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Lesja Ukrainka

Encyclopedia of the life and works


Efremov Sergey

S. Efremov

S. Efremov in his youth ()

Sergey Efremov (1876 – 1939) – ukrainian literary critic, journalist, literary historian, politician and statesman. Born 6 (18).10.1876 in the village Palchyk (now Katerynopil district of Cherkasy region) in the priest family. In 1891-96 he studied at Kiev Theological Seminary, and later graduated from the Kiev St. Vladimir University as jurist.

He published about 3 thousand articles and reviews, a series of monographs on Ukrainian writers, synthetic work "" (1911, last (fourth) lifetime edition – 1929).

Efremov took part in politics from 1904, participating in several Ukrainian political parties, the most prominent of which was the Society of Ukrainian progressives. In March 1917 Efremov became a member of the Ukrainian Central Council, from June 1917 to April 1918 he was General Secretary (ie Minister) for International Affairs.

With the advent of the Bolsheviks in Ukraine Efremov had to go to the illegal situation. In 1919 he was elected academician of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences, at the request of which the Bolsheviks "amnestied" Efremov (ie, delay his massacre to the right time).

In the Academy of Sciences Efremov served as vice president and board chairman, led a number of commissions. The greatest achievement of this period was exemplary at that time complete works of Taras Shevchenko (Efremov had time to publish volume 3 (1929, correspondence) and 4 (1927, diary)).

Bolsheviks "right time" for Efremov came July 21, 1929, when he was arrested in a fabricated by chekists case "Union of Ukraine's liberation". Security men assigned to him the role of "chairman" of the organization for which he received the most severe sentence – 10 years rigorous imprisonment (April 1930). In 1930 – 1937 he was inprisoned in Yaroslavl (Russia), then he was transferred to prison in Vladimir (on Klyazma, Russia).

Question of the measure of justice / injustice and legality / illegality of the sentence (and even the entire case SVU) is questionable and is more subject to political assessments than legal analysis. In our opinion:

  • whether Efremov really hated the Bolsheviks and the Soviet government? – yes, definitely;
  • whether Efremov thought about the restoration of Ukrainian statehood? – yes, definitely;
  • whether Efremov could occupy high public office in the event of Ukraine's independence? – yes, definitely;
  • whether scientific work of Efremov was brought up in the new Ukrainian generation spirit of state independency? – yes, definitely;
  • whether Efremov actually organized «five men groups», that had set fire to the collective farm barns (although actually no one was burned), derail a trains (although none actually was derailed) and kill Soviet leaders (although anyone actually was not killed)? – definitely not.

Efremov was a bright representative of the Ukrainian intellectuals – the social group, which was the carrier of Ukrainian statehood idea. This was his actual criminal trespass before the Bolshevik regime, which, however, dared not openly acknowledge Efremov as their political enemy (the carrier of dangerous for the Bolsheviks ideas) and began to fabricate false accusations against him in a non-existent crimes.

S. Efremov died in prison March 10, 1939. The exact place where his tortured to death, still unknown, so we do not know where he is buried. He died at the hands of Russian invaders – as befits a true hero of Ukraine.

In 1989, the same criminal communist regime, which once killed Efremov – «rehabilitate» him. But Efremov was rehabilitated not as a hero fighting for the independence of Ukraine, but as a miserable man in the street, whose existence not impede Soviet occupation regime in Ukraine. The false notes on Efremov as a form of ideological struggle against Ukraine lasted until the fall of the Soviet Union.

Lesja Ukrainka and Sergey Efremov

Lesja Ukrainka was personally acquainted with Efremov. In a letter to M.I. Pavlik dated 03/17/1903 she wrote: "I know Efremov, though not closely"; so this familiarity was done earlier, perhaps in last years of 19 cent. There is a mention in Lesja Ukrainka's correspondence that she wrote letters to Efremov, but it is not detected (probably gone).

Their relationship consisted of 3 episodes. First concerning the publication of the article "Searching of the new beauty" by Efremov (1902). Lesja Ukrainka was very disturbed by this article, and in January – March 1903 she was busy writing and publishing her response to it. Learn more about this in the article "Light and shadow of new beauty".

The second episode – participation of Lesja Ukrainka in the anthology "In Kotliarevsky's eternal memory" (K.: Age, 1904). Lesja Ukrainka filed there lyrics "On Zemmering", "Prisoner" and "Smoke". Last poetry was banned by censorship. To participate in the anthology she was invited by Efremov, and it took place in parallel with the first episode. In a letter to O. Kobyljanska dated 03/27/1903 Lesja Ukrainka wrote: "How someone given poems to the Efremov's collection (the more, the mighty!), so must give to those misters, otherwise they will see in that a "trend", which some do not have".

The third episode concerning the issuing of the first edition of "History of Ukrainian Literature" by Efremov (1911). Already 9 (22) October 1911 in a letter to mother Lesja Ukrainka interest: "What is your review on Efremov – not yet written?"

In letter to M. Kryvynjuk of 3 (16) May 1912 Lesja Ukrainka requested him to buy this book. In a letter to sisters Olga on July 26 (8 August) 1912 she again reminded that she would like to have this book. Kryvynjuk bought it and gifted to Lesja (his inscription dated 11 Aug 1912). Later in her letters there are no references to the book of Efremov, and we do not know how she treated this book as a whole and to assess her work in particular.

Lesja Ukrainka in Sergey Efremov's assessing

Lesja Ukrainka's creativity Efremov examined in the chapter "1880th years" (should be taken into account that Efremov groups writers for generations and denoted generations by the decades of beginning of their literary work).

The most significant representative of this decade Efremov suppose Boris Grinchenko, which does not spare the highest ratings: "Grinchenko that alone can be a sign and the best flag of time", "most characteristic and most important figure among the literary generation of [18]80th", "an example of permanence, public performances, the fight against serious circumstances " and so on.

Instead rating of Lesja Ukrainka sounds much more reservedly:

Lesja Ukrainka was like the center of our newest poetry, on the one hand touching the previous group of writers, in which rings louder civil string, on the other – made very beginning of individualistic neoromantic poetry that in recent times all the more started to ring.

The development of her literary creation Efremov characterized as follows:

Step by step in herself, in her art, occured expressive fracture: durable and mighty voice of the poet–citizen became more and more soft and Lesja Ukrainka increasingly escapes ever deeper in the past as to where to find refuge and shelter against bitter reality and weaken the sense of loneliness. She even before wishing to tour in an old world, romance in the events and attitudes, but in the last years of her life poetess almost did not go out of it.

What works were the basis of these thoughts? Efremov cites rhymes "Contra spem spero!" (1890), "Lights my heart…" (1894), "To the friends" (1895), "Poet during the siege" (1896), "To friend in remembrance" (1896), "Minute of desperation" (1896), "Fiat nox!" (1896), he notes as important (not quote) rhymes "Word, why do not a hard steel…" (1896), "Unfinished conversation breaks…(1898), "Where did the you disappear, high-flown words…" (1900), "Lied ohne Klang (1900).

We have one work from the book "On the wings of songs", a 8 – from collection "Thinking and dreams", 2 – from collection "Repercussions". From these 11 works half (5) written in 1896. Hence, according to Efremov Lesja Ukrainka's contribution to literature is limited to a collection "Thinking and dreams", and it mostly by works of 1896 – which is important moment, but still only a moment in her creativity.

The dramatic works of Lesja Ukrainka Efremov mentioned in the list: "Possessed", "Cassandra", "Johanna Husa's wife", "In forest", "Rufin and Priscilla", "Lawyer Martian", "Orgy", "The stone lord", "Forest song" (it is clear that this list was completed in the next edition of Efremov's work). Total lack of evaluation of these dramas is the largest deficiency of this paragraph in Efremov's work.

Nor can we agree with the statement that the romantic plot and form of ancient prevent civil spirit of poetry. We can not believe that "Rufin and Priscilla" and "Orgy" have fewer civil pathos than quoted by Efremov "Slave songs". Perhaps the decisive was that Efremov did not perceive romanticism in any way – so even in the collection "Thinking and dreams" he evaded the attention of the poems "Robert Bruce" and "Old tale" – the romantic works of ancient stories, in which civil string rings not just noise, but resolutely dominated over all other strings.

So his assessment of Lesja Ukrainka Efremov produced somewhere in 1900, shortly after the publication of book "Thinking and dreams", and later not reviewed it, but did external additions. This assessment now seems too simplistic and one-sided.


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