The headship for the Department by Doctor of Letters (Philology), Full Professor Yuriy M. Bezkhutryi
Today the department academic staff includes: Doctor of philological science Oleksandr Ivanovych Borzenko; Candidates of philological science, Assistant Professors Tetiana Pavlivna Gazha, Nina Ivaninva Gnoieva, Yurii Andriiovych Isichenko (Archbishop Ihor). Tetiana Stepanivna Matveeva, Olena Yurivna Matushek, Myhailo Pavlovych Spodarets, Oleksii Prokopovych Chugui, Victor Vasylovych Kysil; Senior lecturers, Candidates of philological sciences, Inna Mikolaivna Kreminska, Hryhorii Olegovych Savchuk; Lecturers Nadiia Borysivna Kudria, Yuliia Olegivna Tytarchuk; Senior laboratory assistants Liudmyla Grygorivna Narizhna, Olga Mykolaivna Filon.
The foundations for the Department of Ukrainian Literature was laid as early as the 19th century – from the day of the first school of higher education establishment (in 1804 virtually and then was the official opening dated January 17, 1805) on the territory of the Russian Empire. While for more then one hundred years Ukrainian philological disciplines were not the university’s statutory formalities “…the University of Kharkiv has permanently been displaying an inclination toward Ukrainian studies and in that field it has educated many prominent scholars” (D. Bahalii). And so, the history of the Ukrainian people, their language, folklore, ethnography, and literature had become a subject to a serious scientific research. This had been testified with appearance in the 19th century of the well-grounded works on folkloristics, by I. Sreznevsky (A look at the monuments to the Ukrainian language and literature”, 1834); by A. Metlynsky (the foreword to the collected “Folk Songs of South Russia, 1854); by O. Potebnia (Malorossiia Folk Songs from the 19th century Registry. Text and Notes, 1877; Explanation of Malorissisa and Relational Songs, 1883, 1887); by M. Sumtsova (Modern South-Russian Ethnography, 1893). In these works the genesis of the Ukrainian rituals, customs, peculiarities and ways of life in the different regions of the country had been given as well as Ukrainian melodies had been taught.
Then years the speculative articles on Ukrainian literature were published by I. Kulzhynsky (Some Remarks about History and Character of Malorissiia poetry , 1824) and by M. Kostomarov (Survey of Writings in the Malorossia Language; 1843).
Originally, a keen interest in an ancient Ukrainian literature was displayed in the works by M.Sumtsov (Characteristics of South-Russian Literature,1885; Concerning H.F.Kvytka’s Selected Works, 1887; On the History of South-Russian Litrerature of XVII century. 1894,1895; Motifs of Tars Shevchenko Poetry,1898; Kharkiv and Shevchenko,1911).
New areas of literary researches through the following decades became an underlying factor for the development of new aspects that had been embodied in the brilliant works by O. Potebnia (About Some Symbols in Slavonic Folks Poetry, 1861); by D. Ovsianyko-Kulykovsky (Language and Art, 1895; Psychology issues,1902) and by the others philologists at Kharkiv’s School of Psychology.
Officially the Department of Ukrainian Literature started its work in July, 1920 being one of the thirteen departments within the Literary Division at the Sociological Institute of the Academy of Theoretical Sciences – an establishment originated from the University. Then, in September of 1921, after the establishment the KIPE (Kharkov’s Institute of Public Education since 1925 named after O. Potebnia), the Department was included in the Faculty of Professional Education where the Division of Literature was functioning.
In 1920s a peculiar feature of higher education was that that it has differentiation between its studying process and academic activity provided by the research departments. So, study of literature was partially integrated into the department of the history of European culture (headed by Professor V. Buzeskul), partially to the Department of Ukrainian culture (under the guidance of Professor D. Bahalii). In 1926 the literary parts of these departments joined together and on that base a separate Department of Literature Research (headed by Professor O. Beletsky) under the KIPE (Kharkov’s Institute of Public Education) was established. One of the fourth divisions of the department was that of Ukrainian Literature (headed by Professor M. Plevako). The KIPE faculty members counted famous researchers of the history of Ukrainian literature such as O. Biletsky, M. Plevko, A. Shamrai, I. Takchenko; a teaching Ukrainian literature as a subject was provided by a nonstaff Professor V. Koriak.
Among the issues under the department investigations there were such literary approaches as styles of West-Europe and Ukrainian literature of the 19th–20th centuries; sociology of tastes in literature, and etc.
In 1929 the research departments – actually outsiders for their educational establishment which subordinated to a special department named as Science Sector at the People’s Commissariat of Education – were reorganized into a few separate scientific research institutes.
In 1933 the University was restored and in its structure was to be one within the seven others, named as the Faculty of Language and Literature, then renamed as Literature and Linguistics one, and by the end of 1941 it was commissioned as the Faculty of Philology.
The Department of the History of Ukrainian Literature is an integrated part of the Faculty and its faculty members carry on the traditions of their glorious predecessors. Their interests within studies of literature comprise a literary procedure starting from the 10th century in aspects of macro- and microanalysis of its components. A sustained interest in an ancient Ukrainian literature was testified in the fundamental titles such as The Poets of Antique Ukraine (1960) by H. Sivokon; H.S. Skovoroda: The Places Sanctuary of Kharkivshina. The 240th anniversary of the birthday. (1962,1969); On the Verge of Two Worlds: The Findings about H. Skovoroda and Kharkov’s Collegium (1970) by A. Nizhenets, the latter providing new facts has deepened and updated the principal work by D. Bahalii The Ukrainian Travelling Philosopher H.S. Skovoroda (1923). There are also The Kyiv-Pechersk Patericon in the Literature Process of Ukraine from the late 16th until the early 18th centuries (1990) and The Ascetic Literature of Kyivan Rus (2005) Y. Isichenko (Archbishop Ihor).
The Department openly represents its findings of the history of a new Ukrainian literature, and specially ones of the Shevchenko studies by I. Aizenshtock, who is an author of textological researches in the works of T. Shevchenko (The Shevchenko Studies as a Modern Issue. Referring to the Texts of Shevchenko’s writings,1922) – the first complete and commented publication of the Kobzar’s diary (1925); by I. Bulashenko (T.H. Shevchenko in the Literature of the Soviet Ukraine, 1962); by O. Chugui ( The Dramaturgic elements in Lyric Poetry of T.H. Shevchenko, 1989). And there are research works referring to the activities of the other famous artists of the 19th century represented there by such authors as M. Kengisberg (I.Franko – A Prominent Ukrainian Revolutionary Writer,1959); Ye. Verbytska (Hryhorii Fedorovych Kvitka-Osnovianenko, 1957, 1968); O. Chugui (A Classic of Ukrainian Dramaturgy I. Karpenko-Karyi, 1968, 1970).
During 1960 – 90’s the Department traced out new lines in its main areas of research. First of all there were such subjects as The Ukrainian Romance Studies in 1920’s (1967); The Romance of the Soviet Ukraine (1978).
Art historicism; mythopoetics, specialities in handling of “eternal” problems, psychologism, peculiarities of genre forms, interliterary relations – all that are the subjects of the latest experiments conducted by Y. Bezkhoutry, L. Bykova, T. Blazheievskaia, O. Borzenko, N. Gnoieva, T. Matveeva, O. Matushek, M. Spodarets, G. Kudria, T. Gazha, I. Lysenko.
Modern and original approaches throwing some light on the literary works of M. Khvylovy have been taken in a well-grounded monographic research M.Khvylovy: The Issues of Interpretation (2003) by Y. Bezkhoutry.
The Department has to its credit the valuable possessions in the field of Theory of Literature such as O. Beletsky (In a Studio of Artist of Word, 1923; V. Pasichny Development of Theoretical-Literary and Esthetical Mind during the 19th and the first half of the 20th centuries. 1974; I. Myhailyna (The Genre of Tragedy in Ukrainian Dramaturgy: Issues of History and Theory, 1989; in historiography: The 1920’s. The first book: “Literary Life of Parts of the Day as a matter for scientific enquiry”, 2000, by Z. Golubieva.
Many faculty members of the department are authors or co-authors of textbooks for higher education: A. Shamrai (An Essay on the History of Ukrainian Literature, 1927); V. Pasichny, L. Bykova, Z. Golubieva took part in producing the textbooks such as The History of Literature from the late 19th until the early 20th centuries.(1979); The Literature of the Soviet Ukraine (1979).
Helping school teachers the Department scholars published some instructional manuals such as: a digest of literary-critical materials: The Writers of the Soviet Ukraine (1984); the readers for students of 5th –11th grades of secondary school (by O. Borzenko, M. Spodarets, 2000, 2003). The same purpose have the literary portraits of I. Kocherha (1981), M. Bazhan, (1984), Y. Smolich (1990) written by Z. Golubieva; features: Dostoevsky and Shevchenko (1994) by I. Myhailyna; Ivan Bahrany – a Citizen and Writer (1996), by M. Spodarets. Y. Bezkhoutry produced a special teaching and methodical compact named as Theory and methods of teaching Ukrainian literature in school (2004), which is designed to train philological students for their work in school.
The Department offers the following core courses: the history of oral folk-poetry art; the history of Old Ukrainian literature of the first half of the 19th century; the history of Ukrainian literature of the second half of the 19th century; the history of Ukrainian literature of the later 19th and the early 20th centuries; the history of Ukrainian literature of the 20th century; introduction to linguistics; theory of literature; foreign literature (regional aspect). Special courses are thematically connected with the studies of works by I. Franko, Lesia Ukrainka, V. Vynnychenko, M. Khvylovy, V. Pidmohylny, newclassics, “sixtiers”, the literature of Ukrainian diaspora, contemporary Ukrainian literature (of “nintiers”).
Many students are engaged in research seminars offered by the Department and take courses in The Bible, the literature of Ukrainian baroque, problematics, poetics, genre originality, stylistics of Ukrainian literature during the 19th and 20th centuries. Students of talent continue their education taking postgraduate courses.
The faculty Members of the department are working to solve two key scientific problems: “The Literature of Ukrainian baroque:” (author: Archbishop Ihor (Y.Isichenko) – Religo-Confessional Culture of Ukrainian Baroque); and “Ukrainian Prose of the 19th – 20th centuries: Issues, Theory, History and Interpretaton” (author: Y. Bezkhoutry – New Baroque Tendencies in the Ukrainian Prose in 20’s of the 20th century; N. Gnoieva – Literary Activity of Ukrainian Writers-Sixtiers; T. Matvieieva – Esthetic and Poetics of the Ukrainian Literal Process during the Second Half of the 19th and the early 20th centuries; M. Spodarets – The Dynamics of the Ukrainian Literary Process during 20’s – 40’s of the 20th century; O. Chugui – Elements of Dramaturgic Forms in Nondramaturgic Genres; T. Savchuk – Poetry of Ukrainian Sixtiers.