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Krzhizhanovsky, Sigizmund

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.

(1887-1950) Russian author of Polish ancestry who published extremely rarely, his estimated 3,000 pages of fiction, almost always in short story form, only now being excavated and published in an ambitious ongoing collected edition. His tales, many of which combine the extravagances of Absurdist SF and the generic opportunism of Fantastika in general, give off a characteristic Between-the-Wars flavour, associating him with writers like Karel Čapek and Witold Gombrowicz, or with the more safely remote Jorge Luis Borges; his tragedy was not to write within a culture secure enough to tolerate play. Translations into English (whether from manuscript or from individual posthumous releases in Russia or Ukraine or a combination of both is not determined) include 7 Stories (coll 2006), which includes "Yellow Coal" (written 1939), where global warming (see Climate Change) is combatted by a new Power Source, human bile; Memories of the Future (coll 2009), whose title story provides a grim vision of the kind of future made possible (possibly) by the Inventions of an oppressed dreamer; and The Letter Killers Club (coll of linked stories 2012), which is constructed as a surreal Club Story sequence comprising tales, some of them sf, that may be told but can never submit to being written down: tales as free of consequence as their author's life was free of results. [JC]

Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky

born Kiev, Russia [now Ukraine]: 11 February 1887

died Moscow: 28 December 1950


  • Vovrashchenie Miunkhgauenza (unknown: unknown, written 1928) [first edition publication details not established: na/]
    • The Return of Munchausen (New York: New York Review of Books, 2017) [trans by Joanne Turnbull and Nikolai Formozov of the above: pb/Yury Annenkov]


  • 7 Stories (Moscow: Glas New Russian Writing, 2006) [coll: trans anon from various sources: pb/]
  • Memories of the Future (New York: New York Review of Books, 2009) [coll: trans by Joanne Trumbull from various sources: pb/]
  • The Letter Killers Club (New York: New York Review of Books, 2012) [coll of linked stories: trans by Joanne Trumbull from various sources: pb/]
  • Autobiography of a Corpse (New York: New York Review of Books, 2013) [coll: trans by Joanne Trumbull with Nikolai Formozov from various sources: pb/Wassily Kandinsky]


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