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Mikhail Sholokhov (24.05. (O.S. 11.05.) 1905 - 21.02.1984) - Russian writer.

  , Michail Sholokhov photoSholokhov was born in the Kamenskaya region of Russia, in the "land of the , Michail Sholokhov photoCossacks" - the Kruzhlinin hamlet, part of stanitsa Veshenskaya, the former Region of the Don Cossack Army. His father was a member of the lower middle class, at times a farmer, cattle trader, and miller. Sholokhov's mother came from Ukrainian peasant stock and was the widow of a Cossack. She was illiterate but learned to read and write in order to correspond with her son. Sholokhov attended schools in Kargin, Moscow, Boguchar, and Veshenskaya until 1918, when he joined the side of the revolutionaries in the Russian civil war. He was only 13 years old.

Sholokhov began writing at 17. The Birthmark, Sholokhov's first story, appeared when he was 19. In 1922 Sholokhov moved to Moscow to become a journalist, but he had to support himself through manual labour. He was a stevedore, stonemason, and accountant from 1922 to 1924, but he also intermittently participated in writers "seminars". His first work to appear in print was the satirical article A Test (1922).

In 1924 Sholokhov returned to Veshenskaya and devoted himself entirely to writing. In the same year he married Maria Petrovna Gromoslavskaia; they had two daughters and two sons.

His first book Tales from the Don, a volume of stories about the Cossacks of his native region during World War I and the Russian Civil War, was published in 1926. In the same year Sholokhov began writing And Quiet Flows the Don which earned the Stalin Prize and took him fourteen years to complete (1926-1940). It became the most-read work of Soviet fiction and was heralded as a powerful example of socialist realism, and won him the 1965 Nobel Prize in Literature. Virgin Soil Upturned, which earned the Lenin Prize, took 28 years to complete. It was composed of two parts: Seeds of Tomorrow (1932) and Harvest on the Don (1960), and reflects life during collectivization in the Don area. The short story The Fate of a Man (1957) was made into a popular Russian film and his unfinished novel They Fought for Their Country is about the Great Patriotic War.

During World War II Sholokhov wrote about the Soviet war efforts for various journals.

His collected works was published in eight volumes between 1956 and 1960.

Sholokhov has been accused, by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn among others, of plagiarizing And Quiet Flows the Don. The evidence was largely circumstantial: Sholokhov's age at the time of its composition and, in particular, the gulf in quality between his masterpiece and his other works. To complicate matters, Sholokhov could produce no rough drafts of Don, claiming that they had been destroyed by the Germans during World War II. A 1984 monograph by Geir Kjetsaa and others demonstrated through statistical analyses that Sholokhov was indeed the likely author of Don. And in 1987, several thousand pages of notes and drafts of the work were discovered and authenticated.



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