Vadym Mikhailovich LUBCHAK


Introduction. The early twentieth century sees the beginning of aesthetically-driven, modernistic almanacs, which denote the search for “the new aesthetics" in literature. In essence, these almanacs, as envisioned by Mykola Vorony, Mykhailo Kotsiubynsky and Mykola Cherniavsky, endorsed ‘art for art's sake’. They represented attempts to find new aesthetic tools and techniques, allowing experiments of a particular kind for authors, publishers, and readers. However, despite some attention on behalf of the scientific community to the role of individual almanac publishers, authors, and compilers, the issue of Ukrainian intelligentsia’s artistic representation in the literature of the first half of the twentieth century, which was published in the Southern almanacs, remain largely unknown to the public.

Purpose. The purpose of the following article is to explore the features of artistic representation of Ukrainian intelligentsia on the pages of Southern Ukrainian almanacs of the early twentieth century, namely “Z-nad khmar i dolyn” [From Above the Clouds and Valleys] (Odesa, 1903), “Z potoku zhyttia” [From the Stream of Life] (Kherson, 1905) and “Persha lastivka” [The Early Bird] (Kherson, 1905).

Methods. Research employs the methods of comparative history, biographies’ historical analysis, and philological critique.

Results. An important call to innovation in Ukrainian literary process in the early twentieth century was the 1903 letter by Kotsiubynsky and Cherniavsky to Ukrainian writers. When compiling the almanac "From the Stream of Life", which would be entirely devoted to intelligentsia and consist exclusively of works on contemporary themes, in order to affirm the ability of Ukrainian literature to respond to the latest European art trends, Kotsiubynsky and Cherniavsky composed letters to a range of Ukrainian writers in February 1903. The letters were sent to Ivan Franko, Vasyl Stefanyk, Olha Kobylianska, Ivan Nechuy-Levytsky, Osyp Makovey, Mykhailo Starytsky, Liubov Yanovska, Ivan Lypa, Vasyl Shchurat, Panas Myrny and others. They were almost identical in content, reporting on the intention to "publish a collection of literary works (including poetry, short stories, novels, and dramas), which would present new, never printed before works dedicated mainly to the life of the modern intelligentsia, as well as to social, psychological, historical, and other topics...”.

"From the Stream of Life" collection was devised to continue enriching the contemporary Ukrainian literature, including both the prose written in a more traditional manner, such as "The Tour" by Nechuy-Levytsky, and more modernly composed literature, such as: “Ideas” by Kobylianska, whisch suggested a feminist sentiment, “The Lower Current. From the Diary” by Cherniavsky, which declared the principles of modernistic literature, “Two Days of Life" by Yanovska, "Silhouette" by Hrytsko Hryhorenko. “From the Depth: Clouds. Fatigue. Loneliness” by Kotsiubynsky, which appealed to members of Young Muse, whos literary focus was located on the aesthetic quality of disappointment, if not disillusionment and death.

Whereas the particular literature works, printed in both almanacs, might have been incompatible in terms of general mood, the majority of them were united by the characters’ desire to seek and find their own personality. That, among other things, reflected the creative design of the compilers. A benchmark of theme and style of the almanac can be found in the very first short story by Yanovska - "Two Days of Life." It was an interesting attempt to creatively answer the issue, requested by the compilers – the intellectual’s life. The story has only two episodes about two days within the family of a new Ukrainian intelligentsia member - "the son of endless space, cloudless sky, and southern steppe in a clear day" Mykola Pavlovych and his wife, self-taught artist Hanna Mykhailivna.

Originality. The article makes the first comprehensive analysis on the image of Ukrainian intelligentsia in the works, printed in the early twentieth century almanacs in Southern Ukraine.

Conclusion. Ukrainian writers aspired to perfectly define a new image of the twentieth century Ukrainian Homo sapiens, who apart from intelligence had to be endowed with a sense of patriotism and all the positive virtues, and was required to navigate the modern trends of European art. In that effort, they gladly responded to the invitation by the compilers of Southern Ukrainian literary almanacs to publish the works "about intellectuals for the intellectuals”. However, as the almanacs’ authors might have not discerned their "perfect reader" precisely, they captured this desired image on the pages of their works.


literary almanac; author; publisher; intellectuals; symbol; benchmark


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