Dirty Mondays: “I Love Sensual Women” by Daniil Kharms

W took a little hiatus last week, so we thought we’d better give you something good to make up for it.

Daniil Kharms was one of the more extraordinary members of the St Petersburg literary scene of the 1920s and 30s. In 1928, he founded the avant-garde collective OBERIU, or Union of Real Art. Malevich gave the young oberiuty space in his academy to rehearse, with the words: “You are young trouble makers, and I am an old one. Let’s see what we can do.”

The group was short-lived; its absurdism too much for the increasingly totalitarian authorities, but OBERIU’s work has bubbled up again as a new generation of Russian writers, who read Kharms and his friends in samizdat, claim his influence.

Kharms himself took refuge in children’s literature, for which he is still widely remembered in Russia, while his more adult works are only now starting to see publication… such as this fragment, from 1930:

I love sensual women and not passionate ones. A passionate woman closes her eyes, moans and shouts and the enjoyment of a passionate woman is blind.

A passionate woman writhes about, grabs you with her hands without looking where, clasps you, kisses you, even bites you and hurries to reach her climax as soon as she can. She has no time to display her sexual organs, no time to examine, touch with the hand and kiss your sexual organs, she is in such a hurry to slake her passion. Having slaked her passion, the passionate woman will fall asleep. The sexual organs of a passionate woman are dry. A passionate woman is always in some way or another mannish.

The sensual woman is always feminine.
Her contours are rounded and abundant.

The sensual woman rarely reaches a blind passion. She savours sexual enjoyment.
The sensual woman is always a woman and even in an unaroused state her sexual organs are moist. She has to wear a bandage on her sexual organs, so as not to soak them with moisture.

When she takes the bandage off in the evening, the bandage is so wet that it can be squeezed out.

Thanks to such an abundance of juices, the sexual organs of a sensual woman give off a slight, pleasant smell which increases strongly when the sensual woman is aroused. Then the juice from her sexual organs is secreted in a syrupy stream.

A sensual woman likes you to examine her sexual organs.

Daniil Ivanovich Kharms (30 December 1905 – 2 February 1942)

3 Comments

  1. I love the Russian absurdists. That last line is perfect. There’s a collection called The Man in the Black Coat: Russia’s Literature of the Absurd that I have and I’ll have to see whether there is anything by Kharms in it.

    # by Balthazar B, May 11, 2009

  2. Hey Balthazar (excellent name by the way – we love Donleavy!) – do let us know if you find anything. I’d love to reproduce some more Kharms on the blog…

    # by James Bridle, May 12, 2009

  3. Hi there! Nice catch on the Donleavy reference! He’s one of my favorites too. The collection I mentioned does have a lot of Kharms. There’s one called “The Man in the Black Coat” that might be a good addition to the blog. Email me if you’re interested.

    # by Balthazar B, May 30, 2009

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