A Hunt for Optimism

Author(s): Viktor Shklovsky


Begun in 1929 under the title "New Prose," and drastically revised after Vladimir Mayakovsky's sudden death, A Hunt for Optimism (1931) circles obsessively around a single scene of interrogation in which a writer is subjected to a show trial for his unorthodoxy. Using multiple perspectives, fragments, and aphorisms, and bearing the vulnerability of both the Russian Jewry and the anti-Bolshevik intelligentsia--who had unwittingly become the "enemies of the people"--Hunt satirizes Soviet censorship and the ineptitude of Soviet leaders with acerbic panache. Despite criticism at the time that it lacked unity and was too "variegated" to be called a purely "Shklovskian book," Hunt is stylistically unpredictable, experimentally bold, and unapologetically ironic--making it one of the finest books in Shklovsky's body of work.


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A rambling, digressive stylist, Shklovsky throws off brilliant aper us on every page . . . Like an architect's blueprint, [he] lays bare the joists and studs that hold up the house of fiction. --Michael Dirda

General Fields

  • : 9781564787903
  • : Dalkey Archive Press
  • : Dalkey Archive Press
  • : 0.246
  • : December 2012
  • : 205mm X 142mm X 14mm
  • : United States
  • : February 2013
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Viktor Shklovsky
  • : Paperback
  • : 891.7342
  • : 160