Lavrenev, Boris Andreevich

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Lavrenev, Boris Andreevich


Born July 5 (17), 1891, in Kherson; died Jan. 7, 1959, in Moscow. Soviet Russian writer and playwright. Son of a literature teacher.

Lavrenev graduated in law from Moscow University in 1915. He fought in World War I (1914–18) and in the Civil War (1918–20). His literary debut came with the publication of his poetry in 1911, and his first story was published in 1924. The novellas The Wind, The Forty-first (both 1924; made into motion pictures in 1927 and 1956), and A Story About Something Simple (1927) were devoted to events of the Great October Socialist Revolution and the Civil War. Lavrenev was drawn to heroic characters and the elemental, romantic aspect of heroism (the wind image).

In the late 1920’s, Lavrenev wrote primarily about the intelligentsia, the people, and the Revolution (the novella The Seventh Fellow-traveler, 1927), as well as the fate of culture and the arts (the novella Wood Engraving, 1928). His prose is dramatic, with intricate plotting and character development through direct action.

The play Break (1927; staged by many theaters at home and abroad) epitomized Lavrenev’s artistic concerns. He treated the Revolution and the heroic character in a thorough and new way, depicting heroism in its everyday rather than its extraordinary manifestations. This attitude was reflected in such later works as the novella Big Earth (1935) and the plays The Song of the Black Sea Sailors (1943) and To Those in the Sea! (1945).

Lavrenev criticized bourgeois society in the novel The Fall of the Itl’ Republic (1925), the novella A Strategic Mistake (1934), and journalistic articles, pamphlets, and feuilletons. He received the State Prize of the USSR (1946 and 1950) and was awarded two orders and several medals.


Sobr. sock, vols. 1–6. Introduction by E. Starikova. Moscow, 1963–65.


Vishnevskaia, I. Boris Lavrenev. Moscow, 1962.
Kardin, V. “Prostye veshchi (Zametki o proze Borisa Lavreneva).” Novyi mir, 1969, no. 7.


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