Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)

*Don River

*Don River. River flowing south in central and southern Russia and emptying into the Black Sea. The events move along the lines of its predecessor volume, And Quiet Flows the Don. The grandeur of the Don continues to reign. During a flood, the river creates a small island in its middle that serves the civil war combatants as a final refuge. Even though the villagers, especially the Melekhovs, who live directly on the bank, are by now, in the fifth year of the war, exhausted and almost crushed by their constant sorrow, they seem to find solace and invigoration in the Don. Furthermore, some villagers, including those from the Melekhov family, find their tragic end in the waters of the river. When Gregor finally comes home after years of fighting all over the Don region, he crosses the river to get to his hut. He throws into the river his rifle and ammunition, as if finally making peace with himself and his friends and foes.


Tatarsk. Fictional village on the Don. In the later stages of the civil war between the Reds and the Whites it becomes a ghost village. Many of its inhabitants have perished or are on the verge of extinction. The sons of Tatarsk fight several battles, with variable success, but it is the Reds who prevail. The new winds of the revolution are blowing, but, unfortunately, they take with them many villagers, especially the leaders. The magnetism of one’s native village draws home Gregor, who returns to Tatarsk and the new rulers whom he had...

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(Great Characters in Literature)

Ermolaev, Herman. Mikhail Sholokhov and His Art. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1982. One of the best studies of Sholokhov and his works by a native scholar trained in the West. The Quiet Don is discussed extensively, especially regarding historical sources and Sholokhov’s use of them.

Hallett, R. W. “Soviet Criticism of Tikhiy Don, 1928-1940.” The Slavonic and East European Review 46, no. 106 (1968): 60-74. A brief but substantive treatment of Sholokhov’s difficulties with the authorities in publishing the novel because of his objective presentation of the revolution.

Klimenko, Michael. The World of Young Sholokhov: Vision of Violence. North Quincy, Mass.: Christopher, 1972. A useful study of Sholokhov’s early works, with the emphasis on The Quiet Don as the seminal work of the Russian literature about the revolution.

Medvedev, Roy. Problems in the Literary Biography of Mikhail Sholokhov. Translated by A. D. P. Briggs. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1977. An informative book by a leading former Russian dissident concerning the famous controversy about the accusations of plagiarism against Sholokhov.

Ruhle, Jurgen. “The Epic of the Cossacks.” Literature and Revolution. Translated and edited by Jean Steinberg. New York: Praeger, 1969. Studies of the relationship between literature and revolution, viewing the historical and political background of Sholokhov’s The Don Flows Home to the Sea.

Simmons, Ernest J. “Sholokhov: Literary Artist and Socialist Realism.” In Introduction to Russian Realism. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1965. Discusses at length the basic dilemma in Sholokhov’s creative life—a conflict between art and politics.