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Museum Collection

A Book by Larisa Vasilyeva with an Autograph

The meetings with Mikhail Alexandrovich Sholokhov left indelible impressions in the heart of Larisa Vasilyeva. In the group of young writers, as well as Vasiliy Belov, she visited Stanitsa Vyoshenskaya in the summer of 1967.

The first meeting was at the airport. She remembered the writer’s eyes: “Everything was familiar in him at first sight, – Vasilyeva wrote in her article “Enigmatic Zigzag”, – but as I looked into his eyes, the impression of his face familiarity disappeared: his look existed independently. I knew this kind of look very well, a look of a lonely man, always surrounded by people and deadly tired”.

The intercourse with the writer began with a talk about Bunin, his short stories, the peculiarity of Bunin’s women personages, about poetry (Sholokhov recited for Vasilyeva two quatrains by heart from Bunin). Vasilyeva wrote that discussing the Bunin topic told her about Sholokhov much more, than the articles and panegyrics in the literary press of that time. He turned to be deeper, more complicated than the image of “the first writer of the Country of Soviets” ascribed to him.

In the evening Larisa Vasilyeva recited her poetry at the square of Vyoshenskaya and on the next day before her departure she presented a book of her poetry “The Flaxen Moon” to Mikhail Alexandrovich. Two years later she sent her second book of poetry “Ognevitsa” to Sholokhov. Mikhail Alexandrovich thanked the poetess for her fine book and wished her further success in her creative work.

They met again in 1969 in Rostov-on-Don, where Vasilyeva came with a group of Bulgarian-Soviet club members. Vasilyeva wrote: “On entering Sholokhov saw me at once. He came up, embraced me. He said that he would like to speak to me in particular. He asked me if I had found my “Vyoshki” to “settle down”. I answered negatively. We had a long literary talk. Then he spoke. A part of his speech was devoted to me prasing for my poetry. He said that the woman mustn’t be prevented from writing about her inmost things, the woman has a special position in literature and yet she would say her word. I looked into the tired eyes of a clever man. I would like to embrace him, like a father, in a daughterly way, to speak about him, about his delicacy and faith for himself, to protect him from everything, what I could only guess about.

Now I’ve got my “Vyoshki”. Near Moscow. It is called Sholokhov Village, having no relation to him, but every day, one way or another, it reminds me about Mikhail Alexandrovich”.

Vasilyeva Larisa Nikolayevna is a Russian poetess, prose-writer. She was born in 1935 in Kharkov, to the family of an engineer. Her father was one of the creators of the legendary tank T-34. She graduated from the philological faculty of the Moscow State University. She began writing poetry in her childhood. Her poems were published in the newspaper “Pionerskaya Pravda”. The first adult poems were published in the journals “Yunost”, “Molodaya Gvardiya”, “Moskva”. Then the books were edited: “The Flaxen Moon” (1966), “Ognevitsa” (1969), “Goose-Foot” (1970), “Blue Dusk” (1970), “One Land is One Love” (1937), “A Snow Rainbow” (1974), “Glade” (1975), “Russian Names” (1980), “Vasilisa” (1981), “A Strange Character” (1989) and others.

For over five years Larisa Vasilyeva and her husband, a reporter for the newspaper “Izvestiya”, had lived in Great Britain. As a result, there appeared a wonderful book “Albion and Time Mystery” (1978). In 1983 she wrote “A Book about My Father” (a novel-chronicle). Her books “The Kremlin Wives” (1993) and “The Children of the Kremlin” (1997) were a great success. In 1999 new books of the writer were issued: “The Wives of the Russian Crown” and “The Wife and Muse” – about a secret and enigmatic love of A.S. Pushkin. Many books of Larisa Vasilyeva are translated into foreign languages. She is the head of the authoress league and of the information company “Atlantida”.

“To dear Mikhail Alexandrovich Sholokhov with love and excitement.

Larisa. January, 15, 1970.