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The Return of Munchausen (New York Review…
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The Return of Munchausen (New York Review Books Classics) (edição: 2016)

de Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky (Autor), Joanne Turnbull (Tradutor), Nikolai Formozov (Tradutor)

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952218,323 (3.79)Nenhum(a)
Baron Munchausen's hold on the European imagination dates back to the late eighteenth century when he first pulled himself (and his horse) out of a swamp by his own upturned pigtail. Inspired by the extravagant yarns of a straight-faced former cavalry officer, Hieronymus von Münchhausen, the best-selling legend quickly eclipsed the real-life baron who helped the Russians fight the Turks. Galloping across continents and centuries, the mythical Munchausen's Travels went through hundreds of editions of increasing length and luxuriance. Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky, the Russian modernist master of the unsettling and the uncanny, also took certain liberties with the mythical baron. In this phantasmagoric roman à clef set in 1920s Berlin, London, and Moscow, Munchausen dauntlessly upholds his old motto "Truth in lies," while remaining a fierce champion of his own imagination. At the same time, the two-hundred-year-old baron and self-taught philosopher has agreed to return to Russia, Lenin's Russia, undercover. This reluctant secret agent has come out of retirement to engage with the real world.… (mais)
Membro:borrowed_dreams
Título:The Return of Munchausen (New York Review Books Classics)
Autores:Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky (Autor)
Outros autores:Joanne Turnbull (Tradutor), Nikolai Formozov (Tradutor)
Informação:NYRB Classics (2016), 161 pages
Coleções:Sua biblioteca
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The Return of Munchausen de Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky

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This is crazy. There are dozens upon dozens of reviews posted for each of Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky’s three other books published by New York Review Books (NYRB) - Memories of the Future, seven stunning stories of the blackest humor and irony, stories where the principles of logic disintegrate, so much so a corpse can miss its own funeral and the backbone of all facts can be cracked; The Letter Killers Club, a secret society of conceivers and imaginers who will not dare commit pen to paper since this is 1920 Soviet Moscow; Autobiography of a Corpse, a collection of eleven mind-scrambling tales: a man bites his own elbow that turns into a counter argument to the philosophy of Immanuel Kant, a room is capable of having its own autobiography and a concert pianist’s right hand takes off for a night on the town. But the number of reviews for The Return of Munchausen? So few as to be counted on one hand, and not necessarily a pianist’s hand at that.

Perhaps reviews will appear but there will be a delay following the pattern of publication of Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky’s stories - the author wrote in secrecy during the years of harsh Soviet censorship, mostly in the 1920s, and his fiction only came to light many years later, beginning in 1989, having been discovered by literary scholar Vadim Perelmuter. Quite the fate for an author who’s highly inventive, polished work has been compared to the likes of Borges, Kafka and Poe as well as his countryman Pushkin and Gogol.

Although there was an actual flesh-and-blood Baron Munchausen (1720-1797) and a popular highly fictionalized account of his adventures wrestling a forty-foot crocodile, traveling to the moon, riding a cannonball and numerous other equally wacky happenings penned by a man who probably attended the Baron’s dinner parties, one Rudolf Erich Raspe, millions of people around the globe know this swashbuckling hero from Terry Gilliam’s 1988 over-the-top feature film The Adventures of Baron Munchausen with a cast including John Neville, Eric Idle and Uma Thurman.

And in her informative introduction to this NYRB edition, Joanne Turnbull provides insight and context on how in Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky’s novella the Baron springs to life yet again, this time the year 1921 in London and travels incognito cross county to Soviet Moscow. Ready or not, comrades, here he comes!



Who better than a poet to be the first to meet and speak with Munchausen on the very first page in Chapter One? Exactly the case - the poet Unding arrives at the Baron’s apartment in London and is treated to a number of revelations, including the Baron opening his prize book, a small gilt-edged octavo with leather corner pieces, to his usual abode between page sixty-eight and sixty-nine: “Unding looked: on the bent-back page between parted paragraphs were the fine black rules of an oblong box: but inside the box was only the blank stare of white space – the illustration had disappeared.”

I'm quite certain you are familiar with how a character in a book can come to life – well there you have it, our author taking metaphor to new outrageous levels more than seventy years prior to Terry Gilliam’s film. Actually, every single paragraph in Sigizmund's short novel would require an enormous budget and some mighty special special effects if made into a blockbuster movie.

Shifting focus to the novella’s language itself, readers will be both delighted and charmed, as for example, here is our audacious Munchausen, in the author’s own words, confronting a highly original chess problem: “Confounded chessboard,” a frightened Munchausen whispers, then sees in the middle of the square, on an enormous round leg, its black varnished mane bristling: a chess knight. Without wasting a moment, he jumps onto the horse’s high neck; the horse twitches its wooden ears, and Munchausen, gripping the slippery varnish with his knees, feels the one-legged chessman crouch down, then jump forward, again forward and sideways, once more forward, forward and sideways; the ground now falls away, now strikes the horse’s found heel with its swinging steeples and roofs; but the felt-shod heel-Munchausen remembers this well-gallops furiously on: squares flicker past, then patchwork fields and checkerboard cities-more and more-forward, forward, sideways and forward; the round heel pounds now grass, now stone, now black earth.” Turns out this sequence is a dream sequence but, dream or no dream, the confabulations are continuous and fabulous chapter after chapter.

Moving right along to The Devil in a Droshky, a chapter comprising a large chunk of the book, Munchausen presents a lecture with slideshow of his Russian escapades to a packed house in a London auditorium. Here is my synopsis of one such escapade but please keep in mind the difference between the author’s words and my words is, as the saying goes, the difference between chicken soup and running a chicken with goulashes on through water.

Anyway, the Baron relates how years ago he lost his favorite hunting hound and, rather than getting a new dog, trained his hunting boots to fetch. He would walk thought the woods, gun over his shoulder and when game needed fetching he would take off his boots, point them in the right direction and say, “Seek! Seek!” So it went again in Russia but this time a group of Soviet villagers notice the boots coming toward them, scream with horror and run away in all directions. The Baron reflects in such a country of superstitious know-nothings he could conquer all of Russia in his bare feet. But then a sequence of unforeseen interactions with these empty-headed villagers requires a Munchausen-style change of plans. You will have to read for yourself to discover exactly what outlandishness transpires.

This multidimensional classic can be read not only as a rollicking adventure but also surreal parable, fantastic metafiction, uncanny philosophic inquiry into the nature of language and reality or razor-sharp satire pointed mostly at Lenin and Soviet Russia. Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky described himself as being "known for being unknown.” It is now 2017 and, above all else, it’s time for this outstanding author to be better known. The Return of Munchausen is a great way to start.


Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky (1887-1950) ( )
  Glenn_Russell | Nov 13, 2018 |


This is crazy. There are dozens upon dozens of reviews posted for each of Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky’s three other books published by New York Review Books (NYRB) - Memories of the Future, seven stunning stories of the blackest humor and irony, stories where the principles of logic disintegrate, so much so a corpse can miss its own funeral and the backbone of all facts can be cracked; The Letter Killers Club, a secret society of conceivers and imaginers who will not dare commit pen to paper since this is 1920 Soviet Moscow; Autobiography of a Corpse, a collection of eleven mind-scrambling tales: a man bites his own elbow that turns into a counter argument to the philosophy of Immanuel Kant, a room is capable of having its own autobiography and a concert pianist’s right hand takes off for a night on the town. But the number of reviews for The Return of Munchausen? So few as to be counted on one hand, and not necessarily a pianist’s hand at that.

Perhaps reviews will appear but there will be a delay following the pattern of publication of Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky’s stories - the author wrote in secrecy during the years of harsh Soviet censorship, mostly in the 1920s, and his fiction only came to light many years later, beginning in 1989, having been discovered by literary scholar Vadim Perelmuter. Quite the fate for an author who’s highly inventive, polished work has been compared to the likes of Borges, Kafka and Poe as well as his countryman Pushkin and Gogol.

Although there was an actual flesh-and-blood Baron Munchausen (1720-1797) and a popular highly fictionalized account of his adventures wrestling a forty-foot crocodile, traveling to the moon, riding a cannonball and numerous other equally wacky happenings penned by a man who probably attended the Baron’s dinner parties, one Rudolf Erich Raspe, millions of people around the globe know this swashbuckling hero from Terry Gilliam’s 1988 over-the-top feature film The Adventures of Baron Munchausen with a cast including John Neville, Eric Idle and Uma Thurman. And in her informative introduction to this NYRB edition, Joanne Turnbull provides insight and context on how in Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky’s novella the Baron springs to life yet again, this time the year 1921 in London and travels incognito cross county to Soviet Moscow. Ready or not, comrades, here he comes!


Who better than a poet to be the first to meet and speak with Munchausen on the very first page in Chapter One? Exactly the case - the poet Unding arrives at the Baron’s apartment in London and is treated to a number of revelations, including the Baron opening his prize book, a small gilt-edged octavo with leather corner pieces, to his usual abode between page sixty-eight and sixty-nine: “Unding looked: on the bent-back page between parted paragraphs were the fine black rules of an oblong box: but inside the box was only the blank stare of white space – the illustration had disappeared.” I am quite certain you are familiar with how a character in a book can come to life – well there you have it, our author taking metaphor to new outrageous levels more than seventy years prior to Terry Gilliam’s film. Actually, every single paragraph in Sigizmund's short novel would require an enormous budget and some mighty special special effects if made into a blockbuster movie.

Shifting focus to the novella’s language itself, readers will be both delighted and charmed, as for example, here is our audacious Munchausen, in the author’s own words, confronting a highly original chess problem: “Confounded chessboard,” a frightened Munchausen whispers, then sees in the middle of the square, on an enormous round leg, its black varnished mane bristling: a chess knight. Without wasting a moment, he jumps onto the horse’s high neck; the horse twitches its wooden ears, and Munchausen, gripping the slippery varnish with his knees, feels the one-legged chessman crouch down, then jump forward, again forward and sideways, once more forward, forward and sideways; the ground now falls away, now strikes the horse’s found heel with its swinging steeples and roofs; but the felt-shod heel-Munchausen remembers this well-gallops furiously on: squares flicker past, then patchwork fields and checkerboard cities-more and more-forward, forward, sideways and forward; the round heel pounds now grass, now stone, now black earth.” Turns out this sequence is a dream sequence but, dream or no dream, the confabulations are continuous and fabulous chapter after chapter.

Moving right along to The Devil in a Droshky, a chapter comprising a large chunk of the book, Munchausen presents a lecture with slideshow of his Russian escapades to a packed house in a London auditorium. Here is my synopsis of one such escapade but please keep in mind the difference between the author’s words and my words is, as the saying goes, the difference between chicken soup and running a chicken with goulashes on through water. Anyway, the Baron relates how years ago he lost his favorite hunting hound and, rather than getting a new dog, trained his hunting boots to fetch. He would walk thought the woods, gun over his shoulder and when game needed fetching he would take off his boots, point them in the right direction and say, “Seek! Seek!” So it went again in Russia but this time a group of Soviet villagers notice the boots coming toward them, scream with horror and run away in all directions. The Baron reflects in such a country of superstitious know-nothings he could conquer all of Russia in his bare feet. But then a sequence of unforeseen interactions with these empty-headed villagers requires a Munchausen-style change of plans. You will have to read for yourself to discover exactly what outlandishness transpires.

This multidimensional classic can be read not only as a rollicking adventure but also surreal parable, fantastic metafiction, uncanny philosophic inquiry into the nature of language and reality or razor-sharp satire pointed mostly at Lenin and Soviet Russia. Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky described himself as being "known for being unknown.” It is now 2017 and, above all else, it’s time for this outstanding author to be better known. The Return of Munchausen is a great way to start.


Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky (1887-1950) ( )
  GlennRussell | Feb 16, 2017 |
Exibindo 2 de 2
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Baron Munchausen's hold on the European imagination dates back to the late eighteenth century when that resourceful raconteur first pulled himself (and his horse) out of a swamp by his own upturned pigtail. (Introduction)
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Baron Munchausen's hold on the European imagination dates back to the late eighteenth century when he first pulled himself (and his horse) out of a swamp by his own upturned pigtail. Inspired by the extravagant yarns of a straight-faced former cavalry officer, Hieronymus von Münchhausen, the best-selling legend quickly eclipsed the real-life baron who helped the Russians fight the Turks. Galloping across continents and centuries, the mythical Munchausen's Travels went through hundreds of editions of increasing length and luxuriance. Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky, the Russian modernist master of the unsettling and the uncanny, also took certain liberties with the mythical baron. In this phantasmagoric roman à clef set in 1920s Berlin, London, and Moscow, Munchausen dauntlessly upholds his old motto "Truth in lies," while remaining a fierce champion of his own imagination. At the same time, the two-hundred-year-old baron and self-taught philosopher has agreed to return to Russia, Lenin's Russia, undercover. This reluctant secret agent has come out of retirement to engage with the real world.

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