Ivan Kotliarevsky

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Ivan Petrovych Kotliarevsky (Ukrainian: Іван Петрович Котляревський) (9 September [O.S. 29 August] 1769 in Poltava – 10 November [O.S. 29 October] 1838 in Poltava, Russian Empire, now Ukraine) was a Ukrainian writer, poet and playwright, social activist, regarded as the pioneer of modern Ukrainian literature.[1] Kotliarevsky was a veteran of the Russo-Turkish War.

Ivan Kotliarevsky
Іван Котляревський.jpg
Born(1769-08-29)29 August 1769 O.S.
(9 September 1769 N.S.)
Poltava, Russian Empire (now Ukraine)
Died29 October 1838(1838-10-29) (aged 69) O.S.
(10 November 1838 N.S.)
Poltava, Russian Empire (now Ukraine)


Kotliarevsky was born in the Ukrainian city of Poltava in the family of a clerk Petro Kotliarevsky of Ogończyk Coat of Arms.[2][3] After studying at the Poltava Theological Seminary (1780–1789), he worked as a tutor for the gentry at rural estates, where he became familiar with Ukrainian folk life and the peasant vernacular. He served in the Imperial Russian Army between 1796 and 1808 in the Siversky Karabiner Regiment. Kotliarevsky participated in the Russo-Turkish War (1806–1812) as a staff-captain (something of 1LT or junior CPT) during which the Russian troops laid the siege to the city of Izmail. In 1808 he retired from the Army. In 1810 he became the trustee of an institution for the education of children of impoverished nobles. In 1812, during the French invasion of Imperial Russia he organized the 5th Ukrainian Cossack Regiment in the town of Horoshyn (Khorol uyezd, Poltava Governorate) under the condition that it will be left after the war as a permanent military formation. For that he received a rank of major.[4]

He helped stage theatrical productions at the Poltava governor-general's residence and was the artistic director of the Poltava Free Theater between 1812 and 1821. In 1818 together with Vasyl Lukashevych, V. Taranovsky, and others he was the member of the Poltava Freemasonry Lodge The Love for Truth (Ukrainian: Любов до істини).[5][6] Kotliarevsky participated in the buyout of Mikhail Shchepkin out of the serfdom. From 1827 to 1835 he directed several philanthropic agencies.[4]

The first modern Ukrainian writerEdit

The first edition of Kotliarevsky's Eneida, 1798.

Ivan Kotliarevsky's mock-heroic 1798 poem Eneida (Ukrainian: Енеїда), is considered to be the first literary work published wholly in the modern Ukrainian language.[1] It is a loose translation of an earlier poem Eneida travestied [ru] (Russian: Вирги́лиева Энеи́да, вы́вороченная наизна́нку) published in 1791 by the Russian poet N. P. Osipov, but his text is absolutely different. In 1845 Vincent Ravinski [be-tarask] wrote a Belarusian version of "Eneida travestied [be-tarask]" in Russian magazine "Mayak".[7] Although Ukrainian was an everyday language to millions of people in Ukraine, it was officially discouraged from literary use in the area controlled by Imperial Russia. Eneida is a parody of Virgil's Aeneid, where Kotliarevsky transformed the Trojan heroes into Zaporozhian Cossacks. Critics believe that it was written in the light of the destruction of Zaporizhian Host by the order of Catherine the Great.

His two plays, also living classics, Natalka Poltavka (Natalka from Poltava) and Moskal-Charivnyk (The Muscovite-Sorcerer), became the impetus for the creation of the Natalka Poltavka opera and the development of Ukrainian national theater.

Where the love for the Motherland inspires heroism, there an enemy force will not stand, there a chest is stronger than cannons.
(Любов к Отчизні де героїть, Там сила вража не устоїть, Там грудь сильніша од гармат.)

— Ivan Kotliarevsky[8][9]


English translationEdit

Partial translations of Eneida date back to 1933 when a translation of first few stanzas of Kotliarevsky's Eneida by Wolodymyr Semenyna was published in the American newspaper of Ukrainian diaspora Ukrainian Weekly on 20 October 1933.[10] However, the first full English translation of Kotliarevsky's magnum opus Eneida was published only in 2006 in Canada by a Ukrainian-Canadian Bohdan Melnyk, most well known for his English translation of Ivan Franko's Ukrainian fairy tale Mykyta the Fox (Ukrainian: Лис Микита).

Еней був парубок моторний
І хлопець хоть куди козак,
Удавсь на всеє зле проворний,
Завзятіший од всіх бурлак.

Но греки, як спаливши Трою,
Зробили з неї скирту гною,
Він, взявши торбу, тягу дав;
Забравши деяких троянців,
Осмалених, як гиря, ланців,
П'ятами з Трої накивав.

Він, швидко поробивши човни,
На синє море поспускав,
Троянців насажавши повні,
І куди очі почухрав.

Но зла Юнона, суча дочка,
Розкудкудакалась, як квочка, —
Енея не любила — страх;
Давно уже вона хотіла,
Його щоб душка полетіла
К чортам і щоб і дух не пах.

Aeneas was a lively fellow
And quite a Cossack for a lad,
For mischief he was more than mellow
While courage above all he had.

But when the Greeks felt very bitter
And made of Troy a heap of litter
He took a bag, and with a lust -
With some good Troyans whom he gathered
Whose hides were tough and necks well lethered -
He showed old Troy a cloud of dust.

He quickly built some boats of timber,
Then launched them in the quiet sea
And filling them with muscle limber
He hit the foam where eyes could see.

But cackling Juno, dog-gone-daughter,
Kept cackling like a hen for water;
- That's how Aeneas lacked her grace -
A long long time she had been praying:
She wished his soul would stop delaying
The trip to that unearthly place.

—Ivan Kotliarevsky, Eneida —Translation by W. Semenyna

List of English translations:

  • Ivan Kotliarevsky. Aeneid: [Translated into English from Ukrainian by Bohdan Melnyk]. — Canada, Toronto: The Basilian Press, 2004. — 278 pages. ISBN 978-0921-5-3766-3.[11][12][13]


  1. ^ a b "Eneyida | work by Kotlyarevsky". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2020-05-30.
  2. ^ Літературна панорама. 1988 Текст : збірник. Вип. 3 / упоряд. Г. М. Сивокінь. – К. : Дніпро, 1988. – 270 с. – 1,30.
  3. ^ "Малоросійська шляхта" мала більше прав і вольностей, ніж російські дворяни
  4. ^ a b Ivan Kotliarevsky. Eneida: Excerpts. Translated by Andrusyshen C. H & Kirkconnell W. in the anthology The Ukrainian Poets 1189–1962. Archived 2012-03-09 at the Wayback Machine Published for the Ukrainian Canadian Committee by the University of Toronto Press in Toronto, 1963.
  5. ^ Sliusarenko, A. H., Tomenko, M. V. Istoriia Ukrainskoi Konstytytsii, "Znannia", (Ukraine 1993), ISBN 5-7770-0600-0, pg. 38 (in Ukrainian)
  6. ^ List of freemasonry lodges in Ukraine Archived 2011-04-08 at the Wayback Machine (in Ukrainian)
  7. ^ Энеіда навыварат. knihi.com.
  8. ^ "Quote by Іван Котляревський: "Любов к Отчизні де героїть, Там сила вража не ..."" (in Ukrainian).
  9. ^ Олександр Палій. "Чому "вороженьки" бояться пам'яті героїв Крут?". unian.net (in Ukrainian).
  10. ^ "1933" The Ukrainian Weekly 1933-03.pdf (in English)
  11. ^ Wawryshyn, Olena. "Melnyk's Monumental Task". www.infoukes.com. Retrieved 2020-05-30.
  12. ^ "ШТРИХИ ДО ПОРТРЕТА ПЕРЕКЛАДАЧА БОГДАНА МЕЛЬНИКА". Кримська Свiтлиця. Retrieved 2020-05-30.
  13. ^ Eneïda. worldcat.org. OCLC 62253208.

External linksEdit