Rybak, Natan

Image - Natan Rybak

Rybak, Natan [Рибак, Натан], b 3 January 1913 in Ivanivka, Yelysavethrad county, Kherson gubernia, d 11 September 1978 in Kyiv. Socialist-realist writer of Jewish origin. He began publishing in 1930 and produced 3 poetry collections in the 1930s and about 20 short story collections, most of them in the 1930s and 1940s. He is best known for his novels. Harmaty zherlamy na skhid (Cannons with Muzzles Facing East, 1934) and Kyïv (Kyiv, 1936) idealize Stalinist industrialization and the struggle with ‘counterrevolution.’ Dnipro (The Dnieper, 2 vols, 1937–8) depicts the revolutionary period in Southern Ukraine. Pomylka Onore de Bal’zaka (The Mistake of Honoré de Balzac, 1940) portrays Honoré de Balzac's stay in Ukraine; it was made into a film by Tymofii Levchuk in 1969. Zbroia z namy (The Weapons Are with Us, 1943) is set in Ukraine during the Second World War. Pereiaslavs’ka rada (The Pereiaslav Council, vol 1, 1948, for which Rybak was awarded a Stalin Prize in 1950; vol 2, 1953) is a major Soviet historical epic about the Cossack-Polish War, Hetman Bohdan Khmelnytsky, and the Pereiaslav Treaty of 1654. The trilogy Chas spodivan’ i zvershen’ (A Time of Expectations and Achievements, 1960) and Soldaty bez mundyriv (Soldiers without Uniforms, 1966) focuses on the Cold War and Soviet nuclear physics. Editions of Rybak's works in five volumes were published in 1963–4 and 1981. Books about him by Yurii Kobyletsky (1963) and M. Lohvynenko (1972) and a collection of articles and reminiscences about him (1983) have appeared.

Roman Senkus

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 4 (1993).]

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