Mikhail Mikhailovich Zoshchenko

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Mikhail Soshchenko

Mikhail Mikhailovich Zoshchenko ( Russian Михаил Михайлович Зощенко , scientific. Transliteration Mikhail Michajlovič Zoščenko ; July 28 * . Jul / 9. August  1894 greg. In St. Petersburg , Russian Empire ; † 22. July 1958 in Leningrad , USSR ) was a Russian writer .


Soschtschenko was born the son of a painter and an actress and grew up with seven siblings.

After attending high school, he was enrolled in the law faculty of the University of Saint Petersburg in 1913 and 1915 ; he wrote his first stories at this time. His studies were interrupted by the First World War, for which Soschtschenko volunteered in 1915.

During the war, the poet was gas poisoned with permanent heart damage, due to which he was discharged from the army in 1917. The serious illness is reflected in many of his works.

After returning to Petersburg (now Petrograd), he wrote a few unpublished stories that are said to have had an influence on Maupassant . Despite his heart disease Soschtschenko took on the side of 1918/19 the Red Army in the civil war in part in Russia.

After the civil war, Zoshchenko made his living as a postmaster, detective, animal breeder, militiaman, shoemaker, carpenter and office worker. From 1920, back in Petrograd, he began to write again; individual stories appeared in the numerous satirical magazines of the NEP era, and a first collection of stories came out in 1922 and was entitled Tales of Nasar Ilyich Mr. Blaubauch (Рассказы Назара Ильича, господина Синебрюхона Синебрюхона Синебрюхdreisten Schwejk performed a tragic comedy that was successfully accepted by the public and critics. The new type of hero, the “Soviet man” who is not burdened with intellectual gifts and who struggles through everyday life, was also found in the other stories of Zoshchenko. As a stylistic device, Soschtschenko used the so-called skas , a pseudo-oral narrative in the colloquial style that also appeared in Gogol's works . In the years that followed, Zoshchenko was one of the most widely read authors in the country, and his collections of stories and works were published in large numbers in numerous magazines, newspapers and publishers.

In 1921 the poet joined the newly founded literary group of the Serapion Brothers (Серапионовы братья) and was their permanent member until its end.

Zoshchenko on a Russian postage stamp from 1993

Gradually, Zoshchenko turned away from the stories and began to write larger works such as The youth regained ("Возвращённая молодость", 1933) or The Sky Blue Book (Голубая книга, 1935). In his later works he always distanced himself more and more from the satirical and humorous path and experimented with various methods of composition and representation. After the Sky Blue Book was published , Soschtschenko could only publish features articles and children's stories.

During the Second World War , Zoshchenko was evacuated from besieged Leningrad to Alma-Ata and worked in the film studios there. After the end of the Leningrad blockade , he returned to Leningrad during the war and resumed his writing activities, including in satirical magazines such as Krokodil .

Through his publications he unexpectedly came into the crossfire of state criticism. Especially after the publication of the first chapters of his work Before Sunrise (Перед восходом солнца) in the magazine Oktjabr ' in 1943 , the poet, like Anna Akhmatova , was subjected to attacks of party criticism: the Leningrad party secretary Andrei Zhdanov described Before Sunrise as “disgusting Werkself ". Zoshchenko's works were no longer allowed to be printed, and even his editors distanced themselves from him. This was followed by exclusion from all positions and finally from the Writers' Union in 1946.

Only after Stalin's death in 1953 was Soschtschenko rehabilitated and re-accepted into the Writers' Union, and two years before his death in 1958 a selection of his works was published in 1956.

He became known to a broader East German public through the story Die Kuh im Propeller (the cow in the propeller) presented by Manfred Krug on October 31, 1965 as part of a Lyrik - Jazz - Prosa event (in the original: the agitator from Teterkin orders an airplane ).


  • Stories by Nasar Ilyich Mr. Blaubauch ( Рассказы Назара Ильича, господина Синебрюхова ), 1922.
  • The honest contemporary (1926).
  • What the nightingale sang (1927).
  • Teterkin orders an airplane . Prague publishing house, Leipzig / Vienna 1931
  • The recovered youth ( Возвращённая молодость , 1933).
  • Sleep faster, comrade! Stories. Rowohlt, Stuttgart 1940; New edition: Ullstein, Frankfurt am Main / Berlin 1966.
  • The Sky Blue Book ( Голубая книга , 1935); German translation: Berlin, Rütten & Loening, 1973.
  • Stories about Lenin ( Рассказы о Ленине , 1940).
  • Before sunrise ( Перед восходом солнца ), autobiography; first chapter in the magazine Oktjabr , 1943; First complete edition USA 1968, in Russia 1987, German translation under the title Key des Glücks , Reclam, Leipzig 1977.
  • Praise to the automobile .
  • The Tsar's boots. Stories from today's Russia ( Tsarskie sapogi ). With 25 drawings by EO Plauen . Ullstein, Frankfurt am Main / Berlin 1961.
  • Werther's suffering or the future visions of a cyclist . Rütten & Loening, Berlin 1968.
  • A terrible night . Stories. Verlag der Nation, Berlin 1986.
  • As if written on the water with forks . Stories. German by Thomas Reschke. persona verlag, Mannheim 2004, ISBN 3-924652-32-5 ( preview of the book on Google Books ).


  • Marlene Grau: Investigations into the development of language and text with MM Zoščenko. Depicted on short stories from the 1920s. Sagner, Munich 1988 (= Specimina philologiae Slavicae; supplement volume ; 25) ISBN 3-87690-370-X .
  • Nyota Thun : Pushkin Pictures. Bulgakov, Tynyanow, Platonov, Zoshchenko, Tsvetaeva. Structure, Berlin et al. 1984.
  • Jason Cieply: The Enthusiastic Objectifications of Skaz: Mikhail Zoshchenko and the "Simple Souled" Soviet Reception of Jazz . In: The Russian Review 79 (2020), 3, pp. 389-414.

Web links

Commons : Mikhail Zoshchenko  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Entry in the baptismal register of the Church of the Holy Martyr Tsarina Alexandra in Saint Petersburg Archived copy ( memento of the original dated February 3, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / zoschenko.lit-info.ru