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National Literature

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Nation and Memory in
Eastern Europe
Lecture 10
National Literature and National
Poets
Week 11
Outline
1. National Literature and National Poets
2. Reading Clubs and Literacy
3. Russia: Alexander Pushkin
4. Poland: Adam Mickiewicz
5. Ukraine: Taras Shevchenko
6. Conclusion
Many nations have adopted a poet who is
perceived to represent the identity, beliefs
and principles of their culture. This person,
whether officially or by popular acclaim, is
often referred to as the national poet or
national bard. Some nations have more
than one national poet.
Preconditions
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National literary language
Themes which are relevant for the nation
Expresses the national essence
Educated elite – reading public and literary
criticism
Market for publications in the national
language
Measures
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Education programme for the people – literacy
and reading clubs
Celebrating the bard – commemorations,
monuments, renaming of streets, public
buildings
Mass production of his/her works, in
almanacs, calendars, peasant journals and so
on
Functions
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Integration: reading and celebrating the
national poet
National pride: high quality literature, literary
language
“Foreign propaganda”: presenting own
national culture as a high culture
Identity: Identification with the nation
Outline
1. National Literature and National Poets
2. Reading Clubs and Literacy
3. Russia: Alexander Pushkin
4. Poland: Adam Mickiewicz
5. Ukraine: Taras Shevchenko
6. Conclusion
Case study: The Prosvita society
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1st Prosvita society founded in Lviv in 1868, mostly intellectuals
Educative and cultured society to �know and edify the people’.
to �collect and publish all the fruits of oral folk literature.’
(1870) to promote education among the Ruthenian (Ukrainian)
people by means of popular publications in the vernacular and
the organisation of county committees
in 1876: the admission fee was abolished, annual dues were
drastically reduced, and all members received a free popular
booklet each month
In 1881–5 there were 320 reading rooms in Galicia under the
care of Prosvita, but unconnected
Between 1891 and 1914 the number of reading rooms within
Prosvita increased from 5 to 2,944, and the number of
branches from 7 to 77
In 1914, 75% of the cities, towns, and villages in Galicia had a
reading room, and 20% of the province's Ukrainian population
belonged to Prosvita
Meeting of the Ukrainian Society of Prosvita
Members of the Ukrainian Society of Prosvita in
Kamenyca in 1934)
Ems Ukas (1876), Excerpts
The importation into the Russian Empire, without special
permission of the Central Censorship over Printing, of all
books and pamphlets in the Little Russian dialect,
published abroad, is forbidden,
The printing and publishing in the Empire of original works
and translations in this dialect is forbidden with the
exception of (a) historical documents and monuments; (b)
works of belles lettres but with the provision that in the
documents the orthography of the originals be retained; in
works of belles lettres no deviations from the accepted
Russian orthography are permitted and permission for
their printing may be given only by the Central Censorship
over Printing.
All theatrical performances and lectures in the Little
Russian dialect, as well as the printing of text to musical
notes, are forbidden
Outline
1. National Literature and National Poets
2. Reading Clubs and Literacy
3. Russia: Alexander Pushkin
4. Poland: Adam Mickiewicz
5. Ukraine: Taras Shevchenko
6. Conclusion
Alexander Pushkin
Proud charger, whither art
thou ridden?
Where leapest thou? And
where, on whom
wilt plant thy hoof?
Alexander Pushkin, The
Bronze Horseman
1824
Etienne-Maurice Falconet: The Bronze
Horseman, 1782
Nikolai Gogol,
1809-1852
Leo Tolstoy, 18281910
Fyodor M. Dostoevsky, 1821-1881
Outline
1. National Literature and National Poets
2. Russia: Alexander Pushkin
3. Poland: Adam Mickiewicz
4. Ukraine: Taras Shevchenko
5. Conclusion
Adam Mickiewicz, 1798-1858
�But the Polish nation alone did not bow down … And
Poland said, �Whosoever will come to me shall be free and
equal for I am FREEDOM.’ But the Kings, when they heard
it, were frightened in their hearts, and they crucified the
Polish nation, and laid it in its grave, crying out �We have
slain and buried Freedom.’ But they cried out foolishly….
For the Polish Nation did not die. Its Body lieth in the grave;
but its spirit has descended into the abyss, that is into the
private lives of people who suffer slavery in their own
country … For on the Third Day, the Soul shall return again
to the Body; and the Nation shall arise, and free all the
peoples of Europe from Slavery.’
Adam Mickiewicz, Books of the Polish Nation and
Pilgrimage, 1832
Zygmunt Krasinski, 1812-1859Juliusz Slowacki, 1809-1849
Henryk Sienkiewicz, 1846-1916
Outline
1. National Literature and National Poets
2. Russia: Alexander Pushkin
3. Poland: Adam Mickiewicz
4. Ukraine: Taras Shevchenko
5. Conclusion
Taras Shevchenko
Do Not Forget Our Native
Land Ukraine
Published by D. Markov
Kiev 1908
Shevchenko Monument
Kiev, Ukraine, June 8, 2000
Testament" (Zapovit’)
When I die, bury
Me in a grave,
Among the wide steppes,
In my beloved Ukraine,
So that the wide-brimmed plains,
And the Dnieper, and steep slopes
There could be seen, could be heard,
How the wailing wail.
When from Ukraine is carried
Into the blue sea
The blood of the enemy. . . then I
And the plains and hills—
Will drop everything and bow
To God Himself
Praying. . . until then
God I do not know.
Bury me and arise,
Break your chains,
And with the enemy's evil blood
Baptize freedom.
And myself in a big family,
In a family free, new,
Don't forget to remember
With a pleasant quiet word.
24 December 1845, Pereyaslav
Lesya Ukrainka, 1871-1913
Ivan Franko, 1856-1916
Outline
1. National Literature and National Poets
2. Russia: Alexander Pushkin
3. Poland: Adam Mickiewicz
4. Ukraine: Taras Shevchenko
5. Conclusion
What is the connection between
literature and nation building?
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Creation of a national high language
Poets who represent the national spirit
High literature – “cultural capital” in nation
building
Use of texts in national language to nationalise
the peasantry
Novels, stories, poems with historical topics
show the greatness and the suffering of the
nation
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