Andrei Platonovich Platonov


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Platonov, Andrei Platonovich

 

Born Aug. 20 (Sept. 1), 1899, in Voronezh; died Jan. 5, 1951, in Moscow. Soviet Russian writer.

The son of a railroad shop metalworker, Platonov began working at the age of 13. In the early 1920’s he changed his surname Klimentov to Platonov. He graduated from the Voronezh Railroad Polytechnicum in 1924. From 1923 to 1926 he worked in the provinces as a land reclamation engineer and directed the construction of the Voronezh electric power plant.

In 1921, Platonov’s journalistic book Electrification was published, followed in 1922 by the poetry collection The Blue Deep. He also wrote the books Epifan Locks (1927), Flow Meadow Experts (1928), The Cherished Man (1928), and The Origin of a Master (1929). Platonov’s powerful and original talent was evident in his earliest books. His heroes are workers who “learned to think during the Revolution” and who try to understand their place and role in the world. Platonov’s “incorrect” verbal flexibility and “uneven” phraseology constitute an original way of thinking aloud, when thoughts are just coming into being and are approaching conformity with reality.

Platonov’s satirical works ridiculed the claims of bureaucrats to “think for everyone” and to replace the people’s creative activity with their own schemes. Examples are the novel Gradov City (1926) and the short stories “The Man of Nation” (1929), “Doubting Makar” (1929), and “Of Profit” (1931). Contemporary critics were unable to evaluate his satire objectively and according to its merits. In the 1930’s, Platonov wrote the short stories “Rubbish Wind,” “The Foundation Pit,” and “Dzhan,” the novella Juvenile Waters, the short story “Fro,” the novella High Tension, the play Pushkin in the Lyceum, and the novella The River Potudan (1937). In 1936 his first literary criticism was published. From 1942 to 1945, Platonov was a special correspondent for the newspaper Krasnaia zvezda. When he died he left a large legacy of manuscripts.

WORKS

Izbr. rasskazy. [Introductory article by F. Levin.] Moscow, 1958.
V prekrasnom i iarostnom mire: Povesti i rasskazy. [Introductory article by V. Dorofeev.] Moscow, 1965.
Izbrannoe. [Introductory article by F. Suchkov; afterword by M. Lobanov.] Moscow, 1966.
Razmyshleniia chitatelia: Stat’i. [Introductory article by L. Shubin.] Moscow, 1970.

REFERENCES

Gorky, M. “Perepiska s A. Platonovym.” In Literaturnoe nasledstvo, vol. 70. Moscow, 1964.
Fadeev, A. “Ob odnoi kulatskoi khronike.” Krasnaia nov’, 1931, nos. 5–6.
“O khoroshikh rasskazakh i redaktorskoi rutine” (editorial). Literaturnyi kritik, 1936, no. 8.
Ermilov, V. “Klevetnicheskii rasskaz Andreia Platonova.” Literaturnaia gazeta, Jan. 4, 1947.
Shubin, L. “Andrei Platonov.” Voprosy literatury, 1967, no. 6.
Kramov, I. “V poiskakh sushchnosti.” Novyi mir, 1969, no. 8.
Tvorchestvo A. Platonova: Stat’i i soobshcheniia. Voronezh, 1970.
Bocharov, S. “Veshchestvo sushchestvovaniia”: Vyrazhenie νproze. In the collection Problemy khudozhestvennoi formy sotsialisticheskogo realizma, vol. 2. Moscow, 1971.
Mitrakova, N. M. A. P. Platonov: Materialy k biobibliografii. Voronezh, 1969.
Russkie sovetskie pisateli-prozaiki: Bibliograficheskii ukazatel’, vol. 7, part 2. Moscow, 1972.

L. A. SHUBIN