Grossman, Vasily Semenovich

Grossman, Vasily Semenovich, 1905–64, Russian novelist and journalist, b. Berdichev (now Berdychiv, Ukraine). He graduated (1929) from Moscow State Univ., published novels and short stories, and became a noted Soviet war correspondent during World War II. Although he began objecting to Stalin's support of anti-Semitism during the 1940s, he remained a fixture of the Soviet literary establishment until the early 1950s. His novel of the siege of Stalingrad, For a Just Cause (1952, tr. 1956, tr. as Stalinigrad, 2019), was criticized by Soviet authorities for its central Jewish character. Its sequel, the vivid and sweeping masterpiece Life and Fate, was completed in 1960. Depicting the effects of war and dictatorship, fascism and communism, and Hitler and Stalin on a wide range of characters, it reveals many of the horrors of the Soviet system, and often equates the two systems. Considered subversive, the manuscript was confiscated by the KGB. It was later smuggled abroad, where it was first published in 1974, and was finally published in the USSR in 1988. Grossman's last novel, Forever Flowing (tr. 1972, tr. as Everything Flows, 2009), written in 1961, also indicts the Soviet regime; it appeared abroad in 1970, but was not published in the USSR until 1989. A collection of his stories, essays, journalism, and letters was published as The Road (tr. 2010).

See his A Writer at War (tr. 2006); biographies by J. and C. Garrard (1996) and A. Popoff (2019); study by F. Ellis (1994).

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