Masterfully fulfilled by Peter Fedynsky, Voice of America journalist and expert on Ukrainian studies, first ever English rendition of the entire Kobzar is coming as a gift edition, richly illustrated with Shevchenko’s paintings, etchings and drawings, aimed to increase awareness of the Ukraine’s cultural heritage.
As a foundational text, The Kobzar has played an important role in galvanizing the Ukrainian identity and in the development of Ukrainian literature and its written language. The first editions were censored by the czar, but the book still made an enduring impact on Ukrainian culture. There is no reliable count of how many editions of the book have been published, but an official estimate made in 1976 put the figure in Ukraine at 110 during the Soviet period alone. That figure does not include Kobzars released before and after both in Ukraine and abroad. A multitude of translations of Shevchenko’s verse into Slavic, Germanic and Romance languages, as well as Chinese, Japanese, Bengali, and many others attest to his impact on world culture as well. The poet is honored with more than 1250 monuments in Ukraine, and at least 125 worldwide, including such capitals as Washington, Ottawa, Buenos Aires, Warsaw, Moscow and Tashkent. Former U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower unveiled the one in Washington.
This separate gift edition is made possible by generous grants from The Ukrainian Institute of America, The Selfreliance Credit Union in New York, and the James Temerty Foundation in Canada. The Ukrainian Congress Committee of America will sponsor a Kobzar book tour in the United States during Shevchenko’s anniversary year.