Interpretation of a medieval story about Tristan and Isolde in Lesya Ukrainka’s poem “Isolde Beloruk”

Keywords: lyric epic, world image, legend, neo-romanticism, poem, Lesia Ukrainka..


The article considers the main aspects of Lesia Ukrainka’s neo-romantic work on the example of the poem “Isolde Biloruka”. In the early twentieth century. one of the leading creative methods in Ukrainian literature is neo-romanticism. Neo-romanticism was most fully outlined in the work of Lesia Ukrainka, who tentatively called it “neoromanticism.” The poetess reveals her understanding of this method in the work “The latest social drama”, where she pays great attention to the neoromantic hero – a strong, strong-willed, independent personality.

Lesia Ukrainka, as a bright creator of neo-romanticism in Ukrainian literature, tries to enrich national literature with new plots, figures, and problems. The Middle Ages gave rise to many literary themes and plots, which in literature are called eternal. One of the most famous is the story of the immortal love of Tristan and Isolde, which also interested Lesia Ukrainka. Generated by the culture of the Middle Ages and understood only in its context, the legend of Tristan and Isolde did not disappear with the decline of medieval ideals. Each era in its own way comprehended the legendary love of the heroes, each writer saw in the plot of this legend the opportunity to present their own ethical positions. The desire to rediscover world stories in Ukrainian literature
leads the author’s interest in epic poetry. Here she tries to combine the epic image of the characters, lyrical emotionality and sophistication. A striking
example is the treatment of a medieval story about the love of Tristan and Isolde. The author manages to divert attention in the work to the image of
Isolde Biloruka, who in the original legend appears as a secondary image, endowed with a rather stingy negative characteristic. In Lesia Ukrainka, Izolda
Biloruka is a heroine of the new age, the antithesis of a disenfranchised medieval woman. She is strong, strong-willed, determined, able to fight to the
last for her right to be with her lover to the end. In this image, the author skillfully combined the medieval ideal of beauty and love with the feminist tradition of female strength and intelligence.


1. Gorans`ka T. V. Nove prochytannya seredn`ovichnogo syuzhetu pro Tristana ta Izol`du v poemi L. Ukrayinky «Izol`da Biloruka». Mizhkul`turna komunikaciya: problemy ta perspektyvy : zbirnyk naukovyx pracz. 2012. Vy`pusk. 1. S. 161-166. [in Ukrainian].

2. Lesya Ukrayinka. Poemy. Poetychni pereklady. Zibrannya tvoriv u 20 t. K. : Naukova dumka, 1975. T. 2. 368 s. [in Ukrainian].

Author Biography

Katerina Khoma, Pereiaslav-Khmelnytsky Hryhorii Skovoroda State Pedagogical University

Ph.D. in Philology,
senior lecturer

How to Cite
Khoma, K. (2021). Interpretation of a medieval story about Tristan and Isolde in Lesya Ukrainka’s poem “Isolde Beloruk”. Theoretical and Didactic Philology, (34), 69-75. Retrieved from