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And Quiet Flows the Don (1928)

by Mikhail Sholokhov

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Don Epic (1)

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1,5212011,377 (4.04)86
Passionate and proud, Grigory Melekhov is at first attracted by the Communists' promises of social justice, but is repelled by their violent methods and finds himself embroiled in the Cossack campaign against them.

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» See also 86 mentions

English (16)  Spanish (2)  Greek (1)  French (1)  All languages (20)
Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
Pantelej Prokofjevic si segno', guardando il vertice bianco del campanile lontano, poi impugno' la falce. Il suo naso adunco pareva verniciato, tanto era lucido; nell'incavo delle sue guance magre si raccoglieva il sudore. Egli sorrise, mostrando in mezzo alla barba nera una fila compatta di denti bianchi, e alzo' la falce, volgendo a destra il suo collo rugoso. L'erba, tagliata su un semicerchio di due metri, si distese ai suoi piedi. (63)

Ma il frumento calpestato dal bestiame si rialza. Sotto l'azione del sole e della rugiada le spighe appiattite si risollevano; sulle prime restano curve come un uomo che abbia portato un fardello soverchio, poi si raddrizzano, alzano la testa e, come prima, le illumina la luce del giorno e oscillano al vento... (133)

Al mattino un leggero strato di ghiaccio ricopriva ancora l'acqua, ma verso mezzogiorno la terra si riscaldava e nell'aria si diffondeva un sentore di marzo, di scorza gelata dei ciliegi, di paglia ammuffita. (276)

In una delle vetture, appoggiato contro la mangiatoia di legno, Gregorio vedeva, attraverso lo sportello aperto, passare le terre degli altri, mentre in lontananza baluginava la striscia delicata e azzurrognola della foresta. I cavalli maciullavano il fieno e agitavano le zampe, sentendo sotto gli zoccoli un appoggio mobile. Nella vettura alitava un odore di erbe della steppa, di sudore dei cavalli, di umidita' dello sgelo, e lontano appariva all'orizzonte la foresta, azzurra, meditabonda e inaccessibile come una tenue stella vespertina. (346-7)

S'e' svegliato alfine e mosso
Il Don placido e ortodosso.
Ha risposto alla chiamata
Dello Zar la nostra armata. (386)

I loro corpi imputridivano sui campi della Galizia e della Prussia orientale, sui Carpazi e in Rumania, ovunque dove avvampava il bagliore della guerra e s'imprimeva l'orma degli zoccoli dei loro cavalli. (411)

Non stare a ragionare troppo. Tu sei un cosacco e il tuo mestiere e' di sciabolare senz'altro. Ammazzare in guerra un nemico e' una cosa santa. Per ogni nemico ucciso Dio ti perdona un peccato, proprio come se tu avessi ammazzato un serpente. Non sta bene scannare le bestie senza bisogno, un vitello diciamo, o un'altra bestia; ma gli uomini devono essere sterminati. L'uomo e' perfido ed immondo, puzza sulla terra, dove vive come un fungo velenoso. (474)

Ampia e' la steppa, e nessuno mai l'ha misurata. Molte sono le strade, molte le piste che la percorrono. Piu' buia del buio e' la notte d'autunno; e, quanto all'orme lasciate dai cavalli, c'e' la pioggia che a perfezione le lava... (603) ( )
  NewLibrary78 | Jul 22, 2023 |
In an article 'The Textual Evolution of the Silent Don' by David H. Stewart, The American Slavic and East European Review
Vol. 18, No. 2 (Apr., 1959), pp. 226-237, Stewrt makes reference to the 1841 edition as the 'complete' edition. It is unwieldy, heavy volume but is illustrated. Goslitizdat, Moscow, was a soviet publishing house that merged with another one, Academia.
  jon1lambert | Jul 27, 2020 |
There are so many versions of this book on Goodreads because this book has been reprinted so many times. It's one of those classics, like War and Peace, that endures. It is a multi-volume epic, and aside from its intimidating size, how is an American reader supposed to choose an edition? Many of the editions I've come across claim to be abridged, and the unabridged novel series goes under varying titles. It's all rather confusing. Giving up after a while of browsing, I finally read the Signet Classics edition, at just over 500 pages. I'm not worried about how "abridged" it is, because the content of those 500 pages was brimming, bursting at the seams with human endeavor, war set-pieces, nature meditations, tragic and poetic elegance, intense action and a narrative which flowed like a river.

The author was in love with the Don river, one would assume from its presence in all of his titles, but people take center stage in his epic. In fact, the author was concerned with portraying the mountains, fields, farms, and battlegrounds with equal facility - but these reflections are nothing without their inhabitants. The Cossacks who people this landscape are as well-rounded, flawed and "human" as many of the characters from Tolstoy. If I had to pinpoint another author who could compare to Sholokhov, it would have to be Tolstoy. Except there are some fundamental differences. Sholokhov had to stop his education in high school, and worked many years on his 4-volume novel of the Don, which he eventually serialized in a major publication after much hemming and hawing on the part of publishers. After the novel's merit was recognized universally, it became a bestseller, was condemned by the Soviet authorities, who wanted to cut it down to safer proportions, until it finally won the author a Nobel Prize.

Like Tolstoy's novels, you will find too many characters to count here. It takes place during the Bolshevik Revolution, mainly out in the fray, against the breathtaking backdrop of the goose-sprinkled countrysides, the cow-studded farms, the poor and downtrodden villages, and always, like a subdued meta-protagonist, the Don river flows through it all, connecting the people to the land and the history to the land. There are many memorable deaths, cinematic triumphs, and intimate familial spats. It possesses a balanced pace and a jam-packed cast of everyday men and women, lost in the harrying tempest of war, and swept up in the history unfolding before their eyes.

The only issue may be that the complexity of the political climate and many historical details may be lost on some contemporary readers. I won't pretend I remember every last tripartite Russian name and the intricate conflicts of their idiosyncratic domestic and professional bonds. But digging a little deeper will likely reward you, if you're astute. This is not War and Peace Lite. This is another beast of equal scope and length, equally challenging, fun, and a fundamentally important work of world literature. ( )
1 vote LSPopovich | Apr 8, 2020 |
A 20th century Cossack 'War and Peace'
By sally tarbox on 7 November 2016
Format: Kindle Edition
Set in the Russian lands bordering the Ukraine, this mammoth (615 p) read opens up just prior to WW1. The first section, 'Peace', follows the Cossack Melekhov family. Theirs is a hard agricultural life and a traditional one, where marriages are arranged and where the Church is at the centre of life. Yet even so, younger son Gregor is involved in a secret relationship with his neighbour's wife... Sholokhov's writing is compelling, his descriptions of the countryside bordering the Don poetic.
And then we enter the second section as "War" is declared, and the Melekhov men join up. But as "Revolution" and "Civil War" take over, I found it all a bit much. We move away from the Melekhovs and find ourselves following umpteen different characters, as the Cossacks go in different political directions, some persuaded by the Red Bolshevik message, others fearful that this will mean their precious lands are confiscated. There are certainly powerful scenes, but also a lot of political talk which seemed to go on for page after page.
Having recently finished reading Shalamov's 'Kolyma Tales' (about Stalin's Siberian gulags), the naive beliefs of an idyllic future under proletarian leadership struck me as particularly sad:
"When every government is a workers' government they won't fight any more...What shall we have to fight about then? Away with frontiers, away with anger! One beautiful life all over the world...I'd pour out my blood drop by drop to live to see that day."
Certainly a masterly work - but I was glad to reach the last page! ( )
2 vote starbox | Nov 6, 2016 |
Utterly magnificent. ( )
1 vote ShelleyAlberta | Jun 4, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (18 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Mikhail Sholokhovprimary authorall editionscalculated
Daglish, RobertEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Garry, StephanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Laín Entralgo, JoséTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Not with the plough is our dear, glorious earth furrowed,
Our earth is furrowed with the hoofs of horses;
And our dear, glorious earth is sown with the heads of cossacks:
Our gentle Don is adorned with youthful widows:
Out gentle father Don is blossomed with orphans;
The waves of the gentle Don are rich with fathers' and mothers' tears.

"O thou, our father, gentle Don!
Oh why dost thou, gentle Don, flow so troubledly?"
"Ah, how should I, the gentle Don, not flow troubledly?
From my depths, the depths of the Don, the cold springs beat;
Amid me, the gentle Don, the white fish leap."

– Old Cossack Songs
First words
The Melekhov farm was at the very end of the village.
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Passionate and proud, Grigory Melekhov is at first attracted by the Communists' promises of social justice, but is repelled by their violent methods and finds himself embroiled in the Cossack campaign against them.

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