First Ratedness of “Silent” Character in Mykhailo Kotsiubynskyʼs Prose

Svitlana Kyryliuk


Formation of modernist aesthetics in Ukrainian literature at the turn of the twentieth century is connected with changes in aesthetic consciousness, overcoming stereotypes, and search for new expressive means. This enables us to trace “conflicts” and contradictions that allows us to speak about qualitative changes, search of new resources, points of view, and reading “voices” in a work of fiction. These “voices” reveal to a different degree both surface and concealed layers of text. We can trace certain co-references of these “voices” within historical and cultural epoch, and in the works of an author or based on a text. At the same time it is important that the author may not have wanted to reveal, open something, but the text itself can reveal it. Ways to relveal these may have some significance for revelation of certain characteristics or stylistic peculiarities of author’s works as a whole. The texts of Ukrainian classic writer M. Kotsiubynsky allowed critics to speak of “aesthetism” and „spiritual aristocracy” inherent to the writer, but realisation his own marginal position provoked him to unconsciously pay attention to his secondary role. Here we have conscious attempt not so much as being silent as concealing one’s own voice. At the same time conscious “concealment” confirms unconscious desire to be heard. Therefore, the purpose of the paper is to highlight the problem, make it the major one to understand M. Kotsiubynsky’s texts. An important role is provided to character’s voices. But to counterbalance the voice of the main or secondary character, there is silence that we should treat as an anthropological phenomenon. It is the analysis of the function of silence is the key to reading Kotsiubynsky’s fiction, along with the function of non-silence where the first rate role of a narrator is lost. The foreground is occupied by the second rate that assumes the status of the first ratedness.


Mykhailo Kotsiubynsky; silence; voice; “silent” character; first / second ratedness


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