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About The Book

The essays in this collection of symposium papers about the eminent Ukrainian philosopher and poet Hryhorij Skovoroda (1722–94) examine this unique figure from a number of perspectives: historical, social, literary, pedagogical, linguistic, theological, and philosophical. 

Hryhorij Skovoroda is a major figure in the history of Ukrainian and Russian literature and philosophy. Educated at the Kyiv Mohyla Academy, he served variously as music director of the Russian imperial mission in Hungary, private tutor, and instructor of ethics and poetics at the Kharkiv Collegium. The last decades of his life, which he spent wandering about eastern Ukraine, were devoted to writing and contemplation. Chapters include: An Introduction to the Life and Thought of H.S. Skovoroda Skovoroda and Society H.S. Skovoroda as Teacher: The Image as Model Prolegomena to Studies of Skovoroda's Language and Style The Poetry of Skovoroda From Strength to Strength: Observations on Hryhorij Skovoroda and Vasyl Barka Gogol and H.S. Skovoroda: The Problem of the "External Man" Andrei Belyi and Hryhorij Skovoroda Textological Notes on Skovoroda's Alphabet Skovoroda's Metaphysics Skovoroda's Moral Philosophy An Introduction the the Theological Thought of Hryhorij Skovoroda A Note on the Character, Orthodoxy, and Significance of Skovoroda's Thought A Bibliography of Skovorodiana Skovoroda's writings—verse, fables, philosophical dialogues—are profoundly steeped in biblical tradition and characterized by the striking use of symbol and metaphor, as well as sophisticated linguistic experimentation. His influence on Ukrainian and Russian writers began in his own lifetime and has continued and grown ever since. It is strongly evident in the works of such figures as Taras Shevchenko, Nikolai Gogol, Andrei Belyj, and Vasyl' Barka, among others. Skovoroda is an indelible presence in the realms of philosophy, literature, religion, and linguistics. Yet he is inadequately appreciated, particularly in the West. Contributors include Dmytro Cyzevs'kyj, Karen L. Black, Stephen Scherer, George Y. Shevelov, Bohdan Rubchak, Bohdan Struminski, George Kline, Taras Zakydalsky, Mikhail Weiskopf, Aleksandr Lavrov, and others. This volume also includes an exhaustive bibliography of Skovorodiana compiled by Richard Hantula. See Dmytro Čyzevs'kyj, Nikolai Gogol, Ballad, and Lyceum in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine.

About The Authors

Thomas E. Bird

Thomas E. Bird is associate professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures at Queens College, City University of New York. Bird is a regular contributor to and editor (1983-present) of Zapisy/Annals, the annual published by the Belarusan Institute of Arts …


  1. Roman T. Ciapalo's review in Slavic Review, Vol. 55, No. 2, pp. 476-477
  2. Allan Reid's review in Canadian Slavonic Papers, Vol. 38, Nos. 1-2, pp. 233-235
  3. Oleksandra Chernenko's review in Vsesvit, pp. 175-178
  4. W. Gareth Jones' review in Slavonic and East European Review, Vol. 74, pp. 498-499

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