’Tis Eighty Years Since: Panteleimon Kulish's Gothic Ukraine

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Abstract

This article explores the ideological implications of the Gothic mode in Panteleimon Kulish's first novel Mikhailo Charnyshenko, or Little Russia Eighty Years Ago (1843). I show that the multiple Gothic tropes employed in the novel—from Walter Scottian ruins and towers to exotic demonic villains, uncanny ethnic Others, and supernatural phantoms—produce an intricate play of temporalities, identities, and allegiances that ultimately create a highly ambivalent vision of the Ukrainian heroic past as both an object of Romantic nostalgia and a dark period of chaos overcome by the country's incorporation into the Russian empire. Rather than dismissing Kulish's engagement with the Gothic as a tribute to the fashionable western trend, I argue that this mode serves as a conduit to some of the work's most pressing ideological and historical concerns and ultimately yields a more nuanced insight into the author's complex position as a Ukrainian writer in the Russian empire.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)390-409
JournalSlavic Review
Volume78
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2019

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