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The Presidential Library portal features collection dedicated to Vladimir Mayakovski’s 125th birth anniversary

19 July 2018

July 19, 2018 marks Vladimir Mayakovski’s 125th birth anniversary, who is one of the greatest poets of the XX century, who vividly declared himself as a playwright, screenwriter, director, actor, artist, publicist and editor. By this date, the Presidential Library has made available an electronic collection "V. V. Mayakovski (1893-1930)".

The selection includes not only the first editions of the writer's works, but also critical articles, obituaries of writers to Mayakovski’s death, portraits of the poet and images of monuments in his honor, as well as abstracts of research papers examining various aspects of his life and work.

Electronic copies of the tragedy “Vladimir Mayakovski”, published in 1914, the first edition of the play “Mystery-Bouffe”, written for the anniversary of the October Revolution, the collection of the poet's essays “Everything Written by Vladimir Mayakovski. 1909-1919" - the latter can be "flipped" on the computer screen in the electronic reading room of the Presidential Library, are presented. The collection includes poet’s satirical works, in particular "Mayakovski is mocking at", as well as a magazine edition of the enchanting comedy "The Bedbug". Agitation and satirical posters “Terrible laughter. ROSTA Posters” - the result of cooperation between the poet and the artist Mayakovski with the Russian Telegraph Agency (1919-1921) - represented in the collection as a digital copy of the 1932 edition. 

These materials give a fairly complete idea of ​​the life and personality of Mayakovski, the nature of his work. They can be traced as a youthful acquaintance with David Burliuk and a joint reading of poems led the poet to the union of cubo-futurists and laid the foundation for his poetry writing. The first published poem by Mayakovski was included in the futuristic collection "A slap in the face of public taste"; it was distinguished by an extremely bright metaphoricality, an original style - all those that originally separated his work from the manner of contemporary authors. And the main feature of all the master's works, as noted in the materials of the collection of the Presidential Library, is the fearlessness with which he reveals his soul in every line of any poem - whether it concerns a deeply personal or public, sometimes sociological view of things.

In the minds of millions of readers, the paradigmatic poet Mayakovski lives primarily as a "poet-tribune", able, like nobody else, to express the time of the breaking of the epochs in Russia. It was for this reason that Igor Severyanin wrote that Mayakovski’s voice is "a storm going to storm". However, beyond the external brutality of the lyric hero of Mayakovski, one can find a personal and social heart that rushes in search of unattainable harmony, a vulnerable, lonely and tender heart. From the earliest poems Mayakovski sounds the motif of the tragic loneliness of man in the world. "I'm lonely, like the last eye / going to the blind person" - he confesses in the last part of the poem "I" - "A few words about myself" (1913). Included in the collection "Everything composed by Vladimir Mayakovski. 1909-1919” from the Presidential Library collections allows you feeling the whole uncompromising nature of the "early" Mayakovski.

He wants to participate in the revolutionary renewal of the world. And he acts: he wears a yellow futurist's jacket so that in a group of like-minded people throw off the dusty literary classics from the modern steamship, look for new forms of versification and glorify the revolution by all means available to him, including creating posters in the famous "ROSTA Posters", the cooperation with which began in years of the Civil War.

The electronic copy of the book by Viktor Pertsov "Mayakovski-patriot" (1941) from the Presidential Library collections, illustrates Mayakovski as an artist performing political orders for the “ROSTA Posters”: "He was a worker and a warrior in poetry, with the help of poetry", - writes Pertsov. - And he took up a lot and, indeed, did not disdain any black work: he wrote texts to sanitary posters about the benefits of boiled water, rhymed slogans for the "week of the trade union movement" and for the grain procurement campaign ... The artist Nikolai Denisovsky, who helped Mayakovski, reminds how the poet was able to mobilize himself and others: "At 12pm Mayakovski called me. "Tomorrow at 9am we need to make 12 posters to the People's Commissar for Health. Come to work". I'm confused. What is the deadline? Will I succeed? - "Nothing, we will help. <...> The first thing, we need hot tea" - and he went to warm up the samovar. At eight o'clock the posters were ready ... ".

During the Civil War, - writes Pertsov in his book, - the poet made about three thousand posters and thousands of signatures to them.

Mayakovski’s creative universe did not imply a division into "low" and "high" genres: with the same obsession he tried himself in many art workshops, always setting himself global social goals.

The Presidential Library portal features an electronic copy of the rarity edition of 1922 "Mayakovski is mocking at", where the authors are V. Mayakovski and L. Brick. The above edition includes poems "On rubbish", "Order  № 2 to the armies of the arts", "Prozadedavshiesya", "Bureaucracy", "They asked me: Do you like NEP? I love, I answered, when it is not an absurd" and etc.

The violent protest of the poet against negative phenomena in society did not find support among the ruling elite in spite of the fact that Lenin at one time publicly approved the "Prozasedavshiesya". Writers who were members of the Russian Association of Proletarian Writers (RAPP) reproached the poet with non-proletarian origin for creating such, say, works as the poems "Vladimir Ilyich Lenin" and "Okay". Not according to rank, they say, "fellow traveler" to undertake such a large-scale political paintings. The poet replied: "I want to be understood by my country. / And I will not be understood, well. / I will pass by my native country / About driving rain".

As for the scatter of the tragic, lyrical and satirical peaks in his work, we will believe the author of the study "On the Generation Who Has Spoiled Its Poets" Roman Jakobson, who wrote: "Mayakovski’s poetry writing from the first verses in “Slap to Public Taste” to the last lines is one and undivided".