Dr. Ladygina's Article Published

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Abstract: Ol'ha Kobylians'ka’s short stories about the First World War constitute a rare case of a Ukrainian woman writing on one of the greatest catastrophes in modern history, a subject neglected even in Ukraine. Drawing on recent scholarship on First World War literature, Dr. Yuliya Ladygina proves in her article that Kobylians'ka’s war stories deserve a re-evaluation, not as long-ignored curiosities from the pen of Ukraine’s most sophisticated writer of the time, but as insightful psychological studies of Western Ukrainians and as an effective means to reimagine the transformative experience of an unprecedented range of encounters and exchanges between peoples from different ethnic, social, and cultural backgrounds that took place during 1914-1918.  Dr. Ladygina pays particular attention to Kobylians'ka’s creative assessment of the Austrian and Russian treatment of Western Ukrainians during different stages of the First World War, which exposes anew fatal political weaknesses in Europe’s old imperial order and facilitates a better understanding of why Ukrainians, like many other ethnic groups in Europe without a state of their own, began to pursue their national goals more aggressively as the war progressed. Alongside popular texts, such as “To Meet Their Fate,” “A Letter from a Convicted Soldier to His Wife,” and “Judas” of 1917, my paper examines less-known stories, such as “The Forest Mother” of 1915 and  “Vasylka” of 1922, to prove that Kobylians’ka’s astute psychological profiles of Western Ukrainians struggling with multiple loyalties during the First World War register a series of profound transformations in their views on national identity that helped them crystalize their previously inchoate national aspirations for Ukraine’s political independence – a somewhat utopian goal that defined postwar Ukrainian politics.