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Text F Ukrainian literature




The great body of Ukrainian oral literature attained its ze­nith in the 16th century with the Cossack epic songs, the "dumy". The first books printed in Ukrainian were translations of the Gospels (16th century). Early books were usually relig­ious, but a grammar appeared in 1596 and a dictionary in 1627. Ukrainian cultural life of the 17th century centered around the Kyivan academy, established in 1633. The out­standing poet and philosopher of the 18th century wasHryhory Skovoroda (1722- 1794). A leading figure in the Ukrain­ian literary revival of the early 19th century was Ivan Kotlyarevsky (1769-1838), whose travesty of the 'Aeneid" and operetta "Natalka Poltavka" are major works of Ukrainian classical literature. Classicism predominates also in the writ­ings of the novelist Hrytsko Kvitka-Osnovyanenko (1778-1843) and in the plays of Vasyi Gogol.

Interest in folklore and ethnography is represented in the works of Levko Borovykovsky (1806—-1889) and Ambros Mellynsky (1814—1870), poets of the Kharkiv romantic school.

With the founding in the 1830s of a University in Kyiv, the capital became once again the cultural centre of Ukraine. The leading scholar of the period was the historian Mykola Kostomarov (1817- 1885).

The poet Taras Shevchenko was the great figure of Ukrain­ian romanticism, which predominates in the dramatic works of Mykhailo Starytsky (1840- 1904), Marko Kropyvnytsky (1840- 1910) and Ivan Tobilevych (1845-1907).

Realism in Ukrainian prose found expression in the works of Borys Hrinchenko (1863- 1910) and Ivan Nechuy-Levytsky (1838- 1918) and in the naturalistic tales of Marko Vovchok (1838-1907).

Modern Ukrainian literature is represented by the outstand­ing writer Ivan R-anko and the poetess Lesia Ukrainka. Mas­ters of impressionist prose were Mykhailo Kotsyubynsky (1864-1913) and Vasyi Stefanyk (1871 - 1936).

The novelist Olha Kobylyanska (1868- 1942) and the novelist and political writer Volodymyr Vynnychenko were among the major literary figures of the early 20th century.

Many Ukrainian writers were killed or deported by the Soviet regime during the 1930s, among them the dramatist Mykola Kulish (1892-1934), the humorist Ostap Vyshnya, and the theorist of neoclassicism Mykola Zerov.

One of the leading writers of the proletarian age, Mykola Khvylyovy (1893 - 1933) proposed the reorientation of Ukrain­ian literature toward the West. Important writers who survived the purges of the 1930s include the master of subjective verse Maksym Rylsky, the necromantic poet Mykola Bazhan, the lyric poet Pavlo Tychyna, the dramatist Oleksandr Komiychuk, and the novelist Oles Honchar.

 


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