OBITUARIES : Gavriil Troepolsky

Gavriil Troepolsky was the best-selling author of the story White Bim, the Black Ear, about a dog who travelled round the world across five continents. It was translated into 20 languages and sold millions of copies.

Troepolsky was born in 1905, the year of the first Russian revolution, in Tambov Province, the son of a Russian Orthodox priest. He was teaching in a local school at the time of Stalin's ruthless collectivisation campaign in 1928-30, and then graduated from agricultural school as an agronomist. For more than 20 years he worked on one of the millions of state collective farms in mid-Russia, until 1954, when he became a full-time writer.

His first short story appeared in 1937 in a local magazine. His first book, Iz Zapisok Agronoma ("Diaries of an Agronomist"), was published in 1953 by the literary magazine Novy Mir, edited by Alexander Tvardovsky, who was of peasant origin and had himself experienced the collectivisation. The following year he moved to Voronezh, a big industrial city south-east of Moscow, where he remained all his life.

All Troepolsky's books concerned nature and people working on the land. His first novel, Chernozem ("Black Earth"), describes the dramas of rural life under Stalin. It appeared in Novy Mir in parts over the years 1950 to 1961 and was attacked by the Soviet literary establishment. His O Rekakh, pochvakh i prochikh ("About Rivers, Lands etc", 1965) documented how Russia's natural resources were being barbarically exploited and predicted an ecological catastrophe.

Troepolsky was elected a member of the board of the USSR Union of Soviet Writers in 1967. From 1975, the year he received the State Prize, he occupied a senior position on the board of the Russian Federation Union of Writers.

But it was his brilliant Bely Bim, Chernoye Ukho (1971, translated into English as White Bim, the Black Ear), the tale of a globe-trotting setter, that brought Troepolsky fame. It was regarded as allegorical and the setter identified with his editor Tvardovsky, a close friend, who died the same year. The story sold millions of copies round the world, all the currency proceeds of which were taken by the state. Troepolsky often appeared in the Literary Gazette, Our Contemporary and other literary magazines; his three-volume Complete Works was published in 1977-78. He is reported to have expressed joy when the Communist system collapsed. His house in Voronezh, became a place of pilgrimage for young writers.

Jeanne Vronskaya

Gavriil Nikolayevich Troepolsky, writer: born Novospasovka, Russia 29 November 1905; died Voronezh, Russia 12 July 1995.

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

HR Manager - London - £40,000 + bonus

£32000 - £40000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: HR Manager (Generalist) -Old...

Talent Manager / HR Manager - central London - £50,000

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Talent / Learning & Development Mana...

HR Manager (standalone) - London

Up to £40,000: Ashdown Group: Standalone HR Manager role for an SME business b...

HR Analyst - Banking - Bristol - £350-£400

£350 - £400 per day: Orgtel: HR Analyst - Banking - Bristol - £350 - £400 per ...

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone