Existential meanings of the motive of creativity in the «Chamber motives» of Ivan Svitlychny

Keywords: poetry, sonnet, prisoner, loneliness, creativity, existence, interpretation, comparison.


The article is devoted to the poetry of Ukrainian dissident Ivan Svitlychny. The object of research is a sonnets «Prison cell motives», written in prison. Attention is focused on the philosophical meanings of the poetic text, in particular those close to existential philosophy. The researcher uses the categories of existentialism and the judgments of philosophers.

Ivan Svitlychny’s work based on the author’s broad erudition is deeply intellectual, original. The lyrical hero of the poems is a prisoner of the communist
regime in the USSR. He is a poet who suffers from loneliness and prison existence, but keeps his «I» in a borderline situation. The researcher proposed
an existential interpretation of the motif of creativity in the poems of Ivan Svitlychny. The article contains the results of a comparison of artistic philosophizing in Ivan Svitlychny’s sonnets and the theory of creativity from the work «Self-consciousness» by the philosopher Nikolai Berdyaev.

The sonnet «Introduction» artistically outlines the boundaries of the situation of the lyrical hero and subtextually expresses his existential choice. This
is a choice of aesthetic nature, but it concerns not only the creative selfrealization of man, but also his relationship with power and society. The creation
of lattice sonnets is the confrontation, the preservation of the «I» of the prisoneresthete. Ivan Svitlychny created the image of his sonnets, written in prison, gave them a philosophical and ironic description.

In the sonnet «Loneliness» the author depicts the existence in prison, where the poet exists in captivity, without the conditions for free creativity. At the
same time, he is constantly under surveillance, unable to be alone to create. Paradox and irony are artistic techniques used by I. Svitlychny.

The lyrical hero finds imaginary ways to liberation, one of them is immersion into the world of art. The sonnet «Parnassus» contains the images of
the poetic worlds of Ivan Svitlichny’s talented contemporaries. The prisoner is located in the artistic worlds of his friends’ poetry, mentally going beyond the prison cell. N. Berdyaev also understood creativity as a focus on the higher world and liberation.

In the sonnet «Evening Mystery» the work of God and the work of man are placed side by side, they have a common high essence and purpose. There is
a parallel with Nikolai Berdyaev’s reflection on the mystery of creativity.

The researcher gives a description that was aptly given by the modern philosopher Igor Derzhko to the work allowed by the totalitarian government. Ivan Svitlychny’s aesthetic position was the opposite and was expressed both in the author’s life and in his poems.


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Polsko-Ukraińskie. Tom 2. 127-136 [in Russian].

2. Derzhko I. Totalitary`zm ta xudozhnya kul`tura. Totalitary`zm yak sy`stema zny`shhennya nacional`noyi pam’yati : zbirny`k naukovy`x pracz`. L`viv : Drukarnya LNMU imeni Dany`la Galy`cz`kogo, 2020. S. 514-517 [in Ukrainian].

3. Svitly`chny`j I.O., Svitly`chna N.O. Z zhy`vuchogo plemeni Don Kixotiv ; uporyadn. Kocyuby`ns`ka M.X., Nezhy`vy`j O.I. Ky`yiv : Gramota, 2008. 816 s [in Ukrainian].

Author Biography

Hanna Tokman, Pereiaslav-Khmelnytsky Hryhorii Skovoroda State Pedagogical University

Doctor in Pedagogics,

How to Cite
Tokman, H. (2020). Existential meanings of the motive of creativity in the «Chamber motives» of Ivan Svitlychny. Theoretical and Didactic Philology, (33), 99-106. Retrieved from https://tdp-journal.com/index.php/journal/article/view/204