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 Daniil Kharms


Born:   December 17, 1905
Deceased:   February 02, 1942

Eccentric writer and poet, famouse by the children's stories and poems

      

Daniil Ivanovich Yuvachov was born in St. Petersburg, in the family of Ivan Pavlovich Yuvachev, a well known member of the revolutionary group, the People's Will. The elder Yuvachev took part in the terror acts against Czar Alexander III, was caught and kept in the separate cell for four years and then more then ten years in [] Sakhalin servitude. He became a religious philosopher there, dealt with Anton Chekhov during his latter's trip to Sakhalin.Daniils mother supervised the Petersburgs shelter for imprisonments.

Daniil studied in prestigious German school Peterschule, learned both English and German. In 1924, he entered the Leningrad Electrotechnicum, from which he was expelled for "lack of activity in social activities". So Daniil Yuvachov did not get high or technical secondary education, but he always educated himself, was interested in philosophy and psychology. After his expulsion, he gave himself over entirely to literature. He invented the pseudonym Kharms probably influenced by Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes, it also may have been the English "harm" and "charm" that he incorporated into "Kharms". Throughout his career Kharms used variations on his name and the pseudonyms DanDan, Khorms, Charms, Shardam, and Kharms-Shardam, among others. He even scribbled the name Kharms directly into his passport.

He joined the circle of Tufanov, a sound-poet, and follower of Velemir Khlebnikov's ideas of zaum (or trans-sense) poetry. He met the young poet Alexander Vvedensky at this time, and the two became close friends and collaborators, they made a union Chinari, who met privately to discuss matters of philosophy, music, mathematics, and literature. Chinari also make small performances in institutes clubs and Leningrad cultural circles.

By the late 1920s, Kharms nonlinear theatrical performances, and illogical behavior earned Kharms the reputation of being a talented but highly eccentric fool or crazy-man. He always dressed like an English dandy with a calabash pipe.

In 1927, the Association of Writers of Children's Literature was formed, and Kharms was invited to be a member. From 1928 until 1941, Kharms continually produced children's works and had a great success but he did not take seriously the childrens literature. He wanted the poems for adults to be published.

In 1928, Daniil Kharms with the founded the avant-garde collective OBERIU, or Union of Real Art. He embraced the new movements of Russian Futurism, Khlebnikov, Kazimir Malevich, and Igor Terentiev, were among them. Their ideas served as a springboard. His aesthetic centered around a belief in the autonomy of art from real world rules and logic, and the intrinsic meaning to be found in objects and words outside of their practical function. OBERIU joined the young writers Alexander Vvedensky, Konstantin Vaginov, Nikolai Zabolotsky, Igor Bakhterev who formed cultural movement of Left Art. That was very dangerous in the times of the first repressions. The criticism of the OBERIU performances rose up in the Soviet press.

Kharms was arrested in 1931 together with Vvedensky, Tufanov and some other writers, and was in exile from St. Petersburg (forced to live in the city of Kursk) for most of a year. He was arrested as a member of "a group of anti-Soviet children's writers", and some of his works were used as an evidence. A lot of the writers were killed or died in prison, so Kharms was lucky, perhaps because of the Marshaks help. They worked together at the new childrens magazine Chijz (Siskin), the magazine was forbidden by the Soviet power, but Russian children still know and like poems written by Kharms and [] Samuil Marshak together.

Kharms

He continued to write for children's magazines when he returned from exile to earn money for him and his wife Marina Malich. Daniil Kharms became the first Russian absurdist poet whose poems were enthusiastically taken by children.

In the 1930's, as the mainstream Soviet literature was becoming more and more conservative under the guidelines of Socialist Realism. At that time Kharms worked under Marshak at DetGIz, the state-owned children's publishing house since the mid-1920's, he also made translations of the children literature from the west, including Wilhelm Busch's Max and Moritz.

found refuge in children's literature. His poems and short stories were published in many Soviet magazines - Chizh and Yozh (Siskin and hedgehog), Sverchok (Cricket) and Oktyabryata. Kharms twenty children's books are well known and loved by kids to this day.

But his "adult" writing was not published during his lifetime except of two early poems. Thus, Kharms lived in debt and hunger for several years until his final arrest in the summer of 1941 (most people with a previous arrest were being picked up by the NKVD in those times). He was under the accusation on suspicion of treason. He was imprisoned in the Leningrad Prison and died in February, 1942 in St. Petersburg or Novosibirsk from starvation, nobody knows exactly. His manuscripts were saved by his sister and, most notably, by his friend Yakov Druskin, theologist and philosopher, who dragged a suitcase full of Kharms's and Vvedensky's writings out of Kharms's apartment during the blockade of Leningrad and kept it hidden throughout difficult times.

In1960s when his childrens writing became widely published and scholars began the recovering Kharms manuscripts and publishing them. The "adult" writing appeared in the west and in [] samizdat. Kharms short stories, miniatures, plays, poems, and philosophical investigations were unknown until 1970's, and were not published officially in Russia. A complete collection of his works was published in Bremen as four volumes, in 1978-1988. In Russia, Kharms works were widely published only from the late 1980s. Now several editions of Kharms's collected works and selected volumes have been published in Russia, and collections are now available in German, French and Italian. In 2004 a selection of his works appeared in Irish.

Kharms

Kharms' stories are usually only a few paragraphs long, in which are sometimes absurd and fantastic, dreamlike or comedy. They are full of strange dialogs, unreal happenings and domestic problem. His famous labors Sluchai (Happenings) and Staruha (Old woman) are worth reading to look through the surrealism of early soviet period with the Kharms black humor.

The poet often professed his extreme abhorrence of children and pets, as well as old people; but his children's poems wonderfully express inquietude and sometimes irrational world outlook of the children and teenagers.

Sources: lib.rus

www.library.ru

Ushakova Alexandra


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