"Victory over the Sun, one of the most important events in Russian Futurism and in the avant-garde in general, is not well recognized in the West. Now in a new edition of Larissa Shmailo's brilliant translation of the text, with a lively introduction by Eugene Ostashevsky, readers can appreciate the significance and innovativeness of the 1913 play. Using Shmailo's translation and Malevich's pathbreaking stage designs, the play was reconstructed and staged in 1980 to great acclaim and remains a signal accomplishment in the history of the avant-garde."

—Gerald Janecek, Author of Zaum: The Transrational Poetry of Russian Futurism and Sight and Sound Entwined


"Velimir Khlebnikov, literally, missed the train on co-penning this one, contributing only a poem to Kruchenykh's libretto. Staged alongside Mayakovsky's Vladimir Mayakovsky, A Tragedy, the 1913 original production of Victory is remembered primarily for Kazimir Malevich's costumes, lighting, and set design, instigations for the Suprematism and Constructivism still to come in 1915 and 1919, respectively…. Nothing is more fitting for this centennial of "Russian Futurianism" than a celebration of Kruchenykh's great contribution to poetry, his Zaum, and not just for its verbal play – the inventive neologizing and the épater-le-bourgeois utopianism – but for the underappreciated antilyricism of his verse, as well. In communicating to us his musicality in English, Larissa Shmailo has done a remarkable job in conferring on Kruchenykh his true due as a poet."

—Alex Cigale, Translations Editor of MadHat


"A century ago, Aleksei Kruchenykh was the way out writer's most way out writer. If publishing today, he still would be."

—Richard Kostelanetz, Author of A Dictionary of the Avant-Gardes


The Museum of Natural History and the Smithsonian​ performed Larissa's translation of Victory Over the Sun, as discussed and reviewed in the New York Times.

Featured in Russia Beyond the Headlines!

Discussed in BAM Blog

Scene Two


Green walls and floor.


(BELLIGERENT SOLDIERS pass by in Turkish costumes--one lame one per hundred--with dropping banners; some are very corpulent.)

(One of the soldiers steps forward and gives flowers to the MALEVOLENT; the latter tramples them.)



To go forth to meet one's own self on a skewbald horse rifle under an armpit... Ah!
I sought you--a long time at last that sweaty slipping mushroom--


(Picks a fight with himself. STRONGMEN and singers in the costumes of SPORTSMEN enter. One of the sportsmen sings.)



The light of flowers is gone already
Cover yourself in slime heavens
(I'm not speaking for the sake of the enemies
but for you friends)
You the begetting of autumn days
And the harvest of crooked summers
It's not your praises that the newest
Bard will sing



Onward millions of streets--
Or the dark multitudes will be in Russian
Creaking of peasant carts
--shall I say it?--Heads narrow.

For themselves unexpectedly
The drowsy started to pick fights
And raised such a dust
As though they were taking Port Arthur



The victory chariot rolls
Pair of victories
How joyous to fall
beneath its wheels



Sealed with wax
Is ripe victory
Everything is pipe dreamy for us now
The sun lies slashed and stabbed at our feet!

Pick a fight with the machine guns
You'll crush them with a fingernail
Then I'll say: there you go
Bolly strongmen!



Let them trample
The white hot steeds
And let hair tangle
In the odor of hide!