Mykola Khvylovy and the Ukrainian renaissance
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This thesis examines the 1917 to 1920 Ukrainian Revolution, literary activity in post-Revolutionary Ukrainian, and the works of the eminent Ukrainian writer, Mykola Khvylovy in order to better understand how a short-lived Ukrainian cultural and literary renaissance took shape and how it was suppressed by the Communist Party. My paper is divided into three major parts, which address the Ukrainian Revolution, policies of the Soviet state regarding Ukrainian cultural and literary development, and the literary works of Mykola Khvylovy. In my first three chapters I undertake a fairly detailed analysis of the Ukrainian Revolution. Due to the complexity of the topic, I have divided it into three parts. In these three chapters, I explore the ways in which the Ukrainian intelligentsia sought to establish an autonomous Ukrainian state and how their attempts to create their own vision of an independent Ukraine were ultimately thwarted by foreign aggressions. Despite the utter chaos that characterized the Revolutionary era, the Ukrainian intelligentsia sought to establish a sovereign Ukrainian state. In chapter four, I examine the Soviet policy of Ukrainianization and its ideological antecedents in order to determine the ways in which it both contributed to and undermined attempts to foster Ukrainian political, literary, and cultural expansion. In the early years following the Ukrainian Revolution, first the Bolshevik party, and then the Soviet state recognized that it was imperative to gain support from the Ukrainian population. For a brief time a Ukrainian cultural and literary renaissance flourished, until the Soviet state ultimately proscribed all activity which did not occur under the aegis of the state. In the fifth chapter, I examine literary activity in Soviet Ukraine and the role of Mykola Khvylovy. By looking at the relationships among literary organizations and their connections to the Soviet State, I want to understand how Ukrainian literature was circumscribed by an increasingly repressive Soviet state. Lastly, I want to examine the literary life and works of Mykola Khvylovy in order to demonstrate his importance to this era, which has come to be known as “executed Ukrainian renaissance.” By analyzing Khvylovy’s polemical pamphlets and prose, I attempt to explain the author’s literary ideology and his vision for a new Ukrainian literature. In a close reading of Khvylovy’s Ia…Romantika, I consider aspects of the protagonist’s a psychological rupture, which reveals his self-doubt and uncertainty with the new revolutionary order.