Name this Soviet writer
August 9, 2013 11:00 PM   Subscribe

Can you name this Soviet writer?

1. He was male.
2. A modernist writer in Soviet Russia, he was prosecuted by the Stalinist regime. He died in a camp, not more than 50 years old, probably younger. This must have been in the 1930's or 40's.
3. One of his book was translated into Danish a few years ago. It was reviewed in Danish newspaper Politiken. (My memory of this review is the sole source of the info I have.)
4. Here's a (non-verbatim) quote from this book: "Whenever I meet someone, I feel like punching him in the face. It feels so nice to give people a good beating". (This is not a verbatim quote.)
posted by WalkingAround to Writing & Language (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Your quote is from Daniil Kharms. The other details seem to match as well.
posted by Behemoth at 11:03 PM on August 9, 2013 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks a lot, Behemoth! For what it's worth, the Danish translation I mentioned is a selection of short prose called "En uheldig forestilling" in Danish (in English: "An unfortunate performance").
posted by WalkingAround at 11:26 PM on August 9, 2013

And, just for kicks, here's a quick translation of your face-punching sketch:

When I see a man, I want to punch him in the face. It's so nice to punch a man in the face!

I sit in my room, doing nothing in particular.

Someone comes to visit me, he knocks on my door.

I say: "Come in!" He comes in and says: "Hello! How nice that I caught you at home!" And I slam him in the face, and then sock him in the crotch with my boot. My guest falls on his back in horrible pain. And I stick my heel right in his eyes! That's to say, you've got no business gadding about if you're not invited!

Then there's this. I offer the guest a cup of tea. The guest agrees, sits down at the table, drinks his tea, and talks about something. I pretend that I'm listening to him with great interest, I nod my head, I ooh and aah, I put on a surprised expression, and I laugh. The guest, flattered by my attention, keeps going on and on.

I calmly pour a full cup of boiling hot water and splash my guest right in the face. The guest jumps up and grabs his face. And I tell him: "I have no virtue in my soul anymore. Get out!" And I push my guest outside.

posted by Behemoth at 11:29 PM on August 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

There was a good MeFi post on Kharms (only a few comments, alas, but some good quotes and information); just for the record, he didn't die in a camp but in a Leningrad prison (where he probably starved to death).
posted by languagehat at 8:46 AM on August 11, 2013

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