The Art of Writing Badly

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ISBN 978-0-8101-6676-9
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Cloth Text – $79.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-1691-7
Publication Date
September 1999
Page Count
404 pages
Trim Size
6 1/8 x 9 1/4

The Art of Writing Badly

Valentin Kataev's Mauvism and the Rebirth of Russian Modernism
Richard C. Borden

"The art of writing badly" is a phrase the Russian writer Valentin Kataev coined to describe the work that came out of the mauvist movement in Russia-a style of writing that consciously challenged Soviet dogma. In this book, Richard Borden discusses the cultural and political context from which these authors emerged and the development of "bad writing."

Beginning with a close examination of the work of Kataev, the best-known progenitor of "bad writing," Borden then broadens his study to include the "mauvist creations" of post-Stalinist writers Aksenov, Bitov, Sokolov, Limonov, Evgeny Popov, and Venedikt Erofeev. Borden shows how these writers' shared mauvistic characteristics reveal major philosophical and aesthetic tendencies in contemporary Russian culture, bring to light facets of their writing that have never been discussed, and enrich the readings of the particular texts under discussion.
About the Author

Richard Borden, formerly a member of the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at Harvard University, is now an independent scholar living in Moscow.