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The Man with the Black Coat: Russia's Literature of the Absurd
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The Man with the Black Coat: Russia's Literature of the Absurd

4.52 of 5 stars 4.52  ·  rating details  ·  200 ratings  ·  18 reviews
This book brings together works by two of the outstanding talents of Soviet literature, Daniil Kharms and Alexander Vvedensky. It discloses a little-known tradition of absurdism that persisted during the Stalinist period, a testimony to both the hardiness of the Russian imagination in the face of socialist realism and the vitality of an important cultural and literary trad ...more
Paperback, 258 pages
Published August 30th 1997 by Northwestern University Press (first published November 1971)
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the best accidental library find ever.
"My nonsense hurts a little" - there's no more accurate assessment of these treasures than that quote from the treasures themselves. Because nonsense does hurt; absurdity may at least be a stab at humor, but at the root is a fundamental void. This writing captures the incredible cathartic power of language while at the same time not ignoring dire reality that makes it possible.

"If only human beings sin, this means that the sins of the world are to be found in the human being himself. Sin does n
Read It Now.
While Kharms' work in this is better translated in other editions and provides nothing new, Alexander Vvedensky's Christmas at the Ivanov's makes this entire book worth reading.
Before taking a Russian lit class, I had never even heard of Kharms. Good thing I took said class, because the dude is seriously hilarious. His mini-stories wreck clichés you didn't even realize were clichés.
Mostly comprised of Daniil Kharms' parable-like 'nonsense' stories, this book displays the Russian absurdists' (failed) attempt to rescue imagination and individuality from a national literature that was headed toward pedantic 'proletarian' fable. The result is writing that is as filled with wonder and dream-like fantasy and as honest and innocent as children's lit, where its authors finally found political shelter.
Gerry LaFemina
Gibian's introductory essay contextualizes smartly this wonderful anthology that features mostly the work of Daniil Kharms. Much of this work had never been published in any language before and the mini-stories of Khaarms (some prose poems, some fables, all fabulous are a must read).
Michael Seidel
Weird balance of work by the two featured writers. Should have just been a Kharms book and then done a separate book for Vvendsky. Buuut. All really great, funny, dark writing.
Nicholaus Patnaude
Why couldn't he have written a novel? It would have rivaled "A Confederacy of Dunces." These stories are funny and outrageous and perfect for the easily bored.
I secretly write like them. Or want to write like them? There are certain similarities that strike me as odd and significant. I need more of them in my life.
Miranda Mccue
i read snippets of Kharms' writing in the new yorker and i was a smitten kitten. he is whimsical and eerie.

finished! absolutely amazing.
If you like this book, you will also like Cortazar's "Cronopios and Famas" and Ionesco's "Rhinoceros."
I love Kharms. There is much wonderful absurdity in this book.
Susan Skelly
Some of it is quirky, but most of it left me feeling mleh.
Apr 30, 2007 Matthew rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone who believes they live in a world they believe is not quite right.
I learned I'm not the only one.
Russian Absurdism at its finest.
Soviet crimes.
Stephen marked it as to-read
Nov 24, 2015
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Daniil Ivanovich Yuvachev (Даниил Иванович Ювачёв) was born in St. Petersburg, into the family of Ivan Yuvachev, a well known member of the revolutionary group, The People's Will. By this time the elder Yuvachev had already been imprisoned for his involvement in subversive acts against the tsar Alexander III and had become a religious philosopher, acquaintance of Anton Chekhov during the latter's ...more
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“Pushkin loved to throw rocks. As soon as he saw a rock, he would throw it. Sometimes he became so excited that he stood, all red in the face, waving his arms, throwing rocks, simply something awful.

Pushkin had four sons, all idiots. One didn't even know how to sit in a chair and fell off all the time. Pushkin himself also sat on a chair rather badly. It was simply killing: they sat at the table; at one end, Pushkin kept falling off his chair continually, and at the other end, his son. Simply enough to make one split one's sides with laughter.”
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