O. de Balzac and Ukraine

O. de Balzac and Ukraine

February 28, 1832 in the life of the writer there was an event that marked the beginning of a “beautiful heart drama”: Balzac unexpectedly received a letter from Odessa with an intriguing signature of “Inostranka”. Soon the writer learned that his correspondent was a Polish aristocrat of Russian citizenship, the Countess Evelina Ghanskaya, the great-granddaughter of Mary Leshchinskaya, who was the daughter of the Polish King Stanislaus and the wife of the French King Louis XV. Between them, constant correspondence began, which lasted about 15 years.

In the fall of 1833, their first meeting took place in Switzerland. In 1843 Balzac again meets with Evelina Ghana, but now in St. Petersburg. In the fall of 1847, the writer visited Ukraine for the first time. He

lives in Verhne, the estate of Evelina Ganskaya, located 60 kilometers from Berdichev, under secret surveillance by the police according to the order of Nicholas I, who reluctantly permitted Balzac to enter Russia. In letters to his sister and friends, the writer enthusiastically spoke about Ukraine and Kiev. At the same time, Balzac was struck by the social contrasts characteristic of the Russian empire.

Despite the serious illness, Balzac in Verkhovna was really happy. He was all amazed and delighted here, especially Ukrainian nature and people. “Imagine,” he wrote to his family, “a rich peasant read all my works…” Here he worked on the drama “Stepmother” and the story “Dedicated”, intended for “The Human Comedy”, wrote travel notes “Letters about Kiev” .

March 14, 1850 was the wedding of Balzac with Evelina Ganskaya in the church of St. Barbara in the city of Berdichev. This period of life and creativity of the writer was described in the novel by N. Rybakov “Error Honore de Balzac”, which was filmed at the film studio. A. Dovzhenko.

On August 18, 1850, at the age of 50, before he could complete his grandiose plans, Balzac passed away. He was buried in Paris at the cemetery of Pere Lachaise. In the funeral speech of Victor

Hugo prophetic words were heard: “Balzac was one of the first among the great, one of the best among the elect…”

The works of Honore de Balzac became known in Ukraine back in the 30s. XIX century. For example, TG Shevchenko mentions them in the story “The Musician”. Ivan Franko knew and propagandized Balzac’s work among Ukrainian readers, rightly considering the French writer one of the greatest representatives of the realistic tradition of world literature. Lesja Ukrainka, in a letter to her brother M. Kosach, dated 1898, advised members of the Pleiades circle to translate Balzac’s novels The Thirty Years Woman, Lost Illusions, and Peasants into Ukrainian. As early as 1885, the novel “Father Gorio” was published in Lviv in the Ukrainian translation of M. Podolyansky. At present, there are many Ukrainian translations of the works of Honore Balzac. The most successful – I. Sidorenko, E. Drobiazka, V. Pidmogilnogo, M. Rudnitsky. Most recently in the Verkhovna, in the former house of the Ghanaian, a museum of the great French writer was opened.


O. de Balzac and Ukraine