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Aleksandr Trofimovich Tvardovskii

Aleksandr Tvardovskii, USSR Poet, editor.

Background

  • Tvardovskii, Aleksandr was born on June 21, 1910 in Zagor’e near Smolensk. Son of a peasant who became a victim of collectivization.

  • Education

    • Studied at the Smolensk Pedagogical Institute. Graduated from Moscow Institute of Philosophy and Literature, 1939.

    Career

    • Joined the Communist Party, 1940. In the 1930s, wrote conventional poems, glorifying the collectivization. Became known for his long poem Strana Muravia, 1936, describing the doubts and aspirations of the farmers.

      War correspondent during the Soviet occupation of Western Ukraine and the Soviet-Finnish war. During World War II, became the most popular poet in the country, publishing throughout the war in verse the life story of a private soldier at the front. His simple, honest, humorous and patriotic character Vasilii (Vasia) Terkin became at once a folk hero.

      Became the outstanding editor of the magazine Novyi Mir, 1950-1954 and 1958-1970, putting it on a much higher level than the other Soviet periodicals. Created a sensation by launching the completely unknown ex-Gulag prisoner Solzhenitsyn, personally persuading Khrushchev to allow the publication of Odin den Ivana Denisovicha in Novyi Mir, 1964. Returning to his former folk hero, wrote a continuation of Vasilii Terkin as a bitter satire on Stalinism (Vasilii Terkin na tom svete), describing it as the kingdom of death, which his severely wounded hero visits and overcomes (published in Izveslia, 1963).

      During the years of Brezhnevite stagnation, fell victim to despair and alcoholism. Replaced as editor of Novyi Mir, 1970. In 1988, Gorbachev donated the royalties from the foreign editions of his works to a foundation for the building of a memorial to Vasilii Terkin.
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    Born June 21, 1910
    Died December 18, 1971
    (aged 61)
    Nationality