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Propagandist of the Works by M.A.Sholokhov

21.06.2018

40 years ago, in 1978, a work by Geir Hietso “The Problem of Authorship in the Novel “And Quiet Flows the Don” was issued in the “Scando-Slavica” publisher, Copenhagen. In Russian it was published in the book “«The Quiet Don»: Lessons of the Novel” under the editorship of K.Priyma (Rostizdat, 1979).

The author of the work was Geir Hietso, the outstanding Slavist, professor of the Oslo University, a specialist in the history of Russian literature, and a translator. He was a bright propagandist of the work of the Russian literature classics in Norway and a guide in comprehending the treasures of Russian literature by Norwegians. He devoted his life to the canons of Russian classics, and considered it to be his honour to conduct an independent investigation of the slander campaign raised against Sholokhov in the 1970s.

Geir Hietso was born on June 2, 1937, in Oslo. From his early age he was fond of reading and studied Russian which was very popular in the 1950s. In 1969, Hietso defended his doctoral dissertation devoted to the work of E.Baratynsky.

Having visited the Soviet Union for the first time in 1961, he often came to our country, talked and exchanged letters with many Russian writers and literary scholars, was engaged in active Russian literature research and in translations. When in 1974, in Paris, a booklet was issued by the author hidden under the initial “D” casting doubt on the authorship of Sholokhov, a group of Norwegian and Swedish researchers including Hietso decided to study the text of the novel “And Quiet Flows the Don” by means of mathematical-lexical analysis. Based on the results of an independent computer analysis of the works by M.A.Sholokhov the researchers concluded: “Sholokhov has written “And Quiet Flows the Don” himself;the probability of plagiarism is zero and must be discarded!” These words end the final article by Professor G. Hietso “The Storm over the “Quiet Don” (“Scando-Slavica”, 1976, Copenhagen).

In 1977, Geir Hietso came to the Soviet Union to meet with M.A.Sholokhov and tell him about the results of the research carried out. The talk joined by K.I.Priyma, a literary scholar and journalist, was interesting and unconstrained. The companions talked about the fate of Grigory Melekhov and his prototype, and about the historical events described in the novel. Geir Hietso noted the popularity of Sholokhov’s books in Norway and underlined: “Mathematics and computers proved the unity of the structural key, the unity of lexical richness,  originality and identity of “Virgin Soil Upturned”, “Tales from the Don” and the novel “And Quiet Flows the Don”.  This is the essence of our research, and no one can refute this”.

In his talk with K.I.Priyma G. Hietso underlined: “Protection of the novel “And Quiet Flows the Don”, a masterpiece of the century, against all kinds of attacks is a matter of honour for people of science and goodwill. I was glad meeting with Sholokhov to inform him about it.”

In 1995, Geir Hietso visited Russia again and took part in the jubilee conference “Mikhail Sholokhov is a Writer of the XX Century” held by the Institute of the World Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences, where he gave his talk.

 

Lidiya Slyusarenko