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  • I like nothingists.

    September 21, 2007

  • Wow. What a word. But I'm also intrigued by the completely enigmatic quasists. :-)

    September 21, 2007

  • Bookseller's Row in the Haymarket was a grotesque sight—like almost all sights then: destitution and wretchedness were carried to such absurd lengths that they ceased to provoke tears but only decrepit, wise laughter such as the last Romans must have aimed at themselves and the Gauls. Somewhere in the hidden, half-legendary Petersburg cellars precious manuscripts were still being exchanged for equally fabulous, apocryphal things—a pound of butter, a ham; but in the Haymarket they dealt mainly in the literature of the Russian Golden Age, naive literary almanacs in which vulgar quarrels were carried on, with opponents caught in misprints and hidden peccadillos hinted at—so-and-so lost everything at gambling, or had informed on someone, or was a kept man... The public was most picturesque and ill-assorted: here was the beginning of the disintegration of the Petersburg School—zaumniks, "ushkuiniks," pustoglots, nothingists, metaphorists, columbines, going-to-the-peoplists, and the completely enigmatic quasists. Here stood the gnomelike graybeard Trufanov with a bundle of "northern antiquities" transcribed in a decorative style and said to have been collected at the time of the Arkhangelsk rites—in fact they had been taken from a collection of byliny and worked up into a state of complete incomprehensibility; he was seen with his group singing the bawdy songs of No-sow ("My name is because we are not simple peasants: we do not sow nor reap, we are peasants not by calling but by willing").

    September 21, 2007