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Bengt Jangfeldts: A Russian History

Ole Robert Sunde follows folk artist Bengt Jangfeldt's futuristic journey along the Soviet 1970 century.

I start personally, not privately: Many weeks ago I visited the new Tronsmo in Universitetsgata, and Eva Thorsen (who runs the shuttle with her husband Terje Thorsen) gave me a book she thought I had to read, as she was very excited about it Swedish slavist Bengt Jangfeldts A Russian story (Wahlström & Widstrand 2015). Jangfeldt is a true Russian philosopher with Russian futurism as his great love, including the authors Mayakovsky and Mandelstam, who are the school's top names.
But there is more; much more, since this book (on almost 500 pages) is a kind of versed biography, for Jangfeldt is of the old school; he is what was once called one folk educators in Swedish (and like Francis Sejersted in the book Age of Social Democracy claims not come from "public enlightenment" but has roots in romance), and then I think not only of being schooled, but also learned and eager for science. In this book we get his personal story and his idiosyncratic choices to fall for the big neighbor in the East, as it is called, and to make contacts at the beginning of the 70 century.

And they he seeks out and becomes acquainted with, was then also connected with Russian futurism; as Mayakovsky's wife, Lili Brik: "I do not remember when I first came across Lili Brik's name, but I can not have avoided doing so while reading Vladimir Mayakovsky's poetry, which is largely dedicated to her," for ikke to forget the famous linguist Roman Jakobsen, who had "his penetrating analyzes of Mayakovsky's authorship […] despite the fact that he left Russia as early as 1920" – and what makes our Swedish slave almost begin to step on many sore toes, is that he also gets to know Osip Mandelstam's wife Nadezjda Mandelstam, because these two ladies could not stand each other.
This is the Soviet Union in the 70s, and all those who Jangfeldt comes into contact with – who are not few – during his pursuit of Russian futurism, suffer from a KGB syndrome, as they have become paranoid and convinced that they are being monitored, which was not improbable, so that the Swedish slavophile folk educator also has to go quietly in the doors; he marries a Russian Jewess; all while antisemitism was commonplace in the Soviet Union, and the whole jangfeldt marriage story of moving from Soviet to Sweden with wedding gifts is a story that really puts all patience to the test, and what rumors might have exaggerated about Soviet bureaucracy, is regularly put in place.
Nikolaj Chardzhiev, an expert on the Russian avant-garde and whom Jangfeldt also contacted (his contact surface is impressive and he must have a great social talent), hated the two widows after Majakovsky and Mandelstam. When he learned that he was appearing in an anthology about Majakovsky (published by the University of Stockholm) with the widows, he promptly responded in a letter to our sweet brother: “I shall express myself brutally and straightforwardly because I consider you a close friend. The memoirs of both celebrities are a shame. They cast Chanel perfume on their mill but it doesn't spin, it just grunts. ”
The book is also full of photographs; often with Jangfeldt (his wife and children, as well as his parents-in-law), and this grip (many times at home of well-known Russian dissidents) gives the book a touch of something private, without becoming too private, all the while it is always another cause, and what matters is the Russian authors (and their widows, and always the dream that someone has a secret archive; it's the sweet dream of sweet brother – a separate and pristine archive that can be smuggled out through the embassy), not only those who are archived, but also those who are constantly living in exile; both in the Soviet and abroad, as they tell, according to Jangfeldt, where David bought the beer.

And we know wherewhether it is Sinjevsky or Brodsky, no, it will be too simple, there is more, and it is continuous about Russia, more than it is about the Soviet; it is where the shoe presses; there is always Russia, and during the Cold War our sweet brother is good at finding those who are passionate about Slavic, or those who are furious that the Soviet is not Slavic and Russian, but something else, Urussian, even without it Russian Church, no, it is not – it is included; there is something else and more – like Russia, or Moscow, is the new Jerusalem.
And then it continues with the temperamental and hypersensitive Joseph Brodsky, in the 80's one of the candidates for the Nobel Prize for Literature, and who the slavophile Jangfeldt met in New York with Olof Palme, then it became more Brodsky: «Now, the winter of 1986, I had, however, for a year and a half devoted myself to an in – depth reading of Brodsky's writings and was convinced that the Russian literature in him had an obvious heir to the great poets of the Silver Age – Mandelstam, Pasternak, Achmatova,. . .

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