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Author Information: Isaac Babel



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Isaac Babel was born in Odessa in 1894, and grew up in the atmosphere of a lower middle-class Jewish family. At the age of twenty-one he went to St. Petersburg, where he was encouraged by Maxim Gorky, who printed two of his stories in the magazine Letopis. During the Revolution Babel fought with the cavalry, then later operated a printing press in Odessa. In 1923 he published a number of short stories in periodicals, and their success encouraged him to publish two volumes of stories: Tales of Odessa and Red Cavalry. Although recognized in the Soviet Union as a major writer, he was regarded by the authorities with suspicion, and was permitted to publish little after 1930. Shortly before his arrest during the purges of the late 1930's he spoke of how he had become "a master of silence." The exact nature of his fate is unknown. He died in a concentration camp in 1939 or 1940, either of typhus or by shooting.


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