscow Institute of Oil and Gas, but turned to art and writing, becoming a major presence in the Moscow underground of the 1980s. His work was banned in the Soviet Union, and his first novel, The Queue, was published by the famed émigré dissident Andrei Sinyavsky in France in 1983. In 1992, Sorokin’s Their Four Hearts was nominated for the Russian Booker Prize; in 1999, the publication of the controversial novel Blue Lard, which included a sex scene between Stalin and Khrushchev, led to public demonstrations against the book and to demands that Sorokin be prosecuted as a pornographer; in 2001, he received the Andrei Biely Award for outstanding contributions to Russian literature. Sorokin is also the author of the screenplays for the movies Moscow, The Kopeck, and 4, and of the libretto for Leonid Desyatnikov’s Rosenthal’s Children, the first new opera to be commissioned by the Bolshoi Theater since the 1970s. He has written numerous plays and short stories, and his work has been translated throughout the world. Among his most recent books are Doctor Garin and De feminis. He lives in Berlin. (Photo: Maria Sorokina)
Max Lawton is a translator, novelist and musician. He received his BA in Russian Literature and Culture from Columbia University and his MPhil from Queen’s College, Oxford, where he wrote a dissertation comparing Céline and Dostoevsky. He has translated many books by Vladimir Sorokin and is also working with Jonathan Littell and Christian Kracht. Lawton is also the author of one novel and two collections of stories currently awaiting publication and is writing his doctoral dissertation on phenomenology and the 20th-century novel at Columbia University. He lives in Los Angeles and is a member of four noise-music ensembles.
Co-sponsored with Stanford's Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies (CREEES) and the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures.