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Panteleimon Kulish

Panteleimon Kulish Panteleimon Kulish is the noted Ukrainian writer, historian, folklorist, ethnographer and translator.

Panteleimon Kulish was born on August 8,1818 in the town of Voronizh in the Sumy region. His father belonged to the Cossack nobility but he lived as a simple peasant, growing corns. Panteleimon didn't go to school. His sister Lesia taught him to read and write. His mother sang him many Ukrainian songs.

He was a student of the Novgorod-Siversk gymnasium. He liked to read the poems of Oleksandr Pushkin and "Ukrainian Folk Songs" of M. Maksymovych. In 1839 he becomes student of Kyiv University and with help of Professor Maksymovych he published an ethnographic essay "Ukrainian Stories".

In 1845 P. Kulish lived in Peterburg and taught literature in a gymnasium. He knew many foreign languages and had to go abroad to learn the European literature. On January 22, 1847 he got married to Oleksandra Bilozerska (1828-1911), a writer to be. Taras Shevchenko was best man at their wedding. P. Kulish was arrested in Warsaw for taking part in the Cyril-Methodius Society. He spent 3 years in exile in Tula.

After the exile he published the "History of Reunification of Rus" which is actual and nowadays.

In 1857 he opened his own publishing house and published the works of the Ukrainian writers. He contributed much to the development of education and culture of his people. In 1857 he published his novel "The Black Rada", "Grammar", "Compositions and Letters of Gogol" and "People's Stories "of Marko Vovchok. In his "Grammar" (Gramatka) Kulish was the first to give a version of the Ukrainian alphabet.

In 1860 he founded the almanac "Khata" (Hut) and in 1861 a journal "Osnova" (Basis). Young Ukrainian writers could publish their works there.

In 1863 the circular letter of Valuiev was issued which read that "no Ukrainian language existed, exists or ca n exist". This letter upset P. Kulish greatly. He wrote:" Ukrainian language and literature are great. It is a new word among the peoples, which came to awaken them..."

The real feat of P. Kulish was his translation of Bible into Ukrainian together with I. Nechui-Levytskyi and Professor Puliui. P. Kulish contributed much into the development of good relations with the Poles. In 1882 he published his essay "An Ester Egg for the Rusyns and Poles".

The main idea of his creative activity was the idea of Ukrainian nationhood, independence and sovereignty. This idea is expressed in his poems: "Ukraine", "Marusia Boguslavka", and «Hryhorii Skovoroda» in the trilogy "Baida, Prince Vyshnevetskyi", "Petro Sahaidachnyi", "Tsar Nalyvai".

Best of all the idea of Ukrainian nationhood and independence is expressed in his novel "The Black Rada, the Chronicle of 1663». This novel has no analogy either in Ukrainian or the world literature. The novel describes the election of Hetman Ivan Briukhovetsky in 1663 in Nizhyn. His image is depicted by P. Kulish in black colours. It was Cossack colonel Ya.Somko who expressed the noble ideas of Ukrainian sovereignty and friendly relations with Russia when " the two banks of the Dnieper would be under one Hetman Mace".

Panteleimon Kulish is also known as a talented translator. He translated into Ukrainian the works of O. Pushkin, Adam Mickiewicz, Schiller, Goethe, Heine, Shakespeare and G. Byron.

Ivan Franko called him "the star of the first magnitude among our writers".

Panteleimon Kulish died, working at his desk, on February 14, 1897 on the khutor (farmstead) Motronivka near the town of Borzny in the Chernihiv region.

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