Zabolotskii, Nikolai

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Zabolotskii, Nikolai Alekseevich


Born Apr. 24 (May 7), 1903, in Kazan; died Oct. 14, 1958, in Moscow. Soviet Russian poet.

Zabolotskii graduated from the A. I. Herzen Leningrad Pedagogical Institute in 1925. He was first published in 1928. Zabolotskii was a lyric poet of a philosophical bent, who pondered over the place of man in the universe. In 1929 he published the collection of poems Columns, in which the petit-bourgeois, NEP way of life, which the poet detests, is interpreted in a fantastic manner. In the narrative poem The Triumph of Agriculture (1933), Zabolotskii attempted for the first time to express the idea characteristic of his later works: human labor and reason bring harmony and concord to the chaotic world of nature. The poet linked human creative forces with the socialist transformation of the country. In the 1930’s and 1940’s he wrote a cycle of poems about the accomplishments of research and creation (“Crowning With Fruits,” 1932; “Sedov,” 1937; “The City in the Steppe,” 1947) and a number of “natural philosophy” poems (“Metamorphoses,” 1937; “I Do Not Seek Harmony in Nature,” 1947), in which he admires the organic concord and the inexhaustible diversity of the world.

Zabolotskii’s works of the mid-1950’s deal with civic, sociopsychological, and moral problems (“The Failure,” 1953; “The Walkers,” 1954; “The Homely Girl,” 1955; “The Old Actress,” 1956). The poet affirms the inevitable victory of beauty in the world. In his poems Zabolotskii turns to the traditions of the classical poetry of F. I. Tiutchev, E. A. Baratynskii, and N. A. Nekrasov. Zabolotskii is one of the greatest Soviet translators. He did translations of Shota Rustaveli’s poem The Man in the Panther’s Skin (the latest edition, 1957), the works of many Georgian poets, German classical poetry, and a versified retelling (1938-46) of The Tale of Igor’s Campaign. Zabolotskii’s poetry has been translated into many foreign languages. He was awarded the Order of the Red Banner of Labor.


Izbrannoe. Moscow, 1960. (Introductory article by N. Tikhonov; includes Zabolotskii’s autobiography.)
Stikhotvoreniia i poemy. [Introductory article by A. M. Turkov.] Moscow-Leningrad, 1965.
Gruzinskaia klassicheskaia poeziia v perevodakh N. Zabolotskogo, vols. 1-2. Tbilisi, 1958.


Rodnianskaia, I. “Poeziia N. Zabolotskogo.” Voprosy literatury, 1959, no. 1.
Turkov, A. Nikolai Zabolotskii (1903-1958). Moscow, 1966.
Makedonov, A. Nikolai Zabolotskii: Zhizn’, Tvorchestvo, Metamorfoiy. [Leningrad, 1968.]


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