The Foundation Pit (New York Review Books Classics) [Andrey Platonov, Robert Chandler, Elizabeth Chandler, Olga Meerson] on *FREE*. The Foundation Pit portrays a group of workmen and local bureaucrats engaged in digging the foundation pit for what is to become a grand ‘general’ building. Translated from the Russian by Robert & Elizabeth Chandler and Olga Meerson With notes and an afterword by Robert Chandler and Olga.

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According to him, children were the reason that he and others were working toward socialism. Or do you fancy earning from the whole of the proletariat? Having said that, I admire Platonov’s vision, and there are definitely little gems, sometimes quite hidden away from immediate sight, in The Foundation Pit.

Involved in this project are a cast of misfits, laborers, engineers, and union bosses, each with his role to play, and each decaying into varying psychoses quite fhe through the narrative; each character getting buried under the labor required to build a future that never arrives.

There is too much vision here, too much strength in the poetry, too platonv strangeness.

Glance too fast and you’ll only end up confused and alienated. What the building will be, is not ever made clear and may not even be important. Safronov, the most politically active worker at the foundation pit, complains when managements tells them to stop working for the day. Along the way, Voschev comes across a couple fighting in front of their foubdation.

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The Foundation Pit – Wikipedia

The novel is on the forced intense industrialization and collectivization of the farms in hands of the peasants and his destruction,sometimes physically,as a class in the quinquenal last 20s plan ordered by Stalin a fanatic genocide that most has made for desprestigiate socialism as a ideology. It is not about terror for the sake of terror, or even about how life is meaningless.

A nightmare of language suborned to meaninglessness. Zhachev and Nastya visit the village, and Yelisey introduces them to the local blacksmith: This novel is a moving foray into the theatre of the absurd as the characters deal with the heartbreak and death a Platonov writes with a minimalist style in a stark Russian landscape in the midst of the absolute absurdity of a mindless Communist bureaucracy killing its people to dig a vast foundation pit in the middle of nowhere.


Everything in this novel is simultaneously real and a metaphor. Briefly, it is the story of a man who is starting life over after being booted from his former job for thinking too much. See 1 question about The Foundation Pit…. Collage by Lillianna Pereira larger image. But the happiness of childhood friendship, the realization of the future world in the play of youth and in the worthiness of their own severe freedom signified on the childish faces important gladness, replacing for them beauty and domestic plumpness.

Zhachev, who at the beginning of the novel vowed to kill all of the adults at Nastya’s coming of age, refuses to help reconstruct the foundation pit. But this end doesn’t come before a detailed consideration of the pernicious effects of, let’s call it collectivism, are examined with a Proust-like depth and clarity of both vision and prose. They leave for a literacy class taught by the activist, who teaches women and young girls how to write socialist words and slogans.

The bear reaches out and touches Nastya one last time.

Children wh I thought this was quite brilliant. Eventually through science, all dead people since the beginning of time will be resurrected, their scattered molecules captured and reassembled, so that they too can be put to work, forever. Voschev who we meet after being fired for thinking on the job, who searches for the meaning of life through a collection of inanimate objects. I only wish Walter Benjamin had never died because I would love to know what he would have has to say about this man who had vision no less clear than that great “clairvoyant of the small” Robert Walser, prose no less ornate than Proust, and understanding of humanity no less reverent than Stefan George.

We’ll look back on our vast catalogues of best sellers and be compelled to ask ourselves, “As a great nation, was this really the best that we could do for our national literature?

And he stood up, in order to go, surrounded by universal enduring existence.

It is simultaneously timeless, reactionary, and radical. But the happiness of childhood friendship, the realization of the future world in the play of youth and in the worthiness of their own severe freedom signified on the childish faces important gladness, replacing for them beauty and domestic plumpnes We always believe that the bright future is just around the corner and we wait for it to come… …on the face of each young Pioneer girl there remained a trace of the difficulty, the feebleness of early life, meagerness of body and beauty of expression.


When Nastya goes to sleep, the men resolve to start working early in the morning so that the housing complex will be completed for any other underage visitors in the future. Where bailoutstimulus packageand Joe the Plumber may be read as code for angerrecessionand average Americanin the jargon of early Soviet history, anniversaries zapped births of their privacy.

A good Sovietologist has shelves packed with books like Formation of the Soviet Union: In one of many twists of dark Platonovian humor, the local village peasants rise up to protest the confiscation of their coffins, one of the most valuable items they each own. Generally a bad translation will use awkward prose or overly literal translations of idioms, or make the text seem overly generic.

The Foundation Pit

My favourite image was of the bear who worked in the forge and was brought along to root out kulaks. Chiklin kills one of them out of anger, and a second peasant turns up dead under suspicious circumstances. The more salient and disquieting critique would instead be to retain an unspoken gulf separating that which is rendered at the level of the text what is said to be happening and that which is submerged beneath direct representation what is “really” happening.

Safronov and Kozlov begin to fight. Like Mikhail Bulgakov although this reads more like a gloomy Kafka Platonov’s novel is pplatonov scathing satire on Stalinism, in which he portrays a society systematically and regimented around a monstrous lie, one that plagues any meaning of hope and integrity for humanity.

Come over here then! Many other critics were dissidents who had fled the country for places like France. Those who embrace commercial writing produce work astonishing in its vast, vapid mediocrity.

Matty I just finished reading the Chandler translation. So it’s best to love something small and living and do yourselves in with labor. I admire Andrey Platonov’s ability to bring out absurd hilarity of terrible things.

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