George Grabowicz, Dmytro Čyževs’kyj Research Professor of Ukrainian Literature, Harvard University
Moderated by Taras Koznarsky
George G. Grabowicz's earlier presentation on this topic ("Stalin’s war on the kobzars and Mykola Bazhan’s 'Blind Bards',” Oct. 16, 2019) dealt primarily with the historical context and the fraught reception of the poem as reflected in its total absence from the canon during the Soviet period and then the canard of Bazhan's supposed collaboration with the Stalinist campaign against traditional Ukrainian culture and specifically the kobzars.
In this follow-up the critic focuses on the poem itself, particularly its difficulty, its polemical intertextuality, and its revisionist historiography. Special attention is given to the question of deception and dissimulation in the poem. Through these mechanisms Bazhan deconstructs the traditional repertoire of the kobzars, the functioning of poetry itself, and not least of all his own predicament in the Stalinist 1930s.
About the Speaker
George G. Grabowicz has served as the Dmytro Čyževs’kyj Professor of Ukrainian Literature at Harvard since the early 1980s. He has been Director of the Ukrainian Research Institute at Harvard (1989-1996) and was one of the founders, and President (1990-1993), of the International Association of Ukrainian Studies [МАУ]. He served as President of the Shevchenko Scientific Society from 2012 to 2018. He is also the founder and editor-in-chief of the journal and publishing house Krytyka in Kyiv, Ukraine. He is currently editing a History of Ukrainian Literature with an international team of scholars. He has recently translated Bazhan's "Blind Bards" [Сліпці] into English and is completing a monograph on the poem.
Moderated by Taras Koznarsky, Associate Professor of Ukrainian in the Slavic Languages and Literatures Department at the University of Toronto.
- Read excerpts of Grabowicz's translation of and commentary on "Blind Bards" (as well as an essay on Bazhan by Askold Melnyczuk) in the Shevchenko Scientific Society's Bulletin.
- Read Grabowicz's article on another Ukrainian poet, Pavlo Tychyna, in Harvard Ukrainian Studies: "Creating and Concealing Modernism: The Poetry of Pavlo Tychyna Reconsidered."
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