Friday, February 15, 2019 - 21:24

The Facsimile Publication of the First Edition of Taras Shevchenko’s Haydamaky (1841)

November 2013

This publication consists of three books: the facsimile of Haydamaky, 1841; Professor George Grabowicz’s monograph, Shevchenko’s Haydamaky: The Poem and Its Critical Reception; Oles Fedoruk’s The First Edition of Shevchenko’s Haydamaky: The History of the Book.

The facsimile publication of Shevchenko’s Haydamaky reproduces the poem's first edition with the utmost accuracy, in terms of the number of pages, their size, the paper grade and crucially, the text. Prof. Grabowicz’s study newly interprets its reception, form and content as well as its role in making Shevchenko a national poet in a global context. In his lavishly illustrated study-commentary, Fedoruk reviews and systematizes published and archival sources on the history of the poem's creation, publication and reception. The critically revised first edition of Haydamaky is in the appendix.

All Shevchenko’s works published in the poet’s lifetime had several facsimile editions. Kobzar of 1840 was republished four times. New Poems by Pushkin and Shevchenko had three republications, plus  two additional typeset print runs. Kobzar of 1860 was republished twice. Only Haydamaky, in spite of its being one of the most significant and controversial works in Ukrainian literature—given its treatment of interethnic bloodshed—has remained without a facsimile reproduction, until now. (Although The Chyhyryn Kobzar and Haidamaky does include both Haydamaky and the second edition of Kobzar). The present edition seeks to fill this gap. The project is within the framework of the celebrations for Taras Shevchenko’s Bicentennial Year, carried out jointly by the publishing house Krytyka and the Shevchenko Scientific Society in the US.  The publication was initiated by George Grabowicz and Oles Fedoruk, who also contributed their fundamental studies, which together comprise this original triptych. Professor Grabowicz’s monograph thoroughly explores the poem’s form, content and contexts, as well as its critical reception. The critical reception analysis is conducted in reverse chronological order. It begins with recent, contemporary works of literary criticism, which are increasingly overly schematic due to the layering of universal and iconic points. If not perspicuous, the earliest Haydamaky critique, with its immediacy and naiveté, was at least sensitive to the issues raised within the poem. The reception of Haydamaky in the 19th century is characteristically framed by contemporary Russian, Polish and Ukrainian criticisms. This approach illuminates parallel and interrelated interpretations/discussions of Shevchenko’s poem, the poet’s role and significance and, finally, the entire Ukrainian cause. Grabowicz first examines the poem itself in terms of its poetics (forms and dynamics), influences and contexts, with specific attention paid to its epic and heroic moments. His analysis then moves to the work’s pragmatics, focusing primarily on the deconstruction of its historicism and emphasizing its concepts of collective memory and collective identity. Finally, the symbolic layer of the poem comes to the fore; including a discussion of how Haydamaky became the reference point for Shevchenko’s becoming Ukraine’s national poet. The third volume of the publication contains the critically annotated poem, prepared and edited by Oles Fedoruk. All publications of Shevchenko’s works typically include the late 1850s edition of Haydamaky, which differs significantly from this little-known first edition. Here, the critically annotated text offers a number of original insights, thus far unexplored by Shevchenko scholars and textual specialists. The publication also includes a series of interesting illustrations and Fedoruk’s The First Edition of Shevchenko’s Haydamaky: The History of the Book, which is based on broad source materials, some of which Fedoruk brings to scholarly circulation for the first time.