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Lesja Ukrainka

Encyclopedia of the life and works



Lesja Ukrainka wrote rhymes throughout all her life. First a rhyme she wrote, having just nine years (1880), the last – 40-year old (1911). Altogether she has written about 270 rhymes (not counting the poems and dramatic works in verses).

The first collection of rhymes – "On the wings of songs" – published in Lviv in 1893. It includes 69 rhymes of the early period of its creation (before 1892) and three poems.

The second collection – "Thinking and dreams" – also published in Lviv in 1899. It includes 50 rhymes 1893 – 1899 and two poems.

The third collection – "Repercussions" – printed in Chernivtsi in 1902. It includes 30 rhymes 1900 – 1902 and one dramatic poem.

Lesja Ukrainka attached great importance to the composition of her collections. Her aim was to compose each collection as one artistic whole and to make a complete work of art. So Lesja Ukrainka not adhered to the principle of chronological arrangement of rhymes within the collection. Her lifetime collection have clearly defined chronological limits, none of rhymes was reprinted twice. She had included to collections not all rhymes written of the time, but only those considered the best by poetess.

After 1902 Lesja Ukrainka had not issued any collection of original poetry. The only edition of her poetry, performed in Dnieper Ukraine, was "On the wings of songs" printed in Kiev in 1904. It was the final "selected rhymes", so many works was revised and finalized for the new edition.

But the best, most acute political rhymes were removed from this edition or maimed censor's pencil.

There are copies of collection "On the wings of songs", Lviv, 1893 (f. 2, № 1262), and "Thinking and dreams" (f. 2, № 1261) from Lesja Ukrainka's private library preserved with handwritten notes and corrections in the text, made by poetess in preparation for printing Kiev edition of selected works "On the wings of songs".

Studying the history of composing and printing lifetime collections by Lesja Ukrainka allows to conclude that the author's last will for the majority of the texts of first book "On the wings of songs" (1893) is the text of the first section of the Kiev edition book "On the wings of songs" (1904) that not involved in censorship interference. As basic text of rhymes from of "Thinking and dreams" (1899) and "Repercussions" (1902) should serve texts of these editions (with author's corrections made for publication in 1904). Most of the rhymes from these collections published in Kiev publication "On the wings of songs" with censor's edits.

In addition to these collections of poetry, Lesja Ukrainka wrote 115 rhymes which were not included to the collections. Only some of them were printed during the life of poetess. Among the rhymes that Lesja Ukrainka by herself not yielded to print, easy to find rhymes of sharp political sound and those, which reflected her personal experience.

Rhymes published outside of Lesja Ukrainka's collection presented in the latest author's editions, by last lifetime publications. Unpublished works are submitted by autographs, which are mostly concentrated in the department of manuscripts of the Shevchenko institute of literature AN USSR in the Lesja Ukrainka fund (F. 2).

Author's collections

On the wings of songs

Thinking and dreams


Additional threads

Rhymes outside collections

Slave Songs

Alphabetic list of rhymes