Mayakovsky, Vladimir Vladimirovich

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Mayakovsky, Vladimir Vladimirovich

Vladimir Vladimirovich Mayakovsky (vlədyē´mĬr vlədyē´mĬrəvĬch mī´əkôf´skē), 1893–1930, Russian poet and dramatist. Mayakovsky was a leader of the futurist school in 1912, and he was later the chief poet of the revolution. His lyrics are highly original in rhythm, rhyme, and imagery. The Cloud in Trousers (1915), a poem written almost entirely in metaphors, describes the agony of unrequited love. His early play, Mystery Bouffe (1918, tr. 1933), is an allegory prophesying the victory of the revolution. After the revolution he devoted almost all his energies to propaganda verse, and during most of the 1920s he was arguably the most important figure in Soviet art. His later plays, such as the satires The Bedbug (1928, tr. 1960) and The Bathhouse (1930), were more critical, however, of the new order. Mayakovsky grew increasingly disillusioned with Soviet life and committed suicide in 1930. His Complete Plays were published in English in 1971.

See M. Almereyda, Night Wraps the Sky: Writings by and about Mayakovsky (2008); biography by W. Woroszylski (tr. 1971); study by E. J. Brown (1973); V. Shklovsky, Mayakovsky and his Circle (tr. 1972).

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