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Yury Olesha


Yury Olesha was born in 1899 in Elizavetgrad. His father was a poor Polish nobleman. When Olesha was three, the family moved to Odessa. After completing high school, Olesha studied law before joining the Red Army as a volunteer in 1919. He started out writing poems, particularly those with a Communist theme. In 1927 he published the short novel Zavist (Envy), which is his major work and the first work to consider communism as a moral problem. His later works, including novels, short stories, works for children, plays, screenplays and poetry, were less interesting. Olesha also worked in film and radio. After the war, he lived a miserable existence and was not mentioned in literary histories nor were his works published till 1956, when excerpts from his diary appeared and he adapted Dostoevsky’s The Idiot for the stage. He died in 1960.

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Yury Olesha
Yury Karlovich Olesha (in Russian)


(Only works translated into English)

1927 Зависть (Envy)
1928 Три толстяка (Three Fat Men)
1929 Заговор чувств (The Conspiracy of Feelings)
1930 Список благодеяний (A List of Assets)
1960 The Wayward Comrade and the Commissars
1965 Ни дня без строчки (No Day Without a Line)
1967 Любовь (Love and Other Stories)
1979 Complete Short Stories and Three Fat Men
1983 The Complete Plays