Ukrainian Epic and Historical Song: Folklore in Context
Ukrainian epic, or dumy, were first recorded from blind mendicant minstrels in the nineteenth century, yet they reflect events dating back to as early as the 1300s. Ukrainian Epic and Historical Song provides new translations in contemporary English of these songs of family strife, war, and human dignity. It also explains the historical events celebrated in epic and other historical songs: fierce battles, rebellion against tyranny, the struggles of captivity, the joys of escape from slavery. Natalie Kononenko’s expert translation and analysis of Ukrainian epics provides a sweeping social history of folklore that is vital to Ukrainian identity. A translation of at least one variant of every known epic is included. Whereas earlier trends in folklore scholarship emphasized genre purity and compartmentalization, Kononenko critically examines the events about which songs were sung. Her emphasis on the lives of ordinary people rather than on leaders reshapes our understanding of how epics were composed and performed. Kononenko’s ground-breaking analysis also illuminates Ukrainian self-understanding and explains how songs preserve and perpetuate historical memory. Scholars interested in epic song, history, and general folklore will benefit from this work. Members of the Ukrainian diaspora will find new appreciation of Ukrainian folklore.
- World Rights
- Page Count: 344 pages
- Illustrations: 11
- Dimensions: 6.3in x 1.0in x 9.3in
"Natalie Kononenko is the most qualified scholar I know to write a book on Ukrainian epic poetry. In Ukrainian Epic and Historical Song, Kononenko seeks to reach a generation of young Ukrainians unfamiliar with the historical context and meaning of dumy as well as a broader audience of folklorists and general readers interested in folk poetry. Her work thus treads the delicate boundary between a serious scholarly study and quasi‐popular book."
Linda Ivanits, professor emerita of Russian and Comparative Literature, Penn State
"Ukrainian Epic and Historical Song is extremely important and timely in a world gripped by religious and nationalist conflict where people are displaced and forced to renegotiate their national, ethnic, and religious identities. These epics were not written by a nationalist, but by a person who hates war. The genre, dumy, which is usually used for nationalistic purposes, is discussed in Ukrainian Epic and Historical Song from an anti‐war point of view."
Larisa Fialkova, professor, Department of Hebrew and Comparative Literature, University of Haifa
Author InformationNatalie Kononenko is a professor in the Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies at the University of Alberta and holds the Kule Chair in Ukrainian Ethnography.
Table of contents
List of Geographical Names
1. The Recording and Publication of Dumy
2. Kobzari and Lirnyky - The Singers of Dumy
3. Turko-Tatar Slavery
4. The Rise of the Kozaks - Battles on Land and on Sea
5. The Khmelnytskyi Period
6. Dumy about Everyday Life - Songs Reflecting the Post-Khmelnytskyi Period
List of Songs
Barbara Heldt Prize for Best Translation awarded by Association of Women in Slavic Studies- Winner in 2019
Subjects and Courses