Back to the magazine2020 year №4

The History of Oral Memories Study: A Standpoint of Maksym Rylskyi and Modern Approaches

Read the postRead the postDownload the post
The authors of the publication:
Koval-Fuchylo Iryna
Bibliographic description:
Koval-Fuchylo, I. (2020) The History of Oral Memories Study: Maksym Rylskyi Standpoint and Modern Approaches. Folk Art and Ethnology, 3 (385), 112–117.



a Ph.D. in Philology, a senior research fellow at the Department of Ukrainian and Foreign Folkloristics of the NASU M. Rylskyi Institute for Art Studies, Folkloristics and Ethnology


The History of Oral Memories Study: A Standpoint of Maksym Rylskyi and Modern Approaches



Folkloristics problems raised by Maksym Rylskyi in the article ‘The Beauty and Greatness of Folk Art’ (1957) are analyzed. Many of them are relevant till the present time. This concerns the leading problem of folkloristics – the definition of the main subject of the research, i. e. the determination of the limits of the folklore as a phenomenon, what is folklore, which terms are used to nominate it.

Rylskyi has analysed the use of the term slovesnist’ (literature) to define folklore. The author, referring to the authority of Ushakov’s dictionary, has considered that slovesnist’ includes all the creativity found out in the word, not only the artistic word. The term Folk Poetical Art did not satisfy Maksym Tadeyovych just because it did not cover the ‘memories of the participants of the significant events’, that scholars today call memorials (oral memoirs) and memoirs (written reminiscences). Although these texts are not too artistic, that is their language is not as poetically completed as in classical folklore genres, such as ritual and lyric songs. Folklorists, according to Rylskyi opinion, should attract them to the field of their research. Maksym Rylskyi has refered to folk narrations for the second time in the definition of the verbal folklore term, when he defends the idea that folklore is still used actively.

Today we are convinced every time that the folk word responds actively to different events, and the results of this verbal activity are difficult to fit into the usual classification of folklore genres. Rylskyi has noticed this tendency at that time, and in the list of new records he again does not forget to mention folk stories. The researcher has used the following nominations for the definition of the texts, which today are often called the oral history: stories, oral stories, short stories, stories of experienced people, memories of the participants of the significant events. This list indicates that the author of the analyzed work has considered that oral stories are very important. Three terms: narratives, oral narratives, the reminiscences of the participants of significant events affirm that Rylskyi has comprehended the fundamental difference between literary and folklore text.



Maksym Rylskyi, oral history, literary text, folklore text, oral memoirs.



  1. BRITSYNA,Oleksandra. Ukrainian Oral Traditional Prose: Issues of Textology and Performance. Kyiv, 2006, 396 pp. [in Ukrainian].
  2. MYKHNIAK, Mykola, compiler. Flooded Paradise: Andrushi in the Reminiscences and Documents. Kyiv, 2018, 400 pp. [in Ukrainian].
  3. IVANNIKOVA,Liudmyla. Holodomor in the Village of Hubcha, Khmelnytskyi Region: Causes, Consequences, Historical Memory. A Devotee: Jubilee Proceedings to Honour a Doctor of Philology, professor Mykola Dmytrenko. Kyiv, 2015, pp. 316–327 [in Ukrainian].
  4. IVANNIKOVA,Liudmyla. Folklorization of Oral History as a Mechanism for the Historical Memory of the People Preservation. Ukrainian Folklore: Methodology of the Research, Dynamics of Functioning: A Collective Monograph. Kyiv, 2014, pp. 58–70 [in Ukrainian].
  5. KOVAL-FUCHYLO,Iryna. Biographical Narrative: A Male Version of the Presentation of the Experience of Forced Resettlement from the Flooding Zone. Mythology and Folklore, 2016, 3–4, 35–47 [in Ukrainian].
  6. KOVAL-FUCHYLO, Iryna. The ‘Land’ Concept in the Narrations on the Forced Displacement. Lemkovia, Bojkovia, Rusíni – dejiny, súčasnosť, materiálna a duchovná kultúra. Banská Bystrica, 2018, vol. 7, part 2, pp. 25–40 [in Ukrainian].
  7. KOVAL-FUCHYLO,Iryna. The Home Concept in the Stories on Forced Resettlement. Łemkowie, Bojkowie, Rusini: historia, wspуłczesność, kultura materialna i duchowa. Vol. 6. Słupsk, 2016, pp. 147–158 [in Ukrainian].
  8. KOVAL-FUCHYLO,Iryna. Modern Storytelling Tradition: Peculiarities of Functioning. Ukrainian Folklore: Methodology of the Research, Dynamics of Functioning: A Collective Monograph. Kyiv, 2014, pp. 90–106 [in Ukrainian].
  9. KOVAL-FUCHYLO,Iryna. Oral Narrations as a Subject of Folkloristics Research: Results and Tasks. The Slavic World, 2017, 16, 198–221 [in Ukrainian].
  10. KUZMENKO, Oksana. DramaticExistence of the Person inUkrainianFolklore: ConceptualFormsofExpression (the Period of WorldWarIandWW II): a Monograph. Lviv, 2018, 728 pp. [in Ukrainian].
  11. KUZMENKO-LISOVENKO, Kateryna. FloodedDniproCivilization. History. HumanDestinies. Kyiv, 2018, 264pp. [in Ukrainian].
  12. LABASHCHUK,Oksana. Natal Narrative: Syntax, Semantics, Pragmatics. Ternopil, 2013, 320 pp. [in Ukrainian].
  13. MYSHANYCH, Stepan. Oral Folk Stories. Kyiv, 1986, 327 pp. [in Ukrainian].
  14. RYLSKYI, Maksym. The Beauty and Greatness of Folk Art. In: Maksym RYLSKYI. Our Vital Cause. Articles about Literature. Kyiv, 1959, pp. 50–71 [in Ukrainian].
  15. USHAKOV,Dmitriy, editor-in-chief, Grigoriy VINOKUR, Boris LARIN, Sergei OZHEGOV, Boris TOMASHEVSKIY, compilers. Monolingual Dictionary of the Russian Language: in Four Volumes. Moscow, 1935–1940 [in Russian].
  16. BOIKO, Anatoliy, editor-in-chief. Editorial board: Pavlo SOKHAN, Serhiy TYMCHENKO, Valeriy KOZYRIEV, Valeriy SMOLIY, et al. Oral History of Steppe Ukraine. Zaporizhzhia: Tandem, 2008–2012, vol. 1–10 [in Ukrainian].
  17. KHALIUK, Lesia. Oral Folk Narratives of Ukrainians-Resettlers from Lemkivshchyna, Chełm Land, Podlachia and Nadsiannia: Genre-Thematic Peculiarities, Artistic Features. Kyiv, 2013, 202 pp. [in Ukrainian].