Friday, September 02, 2005

When it comes to describing art that is cheap, pretentious, crass, crude, decadent or hopelessly banal, "camp" or "kitsch" might be as close as you can get to defining the problem in English. Russians have a better word, poshlost, that covers all that and more: it takes all that is gimcrack and takes it into a whole other dimension. Vladimir Nabokov explained it in some detail in his book on Nikolai Gogol; Michelle Berdy in the Moscow Times gives a useful update on this "fat brute of a word."

1 comment:

guile said...

dang, i only got to know about gogol when i read the lahiri's the namesake..