Honchar, Oles

Image - Oles Honchar Image - Ukrainian 1960s writers: Vasyl Zemliak, Mykola Zarudny, Oleksii Kolomiiets, Oles Honchar, Pavlo Zahrebelny. Image - Ivan Honchar, Yurii Shevelov and Oles Honchar (Kyiv 1990s).

Honchar, Oles [Гончар, Олесь; Hončar, Oles’], b 3 April 1918 in Sukha, Kobeliaky county, Poltava gubernia, d 14 July 1995 in Kyiv. One of the most prominent Soviet Ukrainian writers of the postwar period; a full member of the Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian SSR since 1978. A Second World War veteran and graduate of Dnipropetrovsk University, he began publishing his works in 1938. From 1959 to 1971 he headed the Writers' Union of Ukraine. Honchar gained prominence with the novel-trilogy Praporonostsi (The Standard Bearers, 1947–8, English trans 1948) about the Red Army in the Second World War. His other works include the novellas Zemlia hude (The Earth Drones, 1947), Mykyta Bratus’ (1951), Shchob svityvsia vohnyk (Let the Fire Burn, 1955), and Bryhantyna (The Brigantine, 1973); the novels Tavriia (1952), Perekop (1957), Liudyna i zbroia (Man and Arms, 1960), Tronka (The Sheep's Bell, 1963), Tsyklon (The Cyclone, 1970), Bereh liubovi (The Shore of Love, 1976), Tvoia zoria (Your Dawn, 1980), and Sobor (The Cathedral, 1968), which was officially censured and subsequently removed from circulation; the short-story collections Modry kamen’ (The Modra's Rock, 1948), Pivden’ (The South, 1951), Chary-komyshi (Enchantments-Rushes, 1958), and Masha z Verkhovyny (Masha from the Highlands, 1959); and three collections of literary articles (1972, 1978, 1980). His works, most of which closely adhere to the official Soviet style of socialist realism, have been republished many times (eg, in 6 volumes in 1978–9) and translated into over 40 languages, and have been the subject of a large body of Soviet literary criticism.

Ivan Koshelivets

[This article was updated in 2002.]


Image - Ivan Kozlovsky and Oles Honchar in the Crimea (1981). Image - Oles Honchar


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