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Literary Criticism Eastern

Modernism in Kyiv

Jubilant Experimentation

by (author) Irena Makaryk & Virlana Tkacz

University of Toronto Press
Initial publish date
Mar 2015
Eastern, Russian & Former Soviet Union
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2015
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  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    May 2010
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    May 2010
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Dec 2010
    List Price

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The study of modernism has been largely focused on Western cultural centres such as Paris, Vienna, London, and New York. Extravagantly illustrated with over 300 photos and reproductions, Modernism in Kyiv demonstrates that the Ukrainian capital was a major centre of performing and visual arts as well as literary and cultural activity. While arguing that Kyiv's modernist impulse is most prominently displayed in the experimental work of Les Kurbas, one of the masters of the early Soviet stage, the contributors also examine the history of the city and the artistic production of diverse groups including Ukrainians, Russians, Jews, and Poles.

Until now a silent presence in Western accounts of the cultural topography of modernism, multicultural Kyiv is here restored to its historical, intellectual, and artistic complexity. Excerpts taken from the works of artists, writers, and critics as well as the numerous illustrations help give life to the exciting creativity of this period. The first book-length examination of this subject, Modernism in Kyiv is a breakthrough accomplishment that will become a standard volume in the field.

About the authors

Irena R. Makaryk is a Distinguished University Professor in the Department of English at the University of Ottawa.

Irena Makaryk's profile page

Virlana Tkacz is the artistic director of the Yara Arts Group in New York.

Virlana Tkacz's profile page

Editorial Reviews

‘We should be grateful to Makaryk and Tkacz for selecting, editing, and publishing such a rich concordance to the study of international Modernism.’


"Irena Makaryk and Virlana Tkacz’s volume on the dynamic cultural life of Kyiv in the age of modernism represents a momentous achievement in English-language scholarship on Ukrainian culture. The volume recovers the neglected but rich modernist culture of Ukraine for the English-speaking reader, but its significance is, by virtue of the scope and framing of the project, also wider than this: in its attention to transnational cultural dynamics and (neo)colonial frameworks and attitudes, the volume represents a corrective to the metropolitan orientation of scholarship on modernist culture."

<em>Harvard Ukrainian Studies</em>

‘This book is a fun read that captures the exuberance of the time, place, and the people that it describes. It is highly recommended to anyone interested in Modernism, in Ukrainian art and literature, to anyone with a desire to live, to experience, to try something new. ’

Slavic & East European Review; vol 55:02:2011

'[Modernism in Kyiv] is a ground-breaking examination and study of the historical, intellectual, and artistic complexity of Kyiv in the years of modernism.'

Oksana Zakydalsky, <em>The Ukrainian Weekly </em>

'Impressive, richly illustrated volume...This book is successful in creating a strong impression of early twentieth century Kyiv as a bustling and sophisticated major cultural centre... A careful reading of this book will prove an eye opening experience both for specialists and general readers.'

Canadian Slavonic Papers: vol52:3-4:2010

Modernism in Kyiv, a massive, richly illustrated collection of essays, provides a spectacular introduction to the artistic life of this city.’

Theatre Journal

Other titles by Irena Makaryk