Mapping Imagined Geographies of Revolutionary Russia

PBC0099: humor despite tragedy

PBC 99 offers a playful and humorous look at the plight of cities and some countries during wartime. Instances range in voice from benign fun to malicious mockery as each makes light of a deathly circumstance. In the “menagerie” of Europe, Italy (Rome) is compared to domestic fowl clucking over a wattle fence, eyeing the chariots rushing by (W329). Brussels spins under the poems of a romantic poet, weaving itself into lace (W413). The world’s elite are implicated in the decadence of the early twentieth century: “I transform the tragedy of life into a farcical dream… Pineapples in champagne! Pineapples in champagne! From Moscow to Nagasaki! from New York to Mars!” (W410). Another instance mocks Venice where “the sun spurts blood all day” (W118). In the throes of wartime chaos life has become so bleak that it turns into absurd humor of itself.


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