Interpretations of Taras Shevchenko poetry from "Songs of UKRAINA with Ruthenian poems" (1916) by F. R. Livesay


shevchenkoFlorence Randal Livesay was born in 1874. She was a poet and a novelist. Florence was married to J.F.B. Livesay, general manager of the Canadian Press. Mrs. Livesay contributed poems, short stories and articles to Canadian and American magazines and journals.
Despite the fact that Florence R. Livesay was not professional experienced translator, she was probably the first English-speaking woman to make Ukrainian culture accessible to English-speaking Canadians.
One of the earliest translations of Taras Shevchenko's literary heritage, appeared in English-speaking world, was present in her book "Songs of Ukraina, with Ruthenian poems" that was published in 1916.

Livesay's works "Khustina – The Betrothal Kerchief",  "Kalina – The Cranberry" and some others looked like free interpretations of original Taras Shevchenko's poems rather than accurate translations, but nevertheless, these poems played an important role for propagating Taras Shevchenko's poetry in the world and particularly in Canada.

Here's the quote from her own notes within the book:
"Towards 1840 the great poet Shevchenko (1814-1861) combined by his genius all that was most profound in universal poetry with the genre of the popular poetry of the Ukraine. A great poet and a great citizen, his name is sacred to all Ukrainians."


Songs of Ukraina, with Ruthenian poems, 1916, translated by Florence  Livesay, title page"Songs of Ukraina, with Ruthenian poems", London, Paris, Toronto, New York, 1916. Translated by Florence Randal Livesay. Title page of the book.

Taras Shevchenko's poem
"U nedilju ne ghuljala"
("У неділю не гуляла")
1844 р., S.- Peterburgh (С.- Петербург).

Taras Shevchenko's poem
"Po dibrovi viter vyje"
("По діброві вітер виє")
1839 р., S.- Peterburgh (С.- Петербург).

Poem of Taras Shevchenko,
"Chogho ty khodysh na moghylu?"
("Чого ти ходиш на могилу?")
1847 р., S.- Peterburgh (С.- Петербург).


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