Andrei Platonov (August 28 1899 – January 5, 1951) was the pen name of Andrei Platonovich Klimentov a Soviet author whose works anticipate existentialism. Although Platonov was a Communist, his works were banned in his own lifetime for their skeptical attitude toward collectivization and other Stalinist policies. His famous works include the novels The Foundation Pit (Котлован) and Chevengur.
He was born in the settlement of Yamskaia Sloboda on the outskirts of Voronezh in the Chernozem region of central Russia. His father was a metal fitter (and amateur inventor) employed in the railroad workshops and his mother was the daughter of a watchmaker. He attended a local parish school and completed his primary education at a four-year city school and began work at age thirteen, with such jobs as office clerk at a local insurance company, smelter at a pipe factory, assistant machinist, warehouseman, and on the railroad. Following the 1917 revolutions, he studied electrical technology at the Voronezh Polytechnic Institute. When civil war broke out he assisted his father on trains delivering troops and supplies and clearing snow.
From 1918 through 1921, his most intensive period as a writer, he published dozens of poems (an anthology appeared in 1922), several stories, and, hundreds of articles and essays, adopting, in 1920, the Platonov pen-name by which he is best-known. With remarkably high energy and intellectual precocity he wrote confidently across a wide range of topics including literature, art, cultural life, science, philosophy, religion, education, politics, the civil war, foreign relations, economics, technology, famine and land reclamation, among others. It was not unusual around 1920, to see two or three pieces by Platonov, on quite different subjects, appear daily in the press...
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