The All-Encompassing Eye of Ukraine: Ivan Nechui-Levyts'kyi's Realist Prose

The All-Encompassing Eye of Ukraine: Ivan Nechui-Levyts'kyi's Realist Prose

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By Maxim Tarnawsky
University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division © 2015
World Rights
384 Pages
ISBN 9781442650084
Published Apr 2015
Online discount: 25%
 $85.00    $63.75
ebook (EPUB format)
ISBN 9781442622197
Published May 2015
Online discount: 25%
Full purchase $85.00

One of the most important realist novelists of nineteenth-century Ukraine, Ivan Nechui-Levyts'kyi was caricatured and then forgotten by a generation of literary modernists who rejected his aesthetic and ideological views. In The All-Encompassing Eye of Ukraine, Maxim Tarnawsky presents a thorough and much-needed reexamination of Nechui-Levyts'kyi and his work.

A solitary, modest man whose chief interest was in promoting and defending a Ukrainian identity threatened by the cultural policies of the Russian Empire, Levyts'kyi’s writing described Ukraine, its people, its culture, and the forces threatening it. A satirist who attacked modernism and cosmopolitanism, he wrote in a style marked by what Tarnawsky calls non-purposeful narration – slow-paced humour built on rhetorical finesse rather than on plot or character development.

A vital reconsideration of a significant Ukrainian novelist written by the foremost expert on his work, The All-Encompassing Eye of Ukraine deepens and expands our understanding of Ukraine’s nineteenth-century literature.

Maxim Tarnawsky is an associate professor in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of Toronto.


1. The Unknown Nechui

2. Describing Ukraine

3. Defending Ukraine

4. Realism, Rhetoric, and Repetition

5. Nechui’s Characters: Women and Joy

6. Nechui’s Historical Writing


“Maxim Tarnawsky’s book is an important contribution to Ukrainian literary studies, as well as to the scholarship on nineteenth-century realism and its complex relationship with questions of national identity. The All-Encompassing Eye of Ukraine is a pioneering work that makes Nechui fresh, interesting, and relevant to our contemporary concerns, brilliantly repositioning him within Ukrainian intellectual and cultural history.”

Vitaly Chernetsky, Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, University of Kansas

‘A thorough and much needed re-examination of the author and his work.’

The Ukrainian Weekly, January 10, 2016

‘Tarnawsky’s book shines a welcome light on an important writer and period that research in the west has neglected.’

Oleh S. Ilnytzkyj, Slavic Review vol 75:02:2016

Best Book awarded by the American Association for Ukrainian Studies (United States) - Commended in 2017