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The life and work of Daniil Kharms

Daniil Ivanovich Kharms was born in St.Petersburg on December 30, 1905.Orrather, DaniilYuvachyovwasborn, asKharmsisapseudonym and its precise origin is still disputed, as well as many other things in his work.

It is both easy and, at the same time, difficult to write about Kharms. It is easy because everyone knows all about him, and it is very difficult for the same reason. It’s abit of a paradox which is quite in character.

In fact, Kharms consisted of paradoxes. “The only thing I am interested in is “nonsense”, something that is void of any practical sense. I am interested inlife only in its absurd manifestations”.

Judging from the quotes by Kharms, he was not too fond of children. However, he was actually one of the best children’s poets. When a child reads, and maybe not yet reads but hears the poems about an Amazing Cat or Ivan Toropyzhkin, or Samovar, it is so cool! And why have they chosen to “dismiss” those poems and not teach them in kindergartens, while they are so easily remembered!? “One should write poems in such a way that if one threw a poem in a window, the panewould get broken”.

To put it mildly, he did not like Soviet power, and yet, it was, probably, on the basis of “contradiction and antithesis” that he created his best works. ”It is I who is the world, but the world is not me.”

Although, like many other poets, he dreamed about a new, even kind of “unreal”, Art, he founded Oberiu – a Union of Real Art. It was even more than real. “I have all the qualities of a great man. Actually, that’s what I think I am”.

He has not left a rich literary legacy. Butone can hardly find many contemporary and classical writers, who have produced so many followers and copycats. There hardly is anybody who can be compared to Kharms as regards “quote index” and number of aphorisms per page.”Snapped upfor quotes” is about Kharms too.

Kharms was, perhaps, like a real internet meme, as we would say now.

If something goes not quite right somewhere, many will think, “It’s almost as Kharms would have described it!”; or say, “Oh, that is a story right for Kharms!”. And, formally speaking, isn’t it the top mark for a literary legacy!

When one is listening to “Ujezdny Gorod N” (country town N) by “Zoopark” and hears them singing about “Gogol dressed like Pushkin…”, one thinks, “Oh, but that’s Kharms!”

Or, if you suddenly see an outstanding performance of the band “AVIA”, you think, “Oh, if Kharms had been alive now, he would have certainly created a rock group like that, so that everybody could have fun!” And then you understand that it is just “AVIA” imagining how “oberiuty”(members of Oberiu) would have performed if rock music had already existed then! And so on, and so forth.

So, obviously, the main creative achievement of Daniil Kharms is that such a wonderful man was once born and lived. This is one case where Russian literature definitely would not be complete without him, although his famous collection of stories called “Incidences” fits into just a few pages. Actually, it is not about quantity, it is about quality. “Kharms does not create art. He is Art”.

“The theatre is closing. We are all sick!”

“When somebody moves to Moscow, I, being a patriot of Leningrad, take it as a personal insult”.

“My phone number is easy to remember, 32-08. Thirty-two teeth and eight fingers.”

“Once you have woken up, get up immediately, do not succumb to morning reflections and a desire to smoke”.

Andsomemore… No,ofcourse, onecanquoteKharmsendlesslyandfor all occasions!

Therefore, let us end with the most optimistic quote, “So, life overcame death in a way earlier unknown to me.”

Daniil Kharms was born on December 30, 1905 in St.Petersburg. To commemorate his 100th anniversary, a memorial plaque was unveiled on the apartment building #11 in Mayakovsky Street. Itread, “Amanlefthome…”