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Ural Writers: Charming Myths and Severe Realities in Russian Literature
September 20, 2011 15:21

The Urals region is rich in talented people in different spheres of Russian life. And literature is not an exception to that rule. Many great writers, critics and journalists were born in Ural big cities and small villages, and many others came to the Urals from various Russian regions to gain their general acceptance here. Ural nature inspires for creation of mystical or fairy-tale stories, Ural mode of life and traditions add ethnic flavour to the books and Ural rich history allows to create truly epic and dramatic novels. So, no wonder that Ural literature is so stands out against the whole mass of Russian literature. This article tells you about the most outstanding writers, who lived and worked in the Urals region.

Dmitry Mamin-Sibiryak
Dmitry Narkisovich Mamin-Sibiryak is a Russian author, most famous for his novels and short stories about life in the Ural Mountains. Being born in Nizhny Tagil, near Yekaterinburg in the Urals, he always loved his place of birth and expressed his love in his wonderful stories. He also noticed any changes in life of his home and portrayed the life of the Urals and Siberia in the reform years of the development of capitalism in Russia and the consequent rifts in public consciousness, legal norms and morals. His early travel novels are also very interesting for everybody, who wants to know Russian life better. Moreover, almost every Russian child knows Mamin-Sibiryak for his great fairy tales, the majority of which were cinematized.
Main Works: The Privalov Fortune (1883), Mountain Nest (1884), Gold (1892), Bread (1895), Okhonna's Brows (1892), Ural Stories (1895) and Siberian Stories (1889). Main books for children: Tales for Alyonushka (1894–1896), Grey Neck (1893), and Summer Lightning (1897).
To Read in English: 
The Privalov Fortune, (novel), Foreign Languages Publishing House, Moscow.
Misgir, and The Father Elect, (stories), from Little Russian Masterpieces, Vol 2, G.P. Putnam's Sons, New York and London, 1920.
Verotchka's Tales, (children's stories), E.P. Dutton & Company, New York, 1922.
Wintering Station on Chill River, (story), from A Bilingual Collection of Russian Short Stories, Vol 1, Random House, 1965.
Tales For Alyonushka, (children's stories), Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1978.
A Gold Nugget, (story), from In the Depths: Russian Stories, Raduga Publishers, Moscow, 1987.

  Pavel Bazhov (Biography)
Pavel Petrovich Bazhov is a great Russian writer, an author of a collection of fairy-tale stories, based on the Urals folklore. He was born in Sysert, a city in the Urals famous for having provided many fighters in the Russian Revolution in 1917, and studied in Yekaterinburg. In 1939 he wrote his most famous work - the collection of fairy tales "Malakhitovaya shkatulka” (The Malachite Casket), which gained Bazhov the State Prize. Besides their charming fairy-tale atmosphere, the stories speaks about people's relations and social conflicts and wisely reproduce lifes of Ural people and their characters through mythological personages. Not only that book, but other Bazhov's fairy-tale collections are great examples of Russian classical fairy-tales.
Main Works:  "Ural Stories" (Uralskiye Byli), 1924; "Green Horse" (Zelyonaya Kobylka), 1939; "The Malachite Casket" (Malakhitovaya Shkatulka), 1939; "Key-Stone" (Kyuch-Kmen), 1942.
To Read in English:
Bazhov, Pavel. The Malachite Casket. Fredonia Books, 2002.
Bazhov, Pavel. The Mistress of the Copper Mountain and other Tales.

  Joseph Gerasimov
Joseph Abramovich Gerasimov is a Soviet writer, scripwright, journalist and playwright. He was born in Minsk, but then lived his whole life in Sverdlovsk Region, graduated from the Ural University in Sverdlovsk (Yekaterinburg now). Veteran of the World War II, he wrote a very realistic proze about brave Russian people - soldiers, officers, rear services and common workers. Gerasimov was awarded by many medals, the Order of the Red Star, the Order of Order of Friendship of Peoples. One of his well-known novels about post-war life in Kishinev, "Radosti Zemniye", was cinematized by a director Sergei Kolosov. Gerasimov worked at the scenarion for that film, later he became a prominant scripwriter, working at such films as: "Pyat Dnei Otdykha" (Five Days of Rest, 1969), "Ulitsa bez Kontsa" (A Street without End, 1972), "Stariye Dolgi" (Old Debts, 1979).
Main Works: "Radosti Zemniye" (Earthly Joy), "Stuk v Dver" (Knock in the Door 1988), "Predel Vozmozhnogo" (Limit of Possible 1987), "Semeyniye Romany" (Family Romances, 1985).

  Olga Slavnikova
  Olga Alexandrovna Slavnikova is a Russian modern writer, the "Russian Booker 2006" laureate. She was born in Yekaterinburg and graduated from the Journalism Faculty of the Ural State University. In 2003 Slavnikova moved to Moscow with her family. Her books have been published since 1988, she was given Russian Booker 2006 for her novel "2017". Slavnikova was also presented with such Russian literature journals' prizes as: "Ural" (1996), "Druzhba Narodov" (Friendship of Nations)(2000), "Noviy Mir" (the New World)(2001), "October" (2001), prize in honour of Pavel Bazhov (1999). Slavnikova is also an author of numerous articles of a modern Russian literature and a coodinator of a literature contest of young talents "Debut". Her proze is always acute social and up-to-date. In her books she often skillfully mixes reality and fantasy to show usual events in unusual terms.
Main Works: "Pervokusnitsa" (A First-year Girl, 1988), "Strekoza, uvelichennaya do razmerov sobaki" (A dragonfly assumed a dog's proportions, 1997) - Russian Booker's short-list, "Odin v Zerkale" (Alone in the Mirrow, 1999), "Bessmertniy" (Immortal, 2001), "2017"(2006) - Russian Booker, "Lyubov v Sedmom Vagone" (Love in the 7th Coach) - short-list of the "Big Book" prize, "Leghkaya Golova" (Light-minded Head, 2010).
To Read in English:
"2017"(translator Marian Schwartz), Nine of Russia's Foremost Women Writers (Glas New Russian Writing), 2003

Vladislav Krapivin (Biography)
  Vladislav Petrovich Krapivin is a Soviet-Russian writer, an author of many adventure and fantasy novels for children. He was born in 1938 in Tyumen, graduated from the Ural State University, several years worked in Ural newspapers and journals. Krapivin began his career in 1965, and now it is guite difficult to enumerate the full list of his books,novels and stories. His books were included in the "Golden Library of Selected Works for Children and Youth," "The Library of Adventure and Science Fiction," "The Library of World Literature for Children," and in the 26 volume Japanese series "Selected Works for Teenagers". Vladislav Krapivin's books have been reprinted numerous times in Poland, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, Germany, Japan, Hungary, they have been translated into English, Spanish, Persian, and other languages. The author himself often says he writes not only for children, but for all those who forever keep alive a part of childhood in their souls.
Main Works: "Malchik so Shpagoi" (A Boy with a Rapier, 1972-1974), "Kolybelnaya dlya Brata" (Lullaby for My Brother", 1978), "Troye s ploschadi Karronad" (Trio from Karronad square, 1979), "Ostrova i Kapitany" (Islands and Captains, 1984-1987), "Golubyatnya na Zhyoltoi Polyane" (A Dovercote on the Yellow Glade, 1982-1983), "Malchik Devochku Iskal" (A Boy was Looking for a Girl, 2000) and many others.
Issued in English:
"Winged Tales", Raduga Publishers (1984).
August, the month of winds: A story for schoolchildren, Progress (1975)
Brig Artemis: A Novel. "Library of the Commander", 2008

Alexei Ivanov (Biography)
  Alexei Viktorovich Ivanov is a Russian writer, a laureate of Mamin-Sibiryak and Bazhov literary prizes and a "Yasnaya Polyana" special award. He was born in Gorky (Nizhny Novgorod now), but then his family moved to Perm, where he grew up and entered Ural State University as a journalism student. His first publication was a fantastic story called  "Hunt for the Great Bear," published in the magazine "Uralsky Sledopyt" in 1990, but Ivanov became famous only in 2003, after the publication of the "Serdtse Parmy" (The heart of Parma) novel, which was nominated thrice as "National Best-seller" and "Book of the Year" in 2006. Ivanov is an author of serious and profound prose, which reflects with an accuracy the life of Russia and Russian people. Ivanov is also famous for his historical novels. In particular, his book "Letoistchesleniye ot Ioanna" (Ioann's Era, 2009) became a basis for a scenario of a "Tsar" film by a director Pavel Lungin. Alexei Ivanov and a prominent Russian journalist Leonid Parfenov were authors of a big project "Khrebet Rossii" (the Russia's Ridge, 2010), dedicated to the history and geography of the Urals region. Together they took part in several expeditions and issued a cycle of documentary films and illustrated books. 
Main works: "Serdtse Parmy" (The heart of Parma, 2003), "Geograf Globus Propil" (Geographer Drank Away his
Globe, 2003), "Zoloto Bunta" (the Gold of the Rebellion, 2005), "Bluda i Mudo", 2007, "Letoistchesleniye ot Ioanna"
 (Ioann's Era, 2009).

Viktor Astafyev
  Viktor Petrovich Astafyev is a Soviet and Russian writer of short stories and novels. He was born in Krasnoyarsk, but lived in different regions of Russia, including the Urals. Just that region became the main source of inspiration or the writer. In 1953 Astafiyev published his first collection of stories dedicated mostly to the experience of  Russian soldiers and civilians during the German-Soviet War. Later, after 1962, he turned in his novels to the critics of the Soviet regime during the Stalin era. Astafyev also wrote for children, Most of his novels for children are part of the "The Horse with the Pink Mane, and Other Siberian Stories" book. 
Main Works: "Lovlya peskarei v Gruzii" (The Catching of Gudgeons in Georgia, 1986), "Pechalny Detektiv" (Sad Detective, 1986), "Tak Khochetsya Zhit" (The Will to be Alive, 1995), "Veselyi Soldat" (The Jolly Soldier, 1999), Tsar-Ryba (Czar Fish, 1975), "Proklyatiye i Ubitiye" (The Cursed and the Slain, 1994).
To Read in English:  
The Horse with the Pink Mane, and Other Siberian Stories, Progress Publishers, 1970.
Queen Fish: A Story in Two Parts and Twelve Episodes, Progress Publishers, 1982.
To Live Your Life and Other Stories, Raduga Publishers, 1989.

Sergei Aksakov
Sergei Aksakov is 19th-century Russian writer known for his semi-autobiographical tales of family life, as well as his books on hunting and fishing. He was born in Ufa and brought up there and in the family estate at Novo-Aksakovka in Orenburg guberniya, where he acquiredd a lifelong love of nature. Aksakov began publishing translations, reviews, and articles in the early 1820s, though his important work came much later. Around 1840, encouraged by Gogol, he began writing the book that would make him famous, "A Family Chronicle". A the same time Aksakov published books about two main passions in his life: Notes on Fishing (1847) and Notes of a Hunter in Orenburg Province (1852). Aksakov is also famous for His fairy tale "Alenky Tsvetochek" (The Scarlet Flower), which was adapted into an animated feature film in the Soviet Union in 1952.
Main Works:
"Semeynaya Khronika" (A Family Chronicle, 1840), "Zapiski ob Uzhenye Riby" (Notes on Fishing , 1847), Years of Childhood, A Russian Schoolboy, A Russian Gentlemen.
To Read in English:
Years of Childhood, E. Arnold, London, 1916.
A Russian Schoolboy, E. Arnold, London, 1917
A Russian Gentleman, E. Arnold, London, 1917

Sergei Dovlatov (Biography)
  Sergei Donatovich Dovlatov is a Russian journalist and writer, which works bordering between documentary evidence and play of fancy, between seeming simplicity and inconceivable magnetism, between risque humour and wisdom. He was born on September 3, 1941 in Ufa, Republic of Bashkiria, USSR. He served as a prison guard and later began earning his living as a free joutnalist in different newspapers in Leningrad. Dovlatov wrote prose fiction but couldn't be published in Soviet Union because of the censorship. So the writer was forced to emigrate to the USA, where he wrote and published his most important works. In the USSR he was known only by samizdat and the author’s program on radio Svoboda (Freedom). The author's talent was appreciated in post-Soviet literature and now Dovlatov is considered as one of the best Russian writers.
Main Works: "Nashi" (Ours, 1983), "Predstavleniye" (The Perfomance, 1987), "Kompromiss" (The Compromise", 1981), "Filial"(Affiliate, 1990), "Chemodan" (Suitcase, 1986)
To Read in English:
The Invisible Book, nn Arbor: Ardis, 1977
The Compromise, New York: , 1981.
The Zone: A Prison Camp Guard's Story, Ann Arbor, 1982.
The March of the Single People, Holyoke: New England Publishing Co, 1983.
Ours, Ann Arbor, 1983.
Craft: A Story in Two Parts, Ann Arbor: , 1985.
A Foreign Woman, New York: Russica Publishers, 1986.
Suitcase, Tenafly, 1986.
The Performance, New York: Russica Publishers, 1987.
Notebooks, New York, Word, 1990.
Affiliate, New York, Word, 1990.

Julia Alieva

Author: Julia Alieva

Tags: Russian literature Russian writers the Urals region   

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