The Last Soviet Avant-Garde: OBERIU - Fact, Fiction, Metafiction

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This is a comprehensive study of a group of avant-garde Soviet writers active in Leningrad in the 1920s and 1930s who styled themselves OBERIU, 'The Association for Real Art'. Graham Roberts re-examines commonly held assumptions about OBERIU, its identity as a group, its aesthetics and its place within the Russian and European literary traditions. He focuses on the prose and drama of group members Daniil Kharms, Aleksandr Vvedensky, and Konstantin Vaginov; he also considers work by Nikolay Zabolotsky and Igor Bakhterev, as well as the group's most important 'fellow-traveller', Nikolay Oleinikov. He places OBERIU in the context of the aesthetic theories of the Russian formalists and the Bakhtin circle. Roberts concludes by showing how the self-conscious literature of OBERIU - its metafiction - occupies an important transitional space between modernism and postmodernism.