Feodor Gladkov

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Feodor Vasilievich Gladkov (Фёдор Васильевич Гладков)
Born (1883-06-21)June 21, 1883
Bolshaya Chernavka, Saratov Governorate, Russian Empire
Died December 20, 1958(1958-12-20) (aged 75)
Moscow, USSR
Occupation writer, teacher
Ethnicity Russian
Notable works Cement
Notable awards Stalin Prize

Feodor Vasilyevich Gladkov (Russian: Фёдор Васильевич Гладков) June 21 [O.S. June 9] 1883 – December 20, 1958) was a Soviet Socialist realist writer. Gladkov joined a Communist group in 1904, and in 1905 went to Tiflis (now Tbilisi) and was arrested there for revolutionary activities. He was sentenced to three years' exile. He then moved to Novorossiisk. Among other positions, he served as the editor of the newspaper Krasnoye Chernomorye, secretary of the journal Novy Mir, special correspondent for Izvestiya, and director of the Maxim Gorky Literature Institute in Moscow from 1945 to 1948. He received the Stalin Prize (in 1949) for his literary accomplishments, and is considered a classic writer of Soviet Socialist Realist literature.

Teacher, exile and revolutionary

Gladkov was born in 1883 in Bolshaya Chernavka, Saratov Governorate (present-day Penza Oblast) to a family of Old Believers. In 1904, Gladkov began propaganda work for the Social Revolutionary party in Chita, Irkutsk, joining the teachers' institute of Tiflis in the following year. In 1906 he began propaganda work for the Bolsheviks, and was exiled that November for four years to Manzurka village in Irkust province. After completing his exile, Gladkov returned to Novorssiisk and to the Kuban where he was appointed the head of a primary school in Pavlovskaya.

In the spring of 1918 he returned to Novorssiisk to reorganise schools after the revolution in October 1917, though was forced into hiding when the Whites (pro-monarchist forces) captured the village in August of that year. In 1920, by which time the Whites had been driven out, Gladkov was appointed as the head of education in the town. He would also serve in the Red Army, before being made editor of the newspaper Krasnoye chernomorye. In 1921 he moved to Moscow where he was appointed as the head of a factory school, then secretary of the journal Novy mir (New World). Gladkov was a member of The Smithy writers group, who were engaged in polemics with the Association of Proletarian Writers (RAPP). While a proponent of portraying the revolution in literature, he was anxious about the tone in which groups such as RAPP and MAPP (Moscow Association of Proletarian Writers) conducted their discussions, and the "working over" that non-RAPP writers were given in particular journals.[1]

In 1941 he became a special correspondent for the newspaper Izvestiya, reporting from Sverdlovsk, specialising in war-time industrial topics. After the war, he was director of the Gorky Literary Institute in Moscow.[2] He died in Moscow in 1958.

Cement (1925)

Gladkov's Cement was published in a multitude of editions, including this 1928 Finnish translation from Astoria, Oregon, USA.

Gladkov's first major novel after the revolution, titled Cement, became a literary standard for socialist realist writing during the 1930s; in various speeches to the Writers' Congress in the USSR, Gladkov's contemporaries upheld Cement as one of the key exemplars that authors should emulate in Soviet literature.[3]

Throughout his lifetime, Gladkov rewrote passages of Cement both to suit contemporary political concerns and to fit with the Socialist Realist aesthetic established in 1932.[4]

Published works

  • Towards the Light (1900)
  • After Work (1900)
  • Maksuitka (1901)
  • Before Hard Labour (1903)
  • They Went Off To War (1904)
  • The Inspection (1905)
  • Three In One Hut (1905)
  • The Outcasts (1908)
  • The Abyss (aka The Only Son) (1917)
  • Spring Shoots (1921)
  • The Fiery Steed (1922)
  • Cement (1925)
  • The Old Secret Prison (1926)
  • The Cephalopodous Man (1927)
  • Energy (aka Power) (1932–1938)
  • The Birch Grove (1941)
  • The Scorched Soul (1943)
  • The Vow (1944)
  • Story of My Childhood (1949)
  • The Outlaws (1950)
  • Evil Days (1954)
  • Restless Youth (unfinished)

English translations

  • Restless Youth, Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1959.
  • Cement, Northwestern University Press, 1994.


  1. http://www.sovlit.net/uncivilwar/
  2. http://www.sovlit.net/bios/gladkov.html
  3. Katerina Clark, The Soviet novel: history as ritual, The University of Chicago Press (1981), pp. 261-262
  4. Robert L. Busch, "Gladkov's Cement: The Making of a Soviet Classic", The Slavic and East European Journal, Vol. 22, No. 3 (1978), p. 348

External links