Ancient Literature: Breaking Down Stereotypes

The Neo-Latin part of an Old Ukrainian Literature was proscribed for ages. The book "Ancient Literature: Breaking Down Stereotypes" describes a lot of works, which were written by the authors from Ukrainian-Polish (later - Ukrainian-Russian) borderlands, such as Stanislaw Orikhowsky, Simon Simonides, Erasm Syxt, Bartholomey Zymorowycz, Hryhoriy Skoworoda and other. The are two aims in ukrainian edition of "Ancient Literature: Breaking Down Stereotypes": refute the opinion, that ancient literature is non interesting, and create the most general map of Ukrainian Neo-Latin studies. English edition has one more aim: open this part of Ukraine for the world. "Ancient Literature: Breaking Down Stereotypes" (English Ed.) will be available for buy in February 2015.

Lyudmyla Shevchenko-Savchynska, Kostyantyn Balashov. Translated by Elvira Shvets

Datur facultas cuilibet opponendi
With these words, the authors of the Latin scientific publications of XV-XIX centuries have encouraged readers for discussion. We also encourage thinking about the main theses, which are enounced in our book: first, the proposed works, despite their belonging to another language, we seen as an integral part of Ukrainian literature and so that the culture; second, as the Latin authors belonged to the highly educated stratum of society, intellectual elite, to whose philosophy earlier wasn’t paid enough attention, we think it expedient that studying this literary heritage is very useful for understanding the history of Ukrainian intellectual development.

Unbelievably, but the term “Latin Ukrainian literature” is still able to surprise even philologists Ukrainianists. Sometimes it seems, that studying at the University works of Teofan Propokovych, not everyone knows how many works have been written by him in Latin; bringing to mind the work of Bartholomew Zymorovych “New Russian Countrywomen” in Polish, the curriculum leaves out in the cold his “Triple Lviv” in Latin even today; and wonderfully translated by Volodymyr Lytvynov and Myroslav Trofymuk works of Stanislav Orikhovsky, probably, leave some people under impression, that the original they were written is Ukrainian. In fact, the names of the authors of the national Neo-Latin heritage familiar to anyone from the school, the eloquent evidence is Hrygory Skovoroda.

The oversight like this is a natural result of the widespread prejudice, that ancient literature is too distant from us in time, so that can’t be truly interesting. But you can’t love and understand things you don’t know. In order to know the ancient literature with all it’s inherent multilanguage, in addition to the ancient Ukrainian, you should know at least Polish and Latin. We encourage everyone to learn Latin, as all humanists still do (despite the extremely cut down curriculum), we also encourage those, who have a growing desire to explore times in literature and history of Ukraine which indicated by Latin. «Haec cogita», as Ukrainian stroller thinker liked to stress the importance in his letters.

Part I. Why should we study Ukrainian Neo-Latin?
The one who attempts the great task, as the one who goes on a journey, should see his goal - at least in his imagination. What material or nonmaterial benefits it will bring? If the answer would not be determined in advance, the effort could be failed. In our case, the key question is: why should we study Latin Ukrainian literature? And why should we develop Neo-Latin in Ukraine, a young discipline that studies the philosophical and literary Latin texts dated to XV-XX centuries?

Depending on the aria of interests and humanitarian level of involved people, the aim of this work seems to us triple. It makes possible to professional philologist to open the national Latin page and contradict the outdated concept of "incompleteness" in Ukrainian literature, and look at the matter from a different angle than Hrygory Hrabovych and try to fill in some gaps of genres and styles: on the domestic level we can talk about "Latin Renaissance" or "Latin Enlightenment". For a non-professional it is an opportunity to get rid of the stereotype that the ancient literature is to archaic and make sure that it works can attract readers even today. In general, for all of us it is a chance to destroy one of the harmful myths about ourselves, to get rid of a lot of complexes such as "being dejected peasant people for centuries", because the intellectual elite of Ukrainian ethnic lands made a strong contribution to the development of nations, to which they belonged of that time - especially to Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and to Russian Empire.

2nd Ukrainian Edition now is available on Amazon: Old Literature: From The Stereotype's Captivity. 2nd Ed.

"Ancient Literature: Breaking Down Stereotypes" (English Ed.) will be available for buy in February 2015.