From the Bible to Shakespeare
Pantelejmon Kuliš (1819-1897) and the Formation of Literary Ukrainian
Academic Studies Press 2016
New Books in Arts & LettersNew Books in Eastern European StudiesNew Books in LanguageNew Books in Literary StudiesNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books Network June 27, 2018 Nataliya Shpylova-Saeed
How does a language develop? What are the factors and processes that shape a language and reflect the changes it undergoes? These seemingly routine questions entail a conversation that involves not only linguistic phenomena, but historical, sociological, and literary issues as well. Andrii Danylenko’s From the Bible to Shakespeare: Pantelejmon Kuliš (1819-1897) and the Formation of Literary Ukrainian (Academic Studies Press, 2016) offers a compelling investigation of the development of the Ukrainian language and discusses how the creative input of an individual writer and a translator may engage with the process of language creation. Pantelejmon Kuliš, as Danylenko emphasizes, is a controversial figure in the history of Ukrainian literature: he is attributed with persistent resistance against linguistic rigidity and stagnation. As From the Bible to Shakespeare demonstrates, Kuliš was driven by his passion for writing and translation that provided space for creative interactions, filled with a strong potential to connect diverse and eclectic dialogues across cultures and nations. For Kuliš, language is a canvas which is made out of a number of elements that change and modify alongside the metamorphosis of the speaker’s/writer’s/artist’s imagination. Andrii Danylenko traces Kuliš’s artistic understanding of language while providing a profound analysis of linguistic phenomena dispersed throughout Kuliš’s translation experiments. These observations are accompanied by insightful historical and sociological notes that help reveal language as an entity that mutates when interacting with a diversity of phenomena.
Andrii Danylenko’s From the Bible to Shakespeare: Pantelejmon Kuliš (1819-1897) and the Formation of Literary Ukrainian is a profound study that offers an insight into a complex process of the development of language, embracing the formation of the literary and the national. Kuliš’s translations represent an intriguing study case not only for the exploration of linguistic synthesis, but also for investigation of identity fluidity that stems from openness towards linguistic and cultural dialogism.