THE KYIV MOHYLA ACADEMY AND REVIVAL OF TRANSLATION ACTIVITIES IN UKRAINE



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THE KYIV MOHYLA ACADEMY AND REVIVAL OF TRANSLATION ACTIVITIES IN UKRAINE



A considerable intensification was witnessed in Ukrainian trans­lation during the seventeenth century, which could have been influ­enced by the initial activities in the Kyiv Mohyla Academy (founded in 1632), where translations were at first employed to further teaching processes. Thus, in the first half of the seventeenth century there appeared translations from the Greek (G.Nazianzinus' works, trans­lated by Skulskyi and D.Nalyvaiko) and from Latin (L.A.Seneca's works) translated by K.Sakovych. These translations were of higher quality though they were mostly free adaptations as those versified by a certain Vitaliy (P.Monotrop's Dioptra) or anonymous free interpretations, exemplified with the Book of Psalms and some other works among which were also poems of the Polish poet K.Trankwillian-Stawrowski. Apart from the ecclesiastic works some previously translated works were accomplished {The Physiologist). The seventeenth century also witnessed the appearance of the work by Archbishop Andreas of Kessalia (1625) on the Revelation (Apocalypse) in Lavrentiy Zizaniy's translation. The seventeenth century in Ukraine was also marked by regular versifications of prominent Italian and Polish poets of late Renaissance period as Torquato Tasso (10 chapters of his poem The Liberated Jerusalem, which was translated on the basis of the perfect


Polish versification of the masterpiece by PKokhanowski, as well as by a versified translation (accomplished by Kulyk) of one of G.Boccaccio's short stories from his Decameron.

During the second half of the seventeenth century after the domi­nation over Ukraine was divided between Russia and Poland (according to the Andrussovo treaty of 1667), translation practically survived only in the Kyiv Mohyla Academy. Active for some time was Symeon Polotskyi (1629-1680), who left a small number of free versifications of Polish Psalms written by PKokhanowski, and D.Tuptalo (1651-1709), who translated some poems of anonymous Polish poets. Several renditions were also left by S.Mokiyevych, who belonged to Mazeppa's followers. He accomplished several free versifications of some parts of the Old and New Testament, as well as the Bible of St.Matthew. Besides these free translations of some Owen's English epigrams were performed by the poet I. Welychkovskyi (? -1701).

The last decades of the seventeenth century and the first dec­ade of the eighteenth century were far from favourable for Ukraine, its culture or translation. Today only a few known versifications exist, which were mainly accomplished by the Kyiv Mohyla Academy gradu­ates Ivan Maksymovych (1651-1715) and his nephew and namesake I.Maksymovych (1670-1732). The uncle left behind his versification of an elegy by the fifteenth century German poet H.Hugo. No less active at the beginning of his literary career was also the Mohyla Academy lecturer Feophan Prokopovych (1681-1736), who, when he moved to Russia, became subservient to the Russian czar Peter I and helped suppress Ukraine. The Psalms, and poetic works of the Roman poets Ovid, Martial and of the French Renaissance poet Scaliger (1540-1609) were often translated at the Academy as well.

The first decades of the eighteenth century were marked by an unbearable terror imposed on the Ukrainian people by Peter I. It was the period when the first bans on the Ukrainian language publications (1721) were issued. Ukrainian scientists and talented people were either forced or lured to go to the culturally backward Russia. With the enthroning of Catherine II the Ukrainian nation was completely enslaved. It was no wonder that Ukrainian translation and belles-lettres in general fell into obscurity as a result of these oppressions. The official Russian language eventually took the upper hand. As a result, even the great philosopher H.Skovoroda had to perform his essentially free translations more in Russian than in bookish Ukrainian. His best


 




known translations today are: an ode of the Flemish poet Hosiy (1504-1579), excerpts from Cicero's book On Old Age and Plutarch's work on Peace in One's Heart (translated in 1790). More prolific in translation than H.Skovoroda was his contemporary and fellow a Kyiv Mohyla Academy alumnus K.Kondratovych who translated Ovid's elegies (1759), twelve speeches by Cicero, Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, Cato's distichs (двовірші) and some other works by ancient Greek and Roman authors which remained unpublished, however.

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