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It’s just a book…soviet russia II

February 25th, 2009 · No Comments · It's just a Book, Soviet Russia

Vladimir Mayakovsky “Collected Works”

Vladimir Mayakovsky (Влади́мир Влади́мирович Маяко́вский) is not the most popular or most loved poet, playwright, writer or artist of Soviet Russia. His name is too closely entwined with the early days of the Soviet System and as an early prominent representative of Russian Futurism his art is not to everyone’s taste.

However, the sheer energy and faith in this new form of government to which he pledged his talents and his drive shine through in any translation you might read of his works. He drew, painted, rhymed, travelled and spoke to educate the masses at a time when the ideal of Communism was still intact and reality hadn’t struck.

His style and performance were aggressive and challenging, trying to break with everything in art that had gone before, adopting the language of the street to communicate his artistic ideas. On the other hand, there is tenderness in his letters and some of his poetry that belies the uncompromising front. This softness also makes some of his early art happenings look more like the pose of a highly talented, but somewhat childish teenager.

Even though Mayakovsky believed in the Soviet ideal, he enjoyed the perks of travelling abroad, purchasing a French car on his visit to Paris and going on shopping sprees in Berlin’s luxury department store KaDeWe.

Mayakovsky had been arrested for being critical of the suppressive Tsarist regime and it wasn’t long before he spoke up against the injustices and hypocrisy he spotted with the new regime. His satire 1930 “The Bathhouse” (Баня), an attack on Russian bureaucracy, was not well received and had he lived, Mayakovsky might have well turned into a 20th century Gogol given the material that was unfolding in Soviet Society.

Ask any Russian, and they will tell you that he was killed, although no proof was ever found to support this instinct.

On 14th April 1930 Mayakovsky committed suicide by shooting himself in the heart, leaving this note:

As they say,

“the incident is closed.”

The love boat

wrecked by daily life.

I’m all even with life

and nothing would be gained by listing

mutual hurts,

troubles,

and insults.

. . . .

Don’t think I’m a coward. Seriously, it could not be helped.

 

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