Though not officially state policy until 1932, socialist realism had been the unofficial type of art in Russia since the October Revolution of 1917, when the Bolsheviks sought to put art into the service of the state. Art had to be easily understood and should convey a positive message about the Soviet Union and the struggle of the Proletariat. In Memories of the Future we find seven stories by Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky that, as the book’s blurb says, were considered too subversive even to show to a publisher. These seven stories not only examine the underbelly of Soviet Moscow but they also indulge in and praise the life of the imagination, the ability to tell a story that seemingly has no relationship with reality, all in an effort to convey that reality more fully.
NYRB Classics published their edition of Memories of the Future in October of 2009, and it is the book we’ll be talking about in Episode 4 of The Mookse and the Gripes Podcast.
In Episode 5 we will be discussing Friedrich Reck’s Diary of a Man in Despair, if the book gets to us in time. If not, we will be discussing Nancy Mitford’s The Sun King.
Show Notes (54:33)
- Brief Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky Bio (02:37)
- Brief Synopsis (04:45)
- “Quadraturin” (08:42)
- “The Bookmark” (17:03)
- “The Thirteenth Category of Reason” (23:44)
- “Red Snow” (26:30)
- “The Branch Line” (29:35)
- “Memories of the Future” (32:53)
- “The Master of the Crossed Out,” review of Memories of the Future by Adam Thirlwell, published in The New York Review of Books (June 23, 2011)
- NYRB Classics publicity page
- Mookse Review of Memories of the Future
- Co-Host Trevor Berrett
- Co-Host Brian Berrett
- Introduction Music — “Where We Fall We’ll Lie” by Jeff Zentner, from his album The Dying Days of Summer (used with permission)
- Outro Music — “Promise Me That You Will Never Die” by Jeff Zentner, from his album Hymns to the Darkness (used with permission)