(1905 – 1984)
Sholokhov Mikhail Aleksandrovich (1905, khutor Kruzhilin village, Veshenskaya region, Donskoy troops – 1984, village Veshenskaya, Donskoy region, 1984, Veshenskaya village, Rostov region), writer, academician of the USSR Academy of Sciences (1939), Hero of Socialist Labor (1967, 1980). The author of collections of short stories dedicated to the dramatic destinies of the Don Cossacks (The Don Stories, The Azure Steppe, both 1926) and the epic novels The Quiet Flows the Don (Book 1-4, 1928-40) and The Virgin Soil Upturned (Prince. 1-2, 1932-60), short stories (including “The Fate of Man”, 1956-57) and the unfinished novel “They Fought for Their Country” (1943-69) about the events of the Great Patriotic War. He lived in Moscow in 1914
Mikhail Aleksandrovich Sholokhov was born on the Don in the year one thousand nine hundred. He witnessed “key moments” of the history of the country and in his work reflected all stages of the struggle and construction of a new state: civil war, collectivization and the Great Patriotic War. According to Sholokhov’s artistic and journalistic works, one can study the history of our state, they are so truthful, monumental and multifaceted. It reflects life as it was.
In the mid-twenties “Rodinka”, “Shepherd”, “Prodkomissar” – works later united by the writer in “Don Stories” begin to be printed. In them Sholokhov will show the ruthless truth of the civil war, which divided yesterday’s friends, even members of one family into two irreconcilable camps. The mortal struggle between the fighters for a new life and those who defended the old order, wanted to turn the country on old rails, – the main theme of “Don stories”. In these works of Sholokhov there are no “happy”, “happy” endings, as there can be no happiness and peace, peace of mind in such bloody whirling.
In parallel with the work on the stories, the writer proceeds to create a wide canvas about the life of the Don Cossacks on the eve of the revolutions and before the civil war. Over the novel-epic “Quiet Flows the Don”, Mikhail Alexandrovich worked until 1940, and later turned to him.
The central place in the novel is occupied by the events of the civil war on the Don, and in particular the history of the Upper-Don counter-revolutionary uprising of the Cossacks. This page of the Civil War before Sholokhov was poorly studied by historians. The writer has done a tremendous job collecting a large number of original documents, recreating a real picture of those tragic events.
With great warmth, Sholokhov paints portraits of staunch fighters for a new life. This is the son of a farm laborer, Mikhail Koshevoi, the mill operator Ivan Kotlyarov, the professional revolutionary Shtokman, the faithful soldier of the revolution Bunchuk and many others.
The novel presents those who wanted to retain the old order. This family of khutor rich people Korshunov, merchant Mokhov, landowner Listnitsky, generals and officers of the White Army, foreign interventionists.
In the novel “Quiet Flows the Don,” Sholokhov showed the fate of the people during the years of the revolution and civil war. In the reel of the Cossacks between the revolution and the counter-revolution, the double nature of the psychology of the petty proprietor manifested itself.
The writer brilliantly showed all the vicissitudes of a person’s life at the breaking point of history on the example of Grigory Melekhov’s life. He talks about life: “… I do not understand anything… It’s hard for me to understand this… I blur like a snowstorm in the steppe…”
In the novel “Quiet Flows the Don,” Sholokhov combines an epic image of great historical events with an amazing the lyricism of narration, the transmission of the most intimate personal experiences of people, the disclosure of their innermost feelings and thoughts.
In parallel with the work on the final chapters of the novel “Quiet Flows the Don,” Sholokhov is working on a novel about collectivization, later called “Virgin Soil Upturned.” Like the “Quiet, new novel – about the life of the people in the terrible period of breaking the people’s psychology, only now is the period of overcoming the age-old prejudices, the turn of simple workers to new forms of life.” In “Virgin Soil Upturned” the action takes place under the conditions of the established Soviet system, the mass of the Cossacks has grown considerably, the understanding of the advantages of a new life more easily penetrates into the masses, and the anti-Soviet agitation of the enemies of the people is finding fewer and fewer adherents.
The psychology of the Cossacks is most vividly portrayed in such mass scenes as the assembly about the organization of the collective farm, the “baboon revolt”, the arrival of Davydov in a brigade that refused to work, an open party meeting of collective farmers… Sholokhov wrote a novel on the rich material surrounding his actual life; the writer showed that the turn in the popular consciousness occurred not immediately and not easily.
The Great Patriotic War began, and the writer-humanist did not stay away from the struggle. In military correspondence, essays “On the Don,” “In the South,” “Prisoners of War,” “In Cossack Collective Farms,” the writer reveals the anti-human character of the war unleashed by the Nazis. In 1943, Sholokhov began work on the novel “They fought for their Motherland.” The work narrates about the heavy days of retreat under the onslaught of Germany’s powerful military machine, about the deadly battle at Stalingrad, which has broken the whole course of the war.
In the novel “They fought for their Motherland” deeply revealed Russian national character, clearly manifested in the days of severe trials. The heroism of the Russian people in the novel is devoid of an externally brilliant manifestation and appears before us on a daily basis tragically, and sometimes comically. This depiction of war leads the reader to the conclusion that the heroic is not in the individual exploits of Soviet soldiers, but that the whole front life is a feat.
After the war, in 1957, when the world was in danger of a new world catastrophe, Sholokhov published the story “The Fate of Man” to remind of those horrors that should not happen again. In a small volume of production, the reader’s life passes through the life of a hero who absorbed the destiny of the country.
Andrei Sokolov is a Soviet man, a peaceful worker, who hates the war, who took his whole family from him, happiness, hope for the best. Left alone, Sokolov did not lose humanity, he was able to see and warm up around himself a homeless boy. The writer ends the story with the certainty that a new man will rise near the shoulder of Andrei Sokolov, ready to overcome any ordeals of fate.
Creativity Sholokhov appreciated. He is a laureate of all possible prizes and domestic awards, and in 1965 was awarded the Nobel Prize for the novel “Quiet Flows the Don”. His works have entered the Russian classical literature with dignity.