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Babel, Isaac Emmanuelovich

Born: 1894 AD
Died: 1940 AD
Nationality: Russian
Categories: Journalist, Playwrights

1894 – Isaac Babel was born 13th of July in Odessa, Russian Empire.

1904 – Studied the Bible and the Talmud intensively at home, and at school he was an outstanding student, writing stories in French.

1915-1917 – He left home for St. Petersburg, where he was befriended by the writer Maxim Gorky, who is a magazine editor published two of Babel’s stories in 1916.

1917 – The Russian authorities labeled the stories subversive and indecent, and Babel would have been prosecuted but for the outbreak of the Russian Revolution.

1920 – Engaged in political, journalistic, and administrative activities for the Bolsheviks, he became a political commissar in a Cossack cavalry regiment fighting for the Bolsheviks in Poland.

1923-1926 – This experience was the basis of short stories he began to publish, which were collected in the volume Red Cavalry (1926) and established his success. They are stories of extreme brutality, violence, and cruelty, often told with grim, ironic humor. Babel’s style is ornate, with colorful imagery and startling metaphors, while his technique of moral understatement emphasizes shock and moral impact.

1928-1934 – Babel lived in France. He found writing increasingly difficult in the oppressive environment of Soviet literature during the 1930’s. Although recognized as a major author, he was viewed with suspicion by U.S.S.R. authorities and published little during this period.

1939 – Arrested by the Soviet secret police on unspecified charges.

1940 – Babel died 27th of January in Butyrka prison, Moscow, USSR.