I wrote briefly about Konstantin Vaginov here, and since I’m currently engaged in reading Soviet works from 1927, I’ve finally gotten around to his magnum opus, the novel Goat Song (Козлиная песнь). I must say, I’m disappointed. Among other things, it’s apparently a roman à clef about the circle around Bakhtin in mid-1920s Leningrad, and I’m sure if you were part of that circle or knew people who were (which in the incestuous intellectual world of early Soviet Leningrad was everybody who was anybody), it was a lot of fun to read, just as I enjoy reading a short story written by a friend of mine a quarter century ago about the circle I hung out with in NYC. But for me, much of it was a fairly tedious dip into what I suppose must be called early postmodernism, with a lot of ostentatious intertextuality and toying with the puppets the author has created as characters. Of course, I may simply not have been in the mood for it, and I’ll probably give it another try someday. At the moment, however, I’m very much looking forward to the next items on the agenda, Mandelstam’s “Египетская марка” (“The Egyptian Stamp”) and Tynyanov‘s “Подпоручик Киже” (“Lieutenant Kizhe”). Then some Zoshchenko, and on to 1928: Vremya, vperyod!