Sources of talents

Gomel area is a border page in relations not only with Ukraine, but also with Russia. This is why movement to great Russian cities was so active. The banks of the Sozh and the Pripyat in Gomel and in the suburbs gave birth to a whole cohort of Russian writers. To be more exact, they became writers much later, each having made his own way. However, their origin is from there, Gomel area, which petted them with its plots, fairy tales, and legends…
Gomel area is a border page in relations not only with Ukraine, but also with Russia. This is why movement to great Russian cities was so active. The banks of the Sozh and the Pripyat in Gomel and in the suburbs gave birth to a whole cohort of Russian writers. To be more exact, they became writers much later, each having made his own way. However, their origin is from there, Gomel area, which petted them with its plots, fairy tales, and legends…

Dmitry Lapo was born in Gomel in 1861 (in Novo-Belitsa which is situated within the regional city today). He was a revolutionist and populist, studied in Gomel progymnasium and then in Kiev gymnasium and at the university. In 1885 he was arrested and sent to Tobolsk and Yeniseisk provinces. He wrote stories about the life of his countrymen from Gomel area. He called the collection composed of several works “Belarusian stories.”

Observing the beginning of the twentieth century, the time that is more widely represented on the old post cards from the collection of Vladimir Likhodedov, we can’t but recollect the destiny of Viktor Dragunsky, the author of famous “Deniska’s stories.” Viktor Yuzefovich was born in 1913 in America in the family of emigrants. Soon his parents returned to Belarus and settled in Gomel. His father died of typhus during the First World War. Only in 1925 the family moved to Moscow. It can be seen that our fellow countryman brought many things to Russian children`s literature from its Gomel childhood. Firstly, Viktor Dragunsky performed as an actor. Since 1940 he had started publishing his feuilletons. He wrote songs, interludes, clownery and performed them personally. In 1959 he started working on the cycle of stories about Denis Korablev. If you look up in the library, you will see many books by the talented Russian writer: alongside with “Wonderful adventures of Denis Korablev” there are such books as “The Captain,” “The Spyglass,” “Fire in the back wing,” “He fell on the grass.” As a rule, these volumes are small, but they were created for many generations…

Eugenia Zhurbina, a literary critic and publicist, was born in Gomel in 1903. She worked at Moscow State University for a long time. She wrote a lot of textbooks dedicated to journalistic prose. Students and teachers of the journalism faculties still study the books where Zhurbina considers the theory and practice of a sketch. Eugenia Katseva, a translator, represents the generation brought up by the old Gomel. Eugenia Aleksandrovna has known the city on the Sozh since her childhood. She is considered a native of Gomel in many reference books. Meanwhile… In 2003 looking for materials on the history of Russian and Belarusian literary relations, in Moscow reference books I accidentally found an old telephone of my fellow countryman. I was lucky, because Eugenia Aleksandrovna herself answered the phone. Then I found out that in fact she was born in Krasnopolje in Mogilev region. When she was a girl, she worked in a collective farm. Afterwards, she moved to Voroshilovgrad. Until she came to a Russian school, she spoke only Yiddish. In August 1941 she graduated from the philological faculty of Leningrad University. She was a military interpreter and served in the Baltic navy. Since 1949 she has worked in the magazines “New world,” “Banner,” “Literary questions.” She translated many fiction books from the German language. Owing to our countrywoman, the works of Heinrich Bohl, Gьnter Gras, Franz Kafka, and Max Frisch saw the light in the Russian language… During our telephone talk Eugenia Aleksandrovna recollected Gomel and Belarus and told about her acquaintance with Ales Adamovich, Vasil Bykov… Moreover, Eugenia Aleksandrovna wrote the book “My personal trophy” based on her recollections.

Talking about Mozyr in connection with Russian literary addresses, in 1921 the town gave birth to Joseph Weinberg, a theorist of literature, a researcher of Maxim Gorky’s life. A year before Anatoly Levandovsky was born, who was a writer-documentalist, a candidate of historical sciences and the author of many books from the series “Life of famous people”: about Maximilien Robespierre, Danton, Maid of Orleans, Saint-Simon and Carl the Great. Anatoly Petrovich wrote a unique informative book named “In the world of heraldry.” I was in communication with this unique person, an interesting historian and writer, who passed away in 2008. Literally in each letter Levandovsky warmly recollected the city of his childhood. Apart from Mozyr, he also recollected Kalinkovichi, from which his grandfather sent him and his mother by train into a new world.

Rechitsa brought up Semen Glukhovsky, a Russian prosaic (he was born in January 1911). He wrote several nonfiction books including the books from the series “Life of famous people.” Russian prosaic Arkady Pinchuk comes from Goroshkovo. He spent the last years of his life in Saint Petersburg. Besides, the first book of stories of our fellow countryman (he was born in Goroshkovo in 1930) was written in the Belarusian language and was published in Minsk. These were Andrey Makaenok and Ivan Shamiakin who gave Arkady Fedorovich a ticket to great literature. There is a museum corner in Vasilevichi (Arkady Pinchuk has recently passed away) dedicated to the writer-countryman. In the closing stages of his life he lingered to Belarus. He wrote a novel-recollection about his childhood in Gomel, military collisions, about his relations with Belarus. In the “Neman” magazine in 2007 he published a story founded on the Belarusian material. There is one more story in a portfolio planned to be published this year. The Rechitsa Regional Executive Committee takes certain measures to give one of the streets the name of Arkady Pinchuk. Fortunately, Motherland doesn’t forget about its sons and daughters. Besides, the professor of Gomel University Ivan Fedorovich Steiner composed a special literary-fiction chrestomathy dedicated to the history of Rechitsa and the district. Recollections about Arkady Pinchuk have pride of place in it.

Ales Karliukevich.
Postcards from a collection of Vladimir Likhodedov
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