Volodymyr VynnychenkoAug 13, 2021
Disharmony and Other Plays
Translated by George Mihaychuk
Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies Press 2020
Volodymyr Vynnychenko is one of the most ambiguous and controversial Ukrainian writers of the twentieth century. In an intricate and highly entangled way, his persona combines an artist and a statesman whose political views include both national aspirations of Ukraine and the pursuit of programs which were marked by socialist and federalist ideas. His writing opens a window into cultural and political contestations that were taking place in Ukraine in the wake of the collapse of the Russian Empire and on the eve of the creation of the Soviet Union. The complexity of these dramatic and drastic changes manifests itself in Vynnychenko’s writing, which is marked by psychological nuances and emotional crevices. George Mihaychuk’s Disharmony and Other Plays (Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies Press, 2020) invites the reader to delve into a psychological world of characters who try to deal with moral doubts, hesitations, and uncertainties. In the introduction, George Mihaychuk outlines the pillars of Vynnychenko’s dramas. The author situates Vynnychenko in the context of European modernism while providing trajectories that connect Vynnychenko to Hegel and Kant. The moral issues that Vynnychenko explores in and through his dramas resonate with the Dostoyevskian voice. His characters are split, tormented, haunted by the desire to be honest and genuine with themselves. Is it possible to be genuine with oneself? What does it mean to be honest with oneself, after all? George Mihaychuk’s Disharmony and Other Plays invites readers to take a bold journey into the deep and dark corners of the soul.
Nataliya Shpylova-Saeed is a PhD candidate in the Department of Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures, Indiana University