Harvest on the Don by Mikhail Sholokhov ; Translated From the Russian by H.C. Stevens
New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 1961, ©1960. Stated "First American Edition" on the copyright page. Hardcover. 367 pages ; 20 cm. $5.00 dust jacket. Pages are toned and unmarked. Binding is firm.
The works of Mikhail Sholokhov's cycle of Don novels breathe a wholeness of life found only in the greatest classics of fiction. The grand flood of human wisdom which sweeps the pages of the four Don novels has its sources in the author's total emersion in the people and in the life of his beloved Don Cossack country. He has never left the countryside of his origins; in the particulars of the lusty lives of his neighbors—horsemen, warriors, hunters, and people of the soil—Sholokhov has again discovered for us the universals of great art.
In Harvest on the Don, the first novel by Mikhail Sholokhov published in the United States since 1940, Russia's foremost writer continues to tell the dramatic story of the impact of social revolution on the people of his native country. In And Quiet Flows the Don and The Don Flows Home to the Sea, Sholokhov told of the violent and tumultuous days of the revolution and the civil wars; in Seeds of Tomorrow and in the present novel, we see the same Don village, Gremyachy Log, whose people had lived for generations according to a medieval ritual, torn from the ancient ways, then drawn to the new by their own bootstraps. Although each of these four Don volumes is a complete fictional entity, the first two and the last two are related in characters and plot, as well as in scene. (Seeds of Tomorrow and Harvest on the Don were published in Russian under the general title of Virgin Soil Upturned.)
To Gremyachy Log had already come Davidov, ex-Baltic sailor, representative of the Party's drive to revolutionize a village agriculture still feudal in its methods. Factory-bred, an "old Bolshevik" at thirty-eight, he is a thoughtful, resolute man. He is also one who takes delight in human variety, in man's strengths and weaknesses, for he knows both in himself.
The peasants of Gremyachy Log see a vision of a better life in the plans of this man whose inexperience often makes him the butt of both joke and plot, but they glimpse this vision through the fog of their own private hopes, greeds, jealousies, and the rituals of the old ways. But the to-the-death opposition is concealed. It comes from the implacable ex-Tsarist officer, Polovtsiev, and the cynical Polish intellectual, elegant Lyatievsky, who carry on their sabotage and mature their uprising while hiding in the cottage of the vacillating farm manager, Lukich. Outside of his work, Davidov's private life is hardly satisfactory'^ to himself. He is torn between the girl who loves him and the woman—wanton, fascinating Lushka—who doesn't require his respect, but demands his open allegiance.
Over these events broods a haunting Russian chorus. But, unlike the members of a Greek Chorus, these Don country people take a hand in the drama. Knowing, watchful, in turn cooperative and stubborn, they: participate in their own fashion in the eternal conflict between human purpose I and the fate that nature and the condition] of man impose. The people of Gremyachy Log, like the old peasant Shchukar, whose sly wit picks threads in official fabrics, art products of both the old and the new soi society, and, above all, of nature itself. Sholokhov himself is such a product; his work echoes the great tradition of comic realism of Gogol and the other Russian masters.
THE NOVELS OF THE DON CYCLE
And Quiet Flows the Don
This magnificent novel of revolution and civil war is regarded throughout the world as the undisputed masterpiece of Soviet literature. Everywhere it has been published—and the countries include France, Germany, England, Norway, Sweden, Holland, as well as the United States—it has been hailed as a classic of fiction.
"It can only be compared with Tolstoy's War and Peace." —MAXIM GORKY
The Don Flows Home to the Sea
This immense novel, although absolutely complete in itself, carries to a conclusion the story begun in And Quiet Flows the Don.
"A masterpiece of skillful narrative . . . Together with the earlier book it makes an epic that the Russian people may well be proud of." —BERNARDINE KIELTY, Book-of-the-Month Club News
Seeds of Tomorrow
A novel of social upheaval and change in the Don farming village, Gremyachy Log. "It is a superb literary performance. . . . The kulaks, the poor Cossacks, the Bolsheviks, all the men and women who stride through the pages are extraordinarily alive." —MAURICE HINDUS, New York Herald Tribune
Harvest on the Don
This is the fourth of Mikhail Sholokhov's Don novels.
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