"The tranquil lakes of the transmontane commune": Literature and/against postcoloniality in Ukraine after 1991

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There is an advantage in consistently demarcating the term "postcolonial" from "colonial" and "neo-colonial," on the one hand, and "anti-colonial," on the other. The postcolonial is that which embodies or points toward a supersession of the oppositions and traumas inherited from the period of colonial domination. It is unhelpful to conflate it with the anticolonial, which, while endeavoring to demolish colonial structures of dominion, erects alternative ones. In Ukrainian literature on the eve of, and soon after, the implosion of the Soviet Union, tendencies toward postcoloniality thus defined could be observed both in the works of older-generation writers like Valerii Shevchuk and those of such neoavant- gardist newcomers as the Bu-ba-bu grouping. Their relative weight has progressively diminished in the course of the two-and-a-half decades following 1991 in favor of texts and other literary phenomena better classified as anticolonial. Anticoloniality in the form of explicit identification and critique of the colonizer marks the work of, for example, Lina Kosenko, Vasyl' Shkliar, and Vasyl' Kozhelianko, but is also manifest where no opposition of colonizer and colonized is immediately apparent: in the emphatic neo-realist localism of Viacheslav Medvid, Ievhen Pashkovs'kyi, Oles' Ul'ianenko, and Serhii Zhadan. A minor revival of the postcolonial ethos may be detected in some literary texts, such as those of Maria Matios, that represent a multiethnic society as normal and desirable, but more particularly in literary scholarship and literary anthologies, where cultural hybridity may be, respectively, studied and enacted.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPostcolonial Slavic Literatures After Communism
EditorsKlavdia Smola, Dirk Uffelmann
Place of PublicationFrankfurt am Main Germany
PublisherPeter Lang Publishing
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)9783653061499, 9783631697481, 9783631697498
ISBN (Print)9783631668566
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Publication series

NamePostcolonial Perspectives on Eastern Europe
PublisherPeter Lang
ISSN (Print)2192-3469

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