Kaverin, Veniamin Aleksandrovich

Kaverin, Veniamin Aleksandrovich

(vĕnyəmēn` əlyĭksän`drəvĭch kəvyĕ`rĭn), 1902–89, Russian novelist and short-story writer. He was a member of the literary group that called itself the Serapion Brothers, and he expounded that circle's creed of independence of art from politics in the story The Unknown Artist (1931, tr. 1947). Later Kaverin turned to a more conventional style. A long novel, The Fulfillment of Desires (1934–35, tr. The Larger View, 1938), deals with the adjustment of the intellectual to Soviet society. His later work includes Open Book (1949–56, tr. 1957).


See study by D. Piper (1970).

Kaverin, Veniamin Aleksandrovich


Born Apr. 6 (19), 1902, in Pskov. Soviet Russian writer.

Kaverin graduated from the Institute of Oriental Languages (1923) and the Department of History and Philology at Leningrad State University (1924). His first short story was published in 1922, and during the early 1920’s he was a member of the Serapion Brothers literary group. His works, written in a variety of genres and styles, deal with people who embody the creativity of the Soviet intelligentsia. Kaverin most often selects as his heroes scholars and men of letters whose sense of being is intrinsically bound up with their work and the defense of their principles. His narratives of their life and struggle are invariably built along complex and intense plot lines—for example, the novels The Fulfillment of Desire (books 1–2, 1934–36), Two Captains (books 1–2, 1938–4; State Prize of the USSR, 1946; 42 editions in 25 years), and The Open Book (1949–56). The novellas Seven Improper Couples and The Slanting Rain (1962) attempted to show the consciousness on the part of Soviet people of their rights, their obligations to their Motherland, and a feeling of mutual trust. In the 1960’s, Kaverin published a book of essays and memoirs, Greetings, Brother, Writing Is Very Hard (1965); a new edition of his book on O. I. Senkovskii, Baron Brambeus (1966); and the novellas The Double Portrait (1966) and The School Play (1968). His novel In Front of the Mirror and his literary reminiscences In the Old House were both published in 1971. Kaverin’s books have been translated into many foreign languages and languages of the peoples of the USSR. He was awarded three orders and several medals.


Sochineniia, vols. 1–3. Leningrad, 1930.
Sobr. soch., vols. 1–6. Moscow, 1963–66.
“Avtobiografiia.” In Sovetskie pisateli: Avtobiografii, vol. 1. Moscow, 1959.


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Russkie sovetskiepisateli-prozaiki: Biobibliograficheskii ukazatel’, vol. 2.Leningrad, 1964.