Walpurgis Night, or the Steps of the Commander (The Margellos World Republic of Letters)

Walpurgis Night, or the Steps of the Commander (The Margellos World Republic of Letters)

Venedikt Erofeev

Language: English

Pages: 152

ISBN: 0300159862

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Walpurgis Night, by acclaimed Russian writer Venedikt Erofeev, is considered a classic in the playwright’s homeland. Erofeev’s dark and funny five-act satire of Soviet repression has been called the comic high-water mark of the Brezhnev era. Walpurgis Night dramatizes the outrageous trials of Lev Isakovich Gurevich, an alcoholic half-Jewish dissident poet confined by the state to a hospital for the insane. In “Ward 3”—a microcosm of repressive Soviet society—Gurevich deploys his brilliant wit and ingenuity to bedevil his jailers, defend his fellow inmates, protest his incarceration, and generally create mayhem, which ultimately leads to a tragedy of Shakespearean proportions.

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readers; in the years since, it has flourished. According to this legend, Erofeev managed to live freely as a liminal figure outside the boundaries of Soviet social and political convention. His drinking, his joblessness, and his peripatetic lifestyle all contributed to his being cast as a talented eccentric. It is ironic but not unusual in the context of twentieth-century Russian culture that the author, homeless and nearly destitute for much of his life, is now regarded as a genius of

hasn’t said a word for days. Not a word, not a word. But as soon as it strikes six thirty in the morning—you’ll see—it starts, not with a twang, not metallically, but a thousand times more parrotishly: “Vladi-mir Sergeich! Vladi-mir Sergeich! Get to work, work, work. Go get fucked, fucked, fucked, fucked.” And then, then it pauses a little, for courage, and starts in again: “Vladi-mir Sergeich! Vladimir Sergeich! To work, work (more and more rapidly), work, work, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck,

Takes a passionate inhale of the lemon. A pause in self-absorption. PROKHOROV: So. Humanity’s starless hours are over! Tell me, Gurevich, what kind of marble should we cut you out of? GUREVICH: What’s this about cutting me out? PROKHOROV: No, no. That’s not what I meant. Here’s what I meant. From this moment on, if in Ward 3 or any of our vassal wards some obtuse psycho doubts that this (he pokes Gurevich) nation is filled with the divine spirit, he will immediately be promoted by me to

what is most essential. In short, there will be no Lisbon. At the same time, though, can I count on my strategic allies? EVERYONE: (higgledy-piggledy) You can, Gurevich, you can! Let’s have another quick swig! GUREVICH: In the nick of time! They each take a quick swig. SERYOZHA: Good afternoon. Maybe it’s evening. I can’t know, of course. I hasten to send you greetings from a pure heart. Hello, dear departed mama, with greetings for you, from your son Fedya. All of a sudden he starts

off in 3. Prokhorov’s there, and Eryomin. They’ll crack down on him there. DOCTOR: “Suicidal thoughts,” you say. (To Gurevich.) One last question for you. Have you ever, if only in deepest, darkest secret, had thoughts of doing away with yourself or anyone close to you? Because 4 isn’t 3, and occasionally we have to keep our eyes peeled. GUREVICH: Hand on heart, I’ve already dispatched one person. I was . . . I don’t remember how old I was at the time, not very, but it all happened three days

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