Writer Kandrat Krapiva
(Кандрат Кандратавіч Крапіва — сапраўднае прозвішча Атраховіч)(Belarusian Playwright, Poet, & Satirist; pen name of Kandrat Atrakhovich)
(February 22, 1896 * — January 7, 1991)
( * Julian: March 5, 1896)
Photo Credit (1944): Кандрат Крапіва: Збор твораў у шасці тамах,
Note: The Cyrillic Belarusian on this page is in Unicode (UTF-8) font encoding.
Biographical sketch from Like Water, Like Fire: An Anthology of Byelorussian Poetry from 1828 to the Present Day
"Kandrat Krapiva (real name Kandrat Atrachovič) was born in 1896, in the village of Nizok (Minsk province). After completing his education in the local school, he was himself a school-teacher for some time, then, during the Revolutionary war, he joined the Red Army where he began his literary career. Later, he completed his education, graduating in 1930 from the Faculty of Literature and Language of Minsk University."
"Krapiva's particular forte is satirical fables. He also writes prose fiction and political articles in a similar vein, and is an accomplished translator, notably of Shakespeare. His books of poetry include: The Nettle (1925), Fables (1927) and Laughter and Anger (1946). In 1956, he succeeded Kolas as Vice-President of the Academy of Sciences of the Byelorussian SSR. In 1962, he published his Byelorussian-Russian Dictionary, which constituted a major working tool for the production of this current book."
Source: Like Water, Like Fire: An Anthology of Byelorussian Poetry from 1828 to the Present Day, Vera Rich, translator, 1971, page 337.
Excerpts from A History of Byelorussian Literature (Die Literatur der Weissrussen): From its Origins to the Present Day:
". . . satirical verse fables [are] a genre associated principally with the name of Kandrat Krapiva (an apt pseudonym signifying 'nettle'; see poem, below). Krapiva who began writing in 1922 and has been since 1956 Vice-president of the Byelorussian Academy of Sciences, is the author of not only fables, but also stories, novels and, most succesfully, plays."
"His fables are witty and generally well directed in their exposition of various human and social foibles: Proud Piglet (Hanarysty parsiuk, 1927) or The Ram with the Diploma (Dypłamavany baran, 1926; see poem, below) expose the universal vice of pride, but others like Record-player (Hramafon, 1927), a comment on the drive for uniformity and conformity, or Grandma and Grandpa (Dzied i baba, 1925; see poem, below), which attacks bureaucracy, appear to be specifically concerned with aspects of contemporary Soviet life, as does The Petition (Zajava, 1925), which was written shortly after a decree ordering the substitution of the word jaŭrej for žyd ('Jew') in Byelorussian, and describes a pig's official request not to be called a 'swine'."
"Not surprisingly, some of Krapiva's works were modified or altered as the political climate worsened in the late 20s. The satirical poem Red-nosed Chviados (Chviados - čyrvony nos, 1931), for example, underwent considerable revision before reaching print, and the names of many prominent critics and other public figures were removed. One of the best-known fables, The Owl, the Ass, and the Sun (Sava, asioł i sonca, 1927; see poem, below) acquired the somewhat improbable last three lines between its original appearance in Uzvyšša (Excelsior) and inclusion in a collection of fables five years later."
Source: A History of Byelorussian Literature (Die Literatur der Weissrussen): From its Origins to the Present Day, by Arnold B. McMillin; Giessen, W. Germany (1977), pages 231-32.
Пятрусь Броўка, Якуб Колас, Кандрат Крапіва, і Аркадзь Куляшоў. 1947 г.
(Pyatrus' Brouka, Yakub Kolas, Kandrat Krapiva, and Arkadz' Kulyashou)
Photo Credit: Кандрат Крапіва: Збор твораў у шасці
Excerpt from Belarusian Literature in the 1950s and 1960s, chapter, "The Fifties -- Emerging from Darkness":
". . .Krapiva was not principally a playwright, but made his reputation mainly as a writer of satirical fables, as a prose writer and, later, as a prominent linguistic scholar."
"In addition, he wrote a quantity of plays from the middle of the 1930s onwards which covered a wide thematic and generic range, but were of low dramatic quality; among the best are two satires, Chto śmiajecca apošnim (Who laughs last, 1939) and Miły čhałaviek (A nice man, 1945)."
"A particulary low point was Piajuć žavaranki (The larks sing, 1950). in which Stalin's portrait is worshipped and songs in his honour are sung. One of the characters, Viarbiackaja, exhorts, "Give thanks, my children, to our very own father Stalin for your happy life"; in the 1956 edition, after Stalin's death, this exhortation is transmogrified to "Give thanks, my children, to our very own Communist Party for your happy destiny." The drame Ludzi i d'jably (People and devils, 1958) was technically better than most Belarusian plays about the partisan struggle, but still somewhat theatrical and stilted."
"Two late dramatic satires achieved rather more: his last major work, Na vastryni (At the sharp end, 1982) makes a strong and sustained attack on the lack of spiritual values in Soviet Belarus. A decade earlier, however, Krapiva had produced one of his best works for the theater, a satirical comic fantasy which displayed some of the old fired that had previously made his fables so very popular: Brama nieŭmiručaści (The gates of immortality, 1973) concerns a gerontologist, Dobrijan, who has discovered the secret of immortality, and the various representatives of Soviet society who come to him in the hope of benefiting from his discovery. The format allows much scope for sharp satire on such negative features of contemporary Soviet life as materialism, corruption, political repression, and careerism, at the same time raising a number of moral questions, relating to mortality and the purpose of human life. Most notable, the wheedling, time-serving, bullying, self-justifying, officious, falsely modest and arrogant tones of the petitioners directly and indirectly seeking this ultimate privilege."
"Brama nieŭmiručaści stands out in a rather dull dramatic landscape, although its specifically Belarusian elements, except for the rich language, are few. . . ."
Source: Belarusian Literature in the 1950s and 1960s, pages 74-75, by Arnold B. McMillin; Germany; (1999).
Illustration Source: Кандрат Крапіва: Байкі ( Kandrat Krapiva: Fables; 1996), cover.
Go to the Belarusian Writers Web page Go to the Famous Belarusians Web page Go to the A Belarus Miscellany Topic List
Original content and overall form ©1996-2006 by
Peter Kasaty : All Rights
Reserved. Last Updated: 2001/03/09
Quoted Text, Graphics, Links, and Linked Content belong to their respective owners.