Vsevolod Ivanov bigraphy, stories - Russian-Soviet writer and dramatist

Vsevolod Ivanov : biography

1895 - August 15, 1963

Vsevolod Vyacheslavovich Ivanov ( February 24 (February 12) 1895, Lebyazhye, now in Pavlodar Oblast – August 15, 1963, Moscow) was a notable Soviet writer praised for the colourful adventure tales set in the Asiatic part of Russia during the Civil War.

English translations

  • Armoured Train 14-69, International publishers, 1933.
  • The Adventures of a Fakir, Vanguard Press, 1935.
  • Armored Train 14-69, Trilogy Books, 1978.
  • Selected Stories, Raduga Publishers, 1983.
  • Correspondence Across a Room, Marlboro Press, 1984.
  • From the Reminiscences of Private Ivanov and Other Stories, Angel Books, 1988.
  • The Child, from Great Soviet Short Stories, Dell, 1990.
  • Fertility and Other Stories, Northwestern University Press, 1998. ISBN 0-8101-1547-6


Ivanov was born in Northern Kazakhstan to a teacher's family. When he was a child Vsevolod ran away to become a clown in a travelling circus. His first story, published in 1915, caught the attention of Maxim Gorky, who advised Vsevolod throughout his career.

Ivanov joined the Red Army during the Civil War and fought in Siberia. This inspired his short stories, Partisans (1921) and Armoured Train (1922).

In 1922 Ivanov joined the literary group Serapion Brothers. Other members included Nikolay Tikhonov, Mikhail Zoshchenko, Victor Shklovsky, Veniamin Kaverin, and Konstantin Fedin.

Ivanov's first novels, Colored Winds (1922) and Azure Sands (1923), were set in Asiatic part of Russia and gave rise to the genre of ostern in Soviet literature. His novella Baby was acclaimed by Edmund Wilson as the finest Soviet short story ever.

Later, Ivanov came under fire from Bolshevik critics who claimed his works were too pessimistic and that it was not clear whether the Reds or Whites were the heroes.

In 1927 Ivanov rewrote his short story, the Armoured Train 14-69 into a play. This time, the play highlighted the role of the Bolsheviks in the Civil War.

Among his later works are the Adventures of a Fakir (1935) and The Taking of Berlin (1945). During the Second World War, Ivanov worked as a war correspondent for Izvestia.

Vsevolod's son Vyacheslav Vsevolodovich Ivanov became one of the leading philologists and Indo-Europeanists of the late 20th century. Vsevolod adopted Isaak Babel's illegitimate child Emmanuil when he married Babel's one time mistress Tamara Kashirina. Emmanuil's name was changed to "Mikhail Ivanov" and he later became a noted artist.

Living octopus

Living octopus

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