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Hunter of Themes

The Interplay of Word and Thing in the Works of Sigizmund Kržižanovskij

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Karen Link Rosenflanz

The phantasmagoric short stories and satirical novellas of the Russian modernist Sigizmund Kržižanovskij (1887-1950) are a unique amalgam of verbal pyrotechnics, scientific erudition, and philosophical contemplation. This book examines how the raw materials of Russian byt are transformed through Kržižanovskij’s ironic wit and rich imagination. Affinities with the theories of his Russian Formalist and Futurist contemporaries are revealed in Kržižanovskij’s use of literary devices to generate the themes of his experimental prose. It demonstrates how paranomasia and other types of pun create rich sound texture, promote semantic associations, or provide structure in his stories, and how his works refract the semiotic debates over the resurrection of the word as thing. Hunter of Themes highlights Kržižanovskij’s literary virtuosity, which places him among the elite in the pantheon of twentieth-century Russian authors.