(1873 – 1950)
Shmelev Ivan Sergeevich (1873 – 1950), the prose writer. He was born on September 21 (October 3, 2006) in Moscow, in Zamoskvorechye, in a well-to-do merchant family, distinguished by patriarchal habits, religiousness. On the other hand, he was influenced by the “yard”, where the construction workers were flocking, here was another, rebellious spirit. “Here, in the courtyard, I saw the people, I’m used to it here…”, – later writes I. Shmelev. He heard songs here, jokes, sayings, fairy tales and a richly diverse language. All this will later appear in the pages of his books, in his tales.
After graduating from high school, in 1894 he entered the law faculty of Moscow University. In the autumn of 1895 he made a trip to Finland, to the Valaam Monastery. The result of this trip was his first book – essays “On the rocks of Valaam”,
After graduating from the university in 1898 during the year, he goes into military service, then for eight years he serves as an official in remote places in the Moscow and Vladimir provinces. “I knew the capital, the small handicraft people, the way of merchant life.” Now I have learned the village, the provincial bureaucracy, the petty nobility, “Shmelev later wrote. Here he meets the prototypes of the heroes of many of his novels and stories. From here came “Patoka”, “Citizen Uklikin”, “In the hole”, “Under the sky”.
Particularly notable were works written under the influence of the first Russian revolution (the story “In a hasty matter”, “Raspad”, 1906, short stories “The Wakhmistre”, 1906, “Ivan Kuzmin”, 1907). In 1911 Shmelev... wrote one of his significant works – “
In 1912 the Publishing House “Publishing of Writers in Moscow” was organized, the members of which are I. Bunin, B. Zaitsev, V. Veresaev, I. Shmelev, etc. All the further works of Shmelev in the 1900s are connected with this publishing house, which issued a collection of his works in eight volumes. Published stories and stories (“The Wall”, “Shy silence”, “Wolf’s roll”, “Rosstany”, etc.), released during 1912 – 1914.
During the First World War, the collections of his short stories and essays “Roundabout” (1916), “Harsh Days”, “Face hidden” (1917), in which the story “Funny Adventure” appeared, stood out against the backdrop of public patriotic fiction. The February Revolution was enthusiastically greeted, and showed complete intransigence towards Oktyabrskaya, aggravated by the fact that his only son, Sergei, an officer of the volunteer army, who did not want to leave the Wrangelites for a foreign country, was taken to Feodosia from the infirmary and shot without trial. At the end of 1922, after a short stay in Moscow, Shmelev went to Berlin, then to Paris, where the emigrant chapter of his life opens. He created stories, pamphlets full of hatred of the Bolsheviks – “The Sun of the Dead” (1923), “The Stone Age” (1924), “On the Stumps”
Over the years, Shmelev’s work was dominated by memories of the past (Bogomolye, 1931, Summer of the Lord, 1933-48). Abroad, I. Shmelev published more than twenty books.
Shmelev died on June 24, 1950 near Paris from a heart attack.
A short biography from the book: Russian writers and poets. A short biographical dictionary. Moscow, 2000.