AKA Mikhail Stefanovich Kuznetsov
Birthplace: Veshenskaya, Russia
Location of death: Veshenskaya, Russia
Cause of death: Cancer - Throat
Remains: Missing, Don River Shore (exact location unknown)
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Executive summary: The Silent Don
Military service: Bolshevik Army (1918-24)
Mikhail Sholokhov won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1965. His best-known work, The Silent Don, first appeared in serialized magazine installments when the author was only 22 years old, and was finished more than a dozen years later as a four-volume novel. A sweeping saga of Cossacks vs Bolsheviks in the Russian Revolution, it was perennially popular in the Soviet Union, and along with his lesser works and short stories it was frequently filmed as rousing propaganda pieces. It was translated into more than eighty languages, and appeared in a well-received English-language two-volume set as And Quiet Flows the Don and The Don Flows Home to the Sea.
He was a member of the Supreme Soviet, and praised his country's artistic freedoms in the international press, saying "no one is being prevented from writing anything he wants" in the Soviet Union. He was formally named among the nation's greatest writers, and was allowed to keep his $56,000 Nobel cash honorarium. He used his celebrity to criticize writers who criticized Soviet oppression, including Boris Pasternak and Alexander Solzhenitsyn. Perhaps in retaliation, Solzhenitsyn accused him of having plagiarized The Silent Don, citing Sholokhov's youth when the stories first appeared, and the inarguable fact that nothing else Sholokhov wrote approached his masterpiece in artistic scope or quality. As early as 1929, Pravda called the claims of plagiarism "malicious slander", but the books' pedigree remains in dispute. A computerized analysis in the early 1980s suggested that they were indeed written by Sholokhov, but a more academic review in the late 1980s concluded that large swaths of the narrative were written by a different author.
Sholokhov was born out of wedlock from his mother's extramarital affair, and his parents married after his mother's husband died in 1913. His education ended at about the fourth grade, when he left school to fight in the revolution. After the war he worked in the Soviet food distribution and tax collection bureaucracies while, presumably, writing The Silent Don. The epic's most recent film adaptation was Quiet Flows the Don, released in 2004 starring Rupert Everett and F. Murray Abraham.
Father: Aleksandr Sholokhov (merchant, b. 1865, d. 1925)
Mother: Anastasiia Chernikova (peasant, b. 1871. m. 1913)
Wife: Mariia Petrovna Gromoslavskaia ("Masha", tax collector, m. 1924, four children)
High School: Veshenskaia Gymnasium, Veshenskaia, Russia (dropped out)
Order of Lenin
Nobel Prize for Literature 1965
Hero of Socialist Labor 1967
Hero of Socialist Labor 1980
Communist Party USSR
Russian Academy of Sciences
Ukrainian Ancestry Maternal
Risk Factors: Diabetes
Author of books:
Donskie Rasskazy (Tales of the Don) (1926, short stories)
Podnyataya Tselina (Virgin Soil Upturned a/k/a Seeds of Tomorrow) (1932, novel)
Tikhy Don (The Silent Don) (1940, four volume novel)
Oni Srazhalis za Rodinu (They Fought for Their Homeland) (1942, novel)
Podnyataya Tselina, Part 2 (Harvest on the Don) (1960, novel)
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