Gonchar, Oles

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Gonchar, Oles’


(Aleksandr Terent’evich Gonchar). Born Apr. 3, 1918, in the village of Sukha na Poltavshchine. Soviet Ukrainian writer. Member of the CPSU since 1946. Born into a peasant family.

Gonchar began to appear in print in 1938. In June 1941 he went to the front as a volunteer. He graduated from the University of Dnepropetrovsk in 1946.

Even Gonchar’s early works—“The Cherries Are Blooming,” “Healing Waters,” and “Ivan Mostovoi” (1938)— attempt to depict strong, whole characters. In 1946 he published The Alps, the first part of a trilogy known as the Standard-bearers. The second part, The Blue Danube (1947), was awarded the State Prize of the USSR in 1948, and the third part, Golden Prague (1948), received the same award in 1949. The Standard-bearers is one of the best works of Soviet literature on the Great Patriotic War of 1941–45, depicting the nobility, courage, and humanity of the Soviet troops, their desire for peace, and their keen sense of justice. Gonchar’s story “The Earth Roars” shows the heroic struggle of the members of the underground Poltava Komsomol against the fascist occupiers.

Gonchar also wrote several collections of short stories, the tale That Light May Shine (1954), and the screenplay The Partisan Spark (1956). In novels devoted to the life of laborers in the southern Ukraine, Gonchar drew pictures of forced labor and the awakening of the class consciousness of the prerevolutionary Ukrainian peasantry (Tavriia, 1952) and showed the heroism of the people who revolted in 1919–20 in defense of the victories of the socialist revolution (Retrenching, 1957). The novel Man and Arms (1960), on the fate of men at war, received the T. Shevchenko Prize in 1962. The heroes of the novel Tronka (1963; Lenin Prize, 1964) are our contemporaries—shepherds and workers, the transformers of the land. The writer told of people who are generous both in work and in their private lives; he created deep and complex characters. His novel The Cathedral was published in 1968. His novel The Cyclone, on the continuity of the heroic traditions of the Soviet people, appeared in 1970.

Gonchar’s work is marked by a combination of lyricism and romantic inspiration with deep realism in the depiction of people and events. His books have been translated into many languages of the peoples of the USSR and foreign languages.

He was a deputy to the sixth through eighth convocations of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, president of the governing body of the Ukrainian Writers’ Union (1959–71), and one of the secretaries of the governing body of the Writers’ Union of the USSR. He has been awarded two Orders of Lenin, four other orders, and medals.


Tvory, vols. 1–2. Kiev, 1954.
Tvory, vols. 1–4. Kiev, 1959–60.
Tvory, vols. 1–5. Kiev, 1966–67.
In Russian translation:
Izbrannye proizvedeniia, vols. 1–2. Kiev, 1951.
Izbrannoe. Moscow, 1969.


Shumilo, N. Oles’ Gonchar. Kiev, 1951.
Kilimnik, O. Oles’ Gonchar. Kiev, 1966.
Pro Olesia Gonchara: Literaturno-krytychny materialy. Kiev, 1968.
Babyshkin, O. Oles’ Gonchar. Kiev, 1968.
Semenchuk, I. Vogon’ tvorenyia. Kiev, 1968.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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