Sergei Dovlatov was born in Ufa during the evacuation of Leningrad in 1941 and he died as an immigrant in New York on August 24, 1991. His mother was Armenian and his father was Jewish. However, he always identified himself as a Russian writer, not a mere Russian, but as a Russian writer. He considered himself being Russian by occupation, for it is almost a profession to be Russian, he used to say. He also used to say, “You don’t become a writer because of a good life”and that this profession chooses its own people but people do not chose to become writers.
His writing career and his bohemian lifestyle took root in the early 60’s. He was expelled from Leningrad University, where he met his first wife, and served as a military guard for two years in a strict security prison camp. From this experience, he wrote his novel Zona. Then, he made a career as a journalist in Leningrad. His books were not published in Russia before his immigration, though he was recognized as a writer unofficial literary circles. While writing for the official press, he circulated his stories first in samizdat (“self publishing”), then in tamizdat (“published there, in the West”).
He suffered from being officially ignored and his lifestyle made of him a dissident. He was friends with Brodsky and several dissidents, had a drinking problem and didn’t hesitate to get into fights. In 1976, two of his books were published in the West. In 1978, the situation became almost desperate and after having spend few days in prison he finally decided to immigrate to New York.
His family was already waiting for him there and he worked as an editor-in-chief of a weekly Russian-language newspaper Novyi Amerikanets. He officially became a published writer in the United States. His fist published book, Nevidimaia Kniga (The Invisible Book), a sort of ironic autobiography, was published in 1978. Then followed several other novels and short stories, like Compromise (1981), Zona (1982), Nashi (1983) and many others.
He died unexpectedly in 1990, without reaching his fiftieth birthday.
Sergei Dovaltov's main works.
Dovlatov's whole work as a writer was published in three volumes in Saint Petersburg, 1995.
Then was released a fourth volume, named Unknown Dovlatov, which included short stories, letters to friends and family, pictures, his friends tributes, unknown to large audience.
Nevidimaia kniga ( The Invivisble book). -- Ann Arbor: Ardis, 1997
Solo na Undervude: Zapisnye knizhki.--Paris, Third wave, 1980
Kompromiss (Compromise).--New York: Silver Age, 1981
Zona: Zapiski nadsiratelia. --Ann Arbor: Ermitazh, 1982
Zapovednik.--Ann Anrbor: Ermitazh, 1983
Marsh odinokih. --Holyoke: New England Publishing Co, 1983
Nashi (Ours).--Ann Arbor: Ardis, 1983
Demarsh Entouziastov (coed.V.Baxchanian, N.Sagalovskii). --Paris:Sintaqxis, 1985
Remeslo: Povest v dvuh chastiah.--Ann Arbor: Arids, 1985
Inostranka (Foreign woman). --New York:Russica Publishers, 1986
Chemodan (Suitecase). --Tenafly:Ermitazh, 1986
Predstavlenie. --New York:Russica Publishers, 1987
Ne tolko Brodsky: Russkaia cultura v portretax i anekdotax ( Not just Brodsky: Russian culture in Portraits and Anecdotes)(coed. M.Volkova). --New York: Slovo-Word, 1988
Zapisnye knizhki.--New York: Slovo-Word, 1990
Filial. --New York: Slovo-Word, 1990
Sergei Dovlatov - modern russian-american writer
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