Cover of the manifesto A Slap in the Face of Public Taste, issued by the Moscow-based Russian Futurist group Hylaea in December of 1912; it was bound in sackcloth.
A SLAP IN THE FACE OF PUBLIC TASTE (1912)
by David Burliuk, Alexander Kruchenykh, Vladmir Mayakovsky, Victor Khlebnikov
The past is too tight. The Academy and Pushkin are less intelligible than hieroglyphics.
Throw Pushkin, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, etc., etc. overboard from the Ship of Modernity.
He who does not forget his first love will not recognize his last.
Who, trustingly, would turn his last love toward Balmont’s perfumed lechery? Is this the reflection of today’s virile soul?
Who, faint-heartedly, would fear tearing from warrior Bryusov’s black tuxedo the paper armor-plate? Or does the dawn of unknown beauties shine from it?
Wash your hands which have touched the filthy slime of the books written by the countless Leonid Andreyevs.
All those Maxim Gorkys, Krupins, Bloks, Sologubs, Remizovs, Averchenkos, Chornys, Kuzmins, Bunins, etc. need only a dacha on the river. Such is the reward fate gives tailors.
From the heights of skyscrapers we gaze at their insignificance!…
We order that the poets’ rights be revered:
- To enlarge the scope of the poet’s vocabulary with arbitrary and derivative words (Word-novelty).
- To feel an insurmountable hatred for the language existing before their time.
- To push with horror off their proud brow the Wreath of cheap fame that You have made from bathhouse switches.
- To stand on the rock of the word “we” amidst the sea of boos and outrage.
And if for the time being the filthy stigmas of Your “common sense” and “good taste” are still present in our lines, these same lines for the first time already glimmer with the Summer Lightning of the New Coming Beauty of the Self-sufficient (self-centered) Word.
–David Burliuk, Alexander Kruchenykh, Vladmir Mayakovsky, Victor Khlebnikov