Questions tagged [ukrainian-language]

Questions about works of literature that were originally written in the Ukrainian language, regardless of where they were originally published.

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Why did this Taras Shevchenko poem feature David successfully deceiving Nathan the Prophet?

The poem Czars (Kings) by Taras Shevchenko includes a retelling of the story of David and Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11 in the Bible). One interesting feature of retelling is that Shevchenko's account ...
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3 votes
2 answers
81 views

What is "the song called Peter"?

The poem Maryanne the Nun by Taras Shevchenko contains the following lines: You won't recall that orphan Dressed in peasant garb, at times, so happy When he saw the wonder - of your beauty, Whom you ...
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3 votes
1 answer
215 views

Is the drawing after "The wind converses with the grove" part of the poem?

Immediately after the poem The wind converses with the grove, The Complete Kobzar (translated by Peter Fedynsky) has a drawing (possibly charcoal or pencil, but I'm not sure) merely entitled Forest's ...
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2 votes
1 answer
65 views

What early copy of Kobzar was discovered in 2003?

The translator notes for the Taras Shevchenko poem Tribute to Shternberg in The Complete Kobzar mentioned that the authorship of the poem was in dispute until the 2003 discovery of a "rare early ...
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1 vote
0 answers
51 views

Why was a time of war described as "good"?

The poem Ivan Pidkova by Taras Shevchenko (in The Complete Kobzar) contains the following lines: There was an age - that trouble Pranced about Ukraine, Grief quaffed honeymead Like rebels in a tavern....
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2 votes
1 answer
136 views

Is "the Kozak in a stormy meadow" part of a traditional song?

The Taras Shevchenko poem To Osnovianenko (in The Complete Kobzar, translated by Peter Fedynsky) has the following lines: I ramble through the snow And to myself I sing: The Kozak in a Stormy Meadow!...
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0 votes
1 answer
44 views

What do ellipses mean in the context of this Taras Shevchenko poem?

I recently encountered the following in a Taras Shevchenko poem (To Osnovianenko) in The Complete Kobzar (Peter Fedynsky translation): Our idea and our song Will neither die nor perish... And that, ...
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4 votes
1 answer
153 views

What would lead the train attendants to conclude that Pasha was a teacher?

In The Orphanage by Serhiy Zhadan, Pasha was trying to go into a neighboring city to rescue his nephew from an orphanage. When he reached a train station, the attendants demanded to see his papers, ...
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14 votes
1 answer
5k views

What happened on April 22, 1838?

The poem Kateryna by the Ukrainian poet Taras Shevchenko (also known as Kobzar) is dedicated to Vasilii Andreyevich Zhukovsky "in memory of April 22, 1838." What is this heading referring to?...
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3 votes
0 answers
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Why did Carbide say that Béla Bartók was from Vedmediv?

Carbide mentions in passing that the composer Béla Bartók "hailed from Vedmediv" (which is, of course, entirely fictional). He was actually from Nagyszentmiklós, which was then in Hungary ...
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1 vote
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Who would normally accuse political opponents of being foreign agents?

When facing criticism of the Fountain project (which was actually cover for the smuggling tunnel), the mayor of Vedmediv accused the critics of being foreign agents: Much to Zola Burton's credit, he ...
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4 votes
1 answer
93 views

What superstitions about coroners is "Carbide" referring to?

In Carbide by Andriy Lyubka (set in Ukraine near the border of Hungary from the post-Soviet 1990s until at least 2012), many people were afraid of the coroner, who had a "horrible reputation"...
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1 vote
1 answer
58 views

Is Taras Shevchenko's poetry collection really called "Kobzar" in Ukraine too?

Carbide refers to one of Tys's college classmates "holding a copy of Kobzar", which was a collection of Taras Shevchenko poetry. There's also a book called The Complete Kobzar in English. Is ...
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3 votes
1 answer
117 views

What was the "Bear Empire"?

In Carbide, the town square of the fictional town Vedmediv was called "Peace Square." The book mentioned that it had been called that "ever since the days of the Bear Empire." I'm ...
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4 votes
1 answer
511 views

Why did "Carbide" refer to Viktor Yanukovych as an "ex-con"?

In Carbide, Icarus was elected to public office 3 years after being in prison for smuggling: In October 2010, three years after he got out, the Vedmedivites elected him as deputy of the regional ...
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15 votes
4 answers
6k views

Were schoolteachers really paid substantially less than $45 per month in 1990s Ukraine?

Shortly after Tys graduated from university and started teaching in Carbide (by Andriy Lyubka), he'd periodically borrow money from his friend Icharus: By that time, Icarus had become a businessman (...
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3 votes
1 answer
75 views

Why did Carbide consider one to two bottles of vodka a small amount?

Carbide by Andriy Lyubka Tys came home trailing a wake of aromas that stung Marichka's eyes, but a demented smile adorning his face. That may account for why his wife thought he was still hammered. ...
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3 votes
2 answers
83 views

Why was the illegal tunnel in Carbide mostly used to smuggle illegal cigarettes?

Possibly related: What is "Galacian tobacco" and what is its significance? Carbide by Andriy Lyubka starts with the following news item: BRATISLAVA (Reuters) - A smuggling title the length ...
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14 votes
3 answers
4k views

What is "Galacian tobacco" and what is its significance?

Chapter 7 of Sweet Darusya refers to "Galacian tobacco" being smuggled between Poland and Ukraine. What exactly was this, and what was the significance of it being specifically that kind of ...
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8 votes
2 answers
3k views

What is the "unavoidably-raised ax of history over every person's head"?

Chapter 6 of Sweet Darusya referred to the "unavoidably-raised ax of history over every person's head". What does this phrase mean?
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2 votes
0 answers
32 views

Why did Darusya kick Ivan out?

At one point, Ivan was dragged before a subset of the town council, who had him thrown in administrative lockup for 15 days on a variety of obviously ridiculous charges. After he got out, Maria ...
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2 votes
0 answers
28 views

Why did Ivan and Darusya travel part of the way to town by horse-drawn carts?

Sweet Darusya periodically refers to horse-drawn carts being in contemporary use. For example, in one particular scene in the book, cars, bicycles, and horse-drawn carts were all in use at the same ...
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2 votes
1 answer
94 views

Why was the doctor's "entire monthly pay" in his pocket?

At one point in Sweet Darusya, Ivan took Darusya to the regional clinic for her headaches. The book noted that the doctor there had his "entire monthly pay" in his pocket. I'm a little ...
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4 votes
1 answer
259 views

Why did the police officer complain about Ivan not having a passport?

In Sweet Darusya, a police officer brings Ivan to a party Director on a laundry list of complaints, one of which was that he was living in the village without a proper passport. I'm a little confused ...
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9 votes
1 answer
1k views

What does it mean to take iron to a transfer station?

Chapter 4 of Sweet Darusya contains the following quote: The children carry iron as if they were taking it to a transfer station. I'm confused about what that actually means. What is a "...
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2 votes
2 answers
134 views

Why did Maria tell her friends that a negative event was caused by the fact that she "didn't confess this year"?

In chapter 3 of Sweet Darusya, Maria mentioned told one of her friends "...and it's all from the fact, dear Varvara, that you didn't confess this year." Why did she say this? Was she ...
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3 votes
1 answer
68 views

Why did Maria rub badger fat on Darusya's head?

In chapter 2 of Sweet Darusya, Maria rubbed badger fat on Darusya's head and put a cabbage leaf on top of that in an apparent effort to help with her headaches. Why did she do that?
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5 votes
1 answer
66 views

Was "sweet" a common euphemism for "foolish"?

In Sweet Darusya, many of the townspeople believed Darusya to be "foolish." She was believed to be eccentric in her behavior, unaware of her surroundings, and unable to speak (which Darusya ...
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2 votes
0 answers
35 views

What is Andrey Kurkov's view of writing in Russian vs. Ukrainian?

Follow-up to: Why does Andrey Kurkov write in Russian? In an interview with the New York Times, Andrey Kurkov defended the fact that he published novels in Russian and stated that it's reductionist to ...
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2 votes
1 answer
62 views

Why does the river refer to itself in the plural?

The Golden Hum by Pavlo Tychyna includes the following: :we'll grow tall! said the poplars. :we'll burst into song! said the flowers. :we'll overflow: said Old Man Dnipro. The poplars, flowers, and ...
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2 votes
1 answer
83 views

Why is "The choir of bell-flowers" referred to as "a fragment of a long poem" in the subtitle?

The Choir of Bell-Flowers by Pavlo Tychyna in The Complete Early Poetry Collection has the subtitle "A fragment of a long poem". What does this mean? Was that added by the translator or by ...
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0 votes
1 answer
75 views

Why do some lines in Stanza 2 of "Pastel" start with a colon?

from Pastel by Pavlo Tychyna: II The iron day Drank up some good wine Blossom, meadows! - :I've been walking-for a day- Graze, herds!- :to see my love- for a day- Ears of grain like cradles sway!- :...
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1 vote
0 answers
26 views

Why do willows go to the Cathedral?

Cathedral by Pavlo Tychyna starts as follows: Willows to one side, Beggars to the other. the willows bend and bend and bend. The beggars stoop over. Why is the Cathedral attended by those two groups ...
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1 vote
1 answer
121 views

What is swamp milk?

Pavlo Tychyna's poem Enharmonies starts as follows: Above the swamp milk is spun... A black raven lost in thought A grey raven is musing It pecked out eyes. God knows whose. I'm confused by this, ...
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1 vote
0 answers
42 views

Why did the sacrifice make the trees free?

The poem The poplars in the fallow fields are free starts as follows: The poplars in the fallow fields are free (Someone had brought a sacrifice at Sundown) What is this referring to? Who was the ...
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2 votes
0 answers
53 views

Why was the rye angry about being called "golden"?

From the poem "Somewhere Spring Approached" by Pavlo Tychnya: The rye ripened. I told her: "You're Golden!" Angrily her eyebrows splintered. She turned away. And left. And just ...
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1 vote
0 answers
27 views

Why does "Like Harps, Like Harps" end with "Lament..."?

The poem Like Harps, Like Harps (from Pavlo Tychyna: The Complete Early Poetry Collection) by Pavlo Tychnya is as follows: Like harps, like harps - the golden groves resounded Selfstrumming: spring ...
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1 vote
0 answers
28 views

Why does "Your Ad Could Go Here" state that the Orange Revolution lasted for three weeks?

The Orange Revolution protests were called for on November 21, 2004 in response to election fraud in their 2004 Presidential election. Eventually, the Supreme Court ordered a re-vote on December 26, ...
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1 vote
1 answer
47 views

Was Milena's husband evading taxes?

At one point in I, Milena, Milena's husband (who is a photographer) complained that someone had swindled him. When Milena suggested taking them to court, he said What court, are you kidding? On what ...
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7 votes
1 answer
4k views

Why are Santa Barbara, Denver, and Dallas held up as examples of the glamorous high life?

From I, Milena in Your Ad Could Go Here, Did they (the women [who appeared on Milena's show], not the moths - although who could say with confidence what a moth is thinking?) Perhaps dream that by ...
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5 votes
1 answer
119 views

What is an Akhmatovian nose?

I, Milena by Oksana Zabuzhko (in Your Ad Could Go Here) contains the following quote: If anyone has forgotten, let me remind you: Milena talked to jilted women. There were old ones among them and ...
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7 votes
1 answer
1k views

Was a pumpkin a symbol of rejection of a suitor?

From The Tale of the Guelder Rose Flute in Your Ad Could Go Here: Hannusia honestly did not feel she was being too choosy with the lads - she always refused the matchmakers, who, during the first ...
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1 vote
1 answer
78 views

Did Effie receive insulin shock therapy?

At the school reunion in Girls, one former classmate recounted having seen Effie: Last summer, Marinka says, by accident, on the street, "I didn't recognize her." She says that you, Effie, ...
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2 votes
1 answer
116 views

When did the Soviet government start admitting that people were killed in Afghanistan?

Early on in the Soviet war in Afghanistan, the Soviet government went to great lengths to cover up the exact nature of the war, telling everyone that the troops were planting trees, building bridges, ...
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1 vote
0 answers
37 views

Was pigskin leather easier to acquire in the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic than cattle leather?

In Girls (part of Your Ad Could Go Here), Darka's mother had the "little joy" of getting a leather coat: Everything that followed in her life was fine with her: marriage, poverty, children, ...
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7 votes
1 answer
325 views

What is a "more bankable nationality"?

The short story Girls by Oksana Zabuzhko (in Your Ad Could Go Here) features Darka meeting a girl of apparently high social status: Rivka... smelled of homemade vanilla cookies, vacations at a spa in ...
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2 votes
0 answers
41 views

Do history majors at Ukrainian universities typically have to do archaeological field work?

In Voroshilovgrad, when Herman and Ernst met at the airport at the first time, they had the following discussion: "... What'd you major in?" "History." At this, his expression ...
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1 vote
1 answer
70 views

Was there a book written about jazz in the Donetsk region?

In Voroshilovgrad, the Presbyter gave Herman a book called The Development and Decline of Jazz in the Donetsk Region. Olga expressed some degree of surprise that they played jazz there at all, and ...
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1 vote
1 answer
47 views

Is there an abandoned Soviet airport near Luhansk?

In Voroshilovgrad, Ernst Thalmann lives at an abandoned Soviet airport that he's trying to resurrect. I'm a little unclear about the exact location of this in the book, but I would assume that it's ...
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2 votes
1 answer
68 views

What is the Ukrainian equivalent of a community college?

At one point in Voroshilovgrad, Injured and Herman go from the old airport to what's referred to in the books as the community college dorms. I'm slightly confused by this translation, since I don't ...
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