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The Biography of M.A. Sholokhov

Mikhail Aleksandrovich Sholokhov was born on May, 24, 1905, in the village of Kruzhilin, Stanitsa Vyoshenskaya, Donetsk District of the Don Army Region (now the Sholokhov District of the Rostov Region).

In 1910 the Sholokhovs moved to the village of Karghin where at the age of 7 Misha was admitted to the boys’ parochial school. From 1914 till 1918 he attended boys’ schools of Moscow, Boguchar, Vyoshenskaya.

In 1920-1922 he served in the stanitsa’s Revolutionary Committee, worked as teacher for adult education in the village of Latyshev, as clerk in the purchasing office of the Don Provision Committee in Stanitsa Karghinskaya, as tax inspector in Stanitsa Bukanovskaya.

In October of 1922 he left for Moscow, where he worked as loader, bricklayer, accountant in the housing office in Krasnaya Presnya. He got acquainted with men of letters, attended the sessions in the literary society “Molodaya Gvardiya”. At this time young Sholokhov acquired his first literary experience. In the autumn of 1923 the newspaper “Yunosheskaya Pravda” published two of his feuilletons – “A Trial” and “The Three”.

n the December of 1923 he returned to the Don. On January, 11, 1924, he was wedded in the Bukanovskaya church with Mariya Petrovna Gromoslavskaya, the daughter of the former stanitsa’s ataman.

Mariya Petrovna, having finished the Ust-Medveditskaya diocesan school, worked in Stanitsa Bukanovskaya first as primary school teacher, then as clerk in the executive committee, where at that time Sholokhov worked as inspector. Having got married, they never parted until their last days. The Sholokhovs lived 60 years together, raised and brought up four children.

On December, 14, 1924, M.A. Sholokhov published his first work of fiction, the story “The Birthmark” in the newspaper “Molodoy Leninets” (the “Young Leninist”), then he joined the Russian Association of the Proletarian Writers.

Sholokhov’s stories “A Shephered”, “The Shibalkovs’ Kin”, “Bastard”, “Deadly Enemy”, “Alyoshka’s Heart”, “A Wife for Two Husbands”, “A Whirlpool”, a tale “The Way the Life Goes” appeared on pages of the central periodicals, and in 1926 the books of collected stories “The Don Stories”, “The Tulip Steppe” (“Lazorevaya Steppe”) was published.

In 1925 Mikhail Aleksandrovich began writing the novel “And Quiet Flows the Don”. Those years the Sholokhovs lived in Karghinskaya, then in Bukanovskaya, and from 1926 in Vyoshenskaya.

In 1928 the journal “Oktyabr” began publishing the novel “And Quiet Flows the Don”.

After publication of the first volume of the novel the writer experienced hard times: it was a stunning success with the readers, but in the writing circles there ascended a malevolent atmosphere. Envy for the young writer, who was called a new genius, gave rise to slander, banal figments. The author’s position in describing the Upper Don rebellion was harshly criticized by the Russian Association of the Proletarian Writers, who suggested to elide more than 30 chapters from the book, to make the protagonist a Bolshevik.

Sholokhov was only 23, but he was steady and courageous to endure the attacks. His firm belief in his strength and vocation helped him.  To stop the malicious slander, the rumours about the plagiarism he applied to the responsible secretary and the member of the editorial board of the newspaper “Pravda” M.I. Uliyanova asking for an expert commission and gave her his manuscripts of the novel “And Quiet Flows the Don”. In the spring of 1929 the writers A. Serafimovich, L. Averbakh, V. Kirshon, A. Fadeyev, V. Stavskiy wrote in the “Pravda” in favour of the young writer bringing forward the proofs of the commission’s issues. The rumours stopped. But the spiteful critics would try many times to slander Sholokhov, who was honest to speak about the terrible events in the life of the country, unwilling to deviate from the historic truth.

The novel was finished in 1940. In the 30-s Sholokhov began working over the novel “Virgin Soil Upturned”.

During the war years Mikhail Aleksandrovich Sholokhov was a war correspondent for the Sovinform Bureau, the newspapers “Pravda” and “Krasnaya Zvezda”. He published frontline essays, the story “The Science of Hatred”, the first chapters of the novel “ They Fought for Their Country”. Sholokhov contributed the State Prize he was conferred to for the novel “And Quiet Flows the Don” to the USSR Defence Fund, then for his own substance he bought four new rocket launchers for the front”.

For participation in the Great Patriotic war he was awarded with the Order of the Patriotic War of the First Degree, medals “For Defending Moscow”, “For Defending Stalingrad”, “For the Victory over Germany in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945”, “Twenty Years of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War”.

After the war the writer finished the second book of “Virgin Soil Upturned”, worked over the novel “They Fought for Their Country”, wrote the story “The Fate of a Man”.

Mikhail Aleksandrovich Sholokhov was the laureate of the Nobel, State and Lenin prizes in literature, he was twice the Hero of Socialist Labour, the full Member of the USSR Academy of Sciences, the conferee of the Honoured Doctor’s  Degree of Law of Saint-Andrews University in Scotland, of the Philosophy Doctor’s Degree of the Leipzig University in Germany, of the Philology Doctor’s Degree of the Rostov State University, the Deputy of the USSR Supreme Soviet of all convocations. He was rewarded with six Orders of Lenin, the Order of the October Revolution, other rewards. In Stanitsa Vyoshenskaya during his life time his bronze bust was erected. This list of diplomas, rewards, honoured titles and social responsibilities of the writer is far from being complete.

At present the electronic catalogue of the Chamber of Books contains 1408 editions of the works by M.A. Sholokhov with a circulation totalling to 105349943 copies in more than 90 languages of the world.

M.A. Sholokhov deceased on February, 21, 1984. He was buried in the garden by his house on the high bank of the Don.

In the year of the writer’s decease in his homeland the State M.A. Sholokhov Museum-Reserve was founded.