The Unknown Feminist of Fin-de-siècle Europe: Lesia Ukrainka


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Discover the life and work of Ukraine's celebrated poet

This event takes place in the British Library Theatre.

The modernist Ukrainian writer Lesia Ukrainka (1871–1913) pioneered a new feminist literature at the forefront of contemporary European trends. Her dramas, poetry and prose address concerns from gender and race to feminism and environmentalism.

Ukrainka retells the European classics with a woman’s voice. Her interpretation of the myth of Troy places the Trojan prophetess Cassandra centrestage and relays the war epic from her point of view, while her play The Stone Host is a radical feminist take on the Don Juan myth.

Discover her life’s work with this expert panel, in a lively evening of discussion and poetry chaired by Lucy Delap.

Oksana Zabuzhko is Ukraine’s major contemporary writer, the author of more than 20 books in different genres. She made her poetry debut at the age of 12, but her parents’ blacklisting meant that she was not published until Perestroika. She has lectured as a Fulbright Fellow at Penn State University, Harvard University and University of Pittsburgh. Her Field Work in Ukrainian Sex (1996), was named ‘the most influential Ukrainian book for the 15 years of independence’. Zabuzhko is the author of Notre Dame d'Ukraine: A Ukrainian Woman in the Conflict of Mythologies (2007) which discusses the work of Lesia Ukrainka. She will be joining the event remotely.

Lucy Delap teaches history at the University of Cambridge and is a Fellow of Murray Edwards College. She has published widely on the history of feminism, gender, labour and religion, including the prize-winning The Feminist Avant-Garde: Transatlantic Encounters of the early Twentieth Century, Knowing Their Place: Domestic Service in Twentieth Century Britain in 2011, and Feminisms: a Global History in 2020

Sasha Dovzhyk is a Ukrainian writer and scholar based in London. She holds a PhD in English and Comparative Literature from Birkbeck, University of London. She co-edited a volume of Aubrey Beardsley’s Decadent Writings, and has written on topics as diverse as the legacies of Chernobyl and transnational decadent aesthetics for various publications, including The Ecologist, British Art Studies, and Hong Kong Review of Books. She has recently featured as an expert on Lesia Ukrainka in the short film Fin de Siècle Ukrainian Feminism.

Presented by the Ukrainian Institute London, in association with the British Library.

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Name: The Unknown Feminist of Fin-de-siècle Europe: Lesia Ukrainka
Where: Knowledge Centre
The British Library
96 Euston Road
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