Cover: The King of Time: Selected Writings of the Russian Futurian, from Harvard University PressCover: The King of Time in PAPERBACK

The King of Time

Selected Writings of the Russian Futurian

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Product Details


$47.00 • £37.95 • €42.50

ISBN 9780674505162

Publication Date: 10/01/1990


270 pages

11 halftones


At times [Khlebnikov’s] verse sounds like what birds presumably heard from St. Francis. Under his pen, nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, and prepositions undergo mutations as mind-boggling as those of a cell hit by immense radiation. Beautiful or grotesque, the results are often memorable…diamonds of an unparalleled splendor.—Joseph Brodsky, The New Republic

[Khlebnikov] was surely one of the most remarkable practitioners in language who has ever written. He seems to inhabit the very heart of his language, exploring its roots, making it send up new and wonderful growths… The foreigner who knows Russian can glimpse this and admire the marvels of Khlebnikov’s language, though never with the inwardness of the native speaker. But what of those who approach him through translation? Can they come to see the importance and beauty of his work? This is the challenge taken up by Paul Schmidt, the translator of the proposed complete works, and he rises to it nobly… In this volume we are given the extraordinary ‘supersaga’ Zangezi, in which the languages of birds and of gods, of prophecy and of street banter, join with ‘beyonsense’ sound poetry (zaum), and large visions of historical change to produce a summa, a kind of crazier Zarathustra. That Schmidt can deal so confidently with this bodes well for his larger enterprise… A fine achievement.—Peter France, The Times Literary Supplement

Aiming to produce a ‘new text’ rather than an imitation of the original, [Schmidt] has explored his own language in the same spirit in which Khlebnikov burrowed like a mole into the Russian word. Schmidt’s inventiveness often rivals the Russian of the original.Journal of Russian Studies

The King of Time…represents a deft feat of translation… It offers readers the chance to imagine, experience and restore the full analogy between pictorial and verbal creation.—Elliott Mossman, The New York Times Book Review

Modern Russia’s most brilliant, imaginative, and eccentric poet, Khlebnikov produced a body of literature that still amazes. Combining features of the avant-garde (which he vigorously promoted with the Cubo-Futurists) and a scholarly interest in ancient Slavic roots and folklore, his work is a complex fabric appealing to the intellect, the imagination, the Russian national tradition, the ear (and often the eye), and the reader’s sense of humor and the bizarre… Paul Schmidt [has] produced a brilliant tour de force—a collection of poetry, prose fiction, declarations, and the theatrical ‘supersaga’ Zangezi, that gives both the general reader and the specialist (especially those interested in modern poetry) a very good idea of the range of Khlehnikov’s extraordinary creativity.Choice

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