Soviet Writer Mikhail Sholokhov

A rare combination when the talent of a Russian writer is appreciated by readers and also gains recognition both in the Soviet Union (the highest awards from Lenin and Stalin), and abroad (Nobel Prize in Literature).

“… everyone has the right to be called an artist,

…if he provides benefits to humanity.”

M. Sholokhov

Soviet Writer Mikhail Sholokhov

Mikhail Sholokhov (1938)

His works speak for themselves. Let us tell you about them.

Novel “And Quiet Flows the Don”

“Quiet” –and you want to believe that the very nature of vast and boundless steppes makes living there quiet and calm. And only happy and free people live there – the Don Cossacks.

But Don steppes lie between two worlds – Asia and Europe. And they serve as an outpost of Russia. That is why they have been rolled over by endless wars.

And the Cossacks as if were holding a sickle in one hand and in the other – a sword.

In his novel Sholokhovdescribed the entire era – the beginning of the 20thcentury. A quiet life, and war, and political clashes, and the lives of ordinary people, and amazing, imbued with love descriptions of the Russian steppes … He managed to described the best in people, and the most vile and terrible. He described the ambivalence of an ordinary person who finds himself in the midst of events, when he ceases to understand what is true and what is false, and what is valuable in this world…

Despite the fact that the “And Quiet Flows the Don” was published at the height of Stalinism, and Sholokhov had to work with the censors before publishing the novel, Sholokhov himself admitted that in the end only minor details got changed, such as some second-rate characters.

But the accusations of “aiding the kulaks (the enemies of collectivization)”, “justification of counter-revolution” and even “plagiarism” were much harder for Sholokhov to bear. And oddly enough it was the direct patronage of Stalin that allowed Sholokhov to survive such a scary period of accusations.

However, with regards to the latter accusation, plagiarism (another campaign against Sholokhov was started already in the 80s and was supported by Alexander Solzhenitsyn), most recently finally dispelled – after years of searching Sholokhov original manuscripts have been found; and an examination confirmed their authenticity.

It is interesting that in the novel there is no mention of Stalin or his ideas (for which Sholokhov was openly called for on the pages of the national newspaper “Pravda”). Given the fact that many poets of that time (Pasternak, Akhmatova, Mandelstam) wrote poetry in praise of Stalin.

Sholokhov worked thoroughly on his characters, writing the novel for years. After reading the novel you are left with a strong feeling as you have lived along with the characters on the novel. Together with the Don Cossacks, in the vast steppes of the Don…

See also:

Other Novels by Sholokhov and a Fulfilled Prophecy

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To discover Russia with Alexey Gureev

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