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The Plummeting Old Women

By: Neil Cornwell , Daniil Kharms

Publication Date: September 1, 2011


The Plummeting Old Women by Daniil Kharms, illustrated by Neil Cornwell


The Plummeting Old Women by Daniil Kharms is a collection of stories, incidents, dialogues and fragments that forms an important part of the buried literature of Russian modernism now revealed under glasnost. These texts are characterized by a startling and macabre novelty, with elements of the grotesque, fantastic and child-like touching the imagination of the everyday. They express the cultural landscape of Stalinism – years of show trials, mass atrocities and stifled political life. Their painful, unsettling eloquence testify to the humane and the comic in this absurdist writer’s work.

The translator Neil Cornwell gives a biographical introduction to his subject, enlarged upon by the poet Hugh Maxton in a contextual assessment of the writing of Flann O’Brien, Le Fanu and Doyle, and of their shared concerns with detective fiction, terror and death. Daniil Kharms (1905-42) died under Stalin. Along with fellow poets and prose-writers of the era – Khlebnikov, Biely, Mandelstam, Zabolotsky and Pasternak – he is one of the emerging experimentalists of Russian modernism.

‘An amazing collection of surreal tales. Surprisingly relevant and modern, even today. Amusing.’ Customer review

‘Such a wealth of material that makes you think, laugh, philosophise and groan. Genius.’ Customer review

‘The ideas, the collective unconscious instilled into Daniil Kharms’s head, were even more absurd than those sown in the heads of the others.’ Customer review


Daniil Kharms (1905-1942) was a Russian poet, author, and playwright. He wrote for both children and adults, although little of his adult works were published during his lifetime. Accused of treason, he died in his cell in Leningrad Prison No.1. His work is translated for Lilliput by Neil Cornwell.


Professor Neil Cornwell teaches at the University of Bristol. He founded Irish Slavonic Studies, and translated Daniil Kharms’ The Plummeting Old Women.

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Weight 0.0 kg
Publication Date

September 1, 2011


eBook, 101 pages