Creativity of Ivan Kotliarevsky in the Ukrainian literary context

Keywords: poem, I. Kotliarevsky, «The Aeneid», travesty, burlesque, kriti literature, original, imitation.


I. Kotliarevsky’s creativity is in the transition period of the end of the 18th – the beginning of the 19th centuries. in terms of socio-historical conditions and literary development. It is defined as a sign phenomenon, which contributed to the ideological and semantic content of Ukrainian literature of the period. In spite of this, the creativity of the author came under the watchful eye of critics who argued that I. Kotliarevsky’s works are only examples of imitation literature. In particular, the critic responded sharply to “The Aeneid”. The analysis of literary criticism around I. Kotliarevsky’s work is the purpose of this article.

Thus, since the writing of I. Kotliarevsky’s “The Aeneid”, there have been two opposing angles of its analysis – as a work, unoriginal, built on the patterns of previous admirers of Virgil’s creativity, or as a recapitulated poem, but worthy of its place in the cultural space due to its deep meaning.

The article presents the opposite views of critics on the literary value of this work. Thus, M. Kostomarov saw in it the supreme model of the concept of nationality. P. Kulish sharply criticized the author, seeing in the poem «signs of a deep decline of the people’s sense of self-consciousness and self-respect». M. Zerov did not acknowledge the originality of this work, accused I. Kotlyarevsky that he could not say anything new, because he was afraid to move away from the pattern of his predecessors Osipov and Kotelnitsky. D. Chyzhevsky, M. Pavlyshyn, H. Grabovych, M. Tkachuk, H. Gavrilyuk argue for another idea, trying to explore the deep meaning of the poem, which at different times, in different planes of reading, reveals the linguistic and spiritual wealth of the Ukrainian people.

An attempt to look at the work of I. Kotliarevsky in the context of the traditions of Ukrainian and world literature in their research is made by D. Chaly and D. Chyk.

A postcolonial reading of I. Kotliarevsky’s «The Aeneid» is found in Ye. Sverstiuk and H. Grabovich. In particular, H. Grabovich in his writings breaks the literary problem of «Kotliarevsky» – an attempt to blindly follow the popular work of I. Kotliarevsky by the poets of the time. In the confluence of postmodern literary studies we find new views on I. Kotliarevsky’s work.

T. Hundorova defines the author’s skill in the fact that he has textually asserted the right of Ukraine-Little Russia to be inside culture and inside history, and interprets «The Aeneid» as a work-projection of a new ideological context, distinctly dialogical and polemical, in comparison with «The Aeneid» of Vergil. In the light of recent literary theories, S. Zhurba and A. Kovzhyzhyn consider the poetry of I. Kotliarevsky as a fiction for the work of the Roman poet Vergil, one of the first examples of fanfic in Ukrainian literature.


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Author Biography

Katerina Khoma, Pereiaslav-Khmelnytsky Hryhorii Skovoroda State Pedagogical University

Ph.D. in Philology,
senior lecturer

How to Cite
Khoma, K. (2020). Creativity of Ivan Kotliarevsky in the Ukrainian literary context. Theoretical and Didactic Philology, (31), 166-173. Retrieved from