Cover Osteuropa 8-10/2016

In Osteuropa 8-10/2016

Suffering from the Revolution
Andrei Platonov’s life and work

Hans Günther

Deutsche Fassung


In his youth, Andrei Platonov (1899-1951) was enthusiastic about the Revolution. As an irrigation engineer, he took part in the modernisation of the backward country. In 1927, he completed his novel Chevengur, which has as its subject the failure of a form of communism based on poverty and fraternity. His second great novel, The Foundation Pit, is set in the period of forced collectivisation and features the failure of a utopian construction project. Both novels could not be published during Platonov’s lifetime. His ironic story For Future Use about collectivised agriculture triggered Stalin’s fury. Even though his work was not printed for several years, he continued writing for its own sake. Censorship, attacks on him due to his literary work and personal disasters such as the arrest and sentencing of his son to a term in prison camp wore Platonov out: his reserve of utopian energy ran dry.

(Osteuropa 8-10/2016, pp. 87–112)