Konstantin Simonov

28th of November 1915 - 28th of November 2015

100th Birthday

 

Simonov is one of the many Soviet writers who followed the revisionist path of Krushchev after the death of Stalin. Nevertheless, we consider it unjustified to extinguish those works of Simonov , which once served the Soviet Union of Lenin and Stalin. That's why we publish only some selected works that he wrote in the 30s and 40s.

(According to this decision we selected only some photos in time of Stalin)

 

Simonov, Konstantin (Kirill) Mikhailovich

Born Nov. 15 (28), 1915, in Petrograd; died Aug. 28, 1979.

Soviet Russian writer and public figure. Member of the CPSU since 1942.

Simonov, who graduated from the M. Gorky Institute of Literature in 1938, published his first work in 1934. His narrative poems The Victor (1937), about N. Ostrovskii, The Battle on the Ice (1938), and Suvorov (1939) expressed a vivid sense of impending war. Simonov’s main theme, which took form before the war, was the courage and heroism displayed by people deeply involved in contemporary upheavals; examples were the plays Story of a Love (1940) and A Lad From Our Town (1941; State Prize of the USSR, 1942; film of the same name, 1942).

During the Great Patriotic War, Simonov was a front-line correspondent for the newspaper Krasnaia Zvezda. He was one of the first writers to turn to the theme of the Russian at war, in the play The Russian People (1942; State Prize of the USSR, 1943) and the novella Days and Nights (1943-44; State Prize of the USSR, 1946; film of the same name, 1945). Simonov’s lyrics became widely popular during the war; examples were “Do you remember, Alesha, the roads of Smolensk?” “Wait for Me,” and “Kill Him!” Also popular were the poems from Simonov’s collections With You and Without You (1942) and War (1944), which united themes of patriotism, courage, and heroism with those of front-line friendship, love, and loyalty.

The cold-war period was reflected in Simonov’s ideologically topical plays The Russian Question (1946; State Prize of the USSR, 1947) and Another’s Shadow (1949; State Prize of the USSR, 1950) and in the book of poems Friends and Foes (1948; State Prize of the USSR, 1949). In the mid-1950’s, after the publication of the novel Comrades in Arms (1952; new edition, 1971), Simonov began work on the trilogy The Living and the Dead (Lenin Prize, 1974), comprising the novels The Living and the Dead (1954–59; film of the same name, 1964), Nobody Is Born a Soldier (1963–64; filmed as Retribution, 1969), and The Last Summer (1970-71). The trilogy is an epic panorama of the Soviet people’s path to victory during the Great Patriotic War. In this work, Simonov sought to unite two artistic goals: to depict an authentic chronicle of the war’s main events as seen through the eyes of their witnesses and participants Serpilin and Sintsov, and to analyze these events from a contemporary viewpoint. Closely linked to the trilogy were Southern Tales (1956-61) and the novellas From the Notes of Lopatin (1965) and Twenty Days Without War (1972), as well as Simonov’s multi-volume war diaries, which included commentaries added by the author at the time of publication.

Simonov also published the novella Smoke of the Fatherland (1947), the play The Fourth (1961), and many other plays. He has written scenarios for feature and documentary films, narrative poems, books, travel essays, articles, and addresses on literary topics and subjects of public interest. Many of his works have been translated into the national languages of the USSR and into foreign languages.

Simonov’s public activities have been varied: he was editor of Literaturnaia gazeta in 1938 and from 1950 to 1954 as well as of the journal Novyi mir (New World) from 1946 to 1950 and from 1954 to 1958. He served as deputy general secretary of the administrative board of the Writers’ Union of the USSR from 1946 to 1954. Simonov was a candidate member of the Central Committee of the CPSU from 1952 to 1956 and a member of the Central Auditing Commission of the CPSU from 1956 to 1961; in 1976 he once again became a member of the commission. He was a deputy to the second and third convocations of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. In 1949 he became a member of the presidium of the Soviet Committee for the Defense of Peace.

The first of Simonov's poems were published in 1936 in the journals Young Guard and October. After completing schooling at the Maxim Gorky Literature Institute in 1938, Simonov entered the Moscow Institute of History, Philosophy, and Literature. His time there was interrupted when he was sent as a war correspondent to cover the Battle of Khalkhin Gol in Mongolia. Simonov returned to the institute in 1939.

As a war correspondent, Simonov served in Romania, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Poland, and Germany, where he was present at the Battle of Berlin. After the war his collected reports appeared in Letters from Czechoslovakia, Slav Friendship, Yugoslavian Notebook and From the Black to the Barents Sea: Notes of a War Correspondent.

Simonov's first play, The History of One Love, was written in 1940, and performed on stage at the Memorial Lenin Komsomol Theater in Leningrad. He wrote his second play, A Lad from Our Town, in 1941.

Studying war correspondence at the military-political academy, Simonov obtained the service rank of quartermaster of the second rank. At the beginning of World War II Simonov received a job with the official army newspaper Krasnaya Zvezda. Simonov rose through the army ranks becoming a senior battalion commissar in 1942, lieutenant colonel in 1943, and a colonel after the war.

During the war years, he wrote the plays Russian People, Wait for Me, So It Will Be, the short novel Days and Nights, and two books of poems, With You and Without You and War. His poem Wait for Me, about a soldier in the war asking his beloved to wait for his return, remains one of the best-known poems in Russian literature.

 

In February 1942, when the Germans were being driven back from Moscow, Pravda published a lyric which immediately won the hearts of our troops. It was "Wait for me". Soldiers cut it out of the paper, copied it out as they sat in the trenches, learned it by heart and sent it back in letters to wives and girlfriends; it was found in the breast pockets of the killed and wounded. In the history of Russian poetry it would be hard to find a poem which had such an impact on the people as "Wait for me". It made the Soviet officer and Russian poet - Konstantin Simonov - world famous.

(Editor's introduction to Simonov's Selected Poems, 1964)

"Wait for me" is still one of the two or three most familiar poems in the Russian language. These days, it is frequently parodied. The man who wrote the poem is in danger, in post-Soviet Russia, of being dismissed as a conventional product of his time. He was much more than that; and this website is devoted to his poetic achievement.

For three years after the war ended, Simonov served in foreign missions in Japan, the United States and China. From 1958 to 1960 he worked in Tashkent as the Central Asia correspondent for Pravda. His novel Comrades in Arms was published in 1952, and his longer novel, The Living and the Dead, in 1959

Simonov died on 28 August 1979 in Moscow.

 

Awards and honors

 

Film adaptations of Simonov's works

Numerous films were released in the Soviet Union on Simonov's scenarios and based on his works:

 

 

HARSH ANNIVERSARY


Comrade Stalin, slyshish Do you have?
You should hear us, we know it.
Not mother, not his son - in this grave hour
We'll remember the very first.
Even such a harsh anniversary
None of us knew for his life,
But the heart of this man
Only stronger tempered in battle.
During the celebrations passed before you,
Not thinking of the sorrows of war,
Who knew one of us, that we would be the fate of
With you in this day-parted?.
. Know, then, that in the terrible hour of parting
. Only harder this heart,
. Only the stronger of the oath may clenched hands,
. Only the best will recall the sons of his father. "
. Those that are accustomed to your holiday with you
. In the old days to meet the walls of the Kremlin
. They met that day on the field
. battle;
And their blood stained the ground..
They are everywhere: from the fiery South
From the fortifications under native Moscow
Up to our seats, where the northern blizzard
In the trenches sweeps with head
. And if in this day we are not in rows
. On festive tread squares,
. And, punching his way with bayonets,
. Crawled forward through the snow and rocks,
. Let Inform includes a summary,
. What now, too many words to say,
. His bayonet sticking in silence the enemy's throat,
. We are celebrating October

. And those of us who are on this day in battle
. To the glory of dear homeland fall --
. In their gaze, as the last apparition,
. Today the Red Square will be held.
. Comrade Stalin, the heart and soul
. With you until the end of your sons,
. We firmly believe that will come with you
. By the decision of the victorious war
.
Neither the victim nor the loss, no suffering
People love not dampen --
Only strengthen the friendship ordeal
And the battle loyalty Russian fix.
We know that even go out into the square,
Extracting the victory with his own hand.
We know that you will see
Over the festive folk River.
There, on the day of victory will be seen again
Thy coat soldier simplicity --
Your home, after harsh battles
Some features of the aged.

1941 November

 

Wait for me !

Wait for me, and I’ll come back!
Wait with all you’ve got!
Wait, when dreary yellow rains
Tell you, you should not.
Wait when snow is falling fast,
Wait when summer’s hot,
Wait when yesterdays are past,
Others are forgot.
Wait, when from that far-off place,
Letters don’t arrive.
Wait, when those with whom you wait
Doubt if I’m alive.
Wait for me, and I’ll come back!
Wait in patience yet
When they tell you off by heart
That you should forget.
Even when my dearest ones
Say that I am lost,
Even when my friends give up.
Sit and count the cost,
Drink a glass of bitter wine
To the fallen friend —
Wait! And do not drink with them!
Wait until the end!
Wait for me and I’ll come back,
Dodging every fate!
“What a bit of luck!” they’ll say,
Those that did not wait.
They will never understand
How amidst the strife,
By your waiting for me, dear,
You had saved my life.
How I made it, we shall know,
Only you and I.
You alone knew how to wait —
We alone know why!


1941

 

Stalingrad fights on

1942

 

 

Maturity

 

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The Candle

 

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