cover image Knight's Move

Knight's Move

Viktor Shklovsky. Dalkey Archive Press, $13.95 (143pp) ISBN 978-1-56478-385-1

Dalkey continues its project of bringing the Shklovsky canon into English with this set of writings first published the Soviet theatre journal, The Life of Art, between 1919-1921-years when, Shklovsky says, Russian people were ""capable of eating human flesh,"" so great was the post-revolutionary set of privations. In it, Shklovsky-in the slow, paratactic, aphoristic style for which he is justly well-known-develops a position against the prevailing Soviet doctrine on what art should be and what it should do. That he does so while paying close attention to the actual social and economic conditions in the nascent Soviet republic is just one of the many delicious ironies of this masterful set of essays. While some remain a little too keyed to the events of the time, most have aged well.