Download PDF:
For citation:

Barabash Yu. Y. David’s Psalms by Taras Shevchenko: From the Sacred Text to the Poetical Text. Studia Litterarum, 2017, vol. 2, no 3, pp. 252–273. (In Russ.) DOI:10.22455/2500-4247-2017-2-3-252-273

Author: Yu.Y. Barabash
Information about the author:

Yuri Y. Barabash, DSc in Philology, Professor, Director of Research, A.M. Gorky Institute of World Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Povarskaya 25 a, 121069 Moscow, Russiа. E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Received: January 15, 2017
Published: September 25, 2017
Issue: 2017 Vol. 2, №3
Department: Literature of the Peoples of Russia and Neighboring Countries
Pages: 252-273

UDK: 821.161.2
BBK: 83.3(4Укр)
Keywords: system, text, structure, semantics, choice, adaptation, the “speaker’s code.”


The article attempts to compare a poetic circle David’s Psalms by Taras Shevchenko with its origin — Book of Psalms in The Old Testament. It singles out, in the synchronical aspect, major factors and key attributes that allow us to interpret this poetic circle as a systematic object, or “text.” The circle is analyzed on two levels: (1) the poet’s choice of ten psalms out of 150 for adaptation; (2) the actual adaptation and transformation of the original text. This two-level process forges a new literary text authored by Shevchenko. The system of inner connections within the new text is defined by (a) textual transformation and changes in the “neighborhood relations” between the textual components; b) the “speaker’s code,” e. g. the system of textological, semantic, and figurative revisions, additions and accentuations introduced by the author of the adaptation into the texts of the chosen psalms. The article examines such categories as pretext and context and introduces such notions as “off-text” and “the dialogue of interpretations.” The essay deliberately narrows down its scope of examination implying the method of the “sums of technology” and pursuing euristic purposes. Thus, a wide range of facts and problems widely discussed within Shevchenko Studies is intentionally left behind. 


1 Golovashhenko S. “Ukrai’ns’ka Psaltyr” M.O. Maksimovycha jak fenomen jevropejs’koi’ biblei’styky. Kil’ka zapytan’ do tekstu [Ukrainian Psalms by M.O. Maksimovych as a phenomenon of the European library]. Available at: (Accessed 12 December 2016). (In Ukrainian)
2 Danylenko I. Molytva jak literaturnyj zhanr: g’eneza ta evoljucija [Prayer as literary genre: genesis and evolution]. Nikolaev, MDGU im. Petra Mogyly Publ., 2008. 304 p. (In Ukrainian)
3 Klig’ing’er D. Intertekstual’nist’ [Intextuality]. Encyklopedija postmodernizmu [Postmodernist encyclopedia], ed. E. Charlza, Winquist and V.E. Tailor, trans. V. Shovkun. Kiev, 2003. (In Ukrainian)
4 Kulish P. Povne zibrannja tvoriv. Lysty [Complete collection of works. Letters]. Kiev, Krytyka Publ., 2005. Vol. I: 1841–1850, comment O. Fedoruk; preparation of text O. Fedoruka, N. Hohlovoi’, ed. S. Zaharkin. 648 p. (In Ukrainian)
5 Laslo-Kucjuk M. Velyka tradycija. Ukrai’ns’ka klasychna literatura v porivnjal’nomu vysvitlenni [Great tradition. Ukrainian classical literature in the comparative light]. Bucharest, 1979. 288 p. (In Ukrainian)
6 Lotman Ju. Tekst u teksti [Text in the text]. Slovo. Znak. Dyskurs. Antologija svitovoi’ literaturno-krytychnoi’ dumky XX st. [Word. Sign. Discourse. Anthology of world literary criticism of the 20 th century]. L’viv, 2002, pp. 428–442. (In Ukrainian)
7 Эсo U. Otsutstvujushhaja struktura. Vvedenye v semyologyju [Missing Structure. Introduction into Semiology]. St. Petersburg, Petropolys Publ., 1998. 432 p. (In Russ.)