The poetic style of Yevhen Malaniuk in the discourse of European intellectualism

У статті досліджено особливості поетичного стилю поета Євгена Маланюка у дискурсі європейського інтелектуалізму XX століття.

Ключові слова: поетичний стиль, есеїстка, поезія міжвоєнного часу, образ.

 The article explores the features of the poetic style of the poet Yevhen Malaniuk in the discourse of European intellectualism in XX century.

Key words: poetic style, essays, the interwar poetry, image.

 Each literary epoch has its own leading figures. At the beginning of the XX century the works of Ukrainian poet and unsurpassed master of words – Yevhen Malaniuk, who was little famous in Ukraine, however,became a landmark in Ukrainian literature. It is caused by prolonged duration of the “iron curtain” period, through which the spiritual energy of Ukrainian emigrationbarely penetratedbecause of the the conditions of political opposition.The poet neither ever left his motherland spiritually, nor did he betray it under the pressure of social factors, thus he escaped from physical and moral destruction, which was the destiny of the majority of Ukrainian artists.

From the Ukrainian who came from steppe South by origin, largely russified, suddenly formed a poet with a very expressive, deep and passionate Ukrainian national consciousness, with which his poetry, literary criticism, essays and journalism are full of. The poet himself considered an advent of representatives of the political emigrationin literature to be a consequence of the tragic defeat in the struggle for Ukrainian statehood during 1917-1920-x pp.: “All of them chose the literature only because out of the hopelessness, that was, perhaps, the only way for the conduct of the interrupted war not with military weapons, but only with weapons of art and culture, and the weapons of poetry – in the first place… “[2, pp. 143 – 145].

However,for the hardening of the courageous and determined character as well as sustained and firm national convictions of Yevhen Malaniuk,gave his service in the Ukrainian army, direct involvement in the fight for an independent Ukrainian state.

According to the modern researcher Yuliia Voichyshyn,although Malaniuk did start “in a romantic style with a dash of symbolism, but in order to create a tendentious poetry of great tension that would correspond to his intentions, he began to write also in expressionistic spirit.” Malaniuk never was a slave of any particular style, in his poetry though, consciously or unconsciously, expressionism alternates with symbolism andneoromanticism, and later, according to critics Sviatoslav Hordynskyi and Yurii  Sherekh, itconsistently approaches towards neoclassicism. Besides these features of creative directions,realistic images in the personal, household and psychological lyrics, memories of the childhood and youth, military routine, in a naturalistic sketchesfrom the camp life are presentin Malaniuk’s poetry.

The purpose of the article is to characterize the peculiarities of the poetic style of Yevhen Malaniuk in the discourse of European intellectualism.

Malaniuk’s poetic style is beyond all the conventional ideas. The origins of his neoromanticism – baroque poetry and the most distinct means of poetic language – symbols. Bright and significant symbols: stiletto, stylos, earth, iron, pilgrimage, ring andcrosier. Free rhythms, alliterations, assonances, repeated sound combinations, aphoristical language, sophisticated epithets, unexpected metaphors, historical symbolsand cyclical poetry placing in his collections form the main features of Malaniuk’s creative manner. Punctuationplays an important role in his poetry, as it carries particularsense meaning. The works ofYevhen Malaniuk show the breadth of thinking of such an intelligent poet and statesman.

In terms of theconception of the world,poetry and prose – essays by Y.  Malaniuk – comprise one single part, complement each other, develop the same ideas, reflecting and expressing them in different genres. The idea of utmost importance was ​​Ukrainian statehood, which was the energy source of poet’s works and was his faith and main directive. Statehood as political category moved to ideological one and created a system of poet’s relationships to the world.

Yevhen Malaniuk’screative workcan be relativelydivided into two main periods: interwarpoetry, summarized with the selected collection and creationwritten after the Second World War.

For Y. Malaniuk poetic word was functional in the highest sense, as it is connected with form-building spirit of the nation, so it is subject to the strict task of awakening the nation, its preparation for the upcoming decisive ordeal, that it is clearly biased and tendentious. The poet formulated in the article “Tank”the task of Ukrainian poetry in the exile. The author believes that Ukrainian art should be “an integral part of the spiritual force of the nation”, “tightly-organized… group of national artists” will always send “our national power in the Motherland.”

According to Malaniuk’s concept, the new Ukrainian literature had a “dual source” and two founders – Shevchenko and Kulish (first tension of the national intelligence) that focused and identified two such different and yet inseparable from each other main branches of development.

During his long and severelifeYevhen Malaniuk never betrayed himself or rejected his ideals. The proof of this is a series of poetry, cultural, journalistic and literary-critical articles and essays. As a poet, researcher and writer Yevhen Malaniuk directs all his thoughts in Ukraine.

Post-revolutionary period, which ended in loss of independence for Ukraineagain, Malaniuk calls “the night of the statelessness”, which introduced a negative element to the mentality of Ukrainian people- “brand of the slave” that played a fatal role in post-revolutionary situation.

In the first poem cycle “Eternal,” the author defines the essence of his social and political activity as competition for independent Ukraine by the example of Canaan (the promised land, in which Moses led his people from Egyptian captivity) and the Kyiv state, renewed revival to which he aspired:

And I am burning and struggling,

In order over Ukrainian cornfields

Beamed Canaan Rus [4, p. 110 – 111].

Only a few verses were written during the war, and despite all the militancy of his previous poems, they are full of humility, full of contrasting personal and historical principles. More and more often, the poet compares his own lyrical hero with the image of Odysseus, who returns to his homeland, who appreciates not the war, but the way of return. The poet’slyrical hero becomes rather down-to-earth, loses featureof being chosen by God and even doubtshis relationship with God, since he has a sense of humility and guilt, and this is, in terms of Christianity, dearer to God than the old hierarchical poet’ssuperiority over the crowd.

The Odysseus’image in Yevhen Malaniuk’s works is not accidental, because the poet is a representative of the people, which is on the way to obtaining its statehood.

Poems byYevhen Malaniukhave inherent philosophical impulse to heaven,  frequent prayers to God and, at the same time, strong ties with the land. The main problem of the poet’s creative search lies in the human existence, the meaning of the life and in the responsibility for your own destiny.

Reflections on the problem of human existence, the responsibility for your own destiny lead the author to the conclusion that everything in life is subject to certain clearly defined laws (“Summer”, “The Last Spring”). The forces of natureplay an important role in the way how the poet depictsthe eternal struggle of the opposing forces. Sun in Malaniuk’spoetic heritage is an image-personification of the life-giving, victorious and destructive force. In his versesspring and autumn arefavorite seasons. Spring symbolizes rebirth in the nature, youth, state independence, will and freedom of people. Metaphors “first spring”, “unique spring dies down”, “last spring” correspond to the stages of poet life, not to the seasons. With special warmth Malaniuk writes about the autumn, which is a symbol of human maturity and fullness (“No Need for Wisdom”). This time of the year, according to the poet –is not only time forvanishing, but the period of acute sense of life. In the image of “the tireless circulation” he conveys the idea of ​​a wise certainty of everything in the nature, cyclical development:

Wait. It’s not a black autumn yet.

It is gold, as a reminder of spring,

Thismemory that has not dreamtyet,

Which still lasts in anabiosis of sleep [4, p. 110 – 112].

Almost all poems of Malaniuk appeared as a result of the collision of opposing properties of a phenomenon of a certain fact that can be formulated as a desire to make distinct and thus clarify a thematic motive. Collection “Ring and Crosier”was publishedafter his death in Munich(1972). The symbolism of the name of the collection should be interpreted in the following way: a ring – a sign of addiction to settled life, magic power, fabulous power, in particular, poetic aptitude;crosier is archaic synonym to stick or to the traveler’s staff. It indicates the combination of completely differentconcepts. All woks by Yevhen Malaniuk are full of such opposites. Even some titles of the poetic collections are opposing concepts: “The Stillet and Stylos” (1925), “Earth and Iron” (1930), “The Last Spring” (1959) etc.

Each poet-immigrant, despite the existence of common motives to all immigrant poetry (Vikings, steppes, Prince and Cossacks epoch, loss of native land) stated his own historiosophical concept of Ukraine, which received its own figurative dominant.

In conclusion, high spirituality of Yevhen Malaniuk’s was an important factor in the development of not only emigration literature, but Ukrainian literature as well. Modern Ukraine indeed lacks Y.Malaniuk. A powerful mind and exceptionally shrewd intuition which he possessed with some desperate insistence, focused on understanding of the Ukraine and its past and present times.


  1. Bernadska N. I. Ukrainian literature of XX century / NI Bernadska. – K .: 2008. – P. 9 – 14.
  2. Voychyshyn Y. “Spring Creek and pain tuzhavyy …” (poetic personality Eugene Malanyuk). – K., 1993. – S. 143 – 148.
  3. Kutsenko L. V. Dominus Malanyuk: background and figure / LV Kutsenko. – Kirovograd. – 2001. – S. 71 – 72.
  4. Kutsenko L. V. “No, never repent …” (Eugene Malanyuk: History outcome). – Kirovograd. – 1997. – S. 109 – 112.
  5. Prokhorenko O. M. “Trampled petals” Eugene Malanyuk / OM Prokhorenko // Word and time. – 1998. – №9-10. – S. 49 – 53.

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