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About The Book

The Literary Discussion of the 1920s was a pivotal event in Ukrainian intellectual history, one whose significance reaches far beyond issues of literary form and style. An expression of cultural self-assertion, it produced a vigorous debate on issues fundamental to Ukraine's future as a modern nation: its right to exist, its relationship to Russia and Europe, and its sense of identity.

The present book is the first comprehensive monograph on the subject. It explores the historical and political context underlying the explosion of polemical writing; analyzes the course of events; and discusses the main theoretical issues.

The study also broaches several questions of wider compass, which makes it of interest to students of cultural studies. It provides a synthetic treatment of an avant-garde movement from its heroic early years to its co-optation by Stalinism; presents a case study of a cultural intelligentsia dealing with a society in the throes of revolutionary change; and offers a description of the explosive growth of cultural nationalism in inter-war Europe. Drawing on government policy, public debates, émigré accounts, and recent discussions in Ukraine, the narrative is rich in implications for contemporary events. Indeed, the attitude of newly independent Ukraine towards Europe and the crucial Russo-Ukrainian relationship can only be understood against the background of the "great debate" of the twenties, which mapped out the country's fundamental cultural dilemmas and elicited responses from its most prominent activists and intellectuals.

Also available in the Ukrainian version: Модерністи, марксисти і нація.

About The Author

Myroslav Shkandrij

Myroslav Shkandrij

Myroslav Shkandrij is associate professor and Head of the Department of German and Slavic Studies at the University of Manitoba. He has written on the permutation of Soviet cultural policy, on modern Ukrainian literature and art, and on Russo-Ukrainian literary relations. Since 1991, the year of Ukraine's independence, he has contributed to the …


  1. Tamara Hundorova's review in Journal of Ukrainian Studies, Vol. 19, No. 2 (Winter 1994), pp. 108-111
  2. Frank Golczewski's review in Jahrbucher fur Geschichte Osteuropas 43 (1995) H. 2, pp. 287-288, (in German)
  3. George Mihaychuk's review in Slavic and East European Journal, Vol. 35, No. 1 (Spring 1995), pp. 147-148
  4. Martha Bohachevsky-Chomiak's review in American Historical Review (October 1995), pp. 1268-1269
  5. Virginia Bennett's review in Russian Review, Vol. 54, No. 4 (October 1995), pp. 616-617
  6. Maxim Tarnawsky's review in Canadian Review of Studies in Nationalism, XXVIII (2001), pp. 168-169

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The Cultural Renaissance in Ukraine: Polemical Pamphlets, 1925–1926
Modernists, Marxists and the Nation

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