A Russian author of Polish origin, Sigizmund Krziszanowsky was born in January the 30th 1887 in the Kiev suburbia. At the age of thirteen Krziszanowsky published poetry in the "Kiev newspaper", but published little since. The brilliant writer created many pieces in the best traditions of Russian decadence but virtually none were allowed to be published by the Soviet censorship. During his life, Krziszanowsky's writing was mostly exposed via private reading evenings and possibly underground publishing. In 1950 Krziszanowsky dies, his place of burial unknown to this date. Only in 1989 the "Moskovski Rabochi" ("Moscow worker") publishing releases his first book: "Vospominaniya o budushchem. Izbrannoe iz neizdannovo" ("Memories of the future. Selected unpublished works").
Krziszanowsky's writing is phantasmagoric, often packed with allegory. Countless explicit and implicit references to art, science and most of all philosophers of all times make reading a demanding experience, but one that is worth every second of it nevertheless. Discussions of philosophic and psychological issues, social satire and a refined sense of humor are predominant features of his work.
Any even nearly complete account of Krziszanowsky's works is well beyond the scope of this writeup. No doubt every single piece deserves a writeup on its own. Here, I'll only try to give the most brief description of the pieces I favor out of those I am familiar with.
"V zrachke" - "In the pupil of the eye". This one is available in English translation online at http://www.russianpress.com/glas/krziszanovsky.html. I haven't read the translation so I don't hold any responsibility for its quality :-) The story is an interesting view on the relationship between him and her, written from the perspective of "the man in the pupil". This peculiar being representing the enamourment of "her" towards "him" is a miniscule copy of "him" living in her pupil. One day, "the man in the pupil", drawn by a chorus of strange voices decides to journey deeper into the eye and becomes trapped in a place full of other "pupil men": her former lovers. He realizes he is now also forgotten...
"Most cherez Stiks" - "A bridge over the Styx". This brilliant anti-war story describes an encounter of an engineer with a frog that cam from the bottom of the Styx river (the river in Hades, separating the world of the dead from the world of the living). The frog tells the engineer the story of her life and how she was driven from her peaceful existence in the Styx waters. The piece is full of witty irony and of the unique Krziszanowsky style.
"Strana netov" - "The land of not-bes". A tale of a "be", one of the creatures that "are", that exist to the other bes about his journey to the strange land of
non-existing things and persons: the "not bes". As the tale goes, the reader quickly recognizes in the "not bes" - us, the regular human beings. An ironic story about human existence (or the lack thereof) in general, its general outset is somewhat reminiscent of the journeys of Gulliver, a motif appearing elsewhere in Krziszanowsky's works as well. It is also a classic example of Krziszanowsky's fascination with philosophy.
"Bokovaya vetv" - "Side branch". This, in my view, is one of Krziszanowsky's strongest works. A traveler by train finds himself in the odd land of dream production. After meeting sir Thomas More, watching a march of the "non-awakening" alcoholics and a gathering of opium junkies, the hero uncovers an awful conspiracy: a conspiracy of the dreams to take over reality. A quote from the story (my own translation, sorry): "...already Pascal could precisely separate the world of reality from the world of dreams. 'Reality' - he claimed - 'is stable, dreams are shaky and ever-changing; and if the person always dreamt the same dream but he would awaken among new people and new environment, reality would appear a dream to him whereas the dream would obtain all of the features of reality'. You can't say any clearer... However, it is as clear to anyone - both to them and to us - that reality has much lost in its stability and rigidity since Pascal's times, the events of last years rock it as the waves do the deck; morning newspapers give a new reality to the awakened almost every day, while dreams... Couldn't we even now unify the dreams, didn't we inspire humanity into the sweetest million-brain dream of brotherhood, a single dream of unification? Flags the colour of poppy wave over the masses..." This blatant anti-communist work was written during 1927-1928, 10 years after the Russian revolution, under the growing shadow of Josef Stalin.