The Foundation Pit

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  • Format: Trade Paper
  • Copyright: 4/21/2009
  • Publisher: NYRB Classics

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Translated from the Russian by Robert & Elizabeth Chandler and Olga Meerson With notes and an afterword by Robert Chandler and Olga Meerson In Andrey Platonov'sThe Foundation Pit, a team of workers has been given the job of digging the foundation of an immense edifice, a palatial home for the perfect future that, they are convinced, is at hand. But the harder the team works, the deeper they dig, the more things go wrong, and it becomes clear that what is being dug is not a foundation but an immense grave. The Foundation Pitis Platonov's most overtly political book, written in direct response to the staggering brutalities of Stalin's collectivization of Russian agriculture. It is also a literary masterpiece. Seeking to evoke unspeakable realities, Platonov deforms and transforms language in pages that echo both with the alienating doublespeak of power and the stark simplicity of prayer. This English translation is the first and only one to be based on the definitive edition published by Pushkin House in Moscow. It includes extensive notes and, in an appendix, several striking passages deleted by Platonov. Robert Chandler and Olga Meerson's afterword discusses the historical context and style of Platonov's most haunted and troubling work.

Author Biography

Andrey Platonov (1899—1951) was born in a village near the Russian town of Voronezh. He began to publish poems and stories in the 1920s and worked as a land reclamation expert in central Russia, where he was a witness to the ravages of the Great Famine. In the 1930s Platonov fell into disfavor with the Soviet government and his writing disappeared from sight. NYRB Classics published Robert Chandler’s new translation of Soul in 2007.

Robert Chandler has edited and translated numerous Russian titles and the complete works of Andrey Platonov, including the NYRB Classics Soul by Platonov and Life and Fate by Vasily Grossman. He is the editor of Russian Short Stories from Pushkin to Buida.

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