The role of Lesya Ukrainka’s paratext in Ivan Svitlychny’s cycle «Pleinair»

Keywords: poetry, paratext, epigraph, code, dialogue, hidden meaning, Lesya Ukrainka, Ivan Svitlychny.


The article is devoted to the poetry of Ivan Svitlychny, who was a poet, dissident, prisoner of conscience, representative of the Ukrainian national democratic movement of 1960-70. His poetry is connected with the political realities in Ukraine, when after the speeches of Nikita Khrushchev condemning the cult of personality of Stalin, it was time for new political repressions. A group of talented, patriotic, and courageous figures of national culture were convicted of anti-Soviet activities, including Ivan Svitlychny, who wrote a book of poems in prison. The researcher determines the political meaning of the poetic text from the cycle “Pleinair”, in particular interprets the poem “Twilight”, which opens this cycle. The focus is on the dialogue between Ivan Svitlychny’s text and the paratext, which is an epigraph from a poem by Lesya Ukrainka. Lesya Ukrainka’s poem, written during the
Russian Revolution of 1905-1907, depicts enslaved peoples. In the space of the poem there are symbolic images of enslaved peoples, their nightmares,
bright dreams, darkness. The last lines from Lesya Ukrainka’s poem with a vague, dim landscape are chosen by Ivan Svitlychny as an epigraph to the
poem “Twilight”. The poem “Twilight” secretly continues Lesya Ukrainka’s political reflection through images of nature. Ivan Svitlychny depicts an unidentified space in which things either exist or are absent, as well as an unidentified time – neither day nor night. The researcher notes the pumping
of the mood stated by the epigraph, it is a mood of disappointment, pain from unfulfilled hopes. The poet conveys an alienated, objective view of the stopped liberation movement, which he calls muffled, repressed. Landscapes evoke the lack of freedom of speech in the country, and advocacy for democracy and the national rights of Ukrainians is becoming rarer. The poem contains a catastrophic picture of the elimination of the foundations of public life. The final part of the text inspires the reader with hope for the possibility of creating a new social world. The poet strives for clear principles, basic values. The subjective “I” of the lyrical text feels alien, indignant, disagreeable at dusk. The researcher concludes that the epigraph serves as a code (Gérard Genette), giving the key to understanding the second, hidden meaning of the text by referring the reader to the full text of the poem quoted in the epigraph.


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Author Biography

Hanna Tokman, Pereiaslav-Khmelnytsky Hryhorii Skovoroda State Pedagogical University

Doctor in Pedagogics,

How to Cite
Tokman, H. (2021). The role of Lesya Ukrainka’s paratext in Ivan Svitlychny’s cycle «Pleinair». Theoretical and Didactic Philology, (34), 60-68. Retrieved from