Poet and prose writer
Born Konstantin Konstantinovich Vagengeim in St Petersburg, 16 April 1899. Attended Gurevich Gymnasium, 1908-17; studied law at St Petersburg University, 1917-18; Poetry Seminar, Dom iskusstv, 1921; State Institute for the History of the Arts, 1923-26. Served in the Red Army, 1918-22. First publication in 1921; full-time writer from 1921. Married: Aleksandra Fedorov in 1926. Associated with the literary groups Abbatstvo gaerov, Kol'tso poetov, Zvuchashchaia rakovina, Tsekh poetov, Soiuz poetov, Ostrovitiane, Emotsionalisty, OBERIU. Died of tuberculosis in Leningrad, 26 April 1934.
Sobranie stikhotvorenii, edited by Leonid Chertkov. Munich, Sagner, 1982.
Kozlinaia pesn'. Trudy i dni Svistonova.Bambochada [ The Satyr Song.The Work and Days of Svistonov. Bambochada], edited by Tat'iana Nikol'skaia. Moscow, 1989.
Kozlinaia pesn'. Romany [ The Satyr Song], edited by Tat'iana Nikol'skaia . Moscow, 1991.
Puteshestvie v khaos [ A Journey into Chaos]. Petrograd, 1921; reprinted, Ann Arbor, Ardis, 1978.
Stikhi. Leningrad, 1926; reprinted Ann Arbor, Ardis, 1978.
Opyty soedineniia slov posredstvom ritma [ Experiments in Connecting Words Through Rhythm]. Leningrad, 1931; reprinted Moscow, 1991.
Kozlinaia pesn' [ The Satyr Song]. Leningrad, 1928; reprinted New York, Serebriannyi vek, 1978.
Trudy i dni Svistonova [ The Works and Days of Svistonov]. Leningrad, 1929; reprinted New York, Serebriannyi vek, 1984.
Bambochada. Leningrad, 1931.
Garpagoniada. Ann Arbor, Ardis, 1983.
"Left Art in Leningrad: The OBERIU Declaration", by Robin Milner-Gulland , Oxford Slavonic Papers, 3 ( 1970), 65-75.
"Petrogradskie bibliofily.Po stranitsam satiricheskikh romanov K. Vaginova", by Ivan Martynov and A. Blium, Al'manakh bibliofilov, 4 ( 1977), 217-35.
"La letteratura e la vita nel romanze di Vaginov", by L. Paleari, Rassegne Sovietica, 5 ( 1981), 153-70.
"Literatura kak okhrannaia gramota", by Dmitrii Segal, Slavica Hierisolymitana, 5-6 ( 1981), 151-244.
"Poezijia Konstantina Vaginova", by Leonid Chertkov, in Vaginov's Sobranie stikhotvorenii, 1982, 213-30.
"K.K. Vaginov: Kanva biografii i tvorchestva", by Tat'iana Nikol'skaia , in Chetvertye Tynianovskie chteniia: Tezisy dokladov i materialy dlia obsuzhdeniia, Riga, 1988, 67-88.
"Discrowning the Writer: Konstantin Vaginov", by David Shepherd , in his Beyond Metafiction: Self-Consciousness in Soviet Literature, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1992, 90-121.
The Last Soviet Avant-Garde: OBERIU — Fact, Fiction, Metafiction, by Graham Roberts, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1997.
Bibliography, by Tat'iana Nikol'skaia, in Chetvertye Tynianovskie chteniia: Tezisy dokladov i materialy dlia obsuzhdeniia, Riga, 1988, 83-88.
Konstantin Vaginov's life and career can be taken as broadly representative of the experience of an entire generation of Russian writers, educated in the last decades of tsarist Russia, yet forced to make a career in the radically different social and cultural atmosphere of Soviet power. Between 1921 and 1934, Vaginov participated in a series of literary groups that span the history of post-Symbolist literature in St Petersburg, from Ego-Futurism to Acmeism, expressionism to imaginism, absurdism to the literature of fact and the "social demand." In this frenzied search for a new poetics, we can observe the response of Vaginov's generation to the political and artistic crisis of the avant-garde in the 1920s: was it possible for the avant-garde to serve both the modernist and the political revolution? If Vaginov's early poetry attempts to assimilate and synthesize characteristic elements of Symbolism (language and themes), Acmeism (attitude towards cultural tradition, architectural images), and Futurism (phonetic experiment), all of his writings show an awareness of the political revolution's threat to traditional culture.
The early poetry of Puteshestvie v khaos [ A Journey into Chaos] is characterized by emphatic musicality and sound orchestration, imagery motivated more by phonetic resem