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Video: Ingenious Alcoholics Of The Soviet Union. Part 3 - Great And Terrible
Vladimir Vysotsky on the set of the film "Master of the Taiga", Vyizhy Log, 1968
We are publishing the third part of pathographic articles about famous Soviet poets and writers of the twentieth century who suffered from an immoderate addiction to alcohol. This time we will talk about Yuri Olesha, Alexander Tvardovsky and Vladimir Vysotsky. How has alcohol influenced the work of these ingenious creators?
Songs of Vladimir Vysotsky (1938-1980) became an encyclopedia of Soviet life in the 1960s-1970s. He did not have time to go far into history, with us his famous songs with a guitar, films where he played the main roles. Vysotsky's diagnoses became widely known - chronic alcoholism, to which opioid addiction (heroin) was later added. The poet walked alongside them in life
The onset of alcohol abuse is attributed to adolescence, and at 36 years old he first goes to the clinic for the treatment of alcoholism. But the first hospitalization and dozens of subsequent ones had a short-term effect, which largely depended on the poet himself. For example, he was sewn into esperal, a medicine incompatible with alcohol, but, according to Marina Vlady, he "could not stand it and, without hesitation, picked out the capsule with a knife."
- Ingenious alcoholics of the Soviet Union. Part 1
- Ingenious alcoholics of the Soviet Union. Part 2
The fatal transition to heroin, with which Vysotsky tried to interrupt his craving for alcohol, occurred in the mid-seventies. Life and creativity continued at the limit: "four to five hours of sleep, the rest is work." The poet finds an explanation for his “wear and tear” lifestyle: “And I squeeze the steering wheel until the cramps in my hands - to have time before the bolts are tightened!”
The first mental disorders also appeared: impulsivity of actions, depression, anxiety. Friends recall: “It was peculiar to him, especially recently, to go somewhere, to rush somewhere. One of his close friends Valery Yanklovich recalls: “In recent years I somehow became sad: I could not sleep in the dark, I left the house without turning off the light, all the time in the light … Sometimes I slept with my eyes open and even had dreams … Shudder …“You what?" - “Nothing, I was asleep” … In general, I slept haphazardly: at night for three or four hours, in the daytime for an hour or two. And he could not be alone, always someone nearby … Last year he was not alone for a single second”.
Note that patients who have attacks of fear or hallucinations prefer to sleep in the light - this is calmer for them
You can also resort to a more lyrical explanation suggested by Vysotsky himself:
Poets walk with their heels on the edge of a knife -
And cut their bare souls into blood!
Drug abuse could not but end tragically. According to one of the Moscow narcologists, when in the summer of 1980, in connection with the Olympic Games in Moscow, all drug addicts were “cleared from the city,” the ambulance doctors were not always given drugs. Vysotsky died as a result of severe drug abstinence on the day when he promised to sing for the cosmonauts "through direct communication with space".
The addiction to heroin, which appeared in the poet in 1976, influenced his work in a very peculiar way. “… If in the previous year he gave about 30 concerts, now their number has reached fifty. From under his pen new songs appear … In 1978, Vysotsky's concert activity reaches its peak - he gives about 150 concerts a year, which was an unprecedented result in the entire history of his touring performances. Yes, drugs in the early stages of use can have such a stimulating effect. But the poet's poetic inspiration quickly diminishes. Moreover, in the list of the last songs "there is practically not a single funny, sparkling thing, the presence of which in the old years has always been a distinctive feature of Vysotsky."
Vladimir Vysotsky, to the last, retained a critical attitude to his behavior, only he could no longer change it.
As a result, the life and work of the poet were prematurely destroyed by alcohol and drugs. This is their paradoxical positivity. After all, we are writing not about the layman, for whom the main thing is to live longer and better, but about a genius who has his own criteria of fate and life
The author of the popular fairy-tale novel Three Fat Men, Yuri Olesha (1899-1960), was considered a fairly well-known writer in the Russian literary world in the twenties
His father was a landowner, although he lost his estate. In his memoirs, the writer regretted: “The estate was decent, forest, called Yunishche. It was sold by my father and his brother for a large sum of money, which was lost by both at cards for several years. The family coat of arms, depicting a deer with a golden crown, was always worn by Olesha on a chain and was proud to be a nobleman.
In Yuri's Richelieu gymnasium, classmates were afraid: to get into the language of the ironic Olesha meant to become a laughing stock. Even then, he had an extraordinary imagination and did not go into his pocket for a word. On the eve of the revolution, having received a certificate of maturity, Olesha entered the law faculty of Odessa University. Relatives emigrated to Poland, and the young man remained in Odessa, where a stormy literary life was in full swing, which, as it turned out, carried him away forever.
After moving to Moscow, Olesha successfully settled in a writer's house and, with the help of his fellow countrymen, got a job in the newspaper "Gudok". When the talented young man first felt the taste of fame as a feuilletonist, he decided to conquer another creative profession. He sat down to work and in 1924 presented the publishers with his first novel, Three Fat Men.
The idea to write it in a fairytale form came up easily: in the window opposite his dormitory, he often saw a young beauty, enthusiastically reading a book. Fascinated by a girl immersed in reading fairy tales, Olesha decided to write a fairy tale no worse than that of Hans Andersen. He took a roll of paper from the printing house, rolled it out on the floor and began to write a fairy tale novel, which awaited an enviable literary fate and universal recognition.
In 1930, the fairy tale was staged on the stage of the Moscow Art Theater. In 1966, Alexei Batalov and Joseph Shapiro shot the picture Three Fat Men. The prototypes of the girls Suok from "Three Fat Men" were sisters Lydia, Olga and Seraphima, who bore the same surname. Yuri met the girls back in Odessa, and fell in love with the youngest of them, Seraphima. They lived in a civil marriage for three years, but the windy Seraphima twice ran away from the writer. Then Olesha married the middle of the sisters - Olga, with whom he lived until the end of his days.
Later, large fictional works no longer appeared from under his pen. He recalled: “Literature ended in 1931. I became addicted to alcohol … Arriving with a group of Soviet writers in Paris for an international exhibition, on the very first day I lost all my money in a brothel. " The writer was silent for a long time. Many of his colleagues and friends were repressed, and until 1956 a ban was imposed on his work. Olesha did not want to compose according to the rules of socialist realism and could not.
Yuri Olesha "earned" for drinking in various ways. For example, he stopped Alexander Fadeev's car at the gates of the writer's house, who, frowning, held out 10 rubles from the car window
In the words of Olesha himself, he became the “prince of the National”, where he was treated to sympathetic friends and even visitors when they found out what kind of person was sitting at the table by the window. The writer admitted: "I was so lowered that it cost me nothing, going up to any acquaintance on the street, ask him for three rubles, which was enough to drink, say, in a beer restaurant." In a psychiatric hospital named after ZP Solovyov, Yuri Olesha "was treated for alcoholism … In 1957 he quit smoking, but continued to drink dead."
The philosopher V. P. Rudnev suggested that Yuri Olesha could suffer from obsessive-compulsive syndrome with a "pedantic character."
The writer's diaries testify to the dominance of depression and hypochondria. Every now and then he returned to thoughts about death, about illnesses, fearfully listened to the beat of his heart, saw "strange, terrible dreams, which are 'impossible to tell', after which it is impossible to live."
It can be assumed that Yuri Olesha has neurotic personality disorders. Due to the concomitant alcoholism, they manifested themselves in his behavior especially brightly and psychopathically, often acquiring an unsightly character. Alcohol dependence has developed a second time, which does not raise doubts about its negative impact on the creative process. So Yuri Olesha turned out to be original only in creativity, but not in life.
The Soviet poet and public figure Alexander Tvardovsky (1910-1971) had many state awards and prizes
He began to write poetry as a teenager, but at first he ventured to send small notes to the newspapers of Smolensk that were published. And after them, the first poems were published in his homeland. Now there is the only monument in Russia depicting the poet and his hero Vasily Terkin together as a recognition of grateful fellow countrymen.
Life first turned to the gifted village boy with a lucky side. He became a famous prose writer and poet, was in the first roles in the Writers' Union, editor of the "New World" magazine. The poet Alexander Tvardovsky received all-Russian fame and awards for the best that was written about the war in Soviet poetry - the poem "Vasily Terkin".
It is curious to note that the poet rather widely borrowed someone else's and did not particularly complex about this. Tvardovsky, for example, took the plot of The Country of Ant from Fyodor Panferov's novel Bruski
The result is a brilliant poem about Nikita Morgunka, who is looking for a just peasant country. In exactly the same way, he “borrowed” the hero of the novel “Vasily Terkin” from the completely forgotten Boborykin.
After a meteoric rise during the war and during the Khrushchev thaw, Tvardovsky began to age rapidly. His deputy editor and biographer Alexei Kondratovich recalls that in 1958 he "already looked much older than his age."
The reason turned out to be commonplace and became a misfortune both for the poet himself and for his family and friends. We are talking about an absolutely unoriginal mental disorder of writers - an excessive attraction to alcohol. The gradually growing consequences of this disease began to negatively affect work, creativity, and health. Once drunk, "Alexander Trifonovich fell down the stairs in his house - the stairs led to the second floor, badly broke his head, injured his neck and was taken to the Kuntsevo hospital."
It can be understood that many children who disowned their parents, who were recognized as "enemies of the people", subsequently experienced their deed all their lives. With Tvardovsky, such a denial reached such an apogee that he did not let his father, who had escaped from exile, even on the threshold of his house. It is possible that the feeling of guilt that came too late was provoking drunkenness. Many people try to calm their conscience in this way - both writers and readers.
Interesting attitude to alcoholism Tvardovsky Alexander Solzhenitsyn. He considered his hard drinking "salutary", although he emphasized that sometimes it came to the point that Tvardovsky was "pulled out of the hard drinking with a medicinal blow to bring him to the Central Committee."
It is common for patients with alcohol dependence to spread the consequences of their illness to others. The poet himself, realizing the degree of his fall, was frank with himself: "No, it is better for us to collapse halfway, since the new route was beyond our strength …"
The writer Fyodor Abramov recalled that in mid-1971, Tvardovsky even outwardly reminded himself a little. In the difficult political situation in which the poet and, moreover, also a public figure lived, severe alcoholism could play an adaptive character in a psychological sense.
Binges certainly interfered with creativity, but certainly helped the poet to come to terms with reality. Otherwise, instead of a prolonged in time "alcoholic suicide", he could have ended up with an instantaneous and complete suicide much earlier
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