Cover Osteuropa 6-8/2022

In Osteuropa 6-8/2022

A Short History of a Great Literature
Basic Outlines of the Literary Process in Ukraine

Ulrich Schmid

Deutsche Fassung


Ever since its East Slavic beginnings, Ukrainian literary history has evolved in different spaces. Multilingualism and cultural overlap were always constitutive features of literary creation in the space that is modern-day Ukraine. In addition, there have been repeated attempts to place Ukrainian literature in the imperial centre St. Petersburg. Therefore, what holds true for many European national literatures applies to Ukrainian literature: writers and other figures involved in cultural politics consciously constructed a literary system, and historians of literature projected this construction onto the past. The suppression that Ukrainian writers experienced again and again as part of the national movement in the tsarist empire and the Soviet Union has meant that the relationship to state and nation has defined the literary process in Ukraine to this day. This is seen in the importance of writers in society during Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, a conflict that began in 2014 and escalated to open war in 2022.

(Osteuropa 6-8/2022, pp. 7–40)