CLASSIC AND MODERN EUROPEAN LITERATURE IN UKRAINE: CONTINUATION

Astrolabe Publishing Project. Implemented with the financial support of the European Commission’s Creative Europe Programme.

 


This project is a continuation of the twenty-year programme of the Astrolabe Publishing, designed to provide the Ukrainian reader with the widest access to the most important and best works of European literature. This programme was designed to be implemented by a previous project with the appropriate name, with which, in 2017, the Astrolabe Publishing was the first among Ukrainian publishing houses to win the competition “Artistic Translation” of the Creative Europe programme and which was implemented during 2018–2019.

The project involves the translation, publication, distribution and promotion of ten prominent and high-value works of classic and modern European literature (from Latin, Spanish, French, German, English, Finnish and Polish), as well as expanding their readership. One of the focuses of the project is classic and modern Irish literature.

Four of the books in the list are classical literature and important for understanding European literature as a process, and six books are high-quality works by contemporary authors (three of them have been awarded the European Union Prize for Literature, five have won many other awards). Four books are collections of short stories (one of them contains a novel and short stories); one book is a collection of poems; three books belong to youth literature.

The project also promotes the development of translation culture in Ukraine. It engages professional translators, including Olena Brosalina (O’Lear), Olha Demydenko, Nazar Dovzhok, Taras Luchuk, Olga Mayevska, Andriy Pavlyshyn, Nataliya Shymon, Iaroslava Strikha, Yaryna Tarasyuk, Olha Yareshko.

The project will be implemented during 2020–2021.



              


AUTHOR

Laurence Plazenet (born 1968) is a contemporary French novelist and teacher of French literature at the Sorbonne. Before publishing her first novel, she worked on an academic research for ten years; her areas of interest include poetics of 17th-century French novel, techniques of ancient literature, classical moralists, history of classical reason and sensuality. A member of the French National Centre for Scientific Research, member of the jury of the André Gide Prize for Literature.


WORK

L’amour seul (Love alone), her first novel, was published in 2005 and won the Charles Aumont Prize of the French Foundation and the European Union Prize for Literature in 2012. The theme of the novel is closely connected with the author’s scientific research of ancient literature. The plot line, which is somewhat reminiscent of the story of Heloise and Abelard, is based on tender feelings between a girl and a man much older than her somewhere in the 18th century. They dream of an eternity that is not inherent in this world, and their love lasts even in loneliness and death. A laconic and elegant work with a wonderful, clean, restrained and accurate language.


TRANSLATOR

Yaryna Tarasyuk (born 1973) is a translator and literary critic. In 1995, she graduated from the Ivan Franko University of Lviv with a degree in French Language and Literature, and in 2013 she received her PhD. She teaches the history of European literature, is a member of the European Association François Mauriac. Her works includes her translations of works by Denis de Rougemont, Anne-Sophie Brasme, Pierre Assouline, Gilles Deleuze, Pierre-Félix Guattari, Bernard Werber, and Raymond Queneau.

              


AUTHOR

Donal Ryan (born 1976) is a contemporary Irish writer and author of four bestsellers and a collection of short stories. He has won many different awards, including the Guardian First Book Award and the European Union Prize for Literature, and he is a three-time Irish Book Award winner. He was a civil servant, but since 2014 he has dedicated his life to writing; he lectures on writing as well at the University of Limerick, where he studied law at his time.


WORK

The Spinning Heart is the debut novel of the writer which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and for which the author won the Irish Book Award in 2012, the Guardian Award in 2013, and the European Union Prize for Literature in 2015. The novel is often compared to Faulkner’s work, and some critics emphasize its connection to Edgar Lee Masters’ Spoon River Anthology. An original, passionate, insightful, authentic, witty and still twilight work. Its plot re-creates the social and existential tension that has come about as a result of the economic collapse in Ireland in 2008. Against this background, in a small town where a murder was committed and a child was abducted, the drama of a whole generation and all modern Ireland unfolds, and their truth sounds like a chorus of individual voices in an incredibly realistic web of their destinies. The novel has been translated into more than 10 languages.


TRANSLATOR

Olha Demydenko (born 1980) is a Ukrainian translator, graduated from the Faculty of Linguistics  of the National Technical University of Ukraine “Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute”, Candidate of Pedagogical Sciences, Associate Professor of the Department of Theory, Practice and Translation of the English Language, the Faculty of Linguistics, the Igor Sikorsky KPI. She translates from English and Russian, has many years of experience in technical translations, and there are works of George Birmingham, Geoffrey Chaucer, Helen Oyeyemi, Thomas Moore, Anna Akhmatova and Marina Tsvetaeva in her translator’s portfolio.


              

AUTHOR

Piia Leino (born 1977) is a modern Finnish novelist, she has been working as a journalist for the Finnish News Agency for almost 20 years. For two years (2015–2017) she studied writing at the Academy of Critics in Helsinki. Through her works, the author tries to understand how modern society is built and how it works, in particular, she is interested in pop culture, social networks and politics.


WORK

Taivas (Heaven) is a novel-dystopia; in 2019 it won the European Union Prize for Literature. The plot develops in Helsinki in 2058: as a result of global destabilization, the economy collapses, a totalitarian regime comes to power, society is atomized, people refuse to give birth to children, lock themselves in their cells and lose faith in the future. The only way out is the illusory world of virtual “Heaven”, and only a few people can afford even this. But even where the world of illusions reigns, you can meet a soulmate, and then the thirst for life again overcomes hopelessness. The novel was also awarded the Finnish Maailmanlaita Prize.


TRANSLATORS

Olha Yareshko (born 1995) and Nazar Dovzhok (born 1995) are debut translators, educated at the Kyiv National Linguistic University (field of study — Finnish language and literature). In 2016, they won a competition at the Finnish Centre for International Mobility and completed internships at the Universities of Oulu and Vaasa. They work as freelance translators and teach Finnish. They have translated Carl Gustaf Mannerheim’s Memoirs in partnership.


              


AUTHOR

William Butler Yeats (1865–1939) a famous Irish writer, Nobel Prize winner, leader of the Irish Literary Revival of the late nineteenth and early 20th century, founder of the first national theatre. As early as at his young age, after meeting John O'Leary, a member of the secret Irish Fenian Brotherhood which fought for the freedom of Ireland, Yeats began to write poems about Irish antiquity, remake ancient Irish legends; images of Celtic mythology and oral tradition appeared in his works.


WORK

The Secret Rose is a collection of short stories; the book includes the cycles The Secret Rose, Stories of Red Hanrahan and the philosophical cycle The Alchemical Rose, — the works, inspired by Irish beliefs and legends, the teachings of the Rosicrucians and other mystical doctrines. The central subject of these narratives, whose chronology extends from pre-Christian times to the author’s days, is the unremitting war of spiritual with natural order. Protagonists of the book — poets and lovers, monks and men of learning, the knights of St. John and members of the Order of the Alchemical Rose — serve sacrificially an elusive ideal, embodied in the mystical image of the rose whose petals show between them now timeless vision of spiritual beauty, now infinitely dear face of a beloved woman, now Ireland’s eternal soul…


TRANSLATOR

Olena O'Lear (born 1976), Olena Brosalina, is a Ukrainian poet, translator, literary critic. In 1999, she graduated from the Faculty of Philology of the Taras Shevchenko University of Kyiv; candidate of philological sciences (2003). Translates from English, Old English, Irish. She first translated the medieval epic poem Beowulf from Old English into Ukrainian (2012), for which she was awarded the Hryhoriy Kochur Literary Prize; from English, she translated the works of J. R. R. Tolkien, Joseph Conrad, a complete collection of Beatrix Potter’s tales.


              


AUTHOR

Joseph O'Connor (born 1963) is an influential modern Irish writer and journalist, brother of the famous Irish singer Sinéad O’Connor. In 2012, he was awarded Irish PEN Award for his significant contribution to Irish literature; in 2019, his book Shadowplay became the novel of the year according to the Irish Book Award; readers of Hot Press magazine recognized him as the Irish writer of the decade. An author of 18 books, including the bestseller Star of the Sea (2003). He teaches writing at the University of Limerick. For a long time, he worked in radio, was a contributor to the Sunday Tribune and Esquire magazine.


WORK

Star of the Sea is a historical and criminal novel, international number one bestseller which has won many awards and prizes. In particular, The Economist named it the book of the year 2003. The plot develops in the severe winter of 1847 when the ship Star of the Sea sailed from Ireland, torn by lawlessness and terrible famine, to New York. There are hundreds of refugees on board, among them a maid with a fatal secret, the bankrupt Lord Meredith and his family, a novice novelist and an author of revolutionary ballads. They all decided to cross the Atlantic Ocean in search of a new homeland. They are all more closely connected than you can imagine, and a disguised assassin, thirsty for revenge, walks across the deck.


TRANSLATOR

Iaroslava Strikha (born 1988) is a literary critic and translator; in 2011, she graduated from the National University of “Kyiv-Mohyla Academy”, and in 2017, she defended her dissertation at the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures of Harvard University. She translates from English, Yiddish and Polish. Her works include her translations of such authors as Kate Atkinson, Paul Auster, Julian Barnes, Walter Isaacson, Bashevis Singer, Amos Oz, Cynthia Ozick, Kevin Barry, Alan Moore, Art Spiegelman.


              


AUTHOR

Gaius Valerius Catullus (87–54 BC) was the first and most prominent Roman lyricist, a contemporary of Cicero, Caesar, and Virgil. Catullus was rediscovered in the early 14th century, and hence his poetry had a powerful influence on Renaissance poets. Among his poems that have come down to us there are direct translations of Alexandrian poetry, for which contemporaries called Catullus a “scholarly poet.” But present-day literary critics consider the poet’s power to be his love poems and epigrams against rivals in love and literature.


WORK

The Poems of Catullus: Polymetrics, Epyllia, Elegies, and Epigrams is the first complete edition of Catullus’ poems translated into Ukrainian. The publication is bilingual. The original in Latin is based on Renaissance manuscripts. The translation reproduces all the metrical diversity of this Roman poet, and the comments take into account textual studies of his works — from the Renaissance to the early 21st century.


TRANSLATOR

Taras Luchuk (born 1962) is a literary critic, poet, and translator. He graduated from the Faculty of Foreign Languages of the Ivan Franko University of Lviv (1985) where he studied classical languages, Germanic philology, and Farsi. Since 2002, he is an Associate Professor of the Department of Literary Theory and Comparative Literary Studies, the Ivan Franko National University of Lviv. A member of the Ukrainian Center of the PEN International, author of the poetry collection Every day except today (2002). A fellow of the Fulbright Academic Exchange Program (2005–2006). His works include his translations of works by Sappho and Alcaeus, Plato and Aristotle, Caesar and Sulpicia, Velimir Khlebnikov and Osip Mandelshtam, Johannes Bobrowski and Kito Lorenc; he collected, translated and arranged the first complete edition of poetic works of ancient Greek poetesses in Ukrainian — First Poetesses. The Code of the Ancient Greek Women’s Poetry.


              


AUTHOR

Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller (1759–1805) is a German romantic poet, playwright and thinker, professor of history and military doctor, best known as the author of plays and Ode to Joy, but few know him as a prose writer. A member of the Storm and Stress movement. He was friends with Goethe for many years, and together they created the Weimar Theatre which became the leading one in Germany. Ivan Franko called Schiller “the most sensitive to the pain and needs of living contemporary people” of all the great German writers of the time and contrasted his “fiery revolutionary humanism” with “our Ruthenian humble wisdom.”


WORK

Der Geisterseher (The Ghost-Seer) is the only Schiller’s novel, first published as a book in 1789. It is a work on freethinking and secret organizations at the late 18th century. The novel is added with five short stories which together with it create one compositional unity. Stylistically and structurally it is a gothic novel with elements of drama. The Ghost-Seer was highly valued by German and Austrian writers and philosophers of the 19th and 20th centuries, including Ernst Theodor Amadeus Hoffmann, Jakob Wassermann, Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Arthur Schopenhauer, and others.


TRANSLATOR

Taras Luchuk (born 1962) is a literary critic, poet, and translator. He graduated from the Faculty of Foreign Languages of the Ivan Franko University of Lviv (1985) where he studied classical languages, Germanic philology, and Farsi. Since 2002, he is an Associate Professor of the Department of Literary Theory and Comparative Literary Studies, the Ivan Franko National University of Lviv. A member of the Ukrainian Center of the PEN International, author of the poetry collection Every day except today (2002). A fellow of the Fulbright Academic Exchange Program (2005–2006). His works include his translations of works by Sappho and Alcaeus, Plato and Aristotle, Caesar and Sulpicia, Velimir Khlebnikov and Osip Mandelshtam, Johannes Bobrowski and Kito Lorenc; he collected, translated and arranged the first complete edition of poetic works of ancient Greek poetesses in Ukrainian — First Poetesses. The Code of the Ancient Greek Women’s Poetry.


              


AUTHOR

Miguel de Unamuno (1864–1936) is a Spanish philosopher, writer, public figure, professor and rector of the University of Salamanca. His worldview could be classified as existentialistic, but he does not reckon himself in any of the popular philosophical trends of his time, any party in politics, and any genre in literary works. The central theme of his works is the tragedy of human existence, torn between being and nothing, eternity and finitude, faith and reason, peace and war.

WORK

El Espejo de la Muerte (The Mirror of Death) is a collection of short stories, arranged by Miguel de Unamuno himself. Its title comes from the heading of the first story of the collection, but all of them touch on important existential themes, omitted in his great works. All of these stories tell about men and women of Spain, their love, madness, passions, and death. The collection helps to penetrate more deeply into the essence of the famous Spaniard’s philosophical and literary ideas.


TRANSLATOR

Olga Mayevska (born 1980) is a Hispanist and translator. She graduated from the Faculty of Foreign Languages (Spanish Philology) of the Ivan Franko National University of Lviv with honours, defended her dissertation on The concept of personal identity in the novel prose of M. de Unamuno. She taught Spanish. Since 2002, she has been working as a teacher of Spanish language and literature at the Faculty of Foreign Languages of the Ivan Franko National University of Lviv. Her works include his translations of Miguel de Unamuno’s novels Love and Pedagogy and Saint Manuel the Good, Martyr.


              


AUTHOR

Ursula Poznanski (born 1968) is a popular contemporary Austrian writer. She studied journalism, Japanistics, law and theatrology at the University of Vienna, worked as an editor in a specialized medical journal. She became popular as an author of fiction thanks to her novel Erebos, for which she won the German Youth Literature Prize (2010). Today Ursula Poznanski is one of the most successful writers of the youth genre in the German-speaking world. Recently she has been writing novels for adults as well.


WORK

Saeculum is a teenage thriller novel. In 2012, it was included in the lists of the Austrian Youth Literature Prize, the Evangelical Book Award, the Kalbach Rattlesnake Literary Prize and the jury of young readers. The plot is based on a role-playing game: a group of teenagers wish to test themselves by living in the depths of the forest without electricity or mobile communications, as if in the Middle Ages. But what initially looked like fun is turning into a deadly ordeal. It seems that this place was cursed several centuries ago.


TRANSLATOR

Nataliya Shymon (born 1985) is a translator, graduated from the Faculty of Romano-Germanic Philology of Uzhhorod National University. A participant in international courses for Germanists Deutsch im europäischen Kontext — Sprache, Medien, Kultur und Politik at the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena (2006); winner of the Metaphor translation competition (2016). In 2017–2019, she collaborated with the Paper Bridge project which includes Ukrainian-German writers’ meetings. She has translated works of Karl May, Olga Martynova, Felix Stephan, and Marie Gamillscheg.


              


AUTHOR

Jacek Dukaj (born 1974) is one of the most interesting contemporary Polish writers, the first winner of the European Union Prize for Literature, as well as numerous other awards and prizes for creativity in the field of fantasy and science fiction. An author of novels, short novels and collections of short stories, including: In the Land of the Unfaithful, The Cathedral, Black Oceans, An Ideal Imperfection, Extensa, The Plunderer’s Daughter, Other Songs and more. And Ice and The Crowe became real bestsellers of this Krakow writer, a worthy heir to the traditions of Stanisław Lem.


WORK

W kraju niewiernych (In the Land of the Unfaithful) is a collection of novelettes. It was awarded the prizes of the Silesian Science Fiction Club Śląkfa and the Polish science fiction magazine SFinks. The collection consists of short works in the genre of science fiction, interconnected by a common problematics: the challenges posed by the development of technology to humanity, attempts to modernize the traditional society structures in conditions of rapid informatization, servitude of mass consumers, escalation of populist and authoritarian tendencies due to modern technologies, survival of ethnic minorities in the face of the brutal forces of the modern world.


TRANSLATOR

Andriy Pavlyshyn (born 1964) is a Ukrainian translator, writer, and journalist. He graduated from the Faculty of History of the Ivan Franko University of Lviv, worked as a journalist for Ukrainian and Polish magazines, co-founded the Publishers’ Forum in Lviv; he teaches translation theory at the Ukrainian Catholic University. He translates from Polish and English; his works include his translations of works by such authors as Bruno Schultz, Zbigniew Herbert, Wisława Szymborska, Andrzej Stasiuk, Manuela Gretkowska, and others. In 2014, he was awarded the Golden Cross of Merit of the Republic of Poland, and he received the award of the Polish PEN for achievements in the field of translation in 2015.

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