Keith Gessen is a founding editor of n+1 and the editor and cotranslator of Kirill Medvedev’s It’s No Good.


The Reckless Founding Formalist

Viktor Shklovsky; portrait by Yury Annenkov, 1919
In Venyamin Kaverin’s early novel The Scandalist (1931), a literary critic named Viktor Nekrylov wakes up in Leningrad with a hangover. He has a train ticket back to Moscow but, shaking off sleep, he makes a decision: “He wasn’t going to leave Leningrad until he caused a scandal.” Later that …

Horror Tour

A lot has changed since the age when Henry James could so easily enumerate, in his book on Hawthorne, all the things America lacked for the sustenance of a serious novelist—historic castles, to begin with, and an army, and museums. We now have castles of commerce and industry, and a …

Subversive Activities

“The Europeans look at us like we’re shit, like we’re animals!” Vovchik the Small, one of Victor Pelevin’s angst-ridden mobsters, declares in the 1999 Generation P. “It’s because we don’t have a national i-den-ti-ty.” Vovchik may as well have been speaking of Pelevin’s writerly colleagues. What began as a wonderful …