Konstantin Paustovskii

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Paustovskii, Konstantin Georgievich


Born May 19 (31), 1892, in Moscow; died there July 14, 1968; buried in the city of Tarusa, Kaluga Oblast. Soviet Russian writer.

Paustovskii studied at the University of Kiev from 1911 to 1913. His first story, “On the Water,” was published in 1912. After the October Revolution of 1917 he worked for several newspapers, and later, between 1924 and 1929, for the Russian Telegraph Agency (ROSTA) and the Telegraph Agency of the Soviet Union (TASS). His early works, the collections of short stories and essays Sea Sketches (1925) and Approaching Ships (1928) and the novel Radiant Clouds (1929), are notable for their powerful, dynamic themes. Their protagonists are idealistic dreamers oppressed by everyday life, who despise routine and long for romantic advantures.

Paustovskii gained fame with his novella Kara-Bugaz (1932), whose documentary material is fused with literary inventiveness. His works of the 1930’s include novellas with a variety of themes and styles: The Fate of Charles Lanceville (1933), Kolkhida (1934), The Black Sea (1936), The Constellation Canes Venatici (1937), and A Northern Tale (1938; film of the same name, 1960). During this period he also wrote biographical novellas about people in the arts: Isaak Levitan and Orest Kiprenskii (both 1937) and Taras Shevchenko (1939).

Paustovskii attained maturity as an artist in Summer Days (1937), The Meshchora Land (1939), and The Dwellers of an Old House (1941). In these works he observed nature and man’s life closely and depicted them with lyrical inspiration. His favorite genre became the lyrically embellished short story, whose protagonists were creative persons of great spiritual force who did good and opposed evil.

In 1955, Paustovskii published the novella The Golden Rose, whose subject was “the splendid essence of the writer’s work.” He worked for many years on the autiobiographical The Story of a Life, in which the author’s life is portrayed in relation to events taking place in Russia between the late 19th century and the 1930’s. The narrative comprises six closely connected books: Distant Years (1945), A Stormy Youth (1955), The Beginning of an Unknown Epoch (1957), A Time of Great Expectations (1959), Rush to the South (1960), and Book of Wanderings (1963). This work may justly be considered a compendium of the author’s literary and moral quests. Paustovskii’s books have been translated into many foreign languages. He was awarded the Order of Lenin, two other orders, and a medal.


Sobr. soch., vols. 1–6. Moscow, 1957–58.
Sobr. soch., vols. 1–8. Moscow, 1967–70.
Poteriannye romany. Kaluga, 1962.
Rasskazy, ocherki i publitsistika: Stat’i i vystupleniia po voprosam literatury i iskusstva. Moscow, 1972.
Naedine s osen’iu, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1972.
Rodina. Moscow, 1972.


L’vov, S. Konstantin Paustovskii: Kritiko-biograficheskii ocherk. Moscow, 1956.
Levitskii, L. Konstantin Paustovskii: Ocherk tvorchestva. Moscow, 1963.
Aleksanian, E. Konstantin Paustovskii—novellist. Moscow, 1969.
Il’n, V. Poeziia stranstvii: Literaturnyi portret K. Paustovskogo. Moscow, 1967.
Vospominaniia o Konstantine Paustovskom. Moscow, 1975.


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