KASSIL, LEV ABRAMOVICH


KASSIL, LEV ABRAMOVICH (1905–1970), Soviet Russian author. Probably the most important Soviet writer for juveniles since the beginning of the 1930s, Kassil is known to tens of millions of young Russians for his novels about adolescents. Konduit ("Conduit," 1930) and Shvambraniya (1933; The Land of Shvambraniya, 1935) describe the author's own childhood in a pre-revolutionary town on the Volga. Vratarrespubliki ("The Goal-Keeper of the Republic"; 1939), Cheremysh, brat geroya (1938; Brother of a Hero, 1968), and Khod beloy korolevy ("The Gambit of the White Queen"; 1958) are about Soviet sportsmen. Dorogiye moi malchiski ("My Dear Kids"; 1944) shows children engaged in doing physical work during World War II, and Ulitsa mladshego syna ("The Street of the Younger Son"; 1949) describes the adventures of those youngsters who participated in the anti-Nazi underground. Kassil's works contain few Jewish themes or protagonists. One of the exceptions is his autobiographical Shvambraniya, which includes a scene in which Kassil, angry at the nasty antisemitic passages in Gogol's Taras Bulba, refuses to read the classic aloud in school. The scene was omitted from postwar editions of the book.

[Maurice Friedberg]


Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.