On the Narrative and Architectonics Applied to Daniil Kharms’ Prose

Larisa L. Gerver


The present article was written as a response to the formulation of the theme of the conference Musical Composition: Narrative and Architectonics (Gnesin’ Russian Academy of Music, 2022), where in the commonality between music, literature and architecture was stated – i.e., between music and those forms of creativity to whom narrative and architectonics initially pertain. Music possesses the equable capability of perception of compositional principles relevant to both the temporal and the spatial arts, and this circumstance places music in the center of a triple juxtaposition with narrative (and literature presented by it) and architectonics (and, correspondingly, architecture).

The author of the article suggests turning the scheme of the triple juxtaposition in such a way, that not music, but architecture would appear at the center. And the focus would be not literature in general, but specifically on Daniil Kharms’ flash fiction — the primary sphere of observation of the peculiarities of the narrative in his works. In the organization of Kharms’ literary works both musical and architectural analogies play a discernible role, the substantiation of which we find in a number of his diary notes, drawings and theoretical texts. The “musical” traits of Kharms’ poetry and prose have been studied to a sufficient degree, which cannot be said about the inherent architectonic qualities intrinsic to them — let us compare them with “the law of symmetry, the law of equilibrium” mentioned in Kharms’ notes (Treatise about the Infinite, 1932). The instrument of the revealing of symmetry in a literary text is the metrotectonic method of Konyus. The article examines three examples of Kharms’ symmetrically aligned prose — the short stories The Optical Illusion, Symphony No. 2 and The Trunk Box.

Keywords: Daniil Kharms’ flash fiction, symmetry, the architectonics of prose, Georgy Konyus’ metrotectonic method

For citation: Gerver L. L. On the Narrative and Architectonics Applied to Daniil Kharms’ Prose. In: Sovremennye problemy muzykoznaniya / Contemporary Musicology, 2023, no. 4, pp. 50–67. (In Russ.) https://doi. org/10.56620/2587-9731-2023-4-050-067


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.56620/2587-9731-2023-4-050-067

Copyright (c) 2023 Larisa L. Gerver

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