Foundation Pit / Edition 1

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This legendary, long-banned classic of the Soviet era belongs to a very special category. In this work the central metaphor for an era - in this case the digging of the hole which will be the foundation for a huge building which will house the newly enfranchised proletariat - is described in precisely the language a confused working class was given by the mass media of the time. It is a language beyond surreal, newspeak pushed to its limit. Here the reader will find Platonov's compassion for all the poor and rejected objects and people, as well as his satiric view of the madness resulting from fanatical devotion to a too-narrow cause.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Completed in 1930 but unpublished during his lifetime, Platonov's masterpiece, a scathing satire of the Soviet attempt to build a workers' utopia, gauges the vast human tragedy of Stalinism, portraying a society organized and regimented around a monstrous lie, and thus bereft of meaning, hope, integrity, humanity. The novel's central image is the digging of an immense foundation pit for a communal high-rise project to house the local proletariat, a project that remains a big hole. The story is also eerily prescient: as Chandler notes in his valuable introduction, it foreshadows the doomed Palace of Soviets, which was begun in Moscow in 1932 but never built after years of excavation. Loaded with irony and images of the walking dead, and spiked with mordant digs at Soviet conformity and bureaucracy, Platonov's somnambulistic nightmare is filled with characters cut off from normal human feelings and reality as they convince themselves that party slogans, precepts and careerist hustling are meaningful keys to the future. Platonov (1899-1951), himself a disillusioned revolutionary who fought in the Red Army during Russia's civil war, was also a deep lyric prose-poet of everyday life and nature, as revealed in this beautiful translation. His dark parable is a great dirge for Mother Russia as well as a savage analysis of the split consciousness fostered by an oppressive system. Platonov's books are still being unearthed in Russia decades after his death. The first English translations of The Foundation Pit came out in the 1980s, but has since been found to be incomplete. (Nov.)
Library Journal
Written from 1929 to 1930, this is Platonov's satirical portrait of the harshness of Soviet life and the chronic alienation of its people through collectivization.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780882330457
  • Publisher: Overlook Press, The
  • Publication date: 1/1/1973
  • Series: European Classics Series
  • Edition description: Bilingual ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 284
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.40 (d)

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 18, 2000


    It's necessary to read this book now!. profound, beautiful, original. Perfect.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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