Andriy Danylenko, PhD
From the Bible to Shakespeare: Pantelejmon Kuliš (1819-97) and the Formation of Literary Ukranian
Modern Languages and Cultures, NYC
What is the central theme of your book?
My book is a linguistic biography of a true Ukrainian maverick, Pantelejmon Kuliš, who is arguably one of the most controversial figures in the national revival of Ukraine. His was a gargantuan work to elevate vernacular Ukrainian to the level of all other “civilized” (standard) languages in nineteenth–century Europe.
What inspired you to write this book?
I always admired this author’s independent spirit and even stubbornness in creating a separate Ukrainian high culture, including a full-fledged literary language and a truly national literature, in the Russian Empire, which has never been friendly to her national minorities and their languages.
Why is this book important in your field?
This is the first interdisciplinary study of this Ukrainian writer whose translations are unique. I look at his translations primarily from the perspective of cultural and ethnic studies, presenting standard Ukrainian as a process of negotiation among literary traditions, religions, political movements, and personalities. That’s what is most innovative in this book. The book is not only about the Ukrainian language, it is about the past society viewed through the lens of this language.
Tell me about a particularly special moment in writing this book.
I worked at different archives in different countries. But I particularly remember the day I spent at the Bible Society’s Library housed at Cambridge University - I was offered a cup of tea by a librarian who at the end of the day felt pity for my exhaustion. That was a nice gesture!
What is the one thing you hope readers take away from your book?
I hope my readers and students will understand that national revival among Slavs has been a challenging process which in some places is still under way, though in its postcolonial guise.
Is there anything else you would like to share about your book?
I authored and edited some 10 books but this one is the dearest to me since it deals with the multifaceted fate of one of the largest – Ukrainian – nation in Europe
When did you join Dyson? I have been working at Pace since 2002, going through all possible academic ranks from part-time lecturer to full professor.