Grossman, Vasilii

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Grossman, Vasilii Semenovich


Born Nov. 29 (Dec. 12), 1905. in Berdichev; died Sept. 14, 1964. in Moscow. Soviet Russian writer.

Grossman graduated from the physics and mathematics department of Moscow State University (1929); he worked in the Donbas as a chemical engineer. Grossman’s first novella, Glück auf (1934), drawn from the lives of Soviet miners, and his short story “In the City of Berdichev” (1934) won the attention of M. Gorky. The protagonists of his later stories (“Four Days,” “Comrade Fedor,” and “The Cook”) went through the underground struggle with tsarism and through the Civil War and became the builders of the new society. They are shown living their everyday lives, thus highlighting the uncommonness of their moral makeup. The novel Stepan Kol’chugin (parts 1–4. 1937–40) is the story of a young worker who joins the ranks of the Bolshevik Party.

Grossman was a war correspondent during the Great Patriotic War (1941–45) for the newspaper Krasnaia svezda; he published a series of sketches of the Soviet people’s war effort against the fascists and the short novel The People Is Immortal (1942), which was the first major work on the war to give a generalized picture of the people’s heroic achievement. In 1952 he published the novel For a Righteous Cause, in which he attempted a broad interpretation of the historic experience of the Great Patriotic War. Its central theme is the people, who had borne the full brunt of defending their native soil. The war is seen in all its concreteness—from historic events down to the minute details that compose them. Grossman later published a number of stories (“The Road,” “A Few Sad Days”) and a lyric diary-sketch of a trip to Armenia, Best to You! (1965). He was awarded three orders and a number of medals.


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