Download PDF:
For citation:

Barabash Yu.Y. Developing the National Modernist Pattern: Three Plays by Igor Kostetsky. Studia Litterarum, 2018, vol. 3, no 4, pp. 240–259. (In Russ.)

DOI: 10.22455/2500-4247-2018-3-4-240-259

Author: Yuri 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: September 10, 2018
Published: December 25, 2018
Issue: 2018 Vol. 3, №4
Department: Literature of the Peoples of Russia and Neighboring Countries
Pages: 240-259

UDK: 821.161.2
BBK: 83.3(4Укр)6
Keywords: modernism, poetics, hermeneutic, comparative, absurd theatre, pattern, Doppelganger, mystery.


The article analyzes three plays written by Igor Kostetsky (1945–1947) in a) hermeneutic, comparative, and historical perspectives and b) in Ukrainian and European literary contexts. In the play Temptation of Non-Saint Anton, absurd becomes a meaning-making factor that allows us to compare this play with European absurd theatre (Adamov, Beckett and Ionesko). In the plays Twins will Finally Meet and Drama of a Great Man, other trends prevail, absurdist elements notwithstanding. These trends include the following aspects: psychological themes (Doppelganger motif, mythological archetypes), ideological and moral issues (discussions whether violence is acceptable as а means to achieve a noble goal), philosophical and religious attitudes (irrational nature of Power, its mystery component, zombification of the masses). Typological similarity of the analyzed works relies on the modernist paradigm as well as on the modernist aesthetics including the violation of cause and effect, temporal and spatial deviations, transformation of archetypical images and sacred figures, elements of medieval and baroque stylizations, intertextuality etc. These peculiarities become manifest when the plays by Kostetsky are compared with Flaubert’s interpretation of St. Anthony’s legend, Doppelganger motif in Gogol and Shevchenko, Dostoevsky and Andrey Bely, mystery component in Lorca and T.S. Eliot. Plays and the main prosaic works by Kostetsky as well as his literary heritage as a whole represent the connecting link between Ukrainian Modernism of the 1920s (“Executed Renaissance”) on the one hand and modernist and post-modernist trends in modern Ukrainian literature on the other, being a significant stage in the development of the national modernist pattern.


1 Besputna S. Drama І. Kostets’kogo “Dіistvo pro veliku liudinu”: sproba іnterpretatsії [Drama I. Kostecki “Action of a great man”: the experience of interpretation]. Lіteraturoznavchі obrії: pratsі molodikh uchenikh [Literary horizons: the works of young scientists]. Kiev, 2009, issue 15, pp. 112–115. (In Ukrainian)

2 Gennep A. van. Obriady perekhoda [Rites of passage]. Moscow, Vostochnaia literature Publ., 1999. 200 p. (In Russ.)

3 Gritsai O. Bankrot lіteraturi [Bankrupt literature]. Lidia Stefanovska. MUR i odrodzenie ukraińskiego życia literackiego w obozach dla uchodźców na terytorium Niemiec. 1945– 1948. Część II. Antologia tekstów źródłowyv. Warszawa, 2014, pp. 56–98. (In Ukrainian)

4 Kostets’kii І. Teatr pered tvoїm porogom [Theater in front of your doorstep]. Miunkhen, Na gorі Publ., 1963. 254 p. (In Ukrainian)

5 Movchan R. Ukraїns’kii modernіzm 1920-kh: portret v іstorichnomu іnter’єrі [1920s Ukrainian Modernism: Portrait in a Historic Interior]. Kiev, Vidavnichii dіm “Stilos” Publ., 2008. 544 p. (In Ukrainian)

6 Eliot T.S. Ubiistvo v sobore, transl. by V. Toporov. T.S. Eliot. Polye liudi [Hollow people]. St. Petersburg, Izdatel’skii dom “Kristall” Publ., 2000. 464 p. (In Russ.)