memories of the future


Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky is a writer even most Russians knew nothing about until his work was resurrected from Soviet archives and published–most of it for the first time–in the late 1980s. He was ethnically Polish and grew up near Kiev. He studied law without much enthusiasm, worked for an attorney in that city for a few years and spent as much time as he could writing and lecturing on literature, drama and music. In 1922, when he was in his mid-30s, he moved to Moscow hoping to make a living from his writing. His timing was not auspicious. Krzhizhanovsky became acquainted with other Moscow writers, gave private readings of his work and collaborated on scripts with experimental theater director Alexander Tairov. But publication eluded him. In the story “The Bookmark,” he describes the situation of a writer who has arrived in Moscow just after the revolution with a collection of stories he’s eager to publish. One editor after another rejects his manuscript: the style and subject do not fit with the new Soviet ways of thinking. “On one manuscript,” the writer recalls, “I remember finding the penciled comment: Psychologizing.”

more from Elaine Blair at The Nation here.