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Museum Collection

A Letter from the Khopyor Countryman

The Museum-Reserve keeps books by Anatoly Znamensky, our countryman, a writer, with the autograph of the author. In 1965, he sent to Mikhail Sholokhov his novels “The Ukhta Quagmire”, “Fireweed” (1964) and a book of collected stories “Prometheus Number 319” (1961) with his letter:             

 “Dear Mikhail Alexandrovich!

On the occasion of your upcoming anniversary date I send you my congratulations, sincere love of a reader and disciple in our unthinkably difficult business, and my books, for which I fear like for a blind child.

I’m getting ahead of the events, certainly, not unintentionally. I suppose, before the very date you are going to be very busy but I’m ambitious to expect you at least looking through the books. And some time later you may tell me something about them if you wish.

I think it is a cheerless thing to read all the voluminous fiction sent to you, but for my short story “A Song of Songs” I am not ashamed and on the sly I even hope to please you with it… Let Got grant!

One more reason “to stand out” among the lots of your future congratulators is my feelings of a countryman. I am afraid of falling into inappropriate lyrics, but I am happy to tears with my involvement and love for the Khopyor cretaceous mountains, the bitterest wormwood in the outskirts of Stanitsa Slashchovskaya and those patient and humane people of the “Quiet Don”...

I think I have a little right to bore you with such a long letter, for there are not so many writers (even minor ones) who originated from the gullies of Yezhov Village. My father came from Stanitsa Slashchovskaya (from a big and well-known family). But in 1922, a famine year, he met my mother in Vyoshki and later they moved into my mother’s empty house in Yezhovka Village. There he worked as Secretary of the local Board as long as all sorts of turning points came.

Before 1940, I studied in Kumylga (and, by the way, was a friend of Knyazev boys, whom you know very well) and when 17, I immediately left for the Far North for the premature promotion of the ideas of the XX Congress. As one of the books read, “he sawed fire wood until doomsday”, and how great it was there, one can partly learn from the story “Prometheus Number 319”, though the scene in the story is somewhat displaced.

I began to write later, and published my books from 1950. Twice (in 1947 and 1949) I came from Kumylga to Vyoshenskaya to see Sholokhov, but I failed to catch him. Then we met at the Higher Literary Courses in 1959...

Dear Mikhail Alexandrovich!

Be healthy and happy! I wish you strength and perpetual courage for years to come!

Give my best, countryman’s regard to your Mariya Petrovna. Yours, Anatoly Znamensky.      Khadyzhensk, the Krasnodar Territory, 2a Rabochaya Str. May, 3, 1965.

 

Anatoly Dmitriyevich Znamensky (1923–1997) is a novelist, poet, literary critics, the winner of the RSFSR State M.Gorky Prize (1989), one of the first winners of the International Mikhail Sholokhov Prize in literature and art (1993).

 

Galina Govorukhina