Sunday, October 07, 2012

And Quiet Flows the Don

And Quiet Flows the Don or Quietly Flows the Don (1934) is the first part of the great Don epic Tikhiy Don (Тихий Дон, literally "The Quiet Don"), written by Michail Aleksandrovich Sholokhov. It originally appeared in serialized form between 1928 and 1940. The English translation of the first half of this monumental work appeared under this title in 1934.

The novel deals with the life of the Cossacks living in the Don River valley during the early 20th century, probably around 1912, just prior to World War I. The plot revolves around the Melekhov family of Tatarsk, who are descendants of a cossack who, to the horror of many, took a Turkish captive as a wife during the Crimean War. Accused of witchcraft by Melekhov's superstitious neighbours, she is killed. Their descendants, the son and grandsons, who are the protagonists of the story, are therefore often nicknamed "Turks". Nevertheless, they command a high amount of respect among people in Tatarsk.

The second eldest son, Grigori Panteleevich Melekhov, is a promising young soldier who falls in love with Aksinia, the wife of Stepan Astakhov, a family friend. There is no love between them and Stepan regularly beats her. Grigori and Aksinia's romance and elopement raises a feud between her husband and his family. The outcome of this romance is the focus of the plot as well as the impending World and Civil Wars which draw up the best young Cossack men for what will be two of Russia's bloodiest wars. The action moves to the Austro-Hungarian front, where Grigory ends up saving Stepan's life, but that doesn't end the feud. Grigory, at his father's insistence, takes a wife, Natalya, but still loves Aksinia. The book deals not only with the struggles and suffering of the Cossacks, but the landscape itself is vividly brought to life. There are also many folk songs referenced throughout the novel.
More here.

And Quiet Flows the Don (Russian: Тихий Дон, translit. Tikhiy Don) is a three-part epic 1958 Soviet film directed by Sergei Gerasimov based on the novel of the same title by Mikhail Sholokhov. The first two parts of the film were released in October 1957 and the final third part in 1958. In 1958 the film won Crystal Globe award at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival and the Best Picture Award at the All-Union Film Festival.
More here.

Full Text of the Novel Here and the pdf file here.

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