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[ . . ., 1999. . 65-117.]


Dmytro Cyzevskyj


At the time I was preparing my book Istorija ukrajinskoji literatury (A History of Ukrainian Literature), I was unable to provide a concluding chapter on Realism. This was due, chiefly, to the fact that the libraries in which I was working, in Europe and in the United States, lacked the writings f the Ukrainian Realists. I wish here to present on a different scale than in the book proper, albeit in the form of a brief study, an outline of the literature of this period. I admit that this study will not be exhaustive and that it will probably have a considerable subjective coloration.

Since this examination is concerned with the distinctive features of a given authors entire creativity, only certain works of each author will be cited.


What, in fact, is realism? The Realists often answered this question much too easily: "Realism is a depiction of reality as it really is." Such a response, unfortunately, engenders many misunderstandings, for every literary style draws on the images and colors of reality. Even works of fantasy have no other sources for their material but reality: no matter how Martians are depicted, they always look either like people or some other earthly animals or like machines or inanimate objects. The important thing is not where the Realists found their material, but how they portrayed it, and which linguistic and stylistic devices they used /66/ in the portrayal. Such devices have been the subject of this book throughout. The question now to be considered is: which, devices were used by Realism in contrast to Romanticism, the style which it replaced.

First of all, of course, it is necessary to establish the qualities which made the Romantic style unique in comparison with its preceding epoch. In comparison with all literary development beginning with classical antiquity, Romantic literature was revolutionary. The substance of this revolution consisted in the rejection of those norms which had been considered compulsory for literary works and from which very few authors had allowed themselves to deviate.

The writing of even the most nominal Romantic departed from ancien tradition. The names of the classical genres such as the ode, satire and poema were discarded and replaced with new genres the ballad, mystery (Sevcenkos "The Dream" and "The Great Vault," and some works of Kulis), romantic long poem (for its structure, see chapter on Sevcenko) and others. Even the external character of Romantic literature was a denial of the numerous prescriptions o the Classicist era. No longer did tsars and heroes appear-except in satirical contexts. No longer did the poet depict himself as a singer accompanying himself on the lyre. This image gave way to another: the poet as a national singer a bandurist or lirnyk, a perebendja (garrulous poet-minstrel) who wanders about the world finding his throne in the steppe away from literature-to be replaced by a peasant cottage or abandoned ruins. The poet was not some sort of cour poet-laureate. He was a potential leader of the people who might have been able to guide them to a better future; but in actuality he was either a /67/ persecuted exil or a prisoner of the government or of society. The reality of Russian lit bestowed authenticity upon this new image as the poet became, in fact, persecuted prophet.

The new features of Romantic literary works demonstrated to the reader that the essence of modern literature was freedom, specifically, creative freedom, untrammelled by any canons or traditions. Poets also liked to express this creative freedom by publishing works in the form of fragments and excerpt supposedly from unfinished works, but containing omissions, ambiguities and allusions unknown and, therefore, incomprehensible to the reader. Nevertheless the freedom of the Romantic revolution did not go so far as to abandon all traditional ornaments of style. The . technique of emphasizing the meaning of particular words and images by means of stylistic devices survived in the forms of hyperbole, the formation of words in an unusual manner or using them in a different sense (e.g., grotesque) and, most important, metaphor, the comparison of an object with another, seemingly unrelated but somehow analogous (maiden-flower, man-oak, eagle-rock, speech or writing implements of battle). Such devices as metaphor were . well known in folklore (song or tale) and were cultivated by the Romantics. They were rejected, however, by the literary revolution of Realism which replaced the metaphorical style of Romanticism with a different stylistic device metonymy. The Realist did not compare one thing with another; instead, while keeping his object of depiction in mind, he described it by referring to something closelyassociated with it or to its surroundings (the Russian term sreda was sometimes used by Ukrainian Realists). /68/

Metaphor and metonymy are both linguistic devices that are fundamental to the creation of new words. Some metaphor-derived words include: pew (pen), recalling a time when this writing instrument was really a birds feather (pero); vydelka (fork), by analogy with the farmers vyia (pitchfork); zrucnyj (dextrous), derived from ruka (hand), originally referring to objects easily held in the hand. The following are examples of words that were metonymically-created neologisms: misto (city), in the sense of the inhabitants of the city ("Ves Kyjiv zanepokojenyj" ["All of Kiev was troubled"]); skljanka (glass), in the sense of its contents (Ja vypyv dvi skljanky caju" ["I drank two glasses of tea"]).

With the advent of Realism more information came to be known about an object-not through comparison but through expanding its depiction to include the origin of the object, its development, and its surroundings. A maiden was, therefore, not seen as a flower but as the child of a certain social class and a detailed description was provided of her childhood environment, her upbringing and her early life, etc. A person was to be defined according to his social class. Because of this requirement imposed on a work, that it contain such information about its characters, its dimensions were broadened and the surroundings became almost as important as the object itself. Realism thus was a "metonymic style": it is because of this that the sweep of Realist creations is much greater than that of Romantic writings. The imperative created for Ukrainian literature by these large-scale works was onerous indeed. /69/


The emergence of Ukrainian Realism was associated with the ambiance of Russian Realism and, to a certain extent, with related trends m western Europe. Its, appearance coincided with a period that was particularly difficult for Ukraine and characterized by turbulent conditions in all Ukrainian territories. In Austria serfdom was abolished in 1848. And in eastern Ukraine following the death of Nicholas I began the era of "great reforms" spearheaded by the abolition of serfdom here too, and by an easing of restrictions on the printed word. Both reforms brought consequences which were extremely important for the Ukrainian population of the tsarist empire. For (as often happens), as soon as some political improvement was achieved, the more immediate and limited aims of certain intellectual circles were exchanged for further and broader, albeit still Utopian, programs of reform which led to socialism and even to anarchism (in the true meaning of the word, directed toward the complete overthrow of the state). The proponents of the radical ideology lost interest to a certain extent in "moderate" reforms based on the still poorly developed, capitalist system. Their aim was to introduce a radical reconstruction of the social order, a| goal they would bring about in conjunction with the other peoples of the empire. In pursuing this course, they pften abandoned purely Ukrainian matters i and entered into the formation of active Russian organizations. The very primitive Ukrainian (illegal) political organization consisting of so-called hro-mady (communities) remained the focus for political moderates among whom were many eminent people, lacking, however, in political experience and the traditions of political action. /70/

There are epochs in history which pose certain problems in some areas, such as that of linguistic development. The Ukrainian language faced such a problem in the post-Romantic period how to develop so as to become the language of a "full-fledged" nation (discussed in the chapter on Classicism). It was imperative that the literary language develop so that it could serve all possible literary genres. While Ukrainian Classicism had established the foundations for the development of the literary language (Kotljarevskyj, Kvitka), Romanticisms contribution lay to a large extent in freeing literature from the narrow genres to which Classicism had restricted it (travesty, satire, light comedy, fable). The development of the language then had to follow two directions. The first was that of linguistic enrichment or lexical expansion. The second was that of nuance and shading, for the language had to be suitable for use in broader cultural spheres than merely belleslettres. It had to serve as the mode of expression for scholarly thought; it had to become the medium for political struggle. In order to achieve these aims, it was impossible to limit the language to the use of the biblical (Church Slavonic) lexicon. It was necessary to borrow from the folk language, and, on the basis of these words, to create neologisms as Kulish had done. It was necessary to borrow from other languages as well, especially non-Slavic ones, and to create new words using the same methods already used for this purpose by other Slavic and non-Slavic languages.

In considering the ways in which Realism confronted the two problems of how to expand the lexicon and how to accommodate it to broader spheres, it should be realized that its conduct of the development of the literary /71/ language was somewhat circuitous. This deviation stemmed from the fact that Realism consciously limited literary themes to those spheres in which the Ukrainian language was already being used the depiction of the village and . its inhabitants, and, to a limited degree, the portrayal of a small-size city and certain intellectual circles who still used Ukrainian in their daily lives. This corresponded to "reality" and consequently was deemed to be "realistic."

As might be expected, there were two currents, which were encompassed within the boundaries of Realism: one which considered the task of linguistic development to be only the expansion of the lexicon on the basis of the popular language; the other which demanded the enrichment of stylistic devices so as to serve the wider cultural sphere as well as belles-lettres. But at this point it is necessary to examine the conditions under which the Ukrainian people were living at this time. The Ukrainian language was used not only within the borders of tsarist Russia, but also across the frontier in Austro-Hungary, particularly in Galicia. In fact, Galicia and Bukovina were also the locations of journals and publishing

houses whose existence was indispensable. In Russia, Ukrainian organs of the press had long ceased to function, having been supplanted by Russian publications. (Their language, to be sure, was accessible to a segment of Ukrainians because of the influences of the Russian school; even the first Ukrainian journal, The Foundation, appeared partly in Russian.) Because of this, Galician journals and publishing houses enjoyed the considerable cooperation . of east-bank Ukrainians. /72/

Certain obstacles, however, stood in the way of the union of the two parts of the Ukrainian territory. In the first place, both parts of the Ukrainian nation had long-standing linguistic traditions which dated back many decades. Second, the two parts of the Ukrainian people were torn apart by religion: Western Ukraine was dominated by the Uniate Church to which Eastern Ukraine was violently opposed. In Galicia, the Ukrainian population had to coexist with a Polish one which was strongly developed culturally. This struggle against Polish influence was as significant as that against Russian influence in the East. Some possibilities for cooperation between the two parts of the Ukraine did exist, and they were seized upon by the writers of Eastern Ukraine. However, West-Ukrainian publications encountered certain difficulties of circulation in Eastern Ukraine. For example, the use of Ukrainian terminology was mandatory in the West even in governmental and legal practice. But in Ukraine, the sphere of Ukrainian usage was considerably smaller in the 1870s and 1880s than it had been in the middle of the century. (The testimony of teachers and professors from the 1840s indicates that they did not have a good command of Russian at the time of their studies; the language of daily usage in small and middle gentry circles and in small cities, including often their Jewish population, was also Ukrainian in this early period.) However, during the latter decades, as Professor Shevelov has shown, the literary language of the East came to reflect the lexicon of Western Ukrainian to a considerable extent. The following are examples of such Galician words: zymno (cold), zasada (principle), pryxyl (inclination), rozryvka (amusement), pomnyk /73/ (monument), zaiiznycja (railway), nemnyf (polite), kazkovyj (fabulous), etc. The majority of Galician words appeared m publicistic works at the end of the century (see below). In every instance, the literature of Realism followed two directions: first of all, the path of vernacular purism (using words of common speech exclusively) and secondly, the path leading toward the expansion of the literary language so it might be used in all cultural spheres. As shall be seen, both directions found their followers.


It is altogether natural that the first representatives of Realism should be closely connected with the traditions of Romantic literature. For these traditions, blessed with the legacy of the founders of Romantic literature, particularly Sevcenkos, survived into the future. Among the poets most intimately associated with the traditions of folk poetry, songs, tales and anecdotes were, first, Leonid Hlibov (1827-93), known best of all as a fabulist who in his works made use not only of traditional fable plots. but of Ukrainian motifs to illustrate them; and Stepan Rudanskyj (1834-73), author of many largely humorous songs ("Spivomovky" ). Much more significant were the. Bukovinian Osyp-Jurij Fedkovyc (1834-88) and the Eastern Ukrainian writer Marko Vovcok (pseudonym of Maria Markovyc, 1834-1907).

As a native of Bukovina, Fedkovyc began to write in both Ukrainian and German. A soldier, government official and editor of periodicals and books (in Lviv), he developed a broad literary activity. In addition to his verses, he wrote stones (published by Drahomanov in Kiev in /74/ 1876) and theatrical pieces which, however, remained unsuccessful. Quite apparent in his verses is the influence of Ukrainian folk song and of Shevcenko. In his prose works, the influence of Kvitka is still evident, although without the vulgarisms which offended the reader of the 1860s. Elements such as a sentimental sensitivity (an unhappy love often involved), occasional didactic morahsm, and extended ethnographic depictions of folk customs, are all suggestive of works of earlier periods. It should be observed that there were also features of local dialect in Fedkovycs verses which made them hard to understand for Eastern Ukrainian readers.* Another facet of Fedkovycs activity was that of populanzer. *The following are examples of such words ljuna (misjac - moon), ozmei (vizmes - you will take), potocyly (zabraly/zaxopyly - they marched away), rukov (rukoju - by hand), obruckov (obruckoju - with an engagement ring), etc.

Substantial elements of Romantic style are also to be found in the numerous works of Marko Vovcok which were popular in both Eastern and Western Ukraine. It is a source of amazement to Ukrainian readers that this woman of Russian origin, who first became acquainted with Ukrainian life through her husband (the Ukrainian O. Markovyc who was associated with the Cyrillo-Methodians), managed to attain such an extraordinary command of Ukrainian vernacular. Her choice of themes for Ukrainian life could not yet be termed a sign of Realism; rather, it was still under the influence of the Sevcenko era, in particular, the influence of the plots of Sevcenkos ballads and long poems. Her Narodni opovidannja (Folk Stories), eleven in number, appearing m 1857, won the /75/ appreciation not only of Sevcenko, but of the Russian author whose stories of peasant life were similar in tone to Vovcoks, I. S. Turgenev, an admirer of her Russian stories also. Folk Stories, depicting the fate of the Ukrainian people (especially women) under serfdom, appeared in 1859 in Russian translation. The later Ukrainian stories of Marko Vovcok were published the following year. While not showing any trace of Turgenevian influence, they bore the same basic tendency: the human figures and personal experiences of the peasants were portrayed in such a way as to preclude any right of the landowners to dominate them; nor were the masters depicted in any way as humanly superior to their "subjects." For the most part, the stories were narrated by a serf-woman, and are testimony to Marko Vovcoks exceptional skill in imitating the style of the living vernacular. To this end she used the images and figures of speech of folk songs and tales: "Sonecko vze za synju horu zapalo" ("The dear sun has already set behind the blue mountain"); a girl "jak bylyna u poli" ("like a blade of grass in the field"); " Strepenulas jak syva. zozulenka" ("She shook herself like a gray little cuckoo"); "Xorosa, jak zorjajasna" ("She was as beautifulas a bright star"). This feature as well as certain allusions (understood by the readers of the day) to literary tradition (from Sevcenko to Shakespeare) distinguish the style of Marko Vovcok from the later style of more "consistent" Realists by the considerable role played by stylistic ornaments (e.g., metaphor). At times her plots also recall the motifs of folk songs. To these were subsequently added motifs from Ukrainian tales and legends transposed into the present (the idealized outlaw /76/ of "Karmeljuk"; "Lymerivna"). The later novel Try doli (Three Destinies) emphasizes psychological motifs much more strongly.

In addition to the Romantic elements in the style of Marko Vovcok, there was also a certain sentimental quality as well as a monochromatic characterization of the heroes (as "black" or "white"). Later the writer fell silent; although she would live much longer she rarely turned her attention to Ukrainian literary activity. Marko Vovcoks talent, which extended even to her Russian translations, was such that her works continue to be avidly read today by adults as well as children.

The legacy of Marko Vovcok also includes three feuilletons about Paris in which, interestingly, the author was unable to avoid foreign words or borrowings from the French. While she spent a considerable length of time in Western Europe, the question of the Europeanization of the Ukrainian language rarely confronted her. Recognizable words such as the following may be found in her feuilletons: kafe, kofij, zuav, as well as such neologisms as pospilycnyj (suspilnyj social) and the fine creation "cylosybne steklo" (a picture window). But there are also such puzzling words as nadrybuncyk, sasnuty, nevizna. Admittedly these feuilletons were not destined for the same popular audience as were the stories.

It must be acknowledged that even representatives of late Ukrainian Realism could not free themselves from the influence of the style of Marko Vovcok. This may be observed in the early efforts of Panas Myrnyj in the 1870s; even more significant parallels may be drawn to the stylistic features in the early works of Ivan Necuj-Levyckyj /77/ (1838-1918). A religious school instructor in both seminary and academy, and high school teacher mainly in territories outside Ukraine in the Russian pedagogical system, he first appeared in print in the Lviv Pravda (Truth) in 1868. By 1885 he had retired from teaching (when he was only forty-seven years old) and was engaged in literary activity exclusively. It is interesting that in his own early stories "Dvi Moskovky" ("Two Soldiers Wives") and "Rybalka Panas Krut" ("The Fisherman Panas Krut?"), Levyckyj followed Marko Vovcoks example in modeling his style on that of folk poetry: a mother weeps for her daughter "jak horlycja za ditkamy" ("like a turtle dove for her children"); "jak temocok cornisvydki oci" ("quick black eyes like thorn berries"); "jak dvi veselky dvi tonki corni brovy" ("two fine black eyebrows like two rainbows"). The most important feature, however, in these early works of this eminent Realist was the authors extraordinary skill in imitating popular speech, which he wanted to maintain free from all foreign influences. In Levyckyjs later works, elements of Romantic style disappeared practically altogether.


In truth, the first and most consistent representative of Realism per se was writing as early as the 1860s. However, his work remained unknown until the end of the Realist era, being published only in 1898. This first work of pure Realism, and practically devoid of all elements of Romantic tradition, was the autobiographical (to ascertain degree) novel Ljuboracki by Anatol Svydnyckyj (1834-71). Its appearance in 1898 created a strong impression on /78/ Ukrainian readers notwithstanding the fact that Realism was hardly a novelty to them. The novel, Svydnyckyjs major work (apart from minor contributions to periodicals), was written in the style of a chronicle, mainly as a long series of conversations. The nature of the chronicle also allowed the use of Polish and Russian expressions by individual characters. There are no idyllic scenes or positive heroes whatever in this chronicle novel, the account of an unfortunate clerical family m particular, of the son who bears the authors name, Anatol.

There was yet another Realist, the scholar and historian Orest Levyckyj (1849-1922), whom literary histories ignore for some reason. Written in a mixed language composed mainly of ancient Volynian and placed like real gems within a Russian text, his works appeared between 1875 and 1902. They included various "essays" Ocerki vnutrennej istorii Malorossii (Essays on the Internal History of Little Russia), Ocerki starinnogo byta Volyni i Ukrainy (Essays on the Ancient Way of Life of Volynia and Ukraine) which provided vivid "realistic" tableaux of life in ancient Ukraine. In every instance, the most important component of Levyckyjs style was his use of old Ukrainian of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.


"Modern" Realism, almost totally devoid of elements of Romantic style, emerged in the 1870s with the work of I. Necuj-Levyckyj. Not long after his first efforts, Necuj-Levyckyj began to write stories which broke with Romantic tradition, and he rapidly became well known as an excellent story teller, interesting and lively especially when /79/ he hid behind a narrator who was of the common people. His most successful stories and discourses were based on or narrated by women not the sentimental, sensitive heroines of Marko Vovcok, but peasant or middle-class women, or even the educated wives of priests and professors. Levyckyjs greatest skill, linguistic characterization, ensured moreover that the language of his works was not only truly popular but, above all, feminine speech. All of Levyckyjs female characters are fine examples of those "evil women" immortalized in old anecdotes and iokes. They often begin as kind and compassionate young maidens; but as they grow old they become relentlessly venomous and embroiled in bitter conflicts which are unnecessary both for them and their husbands.

Necuj-Levyckyjs novels do not always have a definite plot: the work that is perhaps his best, Kajdaseva simja (The Kajdas Family, 1879), does not even have a conclusion. The novels masculine characters do not evolve or change at all, while the women seem to fall under the sway pf some sort of demons of spite and fractiousness. The double story "Baba Paraska ta Baba Palazka" ("Baba Paraska and Baba Palazka," 1874) about the mutual accusations of two women who live in the same village is a testimony to Levyckyjs linguistic skill For the rhythm of the womens language and their intonation dominates their accusations against one another so that a reader fluent in Ukrainian can read both monologs (over twenty pages in all) faultlessly, capturing the same tone and mood which the author wished to impart to his protagonists. Levyckyjs earlier peasant novels included Mykola Dzerja (1878), the tale of a peasant who seeks work in a foreign land, and Burlacka /80/ (A Vagrant Girl, 1881), the story of a girl who undergoes terrible hardships while working far from home; by the end of the novel, however (although not at the end other life), she seems to be the only woman who has mellowed and achieved a certain equilibrium.

While it is unnecessary to enumerate all of Necuj-Levyckyjs stories which deal with peasant life, their frequent lack of a dominant idea (and-surprisingly for a Ukrainian writer of humor) should be acknowledged On the other hand, when he stepped beyond peasant themes or those dealing with the petty middle class, as m the novel Prycepa (An Intruder, 1869), Levyckyj lost his instinct for language. The poverty of his linguistic program stands out with extraordinary clarity in his attempts to portray the life of the intelligentsia: Nad Cornym morem (On the Black Sea Coast, 1890); that of the Old-World clergy and their families: Starosvitski batjusky ta matusky (Old-Fashioned Clerics and Their Wives, appearing in Russian translation in 1884, and in Ukrainian in 1888); and even academic circles (clearly the Kiev Theological Academy) in Xmary (Clouds, written around 1870 but not published until 1908). The difficulty consisted in the impossibility of creating vivid, authentic images of non-peasant life with the aid of an exclusively peasant language. None of Levyckyjs urban inellectuals, clerical families, as well as the relatives of professors and students, have either the words or expressions with which to articulate their thoughts (if, 1 fact, they have any thoughts). A similar case is that of the two professors: in every instance the one is depicted as a complete fool (an altogether invalid impression of Kievan Academy professors), while the other, a professor of /81/ philosophy (bearing the name of Dashkevyc and modeled after the famous professor of philosophy, P. Jurkevyc, who later became the tutor of V. Solovev in Moscow) is unable to give any clear expression to his national ideas and fears. A young student with national and political inclinations is also depicted by external features only. In the same way, the discussions among the intellectuals in Kisinev are quite trivial (On the Mack Sea Coast); there is only one character, a Greek, who is portrayed as a truly thinkingperson. The conversations of priests families (Old-Fashioned Clerics...) are also generally of a petty nature, dealing with official duties, etc., religious ideology never figures in their content. It is interesting that these novels often contain foreign words (unknown to peasants); however, these terms are almost always related to aspects of middle-class life such as dwellings, furnishings, food, dress e.g., altanka (bower), bufet (buffet), kanapa (sofa), punsh (punch, liquor), rom (rum), akvavit (liquor), buket (bouquet), hirljanda (garland), lokony (curls), as well as fantastycnyj (fantastic), narkotycnyj (narcotic), fraza (phrase), etc.

During the latter part of his life, however, Necuj-Levyckyj frequently inveighed against the modernization of the Ukrainian literary language. In his polemics, published in special tracts, he showed himself favorable to the admission of Galician words of "genuinely popular dialects"; but occasionally his ideas led him to such formulations as "Dija literatiiry vzircem knyznoho jazyka povynen bitty imenno jazyk silskoji baby z jiji syntaksom" ("The model of a literary language should, in fact, be the speech and syntax of a village crone"). Levyckyjs attack on "artificial" and "coined" words in modern Ukrainian was quite /82/ witty in places and could have made an impression on fairly broad circles of young people and of provincial intelligentsia. However, the artistic defects of Levyckyjs own novels of the life of the intelligentsia made it impossible for his linguistic theories to be put into practice.

On a considerably higher spiritual level were the novels and tales of another author who employed the common language exclusively Panas Myrnyj (pseudonym of Panas Rudcenko, 1849-1920). Attempts at translations from Russian literature were followed by publication of his story "Lyxyj poputav" ("Its the Devils Doing") in the Lviv Pravda in 1872. By 1875 he had completed, with the collaboration of his brother (pseudonym Ivan Bilyk), the large novel Xiba revutvoly, jak jasla povni (When One Has Enough, One Does Not Complain) or Propashca syla (Wasted Strength) which was published in Geneva in 1880, but did not appear in Ukraine until 1903. It is the story of a peasant who, as a result of bitter experiences with the injustices of Russian society and administration, becomes a robber. The novel presents not only the figure of the hero, Cipka, but also broad social and political scenes as well as images of Cipkas contemporaries who, for the most part, have been reduced to passive figures. Cipkas wife, Halja, is presented as being in the same circumstances which ultimately drive her to commit suicide. In its composition the novel adheres to the requirements of Realist stylistic theory: the author depicts the evolution of his hero together with the pre-history of his village and, in addition, he describes the figures of the Russian and Polish masters and landowners dating back to the period of serfdom. On the one hand the novel tries to convey an objective /83/ picture of reality. On the other it presents masterly satirical impressions of conditions m the villages and small townstableaux which, while not evoking- the active opposition of the characters in the novel, did elicit such feelings in.its readers. The banning of the novel in Russia was thus politically inevitable.

Over the course of a long period of time during which he published short stories dealing with various types of people from the city and the intelligentsia, Myrnyj worked on a second novel, Povija (A Fallen Woman), a rather "unfinished" piece of writing which he completed around 1905. This novel, too, is primarily not merely a portrayal of an individual and her fate-that of the heroine, Xrystja, who is driven into prostitution by circumstance. It is also a portrayal of the environment and the surroundings which thrust her onto this path. In addition to the heroine, other female characters are presented, some of whom share her fate. To some readers, the novel appeared to be an idealization of the village, whose positive qualities peculiar to the Ukrainian character were lost by its inhabitants only in the city. It was a false impression. The author was presenting a view of the new, post-reform village and was demonstrating that even here people were becoming degenerate under the influence of the new conditions scarcely much better than the old. Then, the author changes his narration to the city where at every instance there is a conspicuous expansion of that village question which certain Realists would have wanted to retain: the problem of the village women in the city.

It was in Ukrainian theatre that this issue survived the /84/ longest For, apart from its categorical obligations to the people, Ukrainian theatre was also characterized by grave literary defects, in particular the maintenance of the peasant problem exclusively and the cultivation of other, especially historical, themes on this same linguistic level. It is interesting to note that Realists such as Necuj-Levyckyj and Myrnyj were unable to create "successful" plays which might have survived in the repertoire of Ukrainian theatre.

Of course, Myrnyjs works were not the only ones which, while known to merely a certain narrow circle of readers, were greatly significant in the awakening of national and political consciousness among those wider groups which they managed to reach from time to time. For Eastern Ukraine, however, works from the urban milieu and the intelligentsia were particularly important, as they emphasized the fact that the Ukrainian language, even if a peasant language, could become the language of the socially and politically concerned middle, upper and urban strata of the population. Even such minimal propaganda had great significance in Eastern Ukraine during this period.


To be sure, among the writers of the period of Realism there was no lack of adherents of the other trend either that of the lexical extension of Ukrainian beyond quotidian language and peasant usage. It should simply be recognized that, for various reasons, societys familiarity with their views was much less than its knowledge of the views of Necuj-Levyckyj and his supporters, which seemed so persuasive on first glance. There were, however, a large number of these writers as shall be seen among those /85/ wider circles of the population in Eastern Ukraine, which were able and which aspired to have access to certain works of Ukrainian literature and to the theatre.

Among the first of those who supported expansion of the function of the Ukrainian language were writers whose views reflected a belated Romanticism enlivened somewhat by a respect for the ideals of Realism. Their number included, for example, Olena Pcilka (Kosac), 1849-1930. While not opposed to increasing the number of vernacular words in the literary language, neither was this intelligent and independent writer against borrowing from other languages, including Slavic, nor the use of coined words and neologisms. She judiciously pointed out that the supporters of an exclusively popular language were, in fact, restricting the use of Ukrainian to private life and domestic usage, a warning which had already been given clear expression earlier (by Kostomarov, for example). She declared "let our literary language accept coined words then, . that is if there is a reason for it." In resisting linguistic stagnation and "narrow narodnist" she opposed the tendency to allow the national question to be the primary consideration always. And if this be the decision with regard to language, then all else must be treated in the same way... whether music or whatever, let the primary criterion for . all be national:

Consequently, even learning should not be. encouraged;. that philosophy which one of our peasants has is enough.

Moreover, she defended the Galician intelligentsia which created, as it were, its own language according to its cultural requirements.

Olena Pcilka prepared for her own independent work /86/ in the field of lexicon enrichment by doing translations of the tales of Hans Christian Andersen and of the stones of Gogol. Later, she wrote original stories dealing with the life of people in the city, with the intelligentsia and with Ukrainian youth. Her works, which were published in Galician periodicals, won the appreciation of Ivan Franko despite the fact that her political views reflected only a moderate liberalism. Included among her accomplishments was the editorship of a Ukrainian language journal for children, particularly Eastern Ukrainian children (who did not understand Galician childrens literature). Here too, she attempted to introduce neologisms, which were not always successful: such, for example, was her bid to replace an old folk word (itself a borrowing from the Byzantine), kyt (whale), with a barely suitable word, velryb, modeled on the Czech. Considerably better were the neologisms Pcilka developed for intellectual language and also her borrowings from the Galician literary language. To her may also be ascribed the first use of such words as mystectvo (art), peremozec (conqueror), promenystyj (radiant), naleznyj (belonging), urocystyj (solemn), kultura (culture), atmosfera (atmosphere). Also found in her work, however, are such rather unfelicitous neologisms as zaharlyvyj (zealous) instead of simple borrowings from foreign (particularly classical) languages such as enerhijnyj (energetic) from the Greek.

Pcilkas stones, which also appeared in separate collections (three in number from 1907 to 1911) were not especially strong literary works. Similarly, her theatrical pieceslike the plays of many other writers of the time-were either unsuccessful or denied stage presentation altogether. /87/ The stories which she published in the 1880s were concerned to a limited extent with village life, with which. Pcilka was very familiar. But in a few tales; ("Tovarysky" ["Girlfriends," 1887],"Pigmahon," 1884) she touched upon cultural and political questions registenng a negative attitude toward the radical slogans of a segment of the Ukrainian intelligentsia of the day. Her tradition of Realism was particularly associated with the depiction of broad scenes and the detailed portrayal of characters as well as the attempt to understand their interior lives. The stories of Olena Pcilka are, in fact, good sources of information about Ukrainian life for the period from the 1870s to the 1890s. Later, at the beginning of the twentieth century, her works presented images of the new Ukrainian middle class and of the new type of landowner and industrialist. Pcilka (whose kin included Drahomanov and the famous poetess, Lesja Ukrajmka, her daughter) was sometimes attacked by Ukrainian critics and writers who belonged to the linguistic "school" of Necuj-Levyckyj. The fact that she was interested in portraying the personal experiences of her characters led to the charge that she was unnecessarily imitating foreign models (mainly the Russian psychological novel of, for example. Lev Tolstoj and Dostoevskij). Also considered "unnecessary" was her cross-over to the sphere of Galician literature. She disliked symbolism (the "Decadents").

Another proponent of such views about the further development of Ukrainian literature was art older contemporary of Olena Pcilka, Myxajlo Staryckyj (1840-1904), the author of numerous verse and prose works in Ukrainian and Russian. His Ukrainian verse efforts were, to a certain /88/ extent, expenments in the use of Ukrainian as a "cultivated language." Like Olena Pcilka, he began by translating foreign writers (as well as the well-known Russian and Polish poets) such as Heine, Goethe, Byron, Hugo and the prose tales of H. C. Andersen. These attempts were rather weak in the main for, generally, even the works of secondary poets are difficult to translate adequately. Frequently, Staryckyj had to use words which merely provided verse lines with a certain rhythm. He also employed neologisms, the creation of which is the province of only the most gifted poets; consequently, his "coined words" often were objects of derision for his readers. The most amazing of these words, however, were not Staryckyjs own inventions; they were the contrivance of witty critics and parodists. Nor were his neologisms especially bold: bajduzist (indifference), mucen (martyr), truzen (toiler), dohidec (a useful person), zradectvo (treachery), rozdolyj (expansive), sumijavyj (rustling), iskrytysja (to sparkle), poryvannja (striving). Several were understandable only from their contexts: zaxnyj (frightful), strymcak (restrained character). He also sometimes used rare words from the folk language. These, however, seemed artificial to his readers; they included: ketjah (cluster), sarity (to dawn), uscuxnuty (to diminish), etc. Staryckyjs efforts clearly demonstrated that the coming of new words required not only a special gift per se, but also the ability to introduce them into works which will remain memorable. Quite unmemorable, however, are Staryckyjs verse attempts which seem to lack some essential quality-lightness or a musical quality or, possibly, cleverness of construction or of particular expressions. Staryckyjs best verses, perhaps, were his translations of Serbian epic songs ilthough here, too, experts may detect /89/ many deviations.

Staryckyjs dramatic works had a somewhat paradoxical fate: not only were they presented on stage in other than their original authorized form, but Staryckyj himself (for reasons to be discussed later) was forced to conr tribute to he changes in them or, it might be said, to their ruin.

The Ukrainian language prose works of Staryckyj dealt mainly with peasant themes. The new post-reform village was portrayed without any idealization of he peasants and without excessive ethnographic details. A few tales of peasant life as well as many of his stories about the petty intelligentsia (especially heatrical artists) were written in Russian. Staryckyj also wrote novels and tales dealing with. Ukrainian history the seventeenth century, chiefly, but also the eighteenth century uprising that were very successful. But, despite the authors source studies, his depiction of events often seems rather primitive, stemming in art from the mistaken notion of the complete and everlasting unity of the Ukrainian people. It was a point of view which dominated Ukrainian belles lettres from the time of Gogols Taras Bulba (although Kulis in The Black Council had attempted, not without success, to destroy this idea). Because of difficulties with language, among other things, Staryckyj published some of his historical tales in Russian. The large number of Staryckyjs works which were written in Russian is proof not only that the "coining" of words was not a matter for every poet, but also that the nature of readers in Eastern Ukraine was such that they could not easily grasp these neologisms.

Still other writers contributed to the enrichment of the /90/ Ukrainian language. A notable example from Eastern Ukraine was Borys Hrincenko (1863-1910), whose works dealt with peasant material and, in addition, some foreign "Western" themes. Also important were his numerous translations and popularizing efforts (e.g., works on geography), as well as his collecting of ethnographic materials and, finally, his publication of a dictionary of the Ukrainian language (in fact, he was only the coordinator of material collected by voluntary esearchers).

Another Eastern Ukrainian prosaist worthy of note was Volodymyr Leontovyc (pseudonym, Levenko, 1866-1938). His well-written stories treated the life of professionals and landowners in whose Ukrainianization he laid great store. They presented a large number of social problems, but practically ignored the personal (especially the erotic) experiences of their main characters.

A different situation prevailed in Western Ukraine. There was no need, here, to campaign for the widening of the literary language into all cultural spheres. On the contrary, forces existed which demanded such an extension: primarily these were governmental interests which feared expansion of Russia or of "Russophilism." Ukrainian society for its part was anxious about the broadening spheres of influence of the Polish language which, despite all obstacles, was making inroads among the mixed populations of the cities and was already being reflected in the pronunciation of Ukrainian. (While on a theatrical tour in Galicia before the war, 1914, the famous actor Hnat Jura reported hearing the children of his Galician colleagues saying "si smije" instead of the Eastern Ukrainian "smijetsfa" [he laughs]).

The Eastern Ukrainian who stood closest to Galician /91/ literary life was O. Konyskyj (1836-1900), a publicist and biographer of Shevcenko, as well as a writer of Russian stories. Tymofij Borduljak (1863-1938), a Catholic priest and writer of stories based chiefly on peasant material, felt obliged to attribute to his own peasant background the fact that there was a certain one-sidedness in his work; and, in imitation of Necuj-Levyckyjs lame argument, he also imputed the linguistic limitations of his stories to his origins. Foremost among the many, although not always recognized, collaborators of periodicals or publishers of their own work should be cited Natalia Kobrynska (1855-1920). An unquestionably talented author, she began writing stories of a traditional, realistic character dealing with the people. Then in the 1890s she turned to stories or "fairy tales" whose psychological and symbolic content attested a relationship to Ukrainian Modernism a trend which, as shall be seen, did not sunder ties with Realism in any violent or thoroughgoing manner as was the case in Polish and Russian literature.

Of course, the leading writer of Galicia was incarnated in the person of Ivan Franko (1856-1916). However, he did not stand in any way at the head of Galician literature; for he was a socialist, a fact which led many Galician writers to avoid him and others to become his declared enemies. Franko was a talented prosaist as well as poet, although his poetry, developed further and in many more directions . than did his prose works. He was also a fine, diligent and learned I Slavist whose works were admired even among those people indifferent to his literary activity, and which have retained their importance to the present day.

Franko shared completely the views of Olena Pcilka and /92/ others regarding the development of the language. Moreover, the role he played not only in Galician but also, by all accounts, in Ukrainian literature as a whole, was as significant as that of Sevcenko. It is scarcely worthwhile to attempt any summary characterization of Frankos creativity. Nevertheless, for readers aware of Frankos importance, mention should be made of his particular place in Ukrainian Realism and in its development, especially in the history of Ukrainian verse.

Franko did not stop at gaining a place for Realism in Western Ukraine which already had a firm tradition (although neither old nor brilliant) in literature and journalism. He also had to battle to justify his own linguistic position and, as well, to fight for a certain political ideal which at first seemed hopeless to his Galician contemporaries socialism. Only the incredible creative energy of Franko could, have taken up these different tasks at one time-problems which each require all the strength and devotion of the individual. Frankos Realism is not completely illustrated by his literary works; he also presented his concept of Realism m a theoretic treatise. This was not a form that had been used by writers in Eastern Ukraine where Realism had crept imperceptibly not without the considerable influence of Russian literature into well prepared ground. Frankos notion of Realism demanded of him certain large goals. Although he labeled himself a "microscopist," a writer who sees and portrays details, this was not his aim. He wanted, rather, to demonstrate "that which was universal, eternal and immortal in the particular, the partial, and the accidental." This is, m fact, a better and clearer description of Realism than the term /93/ "typization," a designation applicable only in circumstances where there is sufficient material to allow the portrayal of types. Franko, an early, even "premature," Ukrainian socialist "acquired the habit of discovering the entire world m a drop of water," of viewing the minutiae of life through his creative microscope. Because of his closer proximity to the European world he was able to look through his microscope into the future ("microscopic astronomy") which at that time had touched the Ukraine only fleetingly. Some Eastern Ukrainian poets also considered themselves socialists, but their socialism was oriented toward the altogether unsocialistic village. Franko, however, expressed his hopes for a proletarian (scientific) socialism, and with much superior force as illustrated by hisstriking and expressive tableaux Boryslavski opovidannja (Boryslav Stories). He supported the Eastern Ukrainians in their linguistic struggle as a matter of course, and to the extent that he studied the language, including that of Necui-Levyckyj. Stylistically, however, he was schooled in the West (which in no way lessens his merits) or, to be more specific, he had to create his own style. It was only with Lesja Ukrajinka that Franko was connected but this was through a certain world view.

It should be remembered that Franko was also a scholar and publicist (his research into the different linguistic devices used in these various branches of the literary language deserves further study). This accounts for the particular attention he paid to investigating the beginnings and sources of conflicts-whether contemporaneous or future. He delighted, for example, in stories about children and he provided for the adult characters of his, prose /94/ detailed descriptions of their motivations. In addition, he turned to the thirteenth century in order to find the sources of contemporary life ("Zaxar Berkut"). Franko viewed reality, therefore, from a loftier perspective than most that of a literary master who was both a scholar and a political person as well as an artist, although the reader saw nothing but the latter.

Frankos psychological depiction was peculiarly characteristic of the author: while he perceived some affinity with Myrnyjs handling of the style, the work of the latter was less brilliant as well as more positive. In his struggle against primitivism of form and content, Franko sought his standards outside Ukraine: the psychological skills of Tolstoj, Turgenev and even Dostoevski] were the ttiodels he set himself. He observed the social conflicts dividing the Ukrainian people and portrayed them as no one else had done (although these antagonisms had been perceived by Kulish, a Romantic, and quite unlike Franko in his depiction of the past m The Black Council). These vivid pieces (e.g., "Perexresni stezky" ["The Crossroads"]) are the finest results of Frankos "microscopic astronomy." Hot only did Franko present certain human types in his work; social groups too were described: as well as the peasantry and the proletariat he portrayed the Ukrainian and foreign bourgeoisie, modern capitalists and the clergy. The rich variety of his depiction approaches the symbolic quite often. However, Franko should not, therefore, be regarded as a "symbolist," a label which cannot be affixed to Gorky considerably later. Soviet critics writing about Gorkys connection with Franko seem to assume that Franko was Gorkys disciple, forgetting that the latter wrote at a much /95/ later date. Or alternately, such criticism treats Frankos significance as consisting merely in the fact that Corky was drawn to make some quite trivial remarks about him later. !

While Franko produced approximately one hundred pieces of prose (including nine longer novels), he was also the author of works of poetry which often lead the reader into the living, intimate world of the poets experiences. However, his collections are so different in form and style that reading the series of them produces the impression of having encountered a succession of separate, individual poets. This was not because of rather, the result of a development in form, and of a union of lyrical motifs with motifs from the other spheres of Frankos activity, including the publicistic (Polemicini virsi [polemical verses]) and the scholarly (see for instance, Mij izmaragd [My Emerald], 1885 and 1911 as well as other colletions). Such an interest in form was uncommon among Ukrainian Realistic poets (except for Staryckyjs not particularly remarkable efforts), and even more rare among their Russian counterparts. Franko employed many different verse forms: apart from his sonnets (including the prison, series) and tercets dealing with various subjects, he imitated classical. meters (Horace) such as the epigrammatic couplet and traditional Ukrainian forms (e.g., spivomovky). In My Emerald, he not only used themes and titles takien from ancient Ukrainian collections, but also presented tales which were imitations of apocryphal stories (for example, the tale about the drunkard whom they had to admit into paradise, or the parodies of hagiographies such as that of Saint Grozdij from the south Slavic tradition transformed by Franko into /96/ Saint Seledij). He also translated and imitated classical and Hindu works as well as numerous Western and Slavic works.

Frankos verses date back to the 1870s with the publication in 1887 of the major collection Z versyn ta nyzyn (From Heights and Depths; enlarged second edition, 1893). Then there followed the collection Zivjale lystja (Withered Leaves, 1896), My Emerald (1897), Iz dniv zurby (From the Days of Sorrow, 1900), Semper tiro, Davne j nove (The Ancient and the Recent, a 1911 reworking of My Emerald supplemented with the political Iz zloby dnja [Out of the Evil of the Day]); and finally Iz lit mojeji molodosti (From the Days of My Youth, 1914). Within the collections were lengthy cycles and individual poems ("Vyshensky" in From the Days of Sorrow), although "Mojsey" ("Moses"), a poem with extensive political symbolism, appeared separately in 1905. Indeed, an interesting political orientation characterizes much of Frankos poetry. Humor, satire and political polemics are all features of his earliest works, such as Kamenjari (The Stonecutters, 1878). And his first collection opens with the characteristic poem "Vicnyj revoljucioner" ("Eternal Revolutionary") whose title refers to "Spirit," the nature of which is developed in later images: science, thought and freedom.

In the twentieth century, the poetic collections of Franko together with Lesja Ukrajinkas dramatic poems of the same period were hailed by the Modernists as their own. Like Ukrajinkas works, Frankos collections and separate poems bore titles taken from foreign languages: Semper tiro Excelsior, Ex nihilo, Plain Air. For the Modernists (and "Decadents" a label incorrectly applied to /97/

Modernists in general, to second-rate polemicists, and even to Franko), such foreign designations were a means of setting themselves apart from the simple reader.

Frankos creativity, too, was aimed at the intellectuals who, however, may indeed have sprung from the common people. The times had already produced.such people! Moreover, Franko tried constantly to adapt his language to Eastern Ukrainian norms. Consequently, it was no impediment for the reader to encounter in the national-tragic poem "Ivan Vyshensky" the Galician, student expression "spik mene" for zrizav na ispyti (to fail in an examination), as is said in Eastern Ukraine. Other examples include the descriptions of the church bells on Mount Athos: "oklykatesVatoped" "rozlyvajes" Iveron" for the Eastern Ukrainian vidklykajetsja and rozlyvajetsja to be sure the latter word was rarely used here to describe church bells. Franko always wanted to be not just a regional poet but a poet of universal Ukrainian stature; he achieved his goal.

Mention might be made here of Frankos pupils, in particular, Olha Kobyljanska (1863-1942): ultimately, however, she must be placed among the Modernists.


The theatre played a distinguished part in the history of Ukrainian Realistic literature. To some degree this corresponded to the role played by the theatre antong some other Slavic nations; but, on the whole, nowhere else did theatre, acquire such significance as it did in Ukraine. At times here it seemed to stand at the very center of literary development a situation which, unfortunately, did not accurately reflect the true literary value of the dramas. /98/ However, the authors alone were not to blame for this. Rather, general practice was such that the plays of the leading writers (as discussed above) did not reach the stage in Eastern Ukraine; or if, as with the works of Staryckyj, they did achieve stage presentation, their authors were obliged, by imperatives not limited to censorship, to lower their quality.

Indeed, in addition to the usual censorship, there existed a special theatrical censorship capable of forbidding the presentation of plays approved by the regular censorship and already in print. Beyond these, a censorship of local authorities existed which could prevent the mounting of plays passed by the other two. But there was also the "censorship" of Ukrainian theatre itself: for, while Ukrainian theatre was able to play an important role in the development of Ukrainian consciousness, it failed to contribute to its elevation and, indeed, actually lowered it. The illusion was, therefore, engendered that within the limits of the Russian empire no "complete" Ukrainian nation existed or could ever exist (For a discussion of this notion see chapter on Ukrainian Classicism above.) In fact, the reason Ukrainian theatre had such a peculiar influence is contained in the quality of the dramatists, in the influence of the older Ukrainian theatrical tradition and, perhaps most important, in the low cultural level of the audiences attending Ukrainian theatrical productions. This statement deserves further elaboration.

The history of the Ukrainian theatre is a long one. Its vernacular tradition alone dates back to the first attempts at intermedia by the Baroque Polish and Ukrainian Church Slavonic theatre. Following these were the comedies of /99/ Kotljarevskyj and Vasyi Hohol. Moreover, it is clear that the story tellers and narrators of real-life anecdotes (komiky, in whom Necuj-Levyckyj was interested) were the predecessors of such famous Ukrainian actors as Karpo Solenyk (1811-51) and Myxajlo Scepkin (1788-1863) The later, however, acquired their fame only partly through the small number of Ukrainian plays then in existence, but mainly through works in Russian, e.g., those of Nikolaj Gogol and even of Shaxovskoj; accordingly, the talent of such actors was uselessly forfeited. In addition, there were the rather primitive plays of Kvitka and such forgotten authors as Topolja, Kuxarenko, etc Another factor was that the first Ukrainian presentations were amateur affairs. At the end of the 1850s they were being produced by Marko Vovcok and her husband, 0. Markovyc; at the same time amateur productions were being organized in Cernihiv and Kiev.

The founding of a permanent theatrical troupe resulted from the initiative of Kropyvnyckyj in Bobrynec and of the brothers Tobilevyc in Jelizavet (Jelizavetgrad). Again there emerged the problem, not uncommon in the history of literature, that the theatrical qualities of plays do not necessarily always correspond to their literary qualities. Even the amateur artists were dissatisfied with attempts to mount older plays (e.g., Kvitkas "Bilingual," Russo-Ukrainian plays about Shelmenko, and Shevchenkos "Nazar Stodolja"). Mew plays were required. From the beginning they were provided by the amateur Kropyvnyckyj. Somewhat later it became clear that one of the TobilevyoS brothers (pseudonym, Karpenko-Karyj) was an even better theatrical author (although hardly notable as a literary artist). These plays /100/ were to the complete satisfaction of his brothers as amateurs, and also suited the new actresses, amateurs too, very much. As well as the Tobilevyc brothers, who appeared on stage as Sadovskyj and Saksahanskyj, Kropyvnyckyj and Karpenko-Karyj were also fine actors. The performances of these actors and actresses were highly popular not only with the Ukrainian public but also in foreign cities (St. Petersburg) and among audiences generally neutral or even hostile toward Ukrainians. These successes outside Ukraine coincided with long periods during which Ukrainian theatre was prohibited within the country and its leading figures were often subjected to persecution by the authorities. Because he lacked a good education, M. L. Kropyvnyckyj (1840-1910), a native of the Xerson region, had to earn his living as a court clerk. His acting career dated from 1871 which marked the beginning of association with various Russian troupes which also presented Ukrainian plays from time to time. In 1874 he had occasion to work in Galicia, an experience which contributed to his development as a theatrical figure. After 1881, Kropyvnyckyj organized a Ukrainian troupe in Eastern Ukraine and visited the major regions of the Russian Empire. By the 1860s he had already begun to mount his own plays ("Daj sercju volju, zavede v nevolju" ["Give Your Heart Freedom and It Will Enslave You"], 1863, later rewritten) as well as other pieces (plays based on themes by Sevcenko: Nevo Unyk [Tlie Captive] and Gogol [Taras Bulba] ), and to write some original dramas ("Doky sonce zijde rosa oci vyjist" ["Until the Sun Rises, the Dew Will Corrode the Eyes"], "Hlytaj aboz pavuk" ["The Profiteer or the Spider"] ,etc Then at the end of his life he started to write plays dealing with contemporary subjects (war). /101/

Kropyvnyckyj possessed an absolute power evident not only in his knowledge of a scene but in his ability to convey primitive humor as in his extraordinarily popular comedy "Po reviziji" ("After the Inspection") based on the experiences of village "bureaucracy." However, an examination of the content of the individual plays reveals that the author was merely presenting pictures of social oppression which were already common knowledge ("Hlytaj") as well as extremely primitive depictions of tragic tension . which even his contemporaries treated sceptically as "melodramas." Nevertheless, with a view to the enthralled audiences who belonged to the real "people," that public which could be taught but whose tastes could not be easily accommodated, Kropyvnyckyj, as was the tradition in. Ukrainian theatre, combined dramas of tragic intensity with songs and dances-scenes which Ukrainian intellectuals characterized thus: "Vypjemo horillcy potancjujemo". ("Well drink our brandy, then well dance"). It thus became necessary for Ukrainian troupes to maintain dancers, singers, as well as the almost circus-like komiky. The latter were particularly noted for their improvisations their own comic scenes placed within any play whatever; for example., such a komik (often very good) might stand in front of a tavern assuming the tragic tone of a Hamlet and pondering the questions "To go, or not to go" (into the tavern) or "To drink, or not to drink." Kropyvnyckyj was also the creator of comic female types as well as individual scenes of verse declamations.

Admittedly, Kropyvnyckyj, with his own productions, demonstrated to certain segments of the urban population that the Ukrainian theatre was an authentic theatre /102/ and that Ukrainian was a literary language. On the other hand, however, virtually the entire character of this theatre was a throw-back to the era of Kotljarevskyj or even earlier, to that of the interludes. It also invited the imitation of theatrical entrepreneurs who saw that Ukrainian theatre could become a good business and who either shamelessly abbreviated Ukrainian plays or combined their own works. A favorite play of the time was "Pan miroshnyk abo satana u bocci" ( "Master Miller or a Satan in a Cask"). Ukrainian intellectuals were later stirred to combat such entrepreneurs whom Vynnycenko collectively called "Harkun-Zadunajskyj."

Only in certain respects can Karpenko-Karyj (pseudonym of I. Tobilevyc, 1845-1907) be compared with Kropyvnyckyj. From the beginning he resembled Kropyvnyckyj for what they both lacked serious ideas about the themes they depicted in their works. However, Karpenko also imitated some of Kropyv-nyckyjs negative features perhaps because of the successes which, somehow, the very defects of Kropyvnyckyjs theatre brought him.

Karpenko-Karyj first began working as a minor government official. However, he was dismissed because of unreliability and sent to Novocerkask m 1884, and later (1889) to his own xutir where he devoted his time to his self-education and to literary activity. He worked diligently until his serious illness m 1904, producing eighteen plays and a number of paraphrases of foreign works. His repertory alone enabled Ukrainian theatres to exist without seeking for other, foreign material. /103/

The first works of Karpenko-Karyj, whose theatrical career proper was begun in conjunction with his brothers, were ethnographic plays based on peasant life. Although the social motifs which he developed were commonplace, the authors grasp of a scene served him well: thus, every play had attractive masculine and feminine roles and was well constructed. However, in the tradition of Kropyvnyckyj, they contained that peculiar mixture which combined tragedy with songs and dancing (and at that time the directors added even more of these elements to their productions). Only the last plays of Karpenko-Karyj rose above the mediocre level. However, at the end of the nineteenth century, it was too late for plays of this type. While readers were impressed by the variety of charactertypes (some already dated) in the play "Cumaky" ("Wagoneers," 1897), the main problem of the work human happiness was, unfortunately, posed in a rather primitive manner. It was scarcely necessary at that point in time to declare that happiness does not rest in money!

It was during an earlier period that Karpenko-Karyj had presented his best works which could have built a fine theatrical career: "Martyn Borulja" (1886), "Xazjajin" ("The Landlord" 1900),and "Sujeta" ("Vanity" 1903).To this list might be added the tendentious but well-written play "Ponad Dniprom" ("On the Dnieper" 1897), dedicated to attempts of Ukrainian populists of the time to organize peasant associations. As it happened, however, it was not until after the authors death that his plays received firstrate performances. It was only then that actors appeared who were interested in playing the role of more than just a simple naive peasant (or worse, peasant woman). /104/

While these, the better plays of Karpenko-Karyj, were no longer dependent on the motif of drinking and the presence of dancers, they had not yet dispensed with a humor that was still very primitive. They had at their base perhaps in consideration of their peasant audiencesan old-fashioned didacticism. Martyn Boruljas abortive attempt to prove his noble descent results in psychic instability; but were passions such as his very typical? In "The Landlord," Terentij Puzyr (like the hero of an earlier play, "Sto tysjac" ("A Hundred Thousand," 1889]), an already wealthy man introduces husbandry into his large estates, making them into well-organized "economies." He takes shameless advantage of his farm laborers ignoring their tearful entreaties which reach him through his daughter; he is incapable of associating with the intelligent people of his area. Here, Karpenko-Karyj supposedly foresees the beginnings of a popular movement against the exploitation Of such proprietors. However, was this type of wealthy Ukrainian always the rule? Indeed, at that time, the Ukrainian cultural movement itself was actually being supported by rich landowners such as Cykalenko and Symyrenko. The authors weakest moralizing occurs in "Vanity" the play most popular with the children (although with adults as well) of the older generation. The children of the well-to-do peasant Barylcenko received a good education; however, his son, a school inspector, feels ashamed of his parents when they visit his city lodgings because of their peasant dress and their use of Ukrainian. But here, too, the audiences must have asked: is it always thus? And, from this point of view, should children therefore be denied a higher education and be left in the /105/ "peasant" condition of their parents? The overly primitive although quite brilliantly demonstrated moral found m these, the better plays of Karpenko-Karyj, had the effect, at the beginning of the twentieth century, of contributing to the misunderstanding, and even to impeding the development of the Ukrainian village.

Plays having historical subject matter were also part of. Karpenko-Karyjs repertoire: "Palyvoda 18st" (" Madcap of the 18th Century" 1893), "Lyxaiskra" ("Evil Spark" 1896), "Sava Calyj" (1899), and "Handzja" (1902). While the amount of Ukrainian patriotism in them is considerable, there is little comprehension of historical events (in "Handzja" the political conflict between Dorosenko and Xanenko is reduced to that of rivalry over a woman, Handzja). But historical dramas provided material for colorful productions with pseudo-historical costumes and. decor and fantastic figures with incredible whiskers and tufts, etc. In effect, it was a very unfortunate regression to . the theater of pre-Shevcenkian times.

The fact which most astonishes the contemporary reader is that the followers of the theatrical tradition of Kropyvnyckyj should number among them such a supporter of the cultural development of the Ukrainian language as Myxajlo Staryckyj (1840-1904). The legacy of this, cultural aristocrat, a translator of "Hamlet" (unpublished), includes several plays which later become Ukrainian favorites of the "Harkun-Zadunajskyj" type as well as the creation of a theatrical troupe which he himself headed. His Ukrainian plays were adapted to the level of the audiences of the day. Although he also wrote historical plays, his theater was characterized by such trappings as /106/ amazingly long whiskers, trousers as wide "as the Black Sea" and embroidered shirts, and in his tragedies-singing and dancing. Such external effects remained a facet of Staryckyjs work until the end of his life.

As has already been noted, Staryckyj was a supporter of the ideas of Olena Pcilka concerning the Ukrainian languages need for cultural elevation. Yet in his own theatrical works he submitted to the examples of Kropyvnyckyj. And, in several cases, he "amended" his works by augmenting their ethnographic, ornaments. The only explanation possible is that he was impressed by the success enjoyed by Kropyvnyckyjs plays. In this mold was Staryckyjs immensely popular "Jak kovbasa ta narka, to mynetsja i svarka" ("With Sausage and liquor, the Quarrelling Will Pass," 1873), a vaudeville differing from his famous comedy "After the Inspection" only by its lack of even the minimal (critical) ideology found in the latter play. Staryckyjs other plays (not all of which reached the stage), while equally as popular, were among the worst things in the repertoire of the Ukrainian theater. These were " Ne sudylos" ("It Was Not Destined" 1881, first performed in 1884) where the author drew a skeptical portrayal of populist liberals; "Oj ne xody, Hrycju, taj na venornyci" ("0, Dont Go to the Party, Hryc" 1887) which depicts the tragic fate of Hryc against a background of song and dance; "U Temrjavi" ("In the Darkness" 1892), a play dealing with the village milieu; as well as "Za dvoma zajcjamy" ("Chasing Two Hares" 1883) which is set in the city and "Talon" ("Fate" 1893), a play dealing with the life of intellectuals, specifically the fate of an actress; and later historical plays, "Xmelnyckyj" (1897), "Oborona Bust" ("The Defense of /107/ Busa" 1899), characterized by an incredible idealization of Cossack leaders. Political and social motifs may be found in Staryckyjs plays. But, in articles and private letters, Staryckyj wrote primarily about the necessity of scenic effects, colorful ethnographic material, etc. With such precepts, the theater could hardly become an educational medium for the people, much less for the intelligentsia.

The fate of the theater was altogether different in Western Ukraine where for a long time there simply was no thriving theatrical life. Travelling companies existed on translations and borrowings (from the Austrian theater). . Even Franko, the author of several plays himself, was unable to bring it life. For, blind to the weaknesses of Eastern Ukrainian theater, he envisaged that Galician theater should stage concrete representations of contemporary events. The majority of his plays written in the 1890s and consisting of four complete dramas and a few minor theatrical pieces were long considered to be nothing more than reading material. Only "Ukradene scastja" ("Stolen Happiness") received stage presentation in Lviv in 1893 and in Kiev in 1904; in Eastern Ukraine its real influence and meaning were not felt until recent times.

Indeed, the fate of the Ukrainian theater was dependent not only upon its authors or its actors, but also upon the consumers of its art. In.this fact lay the tragedy of Eastern Ukrainian Realistic theater. One wonders what success Ukrainian theatrical productions might have achieved had they been even somewhat restrained in their use of. singing and dancing, had they refrained from placing them in such contexts where they destroyed almost completely the edifying nature of a scene. Rarely did the peasants of /108/ the city attend theater in Eastern Ukraine. Rather, it was a diversion for the petty middle-class and the servant class; later, after 1905, soldiers were also admitted into Ukrainian theaters. In this way the respect of Ukrainian youth for "its theater" was lost; it waned gradually, but the principal consequence was that the theater had forfeited its influence. It remained little more than an opportunity to hear the Ukrainian language in a social situation and, at that, to observe the lack of comprehension of the illiterate audiences their laughter at tragic scenes or for no reason at all other than hearing a language which for them was not only unaccustomed but also, for their society, inadmissible. Such a state of affairs reduced intelligent young people to despair and to a sense of national shame and disgrace.


The role played by poetic verse in the literary consciousness of the Realist period was clearly an important one. It is interesting, however, that apart from the work of Franko it did not produce anything exceptional. Models of good Realistic poetry were provided by the already cited Hlibov and Rudanskyj, the former adopting the older (Classicist) form of the fable, while the latter (in his Humoristic Poems) followed the example of the peasant anecdote (with its grotesque exaggerations of bribery, injustice and masters whims as in "Jixav jakos zasidateV. . ." ["A Certain Juror Went Riding By..."]). Original creations, not borrowings, these verses paralleled those of the famous Russian-Realist poet Nekrasov. Until the end of the century, the poetry of Franko received only minimal response in Eastern Ukraine. The figure of Staryckyj as a lyric poet also remained unknown to the majority of the public. /109/

There was a definite need in Ukraine for a verse poetry accessible to the broader circle of readers: such a lyric was the song (pisnja). During the Romantic period it was adapted (turned into a folk song) to a great number of poems; the process continued into the period of Realism. Yet, curiously, Shevcenkos revolutionary formal innovations in this verse were practically ignored. Hence, while the number of poets who left their mark on the history of Ukrainian song was considerable, not all of their work was original. The words of the song "Koly rozlucajutsja dvoje" ("When the Couple Comes to Separate") js merely M. Slavynskyjs translation of a poem by Heine (its melody, a sentimental deformation of Schubert). Representative of the lyric poetry of Gahcia were the numerous works of S. Vorobkevyc (1836-1903) who was also a composer (he set to music some of Sevcenkos lyrics). Some of the poets of Eastern Ukraine who might be mentioned are P. Hrabovskyj (1864-1902), I. Manzura (1851-1893), Volodymyr Samijlenko (1864-1925). While the legacy of these and other poets included revolutionary lyrics, their greatest popularity lay in their satiric and lyrical songs. The genuine lyric talent of Jakiv Scohohv (1824-1898) characterized even his earliest belated Romanticist period, later he followed Hlibovin producing lyrics which are some of the most charming of Ukrainian songs. He also, contributed to the lexical enrichment of the language.

The younger poets, Lesja Ukrajmka, Voronyj, Oles, had already gone beyond the limits of essentially Realistic tradition. But there were others-poets sincerely searching for Realism and a revolutionary spirit-who remained within the folk (or perhaps pseudo-folk) song, chiefly because of /110/ those traces of Romantic stylistics and tonality surviving in their works (a partial consequence of the provincial nature of Ukrainian literature).


Ukrainian Realism, tied to the currents of other European, literatures, could not remain static or changeless for long. Unlike the case of Kulish who remained a fixed Romantic throughout his life (and, therefore, was largely ignored), Ukrainian Realism elaborated, in advance, a hundred (not to say one thousand) year program for itself. But this program was obliged to change within forty years, and its platforms (the espousal of the peasant language and the peasant way of life) had to be abandoned except perhaps by retrogrades of the "Harkun Zadunajskyj" variety.

Realism was quite unable to dominate verse poetry. For the latter was, of all genres, the greatest repository of the vestiges of Romanticism whose strong roots in Ukraine resulted from the vital role it had played in the process of national revival. The first and most distinguished poet whose creativity rose above the routine and overcame pure Realism in verse poetry was the daughter of Olena Pcilka and the kinsman of M. Drahomanov, to whom she was indebted not only for his advice, but for her own personal education and acquaintance with scholarly literature upon which she drew during her quite extraordinary career. Lesja Ukrajinka (1871-1913), inspired by her mother and by Staryckyj, adopted the important idea of the necessity of the cultural expansion and elevation of the Ukrainian literary language. Her poetic beginnings were lyric verses and translations, chiefly from Heine. Today it is impossible to /111/ be overly delighted with her lyrics. One is struck by the optimism of this girl who was gravely ill (a desperate tubercular condition), which compelled her to travel around the world in search of a better climatic environrnent, severely restricted her work and ultimately led her to in early grave. Lesja Ukrajinka concludes the history of Ukrainian Realism having made the invaluable contribution of a literary form which led literature far beyondthe limits of Realism and which made Ukrainian literature a world literature for the first time.

The poetic work of Lesja Ukrajinka, which represented only the first half of her literary creativity, could not be considered extraordinary in either theme or form (although its rhythm, strophic structure, euphony in some respects [melodiousness] and much of its lexicon are noteworthy). In 1891 she was writing verses which were very similar in rhythm to those of Heine. However, ten years later she acknowledged that the young poet Oles (whose language irntated her because of a certain untidiness) had outstripped her; yet, for her to write lyrical verses it was, she felt, no longer worthwhile.

Even before this, however, she had begun to write dramatic pieces; attempts such as "Blakyttia trojanda" ("The Sky Blue Rose" 1908) revealed an affinity for Ibsen a well as appreciation for Maeterlinck. However, in "Lisova pisnja" ("Forest Song," 1911) in which she combined Gogol and Hauptmann, she had again been outstripped by Oles in his "Vesnjana kazka" ("SpringTale" or "Nad Dniprom" ["Over the Dnieper"]). In fact, when M. Sadovskyj, a conservative theater director, learned that Lesja Ukrajinka too was preparing a similar work /112/ (i.e., "Forest Song"), he commissioned the translation of the second-rate play "Zaczarowane Kolo" ("The Enchanted Circle") by Lucian Rydel, a representative of the "Young Poland" school, and presented it every week for two years!

Lesja Ukrajinkas attitude toward the Ukrainian theater of the day was a critical one. The plays of Staryckyj "grieved her deeply"; Karpenko-Karyj she considered to be not a writer but a dilettante who, moreover, lacked any aesthetic sense. Accordingly, she began her own independent path to the theater she moved from a concern for the expansion of the literary language to the search for expansion of literary forms and in an altogether new direction.

It was after the writing of several longer poems Samson, Robert Bruce, Davnja kazka (An Old Tale), including some with dramatic elements Oderzyma (A Woman Possessed, 1901), that she turned to drama the already cited "Sky Blue Rose" ai the end of the nineteenth century. She then progressed to the smaller drama (whether or not she followed the example of Pushkin or Hugo von Hofmannsthal is unimportant), an entirely new form which she developed as the "dramatic poem" and of which she contributed fifteen examples (some were known as "dialogs," while she called the larger ones "dramas"). They are significant from the formal aspect for they are symbolic works (Ukrainian literary historians are constantly trying to decipher their symbolism): they lead their subjects far beyond the compass of Ukrainian themes into the realm of world spiritual history. In vain do Ukrainian literary scholars search in them for any symbolic representation of Ukrainian problems. Lesja Ukrajinkas first plays of this type (from early Jewish history) provoked a storm /113/ of protest from the critics: why does the poet stray so far from actuality, they asked, failing to understand the significance of the gigantic step the poet had taken on to the ; field of world literature. In the second place, they charged, her plays were excessively rhetorical and declamatory "and, therefore, unsuited to stage presentation. Even contemporary literary historians occasionally repeat these amazing allegations. To be sure, the little dramas of Lesja Ukrajinka could not be adapted to the theater of Kropyvnyckyj or of his followers for they are characterized by a total absence of sumptuous costumes, song and dance, drinking and Cossack figures. The critics did not understand that the theater must fulfill the requirements of the poets, rather than vice versa. They forgot that rhetorical, and declamatory elements were also found in classical tragedy as well as in Shakespeare and in the dramas of French Classicism where they dominated the stage and enthralled trie audience and without drinking and dancing...

The Ukrainian Realistic theater was incapably of presenting the "exotic" plays of this talented authoress. Even , the label "exotic" was an imperceptive one to apply to the. dramatic poems of Lesja Ukrajinka They wereremote from Ukrainian contemporary life only because they were dealing with universal human themes. In other words, Lesja Ukrajinka raised Ukrainian literature to the level of a world literature, one which treats themes that are common and important to mankind as a whole (involving situations which happen not only in Ukraine, but everywhere in the world and at any moment in the historical process). In the dramatic poems, these problems are presented in a concentrated, intense form. It was by disregarding the /114/ boundaries of a certain people or of a certain time that Lesja Ukrajinka, possibly for the first time in the history of Ukrainian literature, was able to create works that belonged to the heritage both of Ukraine and of the world (even Shevcenkos "Caucasus" requires commentaries if it is to be read by a non-Ukrainian, while for the "exotic" plays of Lesja Ukrajinka, they are unnecessary). In fact, the "dramatic poems" prompted M. Pavlyk to express the hope that the authoress would return to works with social themes! It is possible that the dramatic poems do not present these problems at their ultimate and most profound level, and perhaps they fail to provide final decisive answers to these questions. But if there are any Ukrainian works which are able to speak not only to fellow Ukrainians but also to humanity at large, these works are the dramatic poems a fact that would hold true even if they had appeared in prose translation.

Lesja Ukrajinka took a phenomenal step beyond the narrow confines of Realism and beyond the confines of Ukrainian literature in general. It was an achievement which has been scarcely appreciated to the present day. Yet if the poetess really developed her own works as a result of having outgrown the positions of Realism (which is more than doubtful), then it was a great service on behalf of Realism toward the cause of Ukrainian literature which had otherwise suffered considerably because of this trend.

It is clear that Lesja Ukrajinka herself understood that the further development of Realism in Ukrainian literature was impossible. She rejected its limitations and inaugurated a new era in the history of Ukrainian literature. It /115/ is interesting that she had formulated the outline of a dramatic poem " U pusci" ("In the Wilderness" 1910)-as early as the 1890s, but did not return to remake it until the end of her life. Because both her smaller arid major dramas deal with various times and various peoples, they are indeed "exotic": not in the sense of strange, incomprehensible "exotica," but, simply, in that they involve strange peoples and distant times. Represented here are classical antiquity (Greece and Rome), the Middle Ages, the world of Mohammed, the Puritans of North America, Spain; only in one of Lesja Ukrajinkas last plays is Ukrainian, subject matter used: "Bojarynja" ("The Noblewoman" 1910). Several plays are concerned with early Christianity: "U katakombax" ("In the Catacombs" 1906), "Rufin i Priscilla" ("Rufinus and Priscilla" 1911), " Advokat Martijah" ("The Advocate Martianus," 1913), "Na rujinax" ("In the Ruins" 1904). The main theme of the plays is the historical process and the human aspirations operating within it. Certain elements of symbolism may be noticed in the depiction of the historical process, including rare allusions to Ukrainian life.

Certainly, the symbolism of Lesja Ukrajinka also helped to lead her beyond the boundaries of Realism: of special significance is her "fairy tale" "Forest Song" a work altogether within the framework of symbolism in Slavic literatures.


It is not possible here to trace the development of Ukrainian literature in the other directions it followed in breaking away from Realism, a trend which never held full sway especially in the poetry of Franko. However, /116/ mention should be made of certain lesser poets who renounced Realism, although in a form which is not altogether clear: in western Ukraine, V. Pacovskyj (1878-1942), P.Karmanskyj (1878-1956), and in eastern Ukraine, M. Cernjavskyj (1867-1937), M. Filjanskyj (1873-1945) whose work still retained Romantic echoes.

Some of the most prominent figures of the new literature drew the attention of Lesja Ukrajinka. They included Mykola Voronyj (1871-1937), self-educated (and with hardship), whom she regarded as a genuine poet and whose works also earned her reserved praise for their content. "The Spring Tale" of Oles (Oleksander Kandyba, 1878-1944), whose creativity had "outstripped" that of Lesja Ukrajmka herself (see above), was considered by her to be a masterpiece. One of his semi-folkish verses, "Xvylja" ("The Wave," 1912), although written much earlier, prompted her to observe that such rhymes as "dzenky-brenky" could be written not only by the young writers (reference to Cuprynka, 1879-1921), but also by the older ones.

Her impressions of late-Realistic and post-Realistic prose are of interest. Many of Kocjubynskyjs writings failed to gain her favor ("diffuse," "tasteless," "written without internal motivation" were her comments). Only a work which genuinely broke with Realism, Kocjubynskyjs Tini zabutyx predkiv (Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors, 1913), impelled her to true admiration. The work of V. Vynnycnko who did not, in her opinion, go beyond the forms of late Realism, received a mixed reaction from Lesja Ukrajmka: while acknowledging the quality of his prose, she confessed that she was revolted by various features of Vynnycenkos /117/ work such as coarseness and a certain primitivism. Later, she declared that because she had not experienced Vynnycenkos evolution as a theatrical writer, she could not express an opinion about the ideological development in his later plays. In some respects, Vynriycenko was related to certain Russian symbolists with extremely idiosyncratic views of morality; his style, however, remained Realistic, on the whole.

Since the Revolution of 1917, the development of Ukrainian literature has been conditioned, to a large extent, by extra-literary factors. In many instances, elements of Realism have survived and continue to survive, albeit in part artificially.


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