Harms’ texts are pulsating with personality, unique freshness and energy which make us perceive the writer as the protagonist of his own nonsensical writing - except that he has never written anything senseless. He was writing at the time and space which allowed neither time nor space for nonsense.
Revolution transformed into the totalitarianism haunted Harms systematically and relentlessly since the 1930s until his death. The ideological determination of Harms’ writing is negative insofar as it made his political sin harder and Stalinist prosecution - unforgivably ‘justified.' The ideological norm is only a cover under which the uncompromising machinery of every system grinds. Dictatorship instinctively recognizes the free man as the only worthy enemy, whose bones or heart should be broken. Harms was lucky and unlucky to conquer and define his freedom only through his writing and publishing - therefore his sin was public and his punishment unavoidable. Since writing was his food and water, he had no choice. “Everything can be written with a green pencil” - where ‘everything’ relates to and embraces literary everything, from a teacup to Siberian desert and a hole in the universe. Allegedly, he died of starvation in a prison hospital. They took the green pencil away from him.
It remains only to give credence to the words of his colleague and fellow fighter Bulgakov: “Manuscripts do not burn." They do, through us and in spite of us.