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Why Is the History of Ukrainian Literature Silent About the Women Writers of the Second and Third Decades of the 20th Century?

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Why Is the History of Ukrainian Literature Silent About the Women Writers of the Second and Third Decades of the 20th Century?

Abstract: The article deals with the problem of avoiding women’s literature of the 1920s and 1930s in the narrative of the history of Ukrainian literature. This period is called the Executed Renaissance and is the key to the nation-making narrative. It is seen as the time of the modern nation formation and the time of the greatest sacrifice in the name of the nation. Women’s literature of that time is selectively discussed in this context, but the bulk of female literature of that period remains out of the attention of researchers, despite the fact that both the previous stage of development of women’s literature and subsequent ones are present in the narrative of the history of Ukrainian literature. The article hypothesizes that the period of the 1920s and 1930s “fell out” because the women’s literature of that time did not meet the needs of the nation-making narrative that dominates the Ukrainian humanities. The aim of the study is to show this discrepancy by analyzing the representation of gender practices in women’s texts of that period. The theoretical basis of the work was the ideas by Anne McClintock, Yuval-Davis, Joane Nagel, Robert Connell, Martha Bohachevsky-Chomiak. As a result of the study, it has been revealed that women’s literature of the time has different topics and problems, which is due to different experiences. Describing the Bolshevik reforms, women attach equal importance to changes in management and forms of ownership, as well as to the new norms of family and maternal law. The women writers remind of the importance of women’s work in enterprises and in agriculture, especially in the absence of men involved in the war. The literature reflects the rapid expansion of the range of characters’ professions, but at the same time shows the complexity of self-realization, especially when it is necessary to combine profession and motherhood. At this time, women speak more openly about cathexis, challenging patriarchal norms. The image of a woman, in particular of a mother, created by the woman writers did not correspond to the symbolic image of the nation’s reproducer, so the return of women’s literature of the 1920s and 1930s did not meet the needs of the nation-making narrative in the post-Soviet conditions.

Key words: women’s literature, nation-making narrative, Ukrainian literature, gender practices.

Citation suggestion: Zhygun, Snizhana. “Why Is the History of Ukrainian Literature Silent About the Women Writers of the Second and Third Decades of the 20th Century?” Transilvania, no. 11-12 (2021): 59-66.

https://doi.org/10.51391/trva.2021.11-12.08.

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