December Learn how and when to remove this template message Platonov was born in the settlement of Yamskaya Sloboda on the outskirts of Voronezh in the Chernozem Region of Central Russia. His father was a metal fitter and amateur inventor employed in the railroad workshops and his mother was the daughter of a watchmaker. He attended a local parish school and completed his primary education at a four-year city school and began work at age thirteen, with such jobs as office clerk at a local insurance company, smelter at a pipe factory, assistant machinist, warehouseman, and on the railroad. Following the revolutions, he studied electrical technology at Voronezh Polytechnic Institute. When civil war broke out he assisted his father on trains delivering troops and supplies and clearing snow. From through , his most intensive period as a writer, he published dozens of poems an anthology appeared in , several stories, and hundreds of articles and essays, adopting in the Platonov pen-name by which he is best-known.

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The anti-Soviet author Andrei Platonov Stalin called him scum. Set against a backdrop of industrialisation and collectivisation, The Foundation Pit is fantastical yet realistic, funny yet tragic, profoundly moving and yet disturbing.

Daniel Kalder caught up with Chandler to talk about why more people should be reading Platonov. No other work of literature means so much to me. There were two reasons for retranslating it. One crucial three-page passage, for example, is entirely missing.

Second, Platonov is hard to translate: in the early s we were working in the dark. One indication of how deeply many Russian writers and critics admire him is the extent of their generosity to his translators; I now have a long list of people I can turn to for help.

Above all, I have the good fortune to have my wife, who shares my love of Platonov, and the brilliant American scholar, Olga Meerson, as my closest collaborators. She has deepened my understanding of almost every sentence. Well, it probably sounds less startling to Russians than it does to English and Americans.

In my personal judgment, it was confirmed for me during the last stages of my work on Russian Short Stories from Pushkin to Buida , an anthology of short stories I compiled for Penguin Classics. I worked on this for several years, did most of the translations myself and revised them many times. I read through the proofs with enjoyment — I was still happy with the choices I had made — but there were only two writers whom I was still able to read with real wonder: Pushkin and Platonov.

Readers who encounter Platonov for the first time are often struck by his surreality: in the Foundation Pit, for example, a bear staggers through a village denouncing kulaks [supposedly wealthy peasants]. When I first read his account of the kulaks being sent off down the river on a raft, I thought of it simply as weird. Many years later I found out that this scene is also entirely realistic. The Siberian Viktor Astafiev wrote in his memoir: "In spring all the dispossessed kulaks were collected together, placed on rafts and floated off to Krasnoyarsk, and from there to Igarka.

When they started loading the rafts, the whole village gathered together. Everyone wept; it was their own kith and kin who were leaving. One person was carrying mittens, another a bread roll, another a lump of sugar. As a hammer in a forge, he is linked both to Stalin, whose name means "man of steel" and to Molotov , whose name means "hammerer". He is the tame bear often employed by a village sorcerer.

Platonov started off as a committed communist, but was appalled by collectivisation and the excesses of Stalinism. Uniquely — unlike others who adopted an oppositional stance, or wrote critiques for the desk drawer — he tried to negotiate a space within Soviet culture in which he could write honestly about what was going on.

Is it fair to say that he failed? Some of the stories he managed to publish — The River Potudan, The Third Son and The Return — are as great, in their more compact and classical way, as the novels he was unable to publish. The Return was viciously criticised, but it was published in a journal with a huge circulation and may well have been read by hundreds of thousands of people. Vasily Grossman , for example, was a close friend. His last stories are very Platonov-like. Platonov was not widely known, but he was widely read.

Here again he is in a similar position to Grossman, whose words are carved in granite, in huge letters, on the Stalingrad war memorial, without acknowledgment of his authorship.

Is he exceptionally difficult to translate? And does he sound more "normal" in the original than in translation? He is certainly difficult to translate. As for your second question, you need to ask someone who is entirely bilingual and not involved in the work. All I can say myself is that all languages have norms that can be infringed, and that we do our best to infringe English norms just as Platonov infringes Russian norms.

It is for you and other readers to judge how much we have succeeded! For many decades it was impossible for a Soviet writer to achieve fame in the west except through a major international scandal. This is what happened with both Pasternak and Solzhenitsyn.

Both are important writers, but they are not greater writers than Grossman, Platonov and Shalamov. Things are changing, however. Grossman is far better known in the west now than he was 10 years ago. Grossman, Platonov and Shalamov, however, belong to a generation 10 to 20 years younger. All of them, at least for a while and to some degree, shared the hopes of the revolution. This perhaps gives them a greater depth and complexity; their work contains no ready-made answers.

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Andrei Platonov

Leven[ bewerken brontekst bewerken ] Platonov werd in de omgeving van Voronezj geboren als zoon van een metaalarbeider en oudste van tien kinderen. Na zijn jeugd vervulde hij diverse baantjes en werkte zich via bijstudies op tot ingenieur, in Vanaf publiceerde hij ook zijn eerste verhalen en gedichten. Na de Russische Revolutie toonde Platonov zich actief in de ondersteuning van het Bolsjewistische regime, onder meer bij de bevoorrading van troepen tijdens de Russische Burgeroorlog , later als elektrotechnisch medewerker aan grote projecten.


Andrej Platonovič Platonov



Andreï Platonov


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