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Showing posts from September, 2013

Urmuz [Demetru Demetrescu-Buzau] - short and absurdist stories of a forerunner of Dada and Surrealism

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Urmuz [Demetru Demetrescu-Buzau], Collected Works, Atlas Press, 2007.
download: chomikuj.pl/

The collected short and absurdist stories of the Romanian writer “Urmuz”, dating from the early years of the twentieth century up until their author’s death in 1923. Urmuz’s work has been claimed as a forerunner of Dada, and of Surrealism as well, and shows again the sharp sense of the vitality of the avant-garde amongst Romanian practitioners. Romania, all-too-easily overlooked on the edge of Eastern Europe, has produced more than its share of key modernist innovators. Tristan Tzara and Isidore Isou spring first to mind, and in the last decade's hyperrealist film movement has made them one of the biggest cultural exporters of the region. Add to these, even earlier, far back at the start of the 20th century, Urmuz. Born Demetru Dem. Demetrescu-Buzau, the writer-musicians complete written works run a scant 32 pages here (plus a 1967 translator's biographical note), …

Read Russia: An Anthology of New Voice

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Elena Shubina, ed., Read Russia!: An Anthology of New Voices

readrussia2013.com/

Download the Read Russia Anthology

Read Russia!: An Anthology of New Voices presents a new gift to American and English-speaking readers: thirty short works from Russia’s leading contemporary writers. This 448-page collection is weighty and substantial, yet is also just a taste of the stunning writing coming out of Russia today.
The land that gave us many of the greats of world literature presents these leading lights of Russian letters, with the help of expert translators worldwide:
• Olga Slavnikova
• Zakhar Prilepin
• Alexander Kabakov
• Ludmila Ulitskaya
• Mikhail Shishkin
• Yury Buida
• Igor Sakhnovsky
• Vladimir Sorokin
• Sergey Kuznetsov
• Margarita Khemlin
• Maria Galina
• Alexander Genis
• Andrei Rubanov
• Dina Rubina
• Yuri Miloslavsky
• Alexander Terekhov
• Eduard Radzinsky
• Dmitry Bykov
• Sergei Shargunov
• Dmitry Danilov
• Vladimir Makanin
• Yuri Poliakov
• Roman Senchin
• Anna Starobinets
• Al…

Mikhail Elizarov - Protagonist learns that a number of books by forgotten Soviet writer Gromov possess magical properties, and different groups of readers are in the fierce struggle for them

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Mikhail Elizarov, The Librarian,Ad Marginem, 2011.


Protagonist learns that a number of books by forgotten Soviet writer Gromov possess magical properties, and different groups of readers are in the fierce struggle for them. The novel won the Russian Booker Prize-2008 and was praised by critics. As noted in the journal "Znamya", "Mikhail Elizarov prose has evolved from a scandal shocking to intellectually rich fiction."

Mikhail Elizarov’s novel “The Librarian” published in 2007, and awarded the Russian-Booker Prize in 2008 (the most prestigious literary award, based on votes cast by a committee of writers) has been a source of no small controversy.
This is a novel about novels—trashy, socialist realist novels (written in the middle of the 20th century by a third-rate novelist, named Gromov) that were forgotten and overlooked almost as soon as they were published. A few random individuals, however, lost and depressed characters of Perestroika (a single professor, a n…

Tom Sandqvist shows that Dada did not emerge fully formed in Zurich but grew out of an already active Romanian avant-garde

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Tom Sandqvist, Dada East: The Romanians of Cabaret Voltaire, The MIT Press, 2006.               Dada -- perhaps the most famous and outrageous of modernism's artistic movements -- is said to have begun at the Cabaret Voltaire, a literary evening staged at the restaurant Meierei in Zurich on February 5, 1916. The evening featured stamping, roaring, banging on the lids of pots and pans, and the recitation of incomprehensible "poemes simultanes" Thus a global revolution in art and culture was born in a Swiss restaurant. Or was it?In Dada East, Tom Sandqvist shows that Dada did not spring full-grown from a Zurich literary salon but grew out of an already vibrant artistic tradition in Eastern Europe -- particularly Romania -- that was transposed to Switzerland when a group of Romanian modernists settled in Zurich. Bucharest and other cities in Romania had been the scene of Dada-like poetry, prose, and spectacle in the years before World War I. One of the leading lights was Tri…

Arndt Niebisch - The avant-garde movements of the early twentieth century inhabited the media discourses of their time like parasites, constantly irritating and taking from them. Dadaists ripped images of a mechanically reproduced world out of newspapers and magazines and reassembled them...

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Arndt Niebisch, Media Parasites in the Early Avant-Garde: On the Abuse of Technology and Communication, Palgrave, 2012.

Read it at Google Books


The avant-garde movements of the early twentieth century inhabited the media discourses of their time like parasites, constantly irritating and taking from them. Dadaists ripped images of a mechanically reproduced world out of newspapers and magazines and reassembled them in their collages. Futurists instrumentalized the brevity of telegraph messages for their free word poetics. Artists such as F.T. Marinetti, Raoul Hausmann and Luigi Russolo constantly abused existing media technologies and hijacked public communication. This study traces these subversive tactics from avant-garde poetry to media technological experiments with radio tubes.

Rafael Sanchez Ferlosio - A magical picaresque novel: a chair puts down roots and sprouts 'a few green branches and some cherries,' while a paint-absorbing tree becomes a 'marvelous botanical harlequin'

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Rafael Sanchez Ferlosio, Adventures of the Ingenious Alfanhui, Trans. by Margaret Jull Costa, Dedalus, 2000. [1952.]

These are the adventures of a magical little boy which will appeal to both children and adults.

In his dedication, Ferlosio describes this exquisite fantasy novel, first published in 1952 and now beautifully translated into English as a 'story full of true lies.' Much honored in his native Spain, Ferlosio is a fabulist comparable to Jorge Borges and Italo Calvino, as well as Joan Miro and Salvador Dali. Cervantes comes to mind. Ferlosio's prose is effortlessly evocative. A chair puts down roots and sprouts 'a few green branches and some cherries,' while a paint-absorbing tree becomes a 'marvelous botanical harlequin.' Later, Alfanhui sets off on a tour of Castile, meeting his aged grandmother 'who incubated chicks in her lap and had a vine trellis of muscatel grapes and who never died.' This is a haunting adult reverie on life and b…

John Lucas - A veritable successor to Douglas Adams. Why are the Galaxy's wealthiest and most powerful inhabitants plotting to destroy the entire universe, and replace it with a smaller and more convenient reality of their own construction?

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John Lucas, Faster Than Life, Dedalus,2002.


Blending exuberant inventiveness with subtle satire, Faster Than Light is a novel that will appeal not just to fans of humorous science fiction, but to anyone looking for a quirky and original read.

Why are the Galaxy's wealthiest and most powerful inhabitants plotting to destroy the entire universe, and replace it with a smaller and more convenient reality of their own construction? What happens when an entire society devotes itself to alcoholic excess, elevating the pursuit of inebriation above all other goals? And is it really possible that the most ruthlessly successful organisation in the whole of space and time could be outwitted by two young humans, members of a species previously regarded as noteworthy only for the inexplicable enthusiasm with which it destroys the ecosystems on which its own survival depends? Answers to all these questions and more can be found in this unusual and dazzlingly funny novel. Blending exuberant inven…