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Ukrainian Culture in the USSR 4 page

Kostenko, Lina b 19 March 1930 in Rzhyshchiv, Kyiv oblast. Poet; one of the earliest and most outstanding of the shistdesiatnyky, the Soviet Ukrainian writers of the post-Stalinist thaw. She studied at the Kyiv Pedagogical Institute and graduated from the Gorky Institute of Literature in Moscow in 1956. Her first poems were published in the early 1950s. She is the author of the collections Prominnia zemli (Rays of the Earth, 1957), Vitryla (Sails, 1958), and Mandrivky sertsia (Wanderings of the Heart, 1961). The collection ‘Zorianyi integral’ (The Stellar Integral) was ready for publication in 1962, but the censors judged it ideologically harmful and a departure from socialist realism and suppressed it. Twelve of the poems from the collection appeared in the anthology of Ukrainian samvydav Shyroke more Ukraïny (The Wide Sea of Ukraine, Paris–Baltimore 1972), and a volume encompassing her work to date was published in the West in 1969 as Poeziï (Poems). In 1965 and 1968 Kostenko signed several open letters protesting the arrests and secret trials of Ukrainian intellectuals. Her poetry was not published in Ukraine again until 1977, when her collection Nad berehamy vichnoï riky (On the Banks of the Eternal River) appeared. A novel in verse, Marusia Churai (1979) and the collection Nepovtornist’ (Uniqueness, 1980) followed and earned its author the Shevchenko Prize in 1987. In 1987 Kostenko published her next collection Sad netanuchykh skul’ptur (Garden of Unthawed Sculptures) and a book of poems for children Buzynovyi tsar (The King of the Lilacs). Her historical novel in verse Berestechko, originally composed in 1966, appeared in book form only in 1999.

Kostenko's poetry consists primarily of intimate, lyric poems and ‘social’ poems on the role and responsibility of a poet, particularly in a totalitarian society. Employing diverse rhythms, sophisticated language, a colloquial and aphoristic manner of writing, and a subtle emotivity, ranging from playful irony and humor to scathing satire, she is acknowledged as one of the better contemporary Ukrainian poets. Marusia Churai and Berestechko are quite unique in Ukrainian literature. In the former Kostenko depicts the tragic fate of a semilegendary figure in Ukrainian history against the background of the Cossack-Polish War, while the latter deals with the fateful Battle of Berestechko from the same historical period.

Drach, Ivan , b 17 October 1936 in Telizhyntsi, Kyiv oblast. Poet, screenwriter, and political leader. Drach studied at Kyiv University (1958–61) and completed advanced scriptwriting courses in Moscow in 1964. He worked for a few years in the script department of the Kyiv Artistic Film Studio and on the editorial staff of Literaturna Ukraïna and Vitchyzna. His works have appeared in print since 1959. He has also written several scripts that have been used for films, including Krynytsia dlia sprahlykh (A Well for the Thirsty, 1967), Kaminnyi khrest (The Stone Cross), based on a short story by Vasyl Stefanyk, and Idu do tebe (I Am Coming to You) about the life of Lesia Ukrainka. Drach is also a recognized literary critic. Drach stood at the forefront of the Ukrainian literary revival initiated by the shistdesiatnyky His poetry is noted for its originality, fresh imagery, complex metaphors, philosophical meditation, neologisms, and varied rhythm. Drach was criticized sharply for his departure from the canons of socialist realism, especially in the poem ‘Nizh u sontsi’ (Knife in the Sun, 1961), and for the satirical poem ‘Oda chesnomu boiahuzevi’ (Ode to an Honest Coward, 1963). He compromised with the regime in the late 1960s, and this proved detrimental to the quality of his later work. In the 1970s and 1980s he traveled abroad as an official Soviet cultural emissary.

In the late 1980s Drach emerged as a prominent political activist in Ukraine. As head of the Kyiv organization of the Writers' Union of Ukraine he was instrumental in forging the coalition that created the Popular Movement of Ukraine (Rukh). He then headed Rukh: solely from 1989 to 1992 and then jointly in 1992. He was elected as a People's Deputy in 1990 and again in 1998 and 2002 and became the head of the Ukrainian World Coordinating Council at its founding convention in 1992. His works were printed in a two-volume collection in 1986 and studies of his life and work were written by Mykola Ilnytsky (1986) and Anatolii Tkachenko (1988 and 2000). A collection of speeches, essays, and addresses by Drach as well as interviews with him—all from the 1990s—appeared in 1997 as Polityka (Politics).

Dziuba, Ivan, b 26 July 1931 in Mykolaivka, Volnovakha raion, Donetske oblast. Literary scholar, publicist, and a former Ukrainian dissident and government minister; full member of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine (NANU) since 1992. He studied at the Donetske Pedagogical Institute (1949–53), was a graduate student at the Institute of Literature of the Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian SSR (1953–56), and headed the literary-criticism section of the literary journal Vitchyzna (1957–62). Dziuba began writing literary criticism in 1950 and became a member of the Writers’ Union of Ukraine (SPU) in 1959. In the latter half of the 1950s he wrote a series of articles criticizing the ‘graphomania’ and provincialism evident in Soviet Ukrainian literature (reprinted in his collection Zvychaina liudyna chy mishchanyn [An Ordinary Human Being or a Philistine], 1959). Dziuba was one of the spokespersons of the shistdesiatnyky and expressed the aspirations of the postwar generation of Soviet Ukrainian writers (such as Vasyl Symonenko, Lina Kostenko, Ivan Drach, Mykola Vinhranovsky, Vasyl Holoborodko, and many others) to revitalize Ukrainian literature and liberate it from the influence of Russian literature. He stressed the need to reject the official literary theories of the Stalinist era and to study Ukrainian literature in relation to Western European literature (eg, in his articles on Hryhorii Skovoroda).

In the 1960s Dziuba became active in the movement against Russification and the persecution of the Ukrainian intelligentsia. He spoke at a public demonstration protesting the mass arrests in Ukraine that was held at the Ukraina movie theater in Kyiv (September 1965) and at a commemoration of the twenty-fifth anniversary (September 1966) of the Babyn Yar massacre, where he forcefully denounced official and popular anti-Semitism in Soviet Ukraine. Along with other dissidents he signed various petitions in defense of political prisoners. His writings and political activities led to his dismissal from his job at Vitchyzna and later his job as a consultant for the Molod publishing house (1964–65).

Late in 1965 Dziuba completed his main work, Internatsionalizm chy rusyfikatsiia? (Internationalism or Russification?), which he submitted to Petro Shelest, first secretary of the Communist Party of Ukraine (CPU), and Volodymyr Shcherbytsky, chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Ukrainian SSR, as a document for consideration. In it he demonstrated how the Soviet regime had departed from the theoretical principles of Leninist nationality policy and had been Russifying Ukraine and destroying its society and intelligentsia under the pretext of internationalism—in effect, how the Soviet government was perpetuating the colonial policies of tsarist Russia. This work circulated widely in samvydav form and solidified Dziuba’s stature as a charismatic dissident figure. It was published in the West in 1968 and was subsequently translated into Russian, English, French, and Italian—providing a fundamental source of information on contemporary Ukraine.

Dziuba’s underground popularity was tolerated (but not condoned) for some time by the CPU because his writings and public speeches were not condemnations of the Soviet system, but rather pleas for its reform. All the same, from 1965 Dziuba ceased to be published in the USSR and was kept under close surveillance. In January 1972 he was arrested, and in April he was expelled from the SPU (an earlier decision by its Kyiv branch to expel Dziuba in the fall of 1969 had been overturned by the SPU’s Plenum early in 1970). In April 1973 he was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment; he was released in November after he wrote a public recantation of his views. From then until the early 1980s Dziuba lived in relative isolation: although he worked as a correspondent and proofreader for a minor Kyiv periodical, he was not readmitted to the SPU until 1980 and was in effect removed from the literary scene.

Dziuba was strongly condemned for recanting by members of the Ukrainian dissident movement (notably Valentyn Moroz and Leonid Pliushch). In 1978 his book Hrani krystala (Facets of a Crystal), a repudiation of Internationalism or Russification?, appeared. In 1980 Dziuba was readmitted into the SPU. For the next few years he occasionally published tame literary criticism in Soviet journals. A book of his literary essays, Na pul’si doby (On the Pulse of the Age), appeared in 1981.

Dziuba emerged as an important spokesperson for Ukrainian interests during the Gorbachev era and then became a major cultural official in the post-independence period. He has served as the first president of the Republican Association for Ukrainian Studies (1988–91; now National Association for Ukrainian Studies); Ukraine’s minister of culture (November 1992-August 1994); academic secretary of the NANU Division of Literature, Language, and Art History (since 1996); and joint editor-in-chief of Suchasnist’ (1991–2000); and now heads its editorial board and is the joint editor-in-chief of the new Entsyklopediia suchasnoï Ukraïny (Encyclopedia of Contemporary Ukraine) project based at the NANU. Dziuba has been a member of numerous governing bodies, including the Language Policy Council of the Presidential Administration (February 1997–November 2001) and the Shevchenko National Prize Committee, which he has chaired since July 1999.

In the second half of the 1980s, Dziuba emerged as one of the most important Ukrainian publicists and literary critics of the day. After publishing a collection of essays on Soviet Ukrainian literature entitled Avtohrafy vidrodzhennia (The Autographs of a Renaissance, 1986), he produced several important contributions to the study of Taras Shevchenko. His comparative study of Shevchenko’s and A. Khomiakov’s attitudes toward Pan-Slavism (U vsiakoho svoia dolia [Everyone Has One’s Own Fate], 1989) challenged a number of prescribed principles of Soviet-era Shevchenko studies by presenting Shevchenko’s views as contrary to those of the Russian Pan-Slavists and as advocating Ukrainian political independence. Dziuba’s post-Soviet essays on Shevchenko’s legacy represent a complete departure from the set political formulas of Soviet-era Shevchenko criticism.

Arts of that time were still subordinated to the method of socialist realism. Official Ukrainian painters S. Grigorev, K. Kamyshny, T. Yablonskaya worked within its framework. Artistic life of that time was not limited by submission to “social order”: a great number of landscapes, portraits, genre paintings exhibited at the time pursued purely technical purposes and were thus free from ideology. Artists of Ukrainian primitivism K. Belokur and M. Primachenko represented their unique view of the world. During the thaw no official change in policy took place, but artists began to feel free to experiment in their work, with considerably less fear of repercussion than during the Stalinist period. Artists who chose to paint in alternative styles had to do so completely in private and were never able to exhibit or sell their works. So, non-conformist arts developed along a separate path than the official ones. Artists took advantage of the first few years after the death of Stalin to experiment in their work without fear of persecution. In 1962 after the visit of the exhibition of the 30th anniversary of the Moscow Artists’ Union at the Manege exhibition hall it became evident that Khrushchev’s artistic policy was not liberal.

Bazhan, Mykola, ( 1904 - 1983 ). Poet, writer, translator, and Soviet Ukrainian political and cultural figure; full member of the Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian SSR from 1951. One of the most prominent representatives of the literary renaissance of the 1920s, he wrote screenplays, edited the journal Kino, and was associated with the literary groups Vaplite and Nova Generatsiia and the journal Literaturnyi iarmarok. Bazhan's poems were first published in 1923, but he gained recognition for the collections 17-i patrul' (The 17th Patrol, 1926). With Riz'blena tin' (The Sculptured Shadow, 1927), and especially Budivli (Buildings, 1929), Bazhan abandoned futurism and constructivism and emerged as a romantic expressionist, whose poems were characterized by dynamism, unusual imagery, monumentalism, and frequent references to the Ukrainian past.

In the poem ‘Budivli’ Bazhan treats historical themes, seeking a link between the modern era, the Middle Ages, and the Ukrainian baroque of the Cossack state. ‘Budivli’ and the poems ‘Rozmova serdets' ’(Heart-to-Heart Talk), in which he presented an unusually harsh assessment of Russia, ‘Hofmanova nich’ (Hoffman's Night, 1929), ‘Sliptsi’ (The Blind Beggars, 1933), ‘Trylohiia prystrasty’ (Trilogy of Passion, 1933), and others display an original poetic style: a bold statement of theme, a rich vocabulary replete with archaisms, syntactic complexity, an abundance of metaphor, and inventive rhyme. These poems, as well as the collections Doroha (The Road, 1930) and Poeziï (Poems, 1930), aroused harsh criticism of Bazhan: he was accused of ‘detachment from Soviet reality’, ‘idealism’, and nationalism.

During the terror of 1934–7 Bazhan wrote the trilogy Bezsmertia (Immortality, 1935–7), which was dedicated to S. Kirov, and entered the company of poets enjoying official recognition. His later works, written in the spirit of Stalinist patriotism, all belong to the corpus of official Soviet poetry. These include the collections Bat’ky i syny (Fathers and Sons, 1938), Iamby (Iambs, 1940), Klych vozhdia (The Call of the Leader, 1942), and V dni viiny (In the Days of War, 1945); the collections awarded the Stalin Prize — Kliatva (Oath, 1941), Danylo Halyts’kyi (Danylo of Halych, 1942), Stalinhrads’kyi zoshyt (Stalingrad Notebook, 1943), and Anhliis’ki vrazhennia (English Impressions, 1948); and the collections Virshi i poemy (Poetry and Long Poems, 1949), Bilia Spas’koï vezhi (Near the Savior's Tower, 1952), Ioho im’ia (His Name, 1952), Honets (The Chaser, 1954), Iednist’ (Unity, 1954), Tvory (Works, 1946–7), and Vybrane (Selected Works, 1951, from which poems of the early period were omitted). After Joseph Stalin's death Bazhan did not take part in the cultural renaissance launched by the shistdesiatnyky (poets of the sixties); his later collections and poems, Iasa (1960), Italiis’ki zustrichi (Meetings in Italy, 1961), Polit kriz' buriu (Flight through the Storm, 1964, for which he received the Shevchenko Prize [see Prizes and awards]), Umans’ki spohady (Memories of Uman, 1972), Nichni rozdumy staroho maistra (Nocturnal Reflections of an Old Master, 1976), and others, were also written in the spirit of Party ideology. Bazhan's translation of S. Rustaveli's poem Vytiaz' u tyhrovii shkuri (The Knight in the Tiger Skin, 1927) was published to great critical acclaim, and he has produced many masterful translations from Georgian, Russian, and Polish, as well as of the poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke. Bazhan is also the author of literary studies, reviews, and memoirs.

With the outbreak of war in 1941 Bazhan emerged as a leading political figure. He was editor of the newspaper Za Radians’ku Ukraïnu!, deputy chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Ukrainian SSR (1943–8), a long-term member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Ukraine and deputy of the Supreme Soviet of the Ukrainian SSR and of the USSR, and head of the Writers' Union of Ukraine (1953–9). From 1958 he headed the editorial board of the Ukrainian Soviet Encyclopedia publishing house and served as editor-in-chief of many of its publications.

Tychyna, Pavlo (1891 - 1967). Poet; recipient of the highest Soviet awards and orders; member of the VUAN and the Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian SSR (now NANU) from 1929; deputy of the Supreme Soviet of the Ukrainian SSR from 1938 and its chairman in 1953–9; deputy of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR from 1946; director of the Institute of Literature of the Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian SSR in 1936–9 and 1941–3; and minister of education of the Ukrainian SSR in 1943–8. He graduated from the Chernihiv Theological Seminary in 1913. His first poems were in part influenced by Oleksander Oles, Mykola Vorony, and Mykhailo Kotsiubynsky. His first extant poem is dated 1906 (‘Synie nebo zakrylosia’ [The Blue Sky Closed]), and the first one published (‘Vy znaiete, iak lypa shelestyt'?’ [You Know How the Linden Rustles?]) appeared in Literaturno-naukovyi vistnyk in 1912. In 1913 Tychyna enrolled at the Kyiv Commercial Institute, and while a student, he worked on the editorial boards of the newspapers Rada (Kyiv) and Svitlo. Later he worked for the Chernihiv zemstvo administration.

His first collection of poetry, Soniashni kliarnety (Clarinets of the Sun, 1918; repr 1990), is a programmatic work, in which he created a uniquely Ukrainian form of symbolism and established his own poetic style, known as kliarnetyzm (clarinetism). Finding himself in the center of the turbulent events during Ukraine's struggle for independence, Tychyna was overcome by the elemental force of Ukraine's rebirth and created an opus suffused with the harmony of the universal rhythm of light.

During the early years of the Bolshevik occupation of Ukraine, marked by terror, ruin, famine, and suppression of the national uprising, Tychyna maintained his position as an independent poet and quickly established himself as the leading Ukrainian poet. His pre-eminence is evident in the collections Zamist’ sonetiv i oktav (Instead of Sonnets and Octaves, 1920), Pluh (The Plow, 1920) and V kosmichnomu orkestri (In the Cosmic Orchestra, 1921), the poem ‘Skovoroda’ (the first part of which appeared in Shliakhy mystetstva, 1923, no. 5), and Viter z Ukraïny (The Wind from Ukraine, 1924), dedicated to Mykola Khvylovy. In 1923 he moved to Kharkiv and joined the organization Hart and, in 1927, Vaplite. His membership in the latter organization and his poem ‘Chystyla maty kartopliu’ (Mother Was Peeling Potatoes) provoked harsh official criticism, and he was accused of ‘bourgeois nationalism.’

Soon after, Tychyna capitulated to the Soviet regime and began producing collections of poetry in the socialist-realist style sanctioned by the Party. They included Chernihiv (1931) and Partiia vede (The Party Leads, 1934). The latter collection has symbolized the submission of Ukrainian writers to Stalinism. The titles of his subsequent collections reflect the spirit of apologia for Joseph Stalin, including Chuttia iedynoï rodyny (Feelings of One Unified Family, 1938), for which he was awarded the Stalin Prize for literature in 1941, Pisnia molodosti (Song of Youth, 1938), and Stal’ i nizhnist’ (Steel and Tenderness, 1941). Abstract and expressionistic, his Stalinist poetry consists of kinetic iambs that push inexorably and bluntly forward, mimicking the Party line of the day.

The Second World War intensified those features of Tychyna's poetry, and gave rise to a patriotic combativeness, as manifested in My idemo na bii (We Are Going into Battle, 1941), Peremahat’ i zhyt’ (To Conquer and to Live, 1942), Tebe my znyshchym—chort z toboiu (We Will Destroy You—To Hell with You, 1942), and Den’ nastane (The Day Will Come, 1943). The titles of Tychyna's many postwar collections suggest their content: Zhyvy, zhyvy, krasuisia (Live, Live, and Be Beautiful, 1949), I rosty, i diiaty (To Grow and to Act, 1949), Mohutnist’ nam dana (Might Has Been Given Us, 1953), Na Pereiaslavs’kii radi (At the Pereiaslav Council, 1954), My svidomist’ liudstva (We Are the Consciousness of Humanity, 1957), Druzhboiu my zdruzheni (By Friendship We Are Bound, 1958), Do molodi mii chystyi holos (My Clear Voice Speaks to Youth, 1959), Bat’kivshchyni mohutnii (To the Mighty Fatherland, 1960), Zrostai, prechudovyi svite (Grow, O Wonderful World, 1960), Komunizmu dali vydni (The Horizons of Communism Are in Sight, 1961), and Topoli arfy hnut’ (Poplars Bend the Harps, 1963). He also wrote Virshi (Poems, 1968) and other collections.

Tychyna did not take part in the Ukrainian cultural revival of the late 1950s and early 1960s, and he even attacked the shistdesiatnyky. The poetry of the last decade before his death is full of glorification of the Party, of the new leader, Nikita Khrushchev, and of heroes of socialist labor, collective farms, and so on. During Leonid Brezhnev's repressive regime after Khrushchev's death Tychyna's creation sounded anachronistic and self-parodying. Occasionally, however, there were flashes of his former talent, as in the poem ‘Pokhoron druha’ (Funeral of a Friend, 1942) and some fragments in a collection published posthumously, V sertsi moïm (In My Heart, 1970), and particularly in the philosophical poem Skovoroda, which was never completed but was published posthumously, in 1971.

Tychyna's poetry before his capitulation to the regime represented a high point in Ukrainian verse of the 1920s. It is marked by a synthesis of 17th-century baroque and 20th-century symbolist styles. Some of the greatest advances in European poetry can be found in his ‘clarinetism,’ in its drawing upon the irrational elements of the Ukrainian folk lyric, its striving to be all-encompassing, its pervasive tragic sense of the eschatological, its play of antitheses and parabola, its asyndetonal structure of language, and other features.

Honchar, Oles(1918 - 1995 ). One of the most prominent Soviet Ukrainian writers of the postwar period; a full member of the Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian SSR since 1978. A Second World War veteran and graduate of Dnipropetrovsk University, he has been publishing since 1938. From 1959 to 1971 he headed the Writers' Union of Ukraine. Honchar gained prominence with the novel-trilogy Praporonostsi (The Standard Bearers, 1947–8) about the Red Army in the Second World War. His other works include the novellas Zemlia hude (The Earth Drones, 1947), Mykyta Bratus’ (1951), Shchob svityvsia vohnyk (Let the Fire Burn, 1955), and Bryhantyna (The Brigantine, 1973); the novels Tavriia (1952), Perekop (1957), Liudyna i zbroia (Man and Arms, 1960), Tronka (The Sheep's Bell, 1963), Tsyklon (The Cyclone, 1970), Bereh liubovi (The Shore of Love, 1976), Tvoia zoria (Your Dawn, 1980), and Sobor (The Cathedral, 1968), which was officially censured and subsequently removed from circulation; the short-story collections Modry kamen’ (The Modra's Rock, 1948), Pivden’ (The South, 1951), Chary-komyshi (Enchantments-Rushes, 1958), and Masha z Verkhovyny (Masha from the Highlands, 1959); and three collections of literary articles (1972, 1978, 1980). His works, most of which closely adhere to the official Soviet style of socialist realism, have been republished many times and translated into over 40 languages, and have been the subject of a large body of Soviet literary criticism.

Stelmakh, Mykhailo(1912 - 1983 ). Prose writer, poet, and dramatist; full member of the Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian SSR from 1978. He graduated from the Vinnytsia Pedagogical Institute (1933) and taught in villages of the Kyiv district until 1939. After the war he worked (1945–53) for the Institute of Fine Arts, Folklore, and Ethnography of the Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian SSR. He was a deputy to the Supreme Soviet of the USSR and vice-chairman of the Council of Nationalities. His poetry was first published in 1936. His collections of poetry include Dobryi ranok (Good Morning, 1941), Za iasni zori (For the Bright Stars, 1942), Provesin’ (Early Spring, 1942), Shliakhy svitannia (The Paths of Dawn, 1948), Zhyto syly nabyraiet’sia (The Rye is Growing in Strength, 1954), Poeziï (Poems, 1958), and Mak tsvite (The Poppies Are Blooming, 1968). From the 1940s he wrote mainly prose, such as the short-story collection Berezovyi sik (Birch Sap, 1944); the novel Velyka ridnia (The Large Family), published in two parts as Na nashii zemli (On Our Land, 1949) and Velyki perelohy (Large Fallow Fields, 1951); and the novels Khlib i sil’ (Bread and Salt, 1959), Pravda i kryvda (Truth and Injustice, 1961), Duma pro tebe (A Duma about You, 1969), Chotyry brody (The Four Fords, 1979), Nad Cheremoshem (By the Cheremosh River, 1952), Husy-lebedi letiat’ (The Geese and Swans Are Flying, 1964), and Shchedryi vechir (Eve of Epiphany, 1967). He wrote the plays Zolota metelytsia (The Golden Snowstorm, 1955), Na Ivana Kupala (On Midsummer's Night's Eve, 1966), Zacharovanyi vitriak (The Enchanted Windmill, 1967), and Kum koroliu (The Godfather of the King's Child, 1968).

Stelmakh wrote the script for the documentary film Zhyvy Ukraïno! (Long Live Ukraine!, 1958). He also wrote many children's books, mainly in verse: Zhnyva (Harvest, 1951), Kolosok do koloska (Ear of Grain to Ear of Grain, 1951), Zhyvi ohni (Live Fires, 1954), Burundukova sim'ia (The Chipmunk's Family, 1963), Tsapkiv urozhai (The Goat's Harvest, 1967), Lito-liteplo (The Lukewarm Summer, 1969), and others.

Stelmakh's prose is a typical example of socialist realism. It shows the characteristic conformism to shifting Party policy (eg, the novel Velyka ridnia glorifies Joseph Stalin throughout and was awarded the Stalin prize in 1951; later, criticized for succumbing to the Stalinist ‘personality cult,’ Stelmakh rewrote it under the new title Krov liuds’ka—ne vodytsia [Human Blood Is Not Water, 1957]). The characteristic socialist-realist glossing over of Soviet reality is present in Stelmakh's work even of the post-Stalinist era (eg, the novel Pravda i kryvda). Even Stelmakh's last novel, Chotyry brody, is distorted by the pressure of censorship. Stelmakh's prose is exceptionally rich in its folk lexicon. Stylistically it is reminiscent of Yurii Yanovsky's lyrical prose, with the influence of Oleksander Dovzhenko clearly evident. Stelmakh's adherence to socialist realism, as well as his tendency toward sentimentalism (also characteristic of socialist realism), guaranteed him an upper niche in the literary hierarchy of the Ukrainian SSR.

Rylsky, Maksym (1895 - 1964 ). Poet, translator, and community activist; full member of the Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian SSR from 1943 and of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR from 1958; son of Tadei Rylsky. From 1944 until the end of his life he was director of the Institute of Fine Arts, Folklore, and Ethnography of the Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian SSR. He studied at Kyiv University, initially in the medical faculty and later in the historical-philological faculty. Rylsky started to write early in life (he published his first poem in 1907), and by 1910 he had published his first youthful collection, Na bilykh ostrovakh (On the White Islands). The first mature collection to show his promise as an exceptional poet was Pid osinnimy zoriamy (Beneath the Autumn Stars, 1918). An abridged version, of half the original length, was published in 1926. The poetic talents of Rylsky reached full bloom with the publication of the collections Synia dalechin’ (The Blue Distance, 1922), Poemy (Poems, 1924), Kriz’ buriu i snih (Through Storm and Snow, 1925), Trynadtsiata vesna (The Thirteenth Spring, 1926), Homin i vidhomin (The Resonance and the Echo, 1929), and De skhodiat’sia dorohy (Where the Roads Meet, 1929).

Rylsky's lyric poetry grew out of the best achievements of Ukrainian poetry at his time, and out of his broad knowledge of world poetry, French writers in particular (especially the works of the Parnassians). He often used motifs and images from ancient mythology and adhered to classical forms, which practices linked him to the group of Neoclassicists. In many other respects, however, his philosophical and contemplative lyric poetry, with its wealth of moods and motifs of nature and of the individual becoming one with nature, did not fit the narrow definition of Neoclassicism. Rylsky's apolitical poetry provoked fierce attacks from official critics. He was arrested for a brief period in 1931, and then declared himself reformed and proclaimed his acceptance of the official Soviet view of reality in his collection Znak tereziv (The Sign of Libra, 1932). He alone of the Neoclassicists managed to live through the Stalinist terror and become one of the main poets in the ranks of the official Soviet versifiers. He became a member of the Party in 1943. In contrast to other official poets, however, he often expressed himself ambiguously in his eulogies of the Communist party, especially in those of Joseph Stalin.

From the time he became an official poet, Rylsky published over 30 books of poetry. The major prewar works were Kyïv (Kyiv, 1935), Lito (Summer, 1936), Ukraïna (Ukraine, 1938), and Zbir vynohradu (The Harvest of Grapes, 1940). During the war and the evacuation of Soviet Ukrainian leaders to Ufa he published, among others, the collections, Za ridnu zemliu (For the Native Land, 1941), Slovo pro ridnu matir (A Song about My Mother, 1942), Zhaha (The Thirst, 1943), and Mandrivka v molodist’ (Journey into Youth, 1944). His numerous postwar collections include Chasha druzhby (The Cup of Friendship, 1946), Virnist’ (Fidelity, 1947), Pid zoriamy Kremlia (Beneath the Stars of the Kremlin, 1953), Na onovlenii zemli (On the Reclaimed Land, 1956), Holosiïvs’ka osin’ (Autumn in Holosiieve, 1959), and V zatinku zhaivoronka (In the Shade of the Lark, 1961).

Throughout his literary career Rylsky also did many literary translations. An excellent example of his mastery of the art is his translation of Adam Mickiewicz's Pan Tadeusz. His translations from French are of a similarly high standard, from the classics of the 17th century to the poetry of Paul Verlaine, in particular the translations of Victor Hugo's Hernani, Edmond Rostand's Cyrano de Bergerac, and Voltaire's La Pucelle d'Orléans. He also translated William Shakespeare's King Lear and Twelfth Night, and Aleksandr Pushkin's Evgenii Onegin.

Like most of the Soviet poets of the interwar generation, Rylsky did not manage to revitalize his writing at the beginning of ‘de-Stalinization,’ and his work remained merely technically proficient versification. Rylsky achieved much, however, in his role of community activist and publicist and contributed greatly to the brief literary rebirth of the early 1960s. In his essays and articles of that period, which are collected in publications such as Vechirni rozmovy (Evening Conversations, 1962) and Pro mystetstvo (On Art, 1962), he carefully and tactfully, though unflaggingly, defended Ukrainian culture against the pressure of Russification. Rylsky was not so much an innovator in Ukrainian poetry as a practitioner of classic verse, the sonnet form in particular. He contributed more than any of his contemporaries to the development of the Ukrainian literary language.

The next sub-period of Soviet culture is usually identified with Stagnation or Brezhnev period (1970s–mid-1980s). It is marked by official propagating of “Soviet values”. Then the increasingly modernized Soviet society became more urban, and people became better educated and more professionalized. There was a fourth fold growth in the higher education between the 1950s and 1980s; that development was referred to as the scientific-technological revolution. Scientific fields of genetic and computer science got impulse for the development. Pressure remained in the spheres of history and social sciences.

The development of culture in Ukraine of that period was contradictory. Achievements in natural sciences and technological development were considerable. The first electronic calculating machine was constructed by Soviet scholars in 1950s. V. Glushkov, the founder of informational technologies in the USSR, one of the founders of cybernetics worked in Kiev. P. Paton, present President of National Academy of Science of Ukraine is a world wide known specialist in electric welding.

Lecture 9

Date: 2015-01-02; view: 819

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