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The gothic in Ukrainian romanticism: an uncharted genre Open Access


Other title
Ukrainian literature
Nikolai Gogol' / Mykola Hohol' (1809-1852)
Slavic literatures
Oleksa Storozhenko (1805-1874)
Hryhorii Kvitka-Osnov''ianenko (1778-1843)
Comic gothic
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Krys, Svitlana
Supervisor and department
Ilnytzkyj, Oleh S. (Modern Languages and Cultural Studies)
Pylypiuk, Natalia (Modern Languages and Cultural Studies)
Examining committee member and department
Himka, John-Paul (History and Classics)
Bortolussi, Marisa (Modern Languages and Cultural Studies)
Kononenko, Natalie (Modern Languages and Cultural Studies)
Romanets, Maryna (English, University of Northern British Columbia)
Sywenky, Irene (Modern Languages and Cultural Studies)
Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies

Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
While there have been many studies devoted to the Gothic in European and American Romantic literatures, it has remained largely overlooked in Ukrainian criticism up to now, mostly, due to political reasons. Firstly, this genre was mostly excluded from the Soviet canon as something that was considered reactionary in nature. Secondly, Soviet criticism traditionally interpreted Ukrainian literature as a localized phenomenon, which stemmed mainly from folklore, in contrast to a more “developed,” well-rounded Russian literature. Therefore, it was rarely presupposed that Ukrainian Romantic prose might have derived some of its elements from West European literature. My dissertation aims to fill this gap in Ukrainian criticism. It outlines the manner in which the Ukrainian Gothic tradition came to exist, and connects it to the West European Gothic movement. My main research objective is to study how the three major Ukrainian Romantic authors—Hryhorii Kvitka-Osnov''ianenko (1778-1843), Nikolai Gogol'/Mykola Hohol' (1809-1852), and Oleksa Storozhenko (1805-1874)—engage the Gothic discourse in their horror oeuvre. My analysis reveals the hitherto overlooked intertextual links in their tales, which firmly connect them to the works of the British, German and French Gotho-Romantic authors, such as Charles Maturin, E.T.A. Hoffmann, and Jacques Cazotte. To strengthen my intertextual argument, I also utilize psychoanalytical theory, which allows me to discover, in addition to close plot parallels, a common symbolism hidden behind the supernatural horror images in both Ukrainian and West European Gothic fiction. My comparative analysis proves that the Ukrainian Romantics knew the original Gothic and borrowed from its various branches (such as the comic Gothic, the psychological Gothic, the frenetic Gothic), when creating their own version of the Gothic literary mode. What makes their texts especially interesting is the fact that they wove their cultural and religious experience, along with oral lore, into the adopted Gothic framework. As a result, they blended the Western Gothic foundations with Ukrainian themes and constructed the specifically Ukrainian literary world of horrors, while also enriching the general Gothic tradition with Ukrainian features. Unlike other European variations of the Gothic, their texts simultaneously awe and mock the supernatural horrors.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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