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OBERIU / RI-OBERIU (a cura di Simone Guagnelli e Laura Piccolo)

V. 15 (2022): OBERIU / RI-OBERIU

L’idiota Puškin e il saggio Stalin. Aneddotica e strategie di demitizzazione in Charms e Prigov



The avant-garde literary group OBĖRIU, with its poetics of the absurd, alogism and grotesque, had a great influence on later Soviet Russian literature and on neo-avant-garde movements as well. This paper investigates the connection between OBĖRIU and the neo-avant-garde of the 1970s and 1980s, especially by comparing two representatives of these different ‘ages’ of avant-garde – Daniil Kharms and Dmitrii Prigov. The analysis will focus particularly on the genre of the anecdote, with which they both experimented. After tracing the heritage of OBĖRIU poetics in Conceptualism and in the work of Prigov, who was interested in the form of Kharmsian prose miniatures, the paper will compare the well-known Anecdotes from the Life of Pushkin by Kharms (1937) with a series of quasi-hagiographical texts, Stories about Stalin, by Prigov (1975-1989). These bizarre sketches have several common features related to the genre, the formal structure, and the stylistic devices employed. Despite some striking parallels, however, the analysis will demonstrate that Kharms and Prigov have two different approaches to understanding deconstruction of myths, the grotesque, and the absurd.