Andrei Platonov Criticism - Essay

Vyacheslav Zavalishin (essay date 1958)

(Short Story Criticism)

SOURCE: “Andrei Platonov (1896–1951),” in Early Soviet Writers, Frederick A. Praeger Publishers, 1958, pp. 245–51.

[In the following essay, Zavalishin discusses why many of Platonov's short stories got him into trouble with Soviet censors—namely, because of their common theme that Communist machinery too often resulted in “the depersonalization of man.”]

Andrei Platonov was one of the most remarkable of Soviet writers, again less because of literary skill than because of moral qualities. Although his stylistically most mature work came long after he had left the Pereval organization (he was a member for only a short time and then struck out as a...

(The entire section is 2642 words.)

Victor Dorofeyev (essay date 1972)

(Short Story Criticism)

SOURCE: Introduction to Fro and Other Stories, by Andrei Platonov, Progress Publishers, 1972, pp. 5–20.

[In the following introduction to Fro and Other Stories, Dorofeyev finds in many of Platonov's stories a unique and sensitive literary voice.]

Platonov began writing in his teens, as a working lad—the inevitable poetry—and soon after the October Revolution began to appear in the press with poems and articles, and later short stories. In 1922 he had a verse collection, Blue Depths, published and intended publishing a book of short stories, which for some reason never materialised. His first collection of short stories, Yepifan Locks appeared...

(The entire section is 4263 words.)

Marion Jordan (essay date 1974)

(Short Story Criticism)

SOURCE: “Andrei Platonov,” in Russian Literature Triquarterly, Vol. 8, 1974, pp. 363–72.

[In the following excerpt, Jordan discusses Platonov's unusual literary style and sensibility, and paints a picture of an eccentric whose predominant thematic concerns are peasant suffering due to Soviet bureaucracy and the mortal vulnerability of individuals.]

In Andrei Platonov's posthumously published Chevengur, there occurs an inscription on an anonymous grave: “I am alive and I weep; she is dead and is silent.”1 It sums up Platonov's credo: life in its anonymity is to be defined by the existence of grief, and death is distinguishable from life only...

(The entire section is 3102 words.)

Per-Arne Bodin (essay date 1991)

(Short Story Criticism)

SOURCE: “The Promised Land—Desired and Lost: An Analysis of Andrej Platonov's Short Story ‘Džan,’” in Scando-Slavica, Vol. 37, 1991, pp. 5–24.

[In the following excerpt, Bodin analyzes “Džan,” tracing the biblical and other mythological allusions that define this work about the impossibility of utopia in a new Soviet community.]

In 1933 Andrej Platonov was chosen, together with a number of the most well-known young Soviet writers such as Vsevolod Ivanov and Leonid Leonov, to participate in an extensive tour to Turkmenistan in order to study the socialist development of Central Asia in connection with the ten-year anniversary of the Turkmen Socialist...

(The entire section is 6838 words.)

Thomas Seifrid (essay date 1992)

(Short Story Criticism)

SOURCE: “The Evolution of Platonov's Literary Style,” in Andrei Platonov: Uncertainties of Spirit, Cambridge University Press, 1992, pp. 81–90.

[In the following excerpt from his study of Platonov's literary career, Seifrid examines Platonov's verbal style.]

Platonov's reputation as one of the major figures in Soviet literature rests more than anything on his verbal style, on his creation of a linguistic medium widely held to be both “strange” and somehow highly apposite to the world view expressed in his works. In fact, an investigation into the poetic principles motivating this “unique” Platonovian style forms the necessary culmination of any discussion...

(The entire section is 4192 words.)