By Viktor Shklovsky
Started in 1929 lower than the identify "New Prose," and greatly revised after Vladimir Mayakovsky's surprising demise, A Hunt for Optimism (1931) circles obsessively round a unmarried scene of interrogation during which a author is subjected to a exhibit trial for his unorthodoxy. utilizing a number of views, fragments, and aphorisms, and bearing the vulnerability of either the Russian Jewry and the anti-Bolshevik intelligentsia—who had unwittingly develop into the "enemies of the people"—Hunt satirizes Soviet censorship and the ineptitude of Soviet leaders with acerbic panache. regardless of feedback on the time that it lacked harmony and was once too "variegated" to be referred to as a in simple terms "Shklovskian book," Hunt is stylistically unpredictable, experimentally daring, and unapologetically ironic—making it one of many most interesting books in Shklovsky's physique of labor.
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Extra info for A Hunt for Optimism
Stronger than the virile, serene Prussian rider is an army of women resplendent in their feathered hats and colored dresses, furies whose enemies line the Bois de Boulogne avenue with their corpses. ” 30 Earlier, in a passage that scandalized readers who considered themselves patriots, Mirbeau had described Mintié’s embrace of the fallen enemy, bestowing a kiss on the Prussian’s bloody, drool-streaked face. In a simultaneous expression of fraternal identification and aesthetic narcissism, Mintié’s act marks the completion of his conversion of battlefield experience into utopian narrative.
Pierre Michel, “Notes: L’Abbé Jules,” Octave Mirbeau, Oeuvre romanesque 1 (Paris: Buchet Chastel, 2000), p. 1191. 20 Iconoclasm: L’AbbJ Jules 45 experience can be mitigated when life is housed within the structures and boundaries of art. Jules and Pamphile seek to minimize the threat of disorder by using literature as architecture and architecture as literature, organizing space so that it contains and explains. In Mirbeau, the greater the horror is of life’s amorphousness, the more all-encompassing is the edifice housing it.
P. 420. , p. 395. ”28 Through his characters, Mirbeau expresses nostalgia for an idealized childhood unadulterated by formal education and civic indoctrination. ”29 Social retrogression from government to statelessness entails a phylogenetic regression from human to vegetal. ”30 In Mirbeau, the embrace of oblivion, acceptance of one’s disappearance from others’ memories bespeaks a courageous affirmation of life that transcends the self. Whereas it is cowardice that prompts construction of a monument that denies death by concealing it behind the mortuary grandeur of marble, one’s own return to nothingness celebrates the life of everything.
A Hunt for Optimism by Viktor Shklovsky