Belgian Francophone literature through the literary process in Ukraine

The main facts of knowledge by the most prominent Ukrainian writers of the ХІХ and early ХХ centuries E. Verhaeren and M. Maeterlinck. Reading by I. Franko’s, N. Kobrynska’s and L. Ukrainka’s by the classics of the Belgian French-language literature.

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Maitre de conferences Chaire de la literature mondiale

Belgian Francophone literature through the literary process in Ukraine

Yarema Kravets

With the accession of Ukraine to its independence and the return to the European political and cultural field, historical-literary and comparative studies concerning the assimilation of Ukrainian literature by other European literatures, including French ones, become very current. . The relations of Ukrainian culture with the French world still dating back to the Middle Ages widened during the Renaissance and the Enlightenment were productive especially at the diplomatic and educational levels. At the beginning of the XIX century. Francophonie largely goes to the various fields of Ukrainian culture. The process of cultural exchange is very abundant in the last decades of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It is precisely then that we see the penetration of French-language Belgian literature into the Ukrainian cultural process as well as in response to what was being done in Belgium for Ukrainian culture. The articles devoted to Ukrainian culture and literature were then published in the Belgian scientific journals La Revue de Belgique, The New Society and Revue des Traditions Populaires, thanks in particular to the good care of the Belgian professor Eugene Hins (1839- 1923). During the seven years he worked as a French teacher in Russia. E. Hins became acquainted with the Russian and Ukrainian literature, learned both Slavic languages ??and was the first in Belgium to translate the greatest Ukrainian poet Taras Shevchenko (1814-1861). He completed his translation of the poem "Catherine" by a preface entitled "The Uzbek poet Taras Shevchenko" [6, p. 501-508], which provides a better understanding of the heritage of the Ukrainian poet as well as the problems of Ukrainian culture in general, including the Ukrainian language prohibited by the Tsarist law of 1876. The translation of E. Hins aroused keen interest in Ukrainian literary circles and Professor M. Drahomanov described the Belgian scholar as "one of the most serious foreign connoisseurs of our people" [2, p. 294]. Almost at the same time, the Ukrainian writer Marko Vovchok (1833-1907), who visited Belgium in August-September 1859, was interested in Belgian literature and in particular the literary activity of the biologist Ernest-Charles Candez (1827). -1898). She would like to translate her fantastic story for children "The Adventures of a Cricket" (her letter to Lobatch-Zhukenko dated 12/24 February 1878). A few years later, in 1895, Charles van Lerberghe published in La Sociйtй nouvelle the first Belgian essay on Marie Bachkirtseff. Interested in the tragically brief life of the Ukrainian woman-painter and her unique work, the Belgian poet has studied his "Journal" which he mentions many times in his own notebooks.

The first articles on the literary and social-political problems of Belgium appeared in the Ukrainian journals of the 1870s. The magazines Pravda (La Verite) and Zoria (L'Aurore), the Memoires de la

Scientific Society Tarass Shevchenko, the Polish newspaper Kurjer Lwowski, published the essays of Ivan Franko, V. Shchurat, O. Makovey and other writers on the current state of Belgian literature and art; It should be noted that the Ukrainian reader assimilated the Belgian literature into its two components - Walloon and Flemish.

The article "The Flemish Literature" published in Literatourno-naoukovyi vistnyk [13, p. 181-183] spoke of the plight of the French-speaking Belgian writers who were forgotten, despite the real flow of French literary works that periodically flooded the country's market. This article appealed to the Ukrainian literatures of the time by its ideas which recalled the need for improvement of the Ukrainian language to serve not only broad layers of human society but also writers and intellectuals: "in this way it must manifest all its flexibility and richness as a language satisfying the need to render all the nuances of human feelings ". [13, p. 182]

The first Ukrainian translation of a French-speaking Belgian writer appeared in 1891: it is about the literary interpretation of the story of Camille Lemonnier "On the eve of Saint-Nicolas" ("Fleur-de-ble" in the original ) published in Narodna chasopys (The People's Review) without mentioning the name of the translator.

Articles by I. Franko and Verhaeren

In the 1890s, Ukrainians began the scientific study of Belgian literature under the impetus of l. Franko (1856-1916). As a collaborator of the Polish newspaper Kurjer Lwowski (The counter of Lviv), I. Franko published his criticism of three lectures by Zenon Przysmicki (pseud.Miliam) made in January 1894 in Lviv, during which this Polish poet spoke about Belgian symbolists [Kurjer Lwowski, number 52 of 21 February 1894, p. 2-3].

This article by I. Franko who was the first to talk about Belgian poets (Rodenbach, Maeterlinck, Van Lerberghe, Verhaeren, Gilken, etc.) is the origin of another question concerning a more global problem, namely: Why I. Franko, so close to the works and poetic tendencies of Emile Verhaeren put the work of the Belgian poet neither in his Anthology of world poetry nor in his literary practice and translation?

The resolution of this enigma, we read in the second part of the article "Odczyty Miriama" (Conferences of Miriam) od I. Franko stressed three essential trends of the work of the Belgian poets: "The hatred towards society and admiration by one's own self; the theory of art for art, the inclination to mysticism, the desire to penetrate to the depths of mysterious and unexploited phenomena "[Kurjer Lwowski, number 52 of February 21, 1894, p. 3]. Having received a superficial and indirect information on the work of the Belgian poets (the author of the article repeated it twice), I. Franko created a sort of stereotype of the ideological and artistic qualities of the work of Verhaeren. Not refusing to the latter a great artistic mastery in the creation of the brilliant images of "the absorption by the city of the forms of physical life", I. Franko unfortunately did not live in the Belgian poet the literary who would have been close to him by his aesthetic ideas.

The negative criticism of the aesthetic ideas of the Belgian poets expressed by I. Franko was not accidental. Following in this the theoreticians of aesthetic thought J.-W. Goethe and G.-E. Lessing proclaiming the need for "hard and hard work for society" [3, p. 159] and seeing the supreme goal of literature as "a veracious and living man, a human individual and a human community" [3 p. І59], I. Franko adopted these aesthetic precepts in his scientific papers and correspondence of the last two decades of the nineteenth century.

In defending a lively elan oriented towards progress, fraternity and love (Poezje pana Kasprowicza, 1889), refusing "the ultimate deepening of his" Self "[4, p. 163], a permanent examination of the own soul of decadent poets, I. Franko considered poetry as "the servant of the vital needs, the servant of this higher ideological order leading people to progress and improvement of their fate". "[5, p. 269].

At a time when Ukrainian literature was closely linked to socio-political opinions, such ideals seemed necessary to the Ukrainian writer. Emile Verhaeren rose to the level of the aesthetic requirements of I. Franko through his grandiose poetic cycles, among others The Tumultuous Forces (1902), The First Tendresses (1904), The Multiple Splendor (1906) and The Sovereign Rhythms (1910) . I. Franko is very close to Verhaeren by the democratic orientation of his poetry, by his call to the unity of men and by the understanding of the reciprocal relationship "artist-people", by the role of the artistic word in the formation of human individuality. All the same, the Ukrainian writer, not knowing any compromise in his theoretical opinions and his estimates of literary phenomena, could not forgive the modern Belgian poets (including Verhaeren) for their aesthetic and ideological hesitations. A sublime connoisseur of world literature, he does not live in the great master of Belgian poetry the example to follow. Z. Przysmicki's report negatively influenced the assimilation of Verhaeren's work by the Ukrainian poet.

Translators Vassyl Shchurat, Ostap Lutskyi and Pavlo Hrabovskyi

As regards the first translations of Verhaeren's poetry in Galicia, they are related to the literary activity of the poets Vassyl Shchurat (1871-1947) and Ostap Lutskyi (1883-1941).

A great connoisseur of European literature, Vassyl Shchurat published his translation of Verhaeren in the weekly Nedila (Sunday), where he worked for a while. In parallel with an important literary work, the writer translated the poetic works of 15 national literatures. Influence by his friend and companion I. Franko, he debuted as a literary translator in the 1890s with the publication of translations of French poets in the magazines Zorya, Literatoumo-naoukovyi vistnyk and Narodna chasopys.

It was at the time when he lived in Vienna (1893-1895) that the poet planned the creation of an Anthology of French poetry of the nineteenth century. The meetings with the Polish poets broadened his knowledge of the world literature; this literary circle "directed me towards the study of the modern literature of Western Europe," he wrote on this subject [15, p. 9].

From 1901, V. Shchurat began to realize this project. Interested in the work of Verhaeren, the translator chooses one of his religious poems, "The third day", and published it in the paschal edition of the weekly Nedila. The choice of this poem corresponded to his attraction to Biblical subjects, as shown by his first poetic collection Lux in tenebris (1895) and the collection Mes lettres de 1898 which contained some thirty translations dealing mainly with religious themes. After the publication of his last collection Choices of songs (1909), V. Shchurat intensively engaged in the translation of poems on Biblical subject. The critics of his work draw attention to the fact that the poet constantly published on the eve of №1 and Easter the poetry inspired by the religious spirit. It is precisely in this light that one can interpret his interest in the poetry of Verhaeren. The translation of V. Shchurat was sometimes reprinted in the Galician periodicals without being the object of a work apart.

Ostap Lutskyi, a poet from western Ukraine, member of the symbolist group The Young Muse, began translating Verhaeren in 1914. His translation of the poem "The Action" (from the collection The Faces of Life, 1899) was published in the almanac of the artistic group Oukrainska khata (The Uzbek Khata). The dramatism, the pathetic and a certain mysticism of the Verhaerenian poem corresponded well to the complex and contradictory feelings not only of the heroes of the poetic works of the members of the circles Young Muse and Oukrainska khata, but also to the aesthetic researches of two groups of literary schools. Ukrainian poetry of Galicia who were bending over the active and real expression of the poetic phrase. Through his translation of "L'Action" and with the support of other eminent Ukrainian poet-translators, Ostap Lutskyi directed the national belles-lettres to the most important currents of the West-European literature.

Twice again the poet addressed the heritage of Verhaeren by publishing the translations of his poems "The Joy" (of the collection The Multiple Splendor) and "Today" in the Ukrainian literary magazines in 1922. The artistic particularities of the translation of Ostap Lutskyi, the resulting stylistic losses, as well as the lexical movements of Verhaeren's poetry are highlighted through a comparison with the interpretation provided by the excellent poet and translator Sviatoslav Hordynskyi published in 1934. These liberties are of various kinds: the violation of the meaning of the poem's initial chorus-verse, the advance of the poet's idea, the overload by additional information not existing in the French text, or even stanzas created from any room.

The poetry of Maurice Maeterlinck entered Ukrainian literature in 1899 thanks to the exile poet Pavlo Hrabovskyi (1864-1902). A poem extracted from Greenhouses was indeed inserted into the translation book Ondes composes with the aim of "rendering to the contemporary reader, especially Ukrainian, the little-known poets" [7, p. 7]. The published work of the Belgian poet was close to him by the will of the author to awaken dormant young dreams by orienting them towards the future life. In a letter written from Yakuts in Siberia, the poet informs his correspondent of his desire to translate some of Maeterlinck's works which he had just discovered [7, p. 383].

The whole variety of genre and style of Maeterlinck's work (dramaturgy, poetry, critical and philosophical works) will be studied at the turn of this century by eminent Ukrainian writers: Olha Kobylanska, Lessia Oukrai'nka, V. Stefanyk , О. Makovey, I. Netchouy-Levytskyi, M. Voroney, Natalie Kobrynska.

Olha Kobylanska

In his letter of 15 August 1895 to folklorist scholar O. Kolessa, Olha Kobylanska (1863-1942) wrote: "I sympathize enormously with Maurice Maeterlinck. He speaks to me with all his heart. I am very grateful for all that he has just told me "[9, p. 219]. She will express the same idea five years later in a letter to her correspondent Petko Todorov: "Do you know all the works of Maurice Maeterlinck? He speaks to me with all his heart, I know some of his works "[10, p. 463-464]. The Ukrainian writer learned the dramaturgy of the Belgian writer through German translations. Olha Kobylanska thus became acquainted with different currents of modern literature; she especially esteemed those who allowed a rich psychological picture of the characters and the artistic description of their emotions. The delicacy of Maeterlinck's style and the delicate image of the intrigues of his psychological dramas staged in Vienna and Berlin interested O. Kobylanska to the author. The dramas of the latter became for her a kind of stallion of artistic perfection.

She tried to learn all the dramatic and critical heritage of Mr. Maeterlinck. Addressing Stefanyk and O. Makovey, she asked them "Maeterlinck" [10, p. 461], spoke of works she had read with avidity (including philosophical essays). His correspondence touched the recent dramas of Maeterlinck, the shows in the theaters of Krakow, Vienna and Berlin. "I visit the theaters. I was even invited to the free theater created by Przybyczewski. It showed Maeterlinck's Interieur. It's beautiful, "he wrote from Krakow V. Stefanyk. [16, p. 172]. Writing to O. Makovey, she informed him: "I have Der Schatz der Armen from Maeterlinck. If you want to read it, I can send it to you. "[10, p. 531] In her letter of 28 September 1901 to O. Makovey, she greatly regretted not having been able to see the new dramas of the Belgian author on her arrival in Vienna in the perspective of "a conference on Maeterlinck" [10, p. 494].

Corresponding with O. Makovey and Petko Todorov, it was not limited to the critical appreciation of certain dramas of the Belgian writer but expressed ideas concerning first of all the problems of the development of the modern literature, namely the improvement artistic values ??of the literary work and its stylistic peculiarities. She turned her attention to laconism and the depth of Maeterlinck's philosophical essays, believing that certain ideas of her artistic method had to be accepted "even though it is not necessary to borrow from others blindly" [10, p. 529].

In the letters addressed to his Bulgarian correspondent, Olha Kobylanska foresaw Maeterlinck's world renown, which, in his opinion, had created his own school at the beginning of the twentieth century: "Maeterlinck is very serious and profound in his art, and I believe that it will stand for a long time on the surface of literary life "[10, p. 470]. O. Kobylanska reiterated once more his admiration of Maeterlinck's dramas, seeing in it "the negation of the theater of action, noise, fuss and eclat," the aspiration to the veracious description of the deep feelings of his heroes. It is interesting to note that the same idea was expressed by the writer Mr. Kotsiubynskyi in his letter of February 6, 1904 to V. Hnatiouk: "Reading, you see good examples of great masters in words, you convince yourself of this we can do it. Do you know, dear sir, when I read a fine writer <...>, I do not want to write anymore, feeling that I will never succeed in having his talents achieve <...> "[11, p. 309]. And he added that "lately", he is more interested in the psychological theme "by addressing again the great masters of the world literature.

Speaking of O. Kobylanska's interest in Maeterlinck's work, it must be understood that she likened certain dramas like Monna Vanna to a rather critical angle, not believing, for example, the mysticism worthy of the dramatist's pen. The reason for the interest of O. Kobylanska in Maeterlinck's work was best explained by the Czech scholar Therese Tournerova: Kobylanska "feels great sympathy for Maeterlinck; like him, she would happily clash with the human breasts to listen to what sings, cries, and cries in their depths "[14, p. 296].

Lessia Oukrainka

The poetess Lessia Oukrai'nka (1871-1913) regarded E. Verhaeren's work not only as an original event in modern European poetry but also as an important factor for the general process of translation development in Ukraine (cf. is it indeed who initiated some translations of Verhaeren in the poetic collections and the almanacs of Kyiv in 1908). The interest she bore in the work of the Belgian poet (see his correspondence of 1903 and 1911) proved a certain unity in his poetry with the spirit and tone of the poems of the Flemish author, the same elan. to the "true existence" (according to S. Hordynskyi), the desire to overcome and revive his morale, "the indomitable energy" that "pushes into battle with the fury of a hasty sea" (according to D. Dontsov) [1, p. 135-150].

In 1900 appeared the first Ukrainian translation of Maeterlinck's drama L'ltruse [12, p. 344-358]. In preparing this publication, Lessia Oukrai'nka wrote to V. Hnatiouk in his letter of 18-30 May 1900: "I would like our Ukrainian public to get acquainted with this modern playwright through his best works, especially in Ukrainian translation. . <...> I am sure that this original work written in a very delicate way can not fail to attract the attention of a reader who is very indifferent. I am not an absolute admirer of Maeterlinck or modern theater, but I see in the author's three dramas new elements of art combined with great talent "[19, p. 180181]. writer reading classic verhaeren

Maeterlinck's work occupied an important place in the literary activity of the Ukrainian poetess, who knew perfectly well the dramatic and critical sides of it. We often find in his correspondence and critical essays the mention of Maeterlinck. It can thus be said without any doubt that Lessia Oukrai'nka began the scientific analysis of the work and the interpretation of the complex literary career of the Belgian playwright in Ukrainian criticism. She read her works in French. During a trip to Berlin where she was treated by a famous doctor, she had the opportunity to visit the Deutsches Theater, to see the dramas of Maeterlinck and to read "many in different languages" [19, p. 99]. Not being satisfied with the current state of Ukrainian theater, Lessia Oukrainka was looking for new themes and new heroes. She created a psychological drama, The Blue Rose (1896), close to the dramas of Hauptmann and lbsen that were fashionable at this time.

Lessia Oukrainka mentioned Maeterlinck extensively in his articles published between 1900 and 1906. Underlining his role in perfecting the new type of humor and symbolism, she said that he "discovered a new country and with this country a new field for work "[18, p. 283]. Preparing an essay on the European Symbolists, she began to re-read carefully the scientific works of Maeterlinck (see his letter of 7 February 1903 to O. Kossatch). In the same year she advised her mother to read Maeterlinck's essays The Tresor of the Humbles, Death, Pitie, Wisdom and Destiny, Silence. She read at that time-the olive branches and used the translation for an article entitled "Utopia in the belles-lettres". Maeterlinck's essay was very close to the aesthetic and social ideas of the Ukrainian poetess who had found in the work of the Belgian literature "a deep faith in social progress and humanism" [17, p. 18].

The first two decades of the twentieth century brought to Ukraine a huge interest in the dramatic works of the Belgian author, and this was mainly due to the animation of theatrical life in the country. In fact, we were in the throes of dramatic works for the theatrical scene, notably those of Anton Chekhov, Gerhart Hauptmann and Maurice Maeterlinck.

Nathalie Kobrynska

The editions besides the dramas of Maeterlinck (The Blind, 1907, Interiors, 1908) translated by Eugene Tymchenko gradually came into being. In 1907, Marie Zahirna published her translation of the drama Monna Vanna. These translations were included in poetic collections and almanacs, especially in 1908. In 1913, the Ukrainian edition of the drama by Maeterlinck Ariane and Bluebeard appeared in Lviv, translated by Nathalie Kobrynska (1855-1920). In a voluminous preface to the author, the translator paid attention to her refined analysis of the human soul, the impetus of her great gates by great ideals, and the protest against despotic oppression. Spokesperson for feminist ideas in Western Ukraine, Nathalie Kobrynska was especially attracted by the strong and energetic woman who fought not only for her own independence but also for the liberation of her sisters in the drama of Maeterlinck. As a result, the Ukrainian woman of letters translated an original treatise on the life of women in countries with different social systems, an analysis that led to modern times that allowed women "with a flame of energy in the soul" and fulfilled "Valiant plans" to "walk the new ways" [8, p. 18]. Now that "the once-emancipated woman had returned to economic questions, she needed the light of Ariadne" [8, p. 2].

The preface by Nathalie Kobrynska proves that she was very familiar with the works of the Belgian writer, notably the L'Oiseau Bleu fair, as well as the successive French editions of Ariane and Barbe-bleue, which can be seen in the choice she had made for the "Bibliotheque Feminine". The author of Particle spoke there to the Ukrainian reader of Maeterlinck's revolution since the first edition of the drama to the text chosen by her and characterized by a more lively and animated scene action.

The assimilation of E. Verhaeren and M. Maeterlinck by Ukrainian literature is in fact only an interesting and original fragment of the birth of the mutual relations which have been established between two European cultures. Indeed, the legacy of Charles de Coster, Georges Rodenbach, Camille Lemonnier, Charles Van Lerberghe and many other writers who were studied and translated in Ukraine for over a hundred years testifies to the artistic significance and aesthetic value of ongoing and scientifically motivated dialogue of diverse cultures and national literatures.


1. Dontsov, D. (1922), “Poetess of the Ukrainian Risorgimento (Lesia Ukrayinka)” [“Poetka oukrainskoho Risorgimento (Lessia Oukrainka)”], Literaturno-naukovyi visnyk, Vol. 76 Book 2, pp. 135-150. (in Ukrainian).

2. Drahomanov, M. (1970), “Leaves for the Wreath onto Shevchenko's Grave in the XXIVth Anniversary of his Death”, Literary and journalistic works: in 2 vols. Vol. 2 [Lystochky do vinka na mohylou Shevchenka v XXIX rokovyny yoho smerti, Literaturno-publitsystychni pratsi u 2 t. T. 2], Naukova dumka, Kyiv, pp. 289-296. (in Ukrainian).

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The article examines some major facts of the entry of Belgian francophone literature into the Ukrainian belles-lettres process whose origins date back to the 1870s-1880s. The paper aims at outlining the first-rate facts of more outstanding Ukrainian writers of the late 19th - early 20th century getting acquainted with E. Verhaeren and M. Maeterlinck - the classics of Belgian francophone literature. Research methodology. The paper employs the system approach with the application of historical-literary and genetic methods. Based on the literary and historical method, a delineation was made in the history of the above-mentioned Belgian writers entering the Ukrainian literary-theoretical process; the genetic method made it possible to distinguish the most essential in the works by the selected Ukrainian writers which led to their reading of certain samples among what E. Verhaeren and M. Maeterlinck had authored. Results. The research presents the history of Iv. Franko's familiarization with E. Verhaeren's poetry through the mediation of Miriam's [Zenon Przesmycki's] Lviv-held lectures, history of life-time translations from Verhaeren done by V. Shchurat and O. Lutskyi; the high appreciation of the Belgian poet's works expressed by Lesia Ukrayinka Special mention is made of Maurice Maeterlinck's poetry and dramas' entry into Ukrainian literature owing to P. Hrabovskyi's, Lesia Ukrainka's and Nataliia Kobrynska's translations. Scholarly novelty. The paper is an important page in the history of Ukrainian-Belgian literary relations. It pioneers the panorama of interest in E. Verhaeren's poetry back in the Belgian poet's life-time, which is convincing evidence of the Europeanism of Ukrainian literary process. Practical value. The paper may provide a basis for a more profound reading of the two classics of Belgian francophone literature by the above-mentioned Ukrainian writers in the theoretical and translation studies aspects.

Key words: literary and historical method, Belgian francophone literature, life-time reading, Europeanism of the Ukrainian literary process.

У статті розглядаються окремі важливіші факти входження бельгійської французь- комовної літератури у письменницький процес в Україні, початки якого датуються ще з 70-80-х рр. ХІХ ст. Метою статті є окреслення непересічних фактів пізнання видатнішими українськими письменниками кінця ХІХ - початку ХХ століття класиків бельгійської фран- цузькомовної літератури - Е. Вергарна і М. Метерлінка Дослідницька методика. У статті використовується системний підхід із застосуванням історико-літературознавчого та генетичного методів. На основі історико-літературознавчого методу було визначено історію входження згаданих бельгійських письменників в український літературознавчий процес; генетичний метод дозволив виокремити те найсуттєвіше у творчості обраних українських письменників, що спонукало їх до прочитання окремих зразків написаного Е. Вергарном та М. Метерлінком. Результати. У дослідженні подано історію ознайомлення Ів. Франка із поезією Е. Вергарна через посередництво львівських доповідей Міріама; історію прижиттєвих перекладів з Е. Вергарна, здійснених В. Щуратом та О. Луцьким; високу оцінку творчості бельгійського поета, яку висловила Леся Українка. Окремо говориться про входження поезії та драматургії Моріса Метерлінка в українську літературу завдяки перекладам П. Грабовського, Лесі Українки та Наталі Кобринської. Наукова новизна. Стаття є однією із важливих сторінок історії українсько-бельгійських літературних взаємин. Вперше подано панораму зацікавлення поезією Е.Вергарна ще в роки життя бельгійського поета, що є переконливим свідченням європейськості українського літературного процесу. Практична вартість. Стаття може стати підгрунтям для глибшого прочитання згаданими українськими письменниками двох класиків бельгійської французькомовної літератури в теоретичному і перекладознавчому аспектах. Ключові слова: історико-літературознавчий метод, бельгійська французькомовна література, прижиттєве прочитання, європейськість українського літературного процесу.

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