First published:Tikhii Don, 1928-1940 (partial English translations, 1934 as And Quiet Flows the Don; 1940 as The Don Flows Home to the Sea; complete English translations, 1942 as The Silent Don; 1967 as And Quiet Flows the Don)
Type of work: Novel
Type of plot: Historical realism
Time of work: 1913-1918
Locale: Tatarsk, Russia
Characters DiscussedGregor Melekhov
Gregor And Quiet Flows the DonMelekhov (GREH-gohr MEH-leh-khov), a native of the Don basin in Russia. He is married to one woman but openly goes about with another. His father whips him, and he leaves home. He joins the army and distinguishes himself in action. When the Soviet Socialist Republic is established and civil war breaks out, Gregor joins the Red Army and is made an officer. When the Red Army is beaten, Gregor, after denouncing the cruelty of Podtielkov, his old revolutionary leader who is about to be executed, returns to his village.
Piotra Melekhov (PYOH-trah), Gregor’s elder brother, who is in the army with him. When the revolutionary troops advance on Tatarsk, their home village, Piotra is named commander of the villagers, who are organized by a counterrevolutionary officer.
Natalia Melekhova (nah-TAH-lyah MEH-leh-khoh-vah), Gregor’s wife. When she realizes that Gregor does not love her, she tries to commit suicide. After Gregor discovers that his mistress has been unfaithful to him, Natalia and Gregor are reconciled, and she bears him twins.
Aksinia Astakhova (ak-SEE-nya as-TA-khoh-vah), Gregor’s mistress, married to Stepan Astakhov, who mistreats her. Her affair with Gregor becomes a village scandal. She goes away with him, and they become servants to a wealthy land-owning family. When Gregor goes away to join the army, she is unfaithful to him with Eugene Listnitsky, the son of the family. The affair is broken off by Gregor, who whips her and goes home to his wife.
Ilia Bunchuk (eel-YA boon-CHOOK), a revolutionary leader and the chief agitator in his company. He deserts the company before he can be handed over to the authorities. He joins the revolutionary troops as a machine gunner and is prominent in the administration of the local revolutionary government. He falls in love with Anna Poodko, a woman machine gunner who is killed.
BibliographyErmolaev, Herman. Mikhail Sholokhov and His Art. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1982. One of the best studies of Sholokhov and his works by a native scholar trained in the West. And Quiet Flows the Don is treated extensively, especially the historical events and sources and Sholokhov’s use of them.Hallet, Richard. “Soviet Criticism of Tikhy Don, 1928-1940.” The Slavonic and East European Review 46, no. 106 (1968): 60-74. A brief but substantive treatment of Sholokhov’s difficulties with the authorities in publishing the novel. They did not like his objective presentation of the revolution.Klimenko, Michael. The World of Young Sholokhov: Vision of Violence. North Quincy, Mass.: Christopher Publishing House, 1979. A useful study of Sholokhov’s early works, with emphasis on And Quiet Flows the Don.Medvedev, Roy. Problems in the Literary Biography of Mikhail Sholokhov. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1977. A leading former Russian dissident discusses the controversy about the accusations of Sholokhov’s plagiarism in writing And Quiet Flows the Don.Muchnic, Helen. “Mikhail Sholokhov.” In From Gorky to Pasternak. New York: Random House, 1961. Extensive essay on Sholokhov, the first part of which is devoted to And Quiet Flows the Don.Simmons, Ernest J. Russian Fiction and Soviet Ideology: Introduction to Fedin, Leonov, and Sholokhov. New York: Columbia University Press, 1967. Evaluates Sholokhov within an ideological and political context. Simmons is one of the leading American scholars of Russian literature.Stewart, D. H. Mikhail Sholokhov: A Critical Introduction. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1967. A solid introduction to Sholokhov, with emphasis on And Quiet Flows the Don.