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News

The 45 Anniversary of the Nobel Prize Awarding M.A. Sholokhov

10.12.2010

On December, 10, 2010, it is the 45th anniversary of the Literary Nobel Prize investiture to M.A. Sholokhov, the great Russian writer.

The Nobel Prize was founded by a Swedish manufacturer and inventor Alfred Nobel (1833-1896). A year before his death he published his “Testament”, according to which all his capital was turned into bonus funds with the interests being used for annual awards as the Nobel Prize for the past year scientific discoveries promoting the progress and prosperity of the mankind, as well as for creating books most completely reflecting the aspiration for the ideal. The Nobel Prize in the field of physics, chemistry, medicine, literature, and the Nobel Prize of Peace, the Memorial Prize on economics are the most honorary prizes of the present.

Designation of the laureate writers is made by the Swedish Academy with the annual investiture of the diplomas and gold medals, bearing Nobel’s profile, taking place on December, 10, in the Concert Hall of Stockholm. The prizes are invested by the Swedish king.

Nomination of M.A. Sholokhov for the honorary title of the literary Nobel Prize awardee of 1965 was a constituting world recognition of the highest artistic mastership of the writer.

The Nobel Diploma published in the world press in December, 1965, read: “Mikhail Alexandrovich Sholokhov is awarded with the Noble Prize in the field of literature in recognition of his artistic powers and his integrity as creator of an epic on the historic years of the Russian people”.

The subject of nominating M.A. Sholokhov for the Nobel Prize was raised in 1930 in the press of Paris, in 1933 – in the press of Copenhagen, in 1935 – in the press of Stockholm and London. In 1935 the Swedish literary man Eric Blomberg wrote in the newspapers “Social-Demokraten” and “Ny Dag”: “Mikhail Sholokhov as none else deserves the Nobel Prize which must be awarded for the artistic merits and high principles: “After the second world war European writers Lui Aragon (France), James Aldridge (England), Arthur Lundquist (Sweden), Jean Paul Sartre (France), and others designated Mikhail Sholokhov again. Such an initiative was known to be proposed in 1953 by the old Russian writer S.N. Sergheev-Tsenskiy. But the advancement of the papers through different instances of the Central Committee was too slow, that the time for nominating the awardee for the Nobel Committee was helplessly lost.

In 1965 the Nobel Committee having considered 89 nominees made a decision in favour of awarding Sholokhov.

The Nobel celebrations were joined by the family members and professional assistants of the Nobel awardees. For Stockholm Sholokhov was  accompanied by Mariya Petrovna, Svetlana Mikhailovna, Alexander Mikhailovich, Mariya Mikhailovna Sholokhov, Yury Serafimovich Melentiyev, Yury Borisovich Lukin, Leon Borisovich Mazrukho and an interpreter Mark Teplov.

The Prize investiture was held in the City Council, and according to the etiquette the ceremony members are to be wearing tail-coats for men and evening dresses for ladies.

The investiture of the diploma and the laureate gold medal took place in the Golden Hall of the Stockholm town-hall on December, 10, 1965. On the following day, December, 11, in the House of Nobel the writer was handed in a cheque for 288 thousand Swedish crowns. That evening Mikhail Alexandrovich and Mariya Petrovna were invited for the dinner to the king of Sweden, Gustav VI Adolf, into the hall “The White Sea” of the royal palace. On the following days before his departure the writer attended the party held by the Society “Sweden-USSR”, visited the University of Upsala, took part in the old ceremony of crowning Lusia, the Beauty Queen of Sweden.

On returning to Russia Mikhail Alexandrovich and his family attended the reception party in his honour in the Government House of Reception on the Lenin Hills.

At home, in Vyoshenskaya, the writer and his family were most warmly greeted by the countrymen. On the eve of the New 1966 Year, among his friends, the writer said emotional and sincere words: “The ceremony of the Nobel Prize investiture took place in the Golden Hall sparkling with jewelry… But I must tell you, my dear friends, in your company I feel dearer and warmer at heart…”

The Soviet press and Soviet public opinion equated Sholokhov’s Nobel Prize with a victory for Soviet literature. The telegram of congratulations from the Secretariat of the Moscow Writers’ Union saw Sholokhov’s nomination as constituting recognition of the progressive and humanitarian contribution being made by Soviet literature to world culture. The leading article in the “Literaturnaya Gaseta” by Georghiy Markov, Secretary of the Administrative Body of the Writers’ Union of the USSR referred to the event as a “living glory” of Soviet literature and said that awarding Sholokhov the Nobel Prize was perfectly justified, and “Soviet literature is proud of him”.  In the same issue of the “Literaturnaya Gazeta” T. Kuznetsov instated Sholokhov as one of the few greats of Russian literature, in whom were combined the powers of poet and thinker, psychologist and artist, and then referred directly to “And Quiet Flows the Don” : “… it seems to me one of the greatest works of national literature”. On those days the world press on Sholokhov quoted from letters of congratulations from such literary eminences as Lundquist, Tudor Pavlov, Nicolas Gillien, Andre Stil, Salvatore Quasimodo and many others.

The Union of Writers of the River Don referred in a public letter to Sholokhov’s books as “the revelation which revealed to the world the bare truth of the battle for the new man”. Sholokhov’s work was seen as a Genesis of Soviet man. Speaking at a meeting of the “Pen” Club in Avignon, France, Matei Bor praised: “No one until Sholokhov has produced, with such depth, the history of the social break-up, on the eve of the revolution”.

In connection with awarding M.A. Sholokhov the “Literaturnaya Rossiya” of October, 22, 1965, read: “It is worth noting that against dismal gray background where, deprived of thought and passion, loom the novels of the type anti-novel, where micro-thoughts and micro-passions of confused individuals endeavor to beget a certain new kind of prose lacking any type of association, the Nobel  is awarded to a work of entirely different qualities, entirely different characteristics, entirely different philosophical depth – the work in which the people, nature, life, optimism live, at times sad, but always lucid, where the idea of the epoch lives, at times cruel but always in the proper perspective”.

A letter “from Hanover” was printed on 2nd  November, in which the young German correspondent told how Sholokhov’s works inspired him to survive the years of Nazism in Germany.

An anonymous letter from Copenhagen said: “We are glad that your talent has overcome the prejudices of the West”.

World press reaction was favourable to Sholokhov’s designation.

The “L’Humanite” (Paris) on October, 16, 1965, wrote: “At last the Swedish Academy ‘has discovered” that in the USSR there is great literature, there is the great writer Sholokhov worthy of its prize!... Indeed, the Nobel Prize of Sholokhov is a victory of the spirit of peaceful coexistence, the spirit of justice. Moreover, it is incontestable, that Sholokhov is one of the greatest artists of the modernity. In the four books of “And Quiet Flows the Don” and two books of “Virgin Soil Upturned” he appeared as a master of the epic novels, and the grandeur of the man’s spirit sounded no less in “The Fate of a Man” and “They Fought for Their Country”. The mastership of the artist and his integrity, welcomed by the Nobel Prize judges, have been highly appreciated. And our joy now is not only because of the triumph of the act of justice, but also because it, glorified worldwide, is our just cause, ours, gentlemen!   “And Quiet Flows the Don”, “Virgin Soil Upturned” and “They Fought for Their Country” is a great route of generations of the same people, it is a fate of a Man, millions of people! And it is ours as well, lit up, at least, on one side. Therefore the Nobel Prize also maintains our expectations after all”.

Anri Troyat, the French Academician, said his interview to the newspaper “Mond”: “I admire Sholokhov endlessly. It is a great writer possessing vocation to the epic, to the tragic action, and a lyric sense of nature. His books are full of furious power and poetry. I welcome the choice of the Swedish Academy”.

The USA progressive writers and public figures – Ernest Hemingway, Apton Sinclair, Paul Robson, Henry Winston, Lester Aezrati, O.V. Przhevalinskaya-Ferrer and many others expressed their love and gratitude to the work of M.A. Sholokhov.

However, the writer’s designation as the Nobel Prize winner caused a new wave of malicious attacks and insinuations from the notorious critics of the creative work of M.A. Sholokhov – G Mittsnev, E. Brown, A. Miller, E. Muchnik and others.

Following the announcement over TV, radio about the Nobel Prize designation of Sholokhov, a lot of letters, cards, telegrams of congratulations were addressed to the awardee from individual citizens, figures of literature and art, from politicians and foreign readers and publishing houses.

All the 1965 was fruitful with meetings, talks, trips about the country and abroad, interviews to the reporters.

G. Zhidkoblinova