And Quiet Flows the Don

And Quiet Flows the Don
And Quiet Flows the Don  
1936 English trans. edition
1936 English trans. edition
Author(s) Michail Aleksandrovich Sholokhov
Original title Tikhiy Don/Тихий Дон (part 1)
Translator Stephen Garry
Country USSR
Language Russian
Series Tikhiy Don/Тихий Дон
Genre(s) Novel
Publisher Alfred A. Knopf (Eng. trans. USA)
Publication date 1928 and 1940 (in serial) & 1934 (this volume in book form)
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)
ISBN ISBN 1-58963-312-1 (2001 English translation)
OCLC Number 51565813
Followed by The Don Flows Home to the Sea

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.


Plot summary

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.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed] And Quiet Flows the Don grew out of an earlier, unpublished work, the Donshina:

I began the novel by describing the event of the Kornilov putsch in 1917. Then it became clear that this putsch, and more importantly, the role of the Cossacks in these events, would not be understood without a Cossack prehistory, and so I began with the description of the life of the Don Cossacks just before the beginning of World War I. (quote from M.A. Sholokhov: Seminarii, (1962) by F.A. Abramovic and V.V. Gura, quoted in Mikhail Aleksandrovich Sholokhov, by L.L. Litus.)

Grigori Melekhov is reportedly based on two Cossacks from Veshenskaya, Pavel Nazarovich Kudinov and Kharlampii Vasilyevich Yermakov, who were key figures in the anti-Bolshevist struggle of the upper Don.[1]

Literary significance, criticism, and accusations of plagiarism

The novel has been compared to War and Peace (1869) by Leo Tolstoy.[citation needed] Like the Tolstoy novel, And Quiet Flows the Don is an epic picture of Russian life during a time of crisis and examines it through political, military, romantic, and civilian lenses.[citation needed] Sholokhov was accused by Solzhenitsyn and others[who?] of plagiarizing the novel. However, an investigation in the late 1920s upheld Sholokhov's authorship of "Silent Don" and the allegations were denounced as malicious slander in Pravda.[citation needed]

During the second world war, Sholokhov's archive was destroyed in a bomb raid, and only the fourth volume survived. Sholokhov had his friend Vassily Kudashov, who was killed in the war, look after it. Following Kudashov's death, his widow took possession of the manuscript, but she never disclosed the fact of owning it. The manuscript was finally found by the Institute of World Literature of Russia's Academy of Sciences in 1999 with assistance from the Russian Government. The writing paper dates back to the 1920s: 605 pages are in Sholokhov's own hand, and 285 are transcribed by his wife Maria and sisters.[2] However, there are claims that the manuscript is just a copy of the manuscript of Fyodor Kryukov, the true author.[3]

Awards and nominations

The novel won the Stalin Prize in 1941 and its author won the Nobel Prize in 1965.


The novel has been adapted for the screen three times: 1931 film by Ivan Pravov and Olga Preobrazhenskaya, a second, 1958 adaption was directed by Sergei Gerasimov and starred Elina Bystritskaya and Pyotr Glebov. In 1992-1993 a remake was directed by Sergei Bondarchuk (starring Rupert Everett); the film was not finished until 2006, when Fyodor Bondarchuk completed the editing, and was shown on Russian television as a seven-part miniseries, followed by a worldwide[citation needed] DVD release: ...and Quiet Flows the Don.[4]

Ivan Dzerzhinsky based his opera Quiet Flows the Don (Tikhiy Don) on the novel, with the libretto adapted by his brother Leonid. Premiered in October 1935, it became wildly popular after Stalin saw and praised it a few months later. The opera was proclaimed a model of socialist realism in music and won Dzerzhinsky a Stalin Prize.[5]

The lyrics for the folk song "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?" by Pete Seeger and Joe Hickerson were adapted from a Ukrainian folk song mentioned in And Quiet Flows the Don.[6]

Release details

  • 1934, USA, Alfred A. Knopf (ISBN NA), Pub date ? ? 1934, hardback (First Eng. trans edition)
  • 1934, UK, Putnam (ISBN NA), Pub date ? ? 1934, hardback
  • 1977, USSR, Progress Press (ISBN ?), Pub date ? ? 1974, hardback (in 4 volumes & in Russian)
  • 1988, USSR, Raduga Publishers (ISBN 5-05-001680-0 & 5-05-001681-9), Pub date of unabridged English edition, hardback (in 2 volumes)


  1. ^ And Quiet Flows the Don, part 1, And Quiet Flows the Don, part 2
  2. ^ (Russian)
  3. ^ А_ Чернов_ Запрещённый классик
  4. ^
  5. ^ McAllister, Rita, ed. Stanley Sadie, The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (London: Macmillan, 1980), 20 vols., 5:797.
  6. ^


  • Scammell, Michael. The Don Flows Again. 

External links

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