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Monday
May072012

The Language Of Kotlyarevskiy

One of those posts that are not important, and which nobody reads, but which always receive at least a dozen or so of passionate comments underneath...

Kotlyarevskiy was a late eighteenth century writer, one of the first (if not the first) to write in the vernacular of Russia Minor (long before Shevchenko, I do not know why the latter receives so much credit). And it seems that Kotlyarevsky was a complete Ukrainophobe. Below is a photo of a 1809 edition of his Eneida (full title: Virgilieva Eneida na Malorossiyskiy Yazyk Perelozhennaya - Or in English: Virgil's Aeneid Translated into Little Russian).

Wait a minute, 'Little Russian language?' I was told here on this blog that 'Little Russian' sounds degrading, I read elsewhere that this is considered an insult. Svidomites certainly seem to have a problem with that term, but I'm quite certain that Kotlyarevskiy did not share in their anxieties. Here is the same thing, only from 1798:

The 1798 edition has a bit different title (Eneida na Malorossiyskiy Yazyk Perelitsiovannaya - Meaning is the same as the one cited above) Oh dear, this is a decade of Kotlyarevsky's Ukraine denial and Russian chauvinism! Or maybe Kotlyarevskiy did not know a language called Ukrainian? Maybe he never even thought of his country as Ukraine?

We have to understand what makes Svidomites so angry about the term 'Little Russia.' The term defines the people as having a connection to the 'Russian world' (the Svidomites hate that latter term too by the way). Ukrainian nationalism is a separatist endeavor which wants to severe this connection. Of course doing so requires a rather violent incursion on reality, and thus the Svidomites get offended by things that are not at all offensive.

PS: Since this is an English language blog, I did not bother discussing the language of Kotlyarevskiy itself. Suffice to say that it is easily readable to anyone who knows Russian well. There is a Soviet 1980 edition of the poem which attempted to make it more Ukrainian, but the resulting product still is a bit more Surzhyk like than pure Ukrainian. (see more here and here if you speak Russian)  

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Reader Comments (34)

I am crazy about old books, would love to get my hands on this rarity, this is amazing, of course there is a little Russian dialect of Russian, Ukrainian is a political language and a not linguistic one. Russia Minor is a great term by the way, it does sound better than Little Russia, in English at least, I am unsure about benefits of publishing books in dialects, be it that of Russia Minor or of say Lower Austria (which has several) but amazing, just amazing - and you know it is not much different from today's vernacular of the area, I can read it just like that. Thank you for the post.

May 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRoobit

@ Roobit

These books are old and rare, collectors items usually, this is way before paper-back editions, and hideously expensive. I once paid like 100 quid for a nineteenth century publication, no more of that. I usually get photocopies of these things because what I am interested is the text itself. Many of those old books are for download somewhere.

I started using Russia Minor recently, yes it sounds far better, but adjectives still remain Little Russian here.

Today they call that local vernacular Surzhyk. It has always been a sort of a Creole.

May 7, 2012 | Registered CommenterLeoš Tomíček

@ Roobit

Also notice that the books were published in St. Pete. These poems were very popular among the gentlemen of that city, something that is not so talked about in some circles.

May 7, 2012 | Registered CommenterLeoš Tomíček

I keep wondering why in the world do I keep coming back to this blog and wste my time on this dilitente, Russodomite Tomicek and his crazy, over the top Russodomite world views?

But where else, for the price of only wasting my time, will I find such nonsense actually articulated??

Here I can find the incoherent and illiterate ramblings of a self professsed 'Independent Foreign Policy Analyst'...the crazy ass ruminations of another self professed historian and now linguist Tomicek. And even the applomb of a retired automobile black marketeer whose only real contribution to world culture, are his tasty recipes for Christmas carp!

Last week I was treated to a historical expose where Chairman Stalin was the further promulgator of a Galician Pole's nefarious plot to introduce the Ukrainian language into Central and Eastern Ukraine (in perfect Ukrainian, no less) via a film documentary, and now this week I'm treated to Mr. Roobit's great fawning admiration for Kotlyarevsky's 'Eneida'. When will this circus of Russodomite surrealism ever stop???....:-) :-) :-)

@ Hack

Once again, no substantial comment from you. I can see this thread going into dozens of pointless comments already. I did not touch on the linguistic part of Eneida, I figured out that I have few readers that can fully enjoy that, and only one such reader who very rarely writes anything worth while in the comments.

How many languages do you know? English, Ukrainian, Russian (badly). Well I know one Western Slavic, one Eastern Slavic, and have some knowledge of another Eastern Slavic language, but I have never claimed to be a linguist. I know what I read, follow the links at the end of the article and read for yourself. Are you familiar with old typography, or do you require help with that? Because I'm finished with you on this thread.

May 8, 2012 | Registered CommenterLeoš Tomíček

Kotlyrevsky's Eneida was by all accounts, the very first attempt to use the vernacular Ukrainian (Little Russian) language in print. There was no formal codified Ukrainian language in 1798. It took approximately another 60 - 100 years for this language to fully evolve into something that resembles what we have today. If the language of 1798 shared a lot in common with its Imperial cousin to the north, of course this wasn't coincidental. Even the Russiqn language has undergone changes over time, also reflecting regional accretions etc; Languages evolve and change all over the planet. What's really so very difficult here for you to understandand??......................

@ Hack

Uh, huh... somebody just repeated my arguments here. :-)

May 8, 2012 | Registered CommenterLeoš Tomíček

I can't wait for you and Ramboot to discover and fall in love with Shevchenko's Kobzar! The Kobzar was Shevchenko's greatest piece of literature, the one that still has you dumfounded and scratching your numbkull brain (' I do not know why the latter receives so much credit')!!..:-) :-) :-)

May 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLiterati Hack

@ Hack

Greatness becomes very relative when one talks about the greatness of Kobzar. ;-)

May 8, 2012 | Registered CommenterLeoš Tomíček

'Greatness becomes very relative when one talks about the greatness of Kobzar. ;-)'

This may be, but the vapidness of the Kobzar's critics knows no bounds.....

How fortunate you are Leos that you were born in a much freer country than Russia:

' Publication of the work was forbidden by the Ems Ukase, which forbade the publishing of Ukrainian-language literature. This prompted the publication of the work in non-Russia-ruled lands, such as in Prague (now in the Czech Republic) and Germany.'

May 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMr. Hack

''Greatness becomes very relative when one talks about the greatness of Kobzar. ;-)''

If you really feel this way, why not put your fantastic writing skills and deep historic and literary understanding to task by further developing this theme??....I wouldn't at all be surprised if by doing so, you happen to uncover yet another documentary video created by your Kharkiv
Russodomite club that depicts chairman Stalin reciting the Kobzar in flawless Ukrainian, dressed in a native vishivanka.....:-)

May 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMr. Hack

@ Hack

Did you know that chairman Stalin really had nothing against Shevchenko. Shevchenko's statues in Ukraine rivalled those of Stalin in 1930's Ukraine.

May 8, 2012 | Registered CommenterLeoš Tomíček

@ Hack

Are you sure the Kobzar was banned by the Ems Ukaz? The Ems Ukaz and Valuev Circular specifically make exception for literature like that.

May 8, 2012 | Registered CommenterLeoš Tomíček

'Did you know that chairman Stalin really had nothing against Shevchenko. Shevchenko's statues in Ukraine rivalled those of Stalin in 1930's Ukraine.'

Futher proof that Stalin had a deep seated love for the Ukrainian language and culture. It's strange though, that it was during Stalin's tenure that under the shadows of these monuments to Shevchenko, the processof korinizacia that started during Lenin's reign, came to a screeching halt.
Massive numbers of the Ukrainian intelligentsia were liquidated during his rule. Apparently Shevchenko the 'communist' was more respected than Shevchenko the nationalist.

'Are you sure the Kobzar was banned by the Ems Ukaz? The Ems Ukaz and Valuev Circular specifically make exception for literature like that.'

I'm fairly certain...why, do you know otherwise???.............................................

May 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMr. Hack

@ Hack

Stalin also liquidated a great number of Russian intelligentsia, don't search for any ethnic motivation in Stalin's actions. My Ukrainian great grandfather was sent to camps in 1930's, nobody ever told me that it was because he was Ukrainian.

Are you certain that Kobzar was banned by the Ems Ukaz? Can you point me to some credible source of that information.

May 8, 2012 | Registered CommenterLeoš Tomíček

'don't search for any ethnic motivation in Stalin's actions.'

Your poor Grandfather may not have understood Stalin's motivations, but Stalin was always opposed to Ukrainian 'bourgeois nationalism' and severely targeted Ukrainian intellectuals and peasants, who traditionally were seen as bastions of Ukrainian language an culture (as opposed to city dwellers, who were more russified). Even Khrushchev, in what history terms his 'secret speech' of 1956 had this to say about your
'motivationless' Stalin:

In February 1956, Nikita Khrushchev in his speech On the Personality Cult and its Consequences condemned the deportations as a violation of Leninist principles, asserting as a joke that the Ukrainians avoided such a fate "only because there were too many of them and there was no place to which to deport them."http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Population_transfer_in_the_Soviet_Union '

May 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMr. Hack

@ Hack

Bourgeois nationalism among peasants, a bit odd isn't it? Let us not forget that when it comes to so called bourgeois nationalism, the Bolsheviks opposed the Russian bourgeois nationalism more that any other nationalism, and Russian peasants were just as targeted as Ukrainian peasants. Stalin's policies targeted all peasant communities in Ukraine: Ukrainians, Russians, Germans, Jews, you name them all. Simply put, there is not a single document confirming Stalin's anti-Ukrainness, zilch. His repressions were nasty to all.

It is rather interesting that at the same time Stalin was destroying Ukrainian nation, places were named after Shevchenko in Ukraine. If I wanted to destroy a nation, I would not name universities, squares, parks and God knows what else after its symbolic figure. Does not make sense, I guess the nationalist narrative that you attempt to feed me with here is a bit incomplete and biased.

As for that Khrushchev speech, the English language entry is seriously misrepresenting the facts of what was being said. Here it is in full:

"Так, уже в конце 1943 года, когда на фронтах Великой Отечественной войны определился прочный перелом в ходе войны в пользу Советского Союза, принято было и осуществлено решение о выселении с занимаемой территории всех карачаевцев. В этот же период, в конце декабря 1943 года, точно такая же участь постигла все население Калмыцкой автономной республики. В марте 1944 года выселены были со своих родных мест все чеченцы и ингуши, а Чечено-Ингушская автономная республика ликвидирована. В апреле 1944 года с территории Кабардино-Балкарской автономной республики выселены были в отдаленные места все балкарцы, а сама республика переименована в Кабардинскую автономную республику. Украинцы избежали этой участи потому, что их слишком много и некуда было выслать. А то он бы и их выселил. (Смех, оживление в зале.)"

Sure, that is a serious characterisation of Stalin's intentions. 'What if' type of joke. Bear in mind that Khrushchev was himself Ukrainian, so he was talking about himself in a way.

May 9, 2012 | Registered CommenterLeoš Tomíček

So, in trying to sum up your's and your trusty sidekick Averko's assessments of historic Ukrainian figures, what we find is that Gogol, Kotlyarevsky and even Shevchenko were actually 'Little Russians' that no doubt 'positively identified with Russia' whereas true blue Ukrainians like Stalin and Khrushchev were promoters of Ukrainianism, if not directly responsible for the creation of the Ukrainian nation, who did so in order to counter the nefarious effects of Russification. And then, include the Austro/Galican/Polish entente that invented the Ukrainian languae....I'm thinking, how is one to believe these revisionist fantasies, without the help of some hallucinogenic supplements??....:-) ;_)
(thankfully, there's the Kharkiv branch of the Russodomite club that provides 'solid' research and documentaries that buttress these crackpot theories!). :-) :-)

May 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMr. Hack

@ Hack

Gogol' was totally for Little Russian and Greater Russian unity, I do not know what you want to be searching for there. Kotlyarevskiy wrote in Little Russian. And Shevchenko? Writing folk songs is not exactly comparable to instituting massive Ukrainisation is it. Not to mention that Shevchenko wrote most of his works in Russian, can't get over that can you?

You can call these theories crackpot, but the only crackpot here is you!

May 10, 2012 | Registered CommenterLeoš Tomíček

Very good then. I'd appreciate you clearing up once and for all who were actually the founders of the modern Ukrainian national movement then...

Was it the polonized Duchinsky and Czartoryski, or was it the russified Stalin and Khrushchev??

May 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMr. Hack

'Gogol' was totally for Little Russian and Greater Russian unity'

The fact that Gogol wrote in Russian, as a subject of the Russian Empire, no sane person would deny. But outside of several political quips
critical of the government and the Czar, Gogol wasn't really involved in politics. He accepted the role of 'Little Russia' as a part of the larger empire, but I'm not aware of any of his prose where he expressed ' Little Russian and Greater Russian unity'. Acceptance of the status quo, is in no sense endorsement of a situation, like you're trying to fabricate!

May 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMr. Hack

@ Hack

No Gogol did not express that explicitly, only he called Cossacks - Russian. I think that is a proof enough. Outside of his literary work he however did express that view.

May 10, 2012 | Registered CommenterLeoš Tomíček

Leos - unlike yourself, a very loyal Russodomite, who has never once levelled any criticism towards today's current Czar, Putin, and his party of 'Crooks and thieves', Gogol was critical of his czar and his mishandling of the government. I wouldn't compare his 'deeply' held Russodomite views to your own. Besides, his daddy wasn't lining his pockets, like your daddy is lining your pockets from lucrative energy deals with the current party of 'Crooks and Thieves'. :-) :-) :-)

May 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMr. Hack

@ Hack

Yeah, when you run out of arguments you turn to low ad hominem arguments. Get lost!

May 10, 2012 | Registered CommenterLeoš Tomíček

Just trying to put things into the correct perspective! Why, doesn't your family's privileged postion depend a lot on maintaining the current status quo in Russia??..........

May 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMr. Hack

@ Hack

I was pro-Putin long before my dad started working in Russia, so your perspective is rather wrong here.

May 10, 2012 | Registered CommenterLeoš Tomíček

Well if it was 'way before' your dad started working in Russia, it must have been shortly after Putin's KGB career. Still kind of strange though, because you seem to try to distance yourself from the old school sovok types, and yet Putin still embodies many elemnets of this outdated ideal.

I know that you've also tried to portray Mazapa as disrespectful becauseof his betrayal of Peter. But what of Putin the communist, who I'm sure swore fealty to the communist party etc; becoming the turncoat noveau capitalist? Talk about backsliding.....Anything for a buck, eh Leos?? :-) :-)

May 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMr. Hack

@ Hack

You are an idiot, Putin was a KGB in the 80's. he became a president in early 2000's, get your facts right. Also, many former commies stopped believing in the regime long before it fell, one of the reasons why it fell. You are an idiot if you cannot understand that.

May 11, 2012 | Registered CommenterLeoš Tomíček

@ Hack

Besides that, I am not having this lame ad hominem argument of yours. Find yourself a better topic to discuss you moron!

May 11, 2012 | Registered CommenterLeoš Tomíček

@ Hack

I will give you a topic. I never spoke of Mazepa as disrespectful because he betrayed people. Mazepa's story is not just a question of betrayl, I have a problem with how Mazepa is being treated in Svidomite and diaspora Svidomite historiography. Did it ever occur to you that there is not a single contemporary biography of Mazepa in English? Surely, if he is such a hero, he should have at least two biographies dedicated to him. Look how many biographies of Peter there are. There is Subtelny's Mazepists (not exactly a biography) where I discovered some serious deficiencies in the little biographical material that it contains.

Face it, Western and even contemporary Ukrainian scholarship on Mazepa is totally crap, everyone with little knowledge knows it.

May 11, 2012 | Registered CommenterLeoš Tomíček

@ Hack

I should suggest, well financed crap to put things in better perspective as you say. ;-)

May 11, 2012 | Registered CommenterLeoš Tomíček

'Also, many former commies stopped believing in the regime long before it fell, one of the reasons why it fell. '

All I know is that Putin still thinks fondly of the 'good old days' lamenting the fall of the Soviet Union. If it weren't for his current abillities to enrich himslef and his coterie of ex-KGB thugs, he's still most aassuredly be a loyal communist. Money undoubtedly trumps principles in Putin's case.

'Dd it ever occur to you that there is not a single contemporary biography of Mazepa in English...Ukrainian scholarship on Mazepa is totally crap, everyone with little knowledge knows it'

Well, you appear once again to be the one 'with little knowledge'. :-) Ohoblyn's monograph ' Hetman Ivan Mazepa and His Era,' was republished into english translation in 1988. Also, if you recall (I hear that prolonged cannabis abuse seriously effects ones memory?) during your Mazepa series in March of this year (about 2 months ago) I included a list of current monographs that have come out in Ukraine about Mazepa since Ukraine's independence. I'll repring it again for your edification:

On the other hand, there are many Ukrainian historians that unlike yourself have, since Ukraine's independence, been busily writing serious books regarding Mazepa's legacy, trying to keep his importance alive in Ukraine's collective memory:

Військові кампанії доби гетьмана Мазепи в документах / Павленко С. 2009

Гетьман. Комплект в 2-х томах. Ольга Ковалевська, 2009

Доба гетьмана Івана Мазепи в документах, Сергій Павленко, 2004

Договори і постанови (Конституція Пилипа Орлика), ?

Журавльов Д. В., Мазепа, 2007

Загибель Батурина. 2 листопада 1708 року, 2007

Збірник "Мазепа": реконструкція видавничого проекту 1939-1949 років. Ольга Ковалевська, 2011

Мазепіана. Сергій Якутович, ?

Мазепіана: матеріали до бібліографії (1688–2009). О. Ковалевська, 2009

Ольга Ковалевська. Іван Мазепа у запитаннях та відповідях, 2008

Оточення Гетьмана Мазепи: соратники та прибічники. С. Павленко, 2009

As you can see Leos, Mazepiana is alive and flourishing in Ukraine, something that should keep you up many sleepless nights worrying about how this phenomena continues to thrive??....:-)

'


'Face it, Western and even contemporary Ukrainian scholarship on Mazepa is totally crap, everyone with little knowledge knows it.'

There you go again Leos, putting your foot in your

May 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMr. Hack

@ Hack

I know of that Ohloblyn (not Ohoblyn) book but only in its Ukrainian version 'Hetman Mazepa ta yoho doba'. The English version is probably so rare it is nowhere to be found on the market, maybe I can get a dusty copy out of the library, would be great as my Ukrainian needs improvement. But you can be helpful and provide me with a link to where I can obtain it for my self. After all, my Ukrainian needs improvement and it would be easier for me to read it in English.

There are a lot of biographies written about Peter the Great, readily available, but one obscure on Mazepa? If he was such a great figure as Motyl and Karatnytsky tell us, why shy away from writing a complete biography of him. Or maybe starting a debate on him is not in the interest of all those Ukrainian diaspora institutes?

As for that list of list literature?, I remember that, and investigated it. ;-) It was probably the best contribution you ever made to the threads here.

Serhiy Pavlenko created some controversy more that keeping Mazepa's legacy alive. Did you hear about an internet debate he had with Parmen Posokhov on the destruction of Baturyn? Posokhov pretty much destroys Pavlenko in my opinion. Yakutovych's Mazepiana are paintings inspired by Shevchenko who was, surprise, surprise, inspired by the poetry of Byron. I do not know what that is doing in an otherwise historiographical list?

May 11, 2012 | Registered CommenterLeoš Tomíček

As a good Svidomite, I have the Ukrainian version of Ohloblyn's book. You can find out more about the english language edition here:
http://donklass.com/arhiv/histdisk/litopys/litopys/coss3/ohl02.htm

Although Ohloblyn's book was well written back in the 60's with the meager sources that were then availabe to him. I agree, an expanded, newer study is indeed long overdo. Although the books cited I haven't read, my point was that books are being published about him today in Ukraine. 'Гетьман. Комплект в 2-х томах. Ольга Ковалевська, 2009' received a lot of fanfare when it first came out.

May 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMr. Hack

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