Ukrainian literature is literature written in the Ukrainian language.[1][2][3]

Ukrainian literature mostly developed under foreign domination over Ukrainian territories, foreign rule by the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, Poland, the Russian Empire, the Kingdom of Romania, the Austria-Hungary Empire, and the Ottoman Empire, enriched Ukrainian culture and language, and Ukrainian authors were able to produce a rich literary heritage.


Main article: History of Ukrainian literature

Ukrainian literature’s precursor: writings in Old-Church Slavonic and Latin in Ukraine

Prior to the establishment of Ukrainian literature in 1700s, many authors from Ukraine wrote in "scholarly" languages of middle-ages – Latin and Old-Church Slavonic. Among prominent authors from Ukraine who wrote in Latin and Old-Church Slavonic are Hryhorii Skovoroda, Yuriy Drohobych, Stanislav Orikhovsky-Roxolan, Feofan Prokopovych, Jan-Toma Yuzefovych [pl], Pavlo Rusyn-Krosnyanyn [pl] and others.

Beginnings of oral Ukrainian literature

During this period of history there was a higher number of elementary schools per population in the Hetmanate than in either neighboring Muscovy or Poland. In the 1740s, of 1,099 settlements within seven regimental districts, as many as 866 had primary schools.[4] The German visitor to the Hetmanate, writing in 1720, commented on how the son of Hetman Danylo Apostol, who had never left Ukraine, was fluent in the Latin, Italian, French, German, Polish and Russian languages[5]

Late 16th and early 17th century included the rise of folk epics called dumy. These songs celebrated the activities of the Cossacks and were oral retellings of major Ukrainian historical events in modern Ukrainian language (i.e., not in Old-Church Slavonic). This period produced Ostap Veresai, a renowned minstrel and kobzar from Poltava province, Ukraine.

Beginnings of written Ukrainian literature

Ivan Kotlyarevsky
Taras Shevchenko
Ivan Franko
Lesya Ukrainka

The establishment of Ukrainian literature is believed to have been triggered by the publishing of a widely successful poem Eneida by Ivan Kotliarevsky in 1798, which is one of the first instances of a printed literary work written in modern Ukrainian language.[6][7] Due to Kotliarevsky's role as the inaugurator of Ukrainian literature, among literary critics he is often referred to as "the father of Ukrainian literature".[8] Modern Ukrainian prose was inaugurated by Hryhorii Kvitka-Osnovianenko’s novel Marusya (1834).[6][7]

Contemporary literature

Main article: Contemporary Ukrainian literature

Since the late 1980s, and particularly after the independence of Ukraine (1991) and disappearance of Soviet censorship the whole generation of writers emerged: Sofia Maidanska, Ihor Kalynets, Moysey Fishbein, Yuri Andrukhovych, Serhiy Zhadan, Oksana Zabuzhko, Oleksandr Irvanets, Yuriy Izdryk, Maria Matios, Ihor Pavlyuk and many others. Many of them are considered to be "postmodernists".

Notable Ukrainian writers

See also


  1. ^ Ukraine: Cultural life — literature // Encyclopædia Britannica 15th ed. (second version, Macropædia) Vol. 28: S-U (1985–2010). 1050 p.: 981—1982 pp. (in English)
  2. ^ Ukrainian literature // Encyclopædia Britannica 15th ed. (second version, Micropædia) Vol. 12: Trudeau — Żywiec (1985–2010). 968 p.: p. 111 (in English)
  3. ^ Ukrainian literature // Encyclopædia Britannica Online, жовтень 2019 (in English)
  4. ^ Magocsi, Paul Robert (1996). A History of Ukraine. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. p. 285. ISBN 0-8020-0830-5.
  5. ^ Volodymyr Sichynsky (1953). Ukraine in foreign comments and descriptions from the VIth to XXth century. New York: Ukrainian Congress Committee of America
  6. ^ a b Ukrainian literature // Encyclopædia Britannica 15th ed. (second version, Micropædia) Vol. 12: (1985–2010). 948 p.: p. 111 (in English)
  7. ^ a b Ukrainian literature // Encyclopædia Britannica Online, 2019 (in English)
  8. ^ Parody and Burlesque // Hardie, Philip. The Last Trojan Hero: A Cultural History of Virgil's Aeneid. London: Bloomsbury Publishing. 2014. 264 p: 187 (in English)