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Literary Criticism Eastern

The All-Encompassing Eye of Ukraine

Ivan Nechui-Levyts'kyi's Realist Prose

by (author) Maxim Tarnawsky

University of Toronto Press
Initial publish date
May 2015
Eastern, Eastern, Russia & the Former Soviet Union, General
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    May 2015
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  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2015
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One of the most important realist novelists of nineteenth-century Ukraine, Ivan Nechui-Levyts'kyi was caricatured and then forgotten by a generation of literary modernists who rejected his aesthetic and ideological views. In The All-Encompassing Eye of Ukraine, Maxim Tarnawsky presents a thorough and much-needed reexamination of Nechui-Levyts'kyi and his work.

A solitary, modest man whose chief interest was in promoting and defending a Ukrainian identity threatened by the cultural policies of the Russian Empire, Levyts'kyi’s writing described Ukraine, its people, its culture, and the forces threatening it. A satirist who attacked modernism and cosmopolitanism, he wrote in a style marked by what Tarnawsky calls non-purposeful narration – slow-paced humour built on rhetorical finesse rather than on plot or character development.

A vital reconsideration of a significant Ukrainian novelist written by the foremost expert on his work, The All-Encompassing Eye of Ukraine deepens and expands our understanding of Ukraine’s nineteenth-century literature.

About the author

Maxim Tarnawsky is an associate professor in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of Toronto.

Maxim Tarnawsky's profile page


  • Commended, Best Book awarded by the American Association for Ukrainian Studies

Editorial Reviews

‘A thorough and much needed re-examination of the author and his work.’

The Ukrainian Weekly, January 10, 2016

‘Tarnawsky’s book shines a welcome light on an important writer and period that research in the west has neglected.’

Slavic Review vol 75:02:2016

"The All-Encompassing Eye of Ukraine is evidence of the revelatory force of careful and unprejudiced reading, and a demonstration of the benefits to be gained from taking one’s canonical authors seriously."

Harvard Ukrainian Studies, vol 35:1-4

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