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A Treatise on the Hiccup: Venedikt Yerofeyev and the Metaphysics of Alcohol

Moscow Stations, Venedkit Yerofeyev's masterpiece, is one of the literary classics of the Brezhnev years, which preceded Gorbachev's prohibition. Acclaimed by many as the best description of Soviet reality, dismissed by others simply as a 'clinical record of alcoholic illness,' this autobiographical book has drinking at its core - as an act of subversion and escape from an oppressive, materialistic regime.

Author Charlotte Hobson will explore Yerofeyev's life and consider the role of alcohol in the book: does it represent a heroic striving towards a spiritual life, in itself an act of subversion under the Soviet regime, or a brilliant, post-modern cry of despair from the depths of the stagnation years? 

Translator, writer and stand up comedian Will Hobson, will read extracts from Moscow Stations. 

Extracts from Pawel Pawlikowski's celebrated documentary about Yerofeyev 'From Moscow to Pietushki', will also be shown.


Charlotte Hobson is a writer and literary critic. Her first book, Black Earth City (2000), won a Somerset Maugham Award and was shortlisted for the Duff Cooper Prize and the Thomas Cook Travel Book Award. Her debut novel The Vanishing Futurist was published by Faber & Faber in May 2016. It has been shortlisted for the Walter Scott prize for historical fiction. Charlotte Hobson lives in Cornwall with her family.


This talk is part of our season of events accompanying our current exhibition: 'Alcohol: Soviet anti-alcohol posters.' (23 March-13 April).