Today is Taras Shevchenko’s 209th birthday. In his fairly short life (he died one day after his 47th birthday), Shevchenko revolutionised Ukrainian literature and language and art. Our oldest Shevchenko holding is the 4-volume set of his works, published in L’viv between 1893 and 1898.
As Dr Rory Finnin of Cambridge Ukrainian Studies described in his Liberation lecture in November (full recording here), Shevchenko’s importance to Ukrainians domestically and further afield cannot and could never be overstated. Thanks to donations made to the UL over the last 12 years, we have a rich collection of émigré Ukrainian books dating in particular from post-WW2 migrant communities. Here are the earliest 1945- Ukrainophone Shevchenko editions from South America, North America, and Western Europe: Continue reading →
Iurii Sherekh’s ‘Ne dlia ditei’ – one of the many Ukrainian texts in the “Russian literature” section.
Readers might remember that one strand of decolonising our collections in response to Russia’s war against Ukraine, as outlined in an earlier blog post, was about classification. As explained then and long known by readers using our open-shelf collections, large parts of the UL’s classification system still strongly reflect the times and attitudes of empire. There’s a lot of work to be done here just to tease all the various threads out.
Taking the focus back to Ukraine specifically, I have taken a preliminary look at the Ukrainian component in the “Russian literature” classes – 756 and 757. These classes, meant to contain Russophone literature only, was in practice also the destination for Ukrainophone literature too until the introduction in 2011 of a separate class (758:6) for the latter. There was always a different classmark for “Other Slavonic” (758:8) for languages without their own classmark, but unfortunately Ukrainian appears to have been placed standardly in Russian for decades.
Today’s initial work has been to work out what at least roughly what amount of books it is that we might potentially move, reclassify, and re-label. Here are the initial results.
- 756 contains 252 titles in or translated from Ukrainian
- 757 contains 190 titles in or translated from Ukrainian
So far, so relatively straightforward, if still representing quite a lot of work (I think it would be a challenge to deal with one book in 10 minutes, given all the things that would need to happen, so those figures alone would mean 2 weeks full-time as a minimum). What is missing here, though? Continue reading →
This week, I thought it would be nice to look outside the main University Library for Ukrainian printed books, and the Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics Faculty Library was the obvious first place to look at.
The title page of the book, with a photograph of its late author.
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In November 2022, the annual Cambridge University Libraries Liberation Literature Lecture focused on Ukraine and was accompanied by a small exhibition of Ukrainian material from the UL, selected in part by local Ukrainians. The recording of Cambridge’s Dr Rory Finnin’s brilliant talk is now available on the UL YouTube channel, with Ukrainian subtitles, here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5mwHgQjfkwI. This blog post provides the captions (in Ukrainian and English) for the accompanying pop-up display. Continue reading →
We placed a large order for Ukrainian books just before Christmas and look forward to their arrival before long. In the meantime, today’s short blog post shares a few of the books that came in our last big Ukrainian shipment. They are an interesting but quite mixed bag, both in terms of their subjects and their styles; readers might remember that we are buying as much Ukrainian material from our suppliers as possible, including some popular books alongside academic ones.
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