Year XIX, Issue 7-8 (213-214)

August 2015
Kateryna Yakovlenko: "Our" New Memory
Oles' Fedoruk: Among Us
Katharina Raabe: As The Fog Lifted: Literature in East Central Europe since 1989
Leonid Hrabovsky: All Kinds of Noice and Some Music

Book Reviews in this Issue

Yuliya Musakovska Hunting for Silence

Summary of this Issue

The July-August, 2015 issue of Krytyka opens with an article  “A Big Migrant Family”  by  Svitlana Filonova, a Russian journalist and essayist, now based in Ukraine. She places in historical perspective one of the most important issues of 2015: forced migration, but within the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union. She examines the practice of migration as punishment that the Bolsheviks and then Stalin adopted and soon developed on an enormous scale, in effect mimicking voluntary migration and de facto imprisonment as well). The author also explains how this violent practice and policy shaped the Soviet identity and how it also influenced the political situation in the post-Soviet republics.

Kateryna Yakovlenko,  a Ukrainian researcher from Donetsk, now based in Kyiv, writes on the paradoxes of individual and collective memory in her article “‘Our’ New Memory.” She explores the relatively new phenomenon of aberrations, blurring of perception, and blending of real individual experience and pictures created by media, especially in situations of war, violence, and social upheaval. 

Alessandro Achilli, a Research Fellow at the Ukrainian Research Institute at Harvard University where he is completing a project entitled “Neomodernism in Ukrainian Poetry of the Second Half of the 20th Century,” reconsiders the meaning of death for the outstanding Ukrainian poet Vasyl Stus (1938–1985) in his “Vasyl’ Stus and Death: On the Thirtieth Anniversary of his Death.”  “What does Stus’s death mean to us thirty years after that tragic day? Are we now able to understand his human and artistic legacy? What is the relationship between Stus’s actual death and the image of death that we constantly, almost obsessively encounter in his poetry?”  While speaking of all three questions, Achilli mostly focuses on the third one.

The Ukrainian literary scholar Oles Fedoruk writes in commemoration of his late colleague and “Krytyka” author Viktor Dudko. In his essay “Among Us” he pays tribute first of all to the talent and academic contributions of Victor Dudko and also to other recently deceased academics  who unselfishly devoted themselves to Ukrainian studies and the humanities.

In her extensive article “As the Fog Lifted. Literature in East Central Europe since 1989” German publisher, editor, and the tireless advocate of Eastern European literature, Katharina Raabe gives an insider’s overview of the path the most prominent young authors from Central and Eastern Europe took since 1989 to reach their audience in the West. Katharina Raabe tracks this path and explains the role of publishing in Germany, including the well-known writings by the Czech author Jáchym Topol and the Ukrainian Yuri Andrukhovych. The article was first published in German by Osteuropa magazine in 2009, and since then had been translated into several languages.

The literary scholar Olena Haleta of Lviv National University, focuses on Ukrainian literature on the other side of the Atlantic. In her “The New York Group: Again and for the First Time” she reviews the new book by Maria G. Rewakowicz, “Literature, Exile, Alterity: The New York Group of Ukrainian Poets,” the first study of the New York Group published in English (Boston: Academic Studies Press, 2014). Olena Haleta puts the book in the context of “the invisibility” of Ukrainian writings of this period (since 1955), and highlights the most interesting developments both in this context and in the book.

Based in New York, the Ukrainian poet and literary scholar Vasyl Makhno has few reasons to complain of invisibility: an émigré in the 21th century, he enjoys the benefits of intensive global cultural exchange. He shares his impressions of the smells and sounds of Israel in his essay “Crickets and Turtle Doves,” a text from his “Jerusalem Poems” volume soon to be published in “Krytyka.”

The issue concludes with an article “All Kinds of Noise and Some Music” by one more Ukrainian-American, the musician and composer Leonid Hrabovsky. Leonid Hrabovsky reviews the short history of experimental and electronic music in the 20th century, much of which he knows as an insider, and challenges some current trends that he has seen (or rather heard) at the New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival.

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