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Presentational Reflections: Folkloric Prose on the XXth-Century Famines in Ukraine

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The authors of the publication:
Sokil Vasyl
Bibliographic description:
Sokil, V. (2018) Presentational Reflections: Folkloric Prose on the Xxth-Century Famines in Ukraine. Folk Art and Etnology, 5 (375), 40–44.


Sokil Vasyl

a Doctor of Philology, a professor, an Honoured Science and Technology Worker of Ukraine, a head of Folklore Studies Department of the Institute of Ethnology of the NAS of Ukraine


Presentational Reflections: Folkloric Prose on the XXth-Century Famines in Ukraine



The book focuses on the three famines (Holodomors) of the XXth century in Ukraine – 1921–1923; 1932–1933, and 1946–1947. These are three historical chains similar in their causes and effects. The paper is based on oral sources – folk stories and narrations. They have already shaped a rather strong tradition passed from generation to generation. The point of reference for those pieces is the famine reality with its dramatic and tragic collisions. In the folklore prose stable cycles, functional and thematic blocks have developed: 1) on attacks, robberies, destructions; 2) survival of people; 3) extinction of the nation. They are united by common, general places, kind of clichés. Folk stories and narrations are distinguished for their high level of expressiveness. Of importance here are epithets used in reference to the evaluation of the very phenomenon, people, and objects. Comparisons and similes play a specific function since they provide bright portrait characteristics of people. The recipient’s senses are appealed to through diminutive forms that constitute a special national feature of the Ukrainian folklore. Particularly tender is the image of the mother to whom, the same as to children, words of endearment are addressed. Even foodstuffs and ‘inedible’ stuff acquire an endearing form. Of importance here is the story-teller’s mimic and gestures. He gesticulates with his hands, facial expression, eyebrows, ‘speaks’ with his eyes. That all creates a kind of the world of imagery of the folklore stock about famines, which is not present in any other genre and thematic cycle.



famine, Holodomor, genocide, narrative, folk prose, tale, legend, poetics.