Sovietexts, Calculations, & Other Writings
Dmitri Alexandrovich Prigov was a leading writer of the late Soviet and early post-Soviet era. Born in 1940 and died in 2007; a lifespan longer than usual for a Russian male of his generation. Almost until the collapse of the Soviet Union, his writing circulated solely in samizdat, or else in overseas publications. He was briefly detained in a Soviet psychiatric hospital in 1986 but released after protests from establishment literary figures. A founder of Moscow Conceptualism, Prigov was an amazingly prolific writer, in all genres, as well as an accomplished visual artist. This collection, the first to appear in English, covers the Soviet era, with work which make serious fun of the Soviet version of reality. Short stories about amazing heroes of the revolution and after, poetic sequences that expose literature, history and culture to the stark light of laughter. It also includes a generous selection of post-Soviet writings, concerned with human mortality and human sinfulness - concerns he shares with Dostoevsky. He shares his humor, which is always present, with Gogol. Lists of deaths avoided, punishments for the menagerie, and the cosmic balance of existence. While Prigov's writing is very definitely of the Soviet and post-Soviet world, it also is consonant with contemporaneous avant-garde writing elsewhere. He was a "Pop Artist" in a land without consumer culture.
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