Abstract

This article explores the representations of Ukrainians in the work of Włodzimierz Odojewski. Focusing on his trilogy of books set in Ukraine, Zasypie wszystko, zawieje . . ., Wyspa ocalenia and the earlier collection of stories, Zmierzch świata, the article considers Odojewski’s representations of the Ukrainians, mainly peasants, among whom his Polish landowning protagonists live. The article identifies a purported preoccupation in Odojewski’s work with trying to understand the motivations for the Ukrainians who participated in the horrific violence that erupted in what is today western Ukraine in 1943–44; yet at the same time, Odojewski’s literary strategies consistently defer any understanding by rendering the Ukrainian characters in his work voiceless or imperceptible, reducing them to symbolic elements of a pre-existing Romantic martyrological discourse around the “kresy,” which ultimately precludes any deeper reflection on the experiences of the “other side” of the conflict.

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