Sergeev-Tsenskii, Sergei Nikolaevich
(real surname Sergeev). Born Sept. 18 (30), 1875, in the village of Preo-brazhenskoe, Tambov Province; died Dec. 3, 1958, in Alushta. Soviet Russian writer. Academician of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR.
The son of a teacher, Sergeev-Tsenskii graduated from the Glukhov Teachers Institute in 1895. In 1905 he settled in the Crimea. Over the years, he traveled extensively throughout Russia.
Sergeev-Tsenskii began publishing in 1898. Such early works as the novella The Garden (1905) were permeated with sympathy for the tragic fate of impoverished toilers and with faith in a better future. The novel Babaev (1907) depicted an extreme individualist who became an oppressor. Various strata of Russian society in the midst of a prerevolutionary crisis were portrayed in the lyric novella about the Russian countryside The Sadness of the Fields (1909), in the novellas Movements (1910) and Police Officer Deriabin (1911), and in the novel Transfiguration (1914; alternate title, Valia). Sergeev-Tsenskii’s work was often praised by M. Gorky.
During the 1920’s and 1930’s, Sergeev-Tsenskii wrote novels and novellas about Pushkin, Lermontov, and Gogol. He also depicted contemporary life; the novel To Seek, Ever to Seek! (1935) was dedicated to Soviet youth.
Sergeev-Tsenskii’s chief work is the uncompleted multi-volume epic The Transfiguration of Russia, consisting of 12 novels, three novellas, and two sketches, written over a period of 45 years. This work is a broad panorama of prerevolutionary life in Russia, World War I, and the February Revolution of 1917; less attention is devoted to the Civil War of 1918–20 and to Soviet life. The epic is unified by means of the characters and by its central idea: the need for a revolutionary transformation of Russia. Another epic by Sergeev-Tsenskii, the widely read Ordeal of Sevastopol’ (1937–39; State Prize of the USSR, 1941), depicts the heroic defenders of Sevastopol’ in the Crimean War of 1853–56.
Sergeev-Tsenskii also wrote plays, articles, and literary reminiscences (the collection The Joy of Creative Work, 1969). His works have been translated into many national languages of the USSR and into foreign languages. His home in Alushta is a literary memorial museum. Sergeev-Tsenskii was awarded the Order of Lenin, three other orders, and several medals.
WORKSSobr. soch., vols. 1–10. [Introductory article by V. Borisova.] Moscow, 1955–56.
Sobr. soch., vols. 1–12. [Introductory article by V. Kozlov and
F. Putnin; afterword by N. Liubimov.] Moscow, 1967.
REFERENCESPluksh, P. I. S. N. Sergeev-Tsenskii. Moscow, 1968. Russkie sovetskie pisateli-prozaiki: Biobibliograficheskii ukazatel’, vol. 4. Moscow, 1966.
V. K. KOZLOV and F. V. PUTNIN