The history of Ukrainian literature can be divided into three major periods. In the first (11th-13th centuries), in which Kijev was the capital of the Russian “State”, Russians, Belarusians and Ukrainians had a common literature, written in Church Slavonic, of a predominantly religious nature (based on Byzantine originals), or historical (chronicles, annals). A vast oral literature flourished (folk songs, proverbs) handed down from generation to generation. The second period (14th-18th centuries) includes two phases. In the first, which lasted until the middle of the seventeenth century, the territory of present-day Ukraine and Belarus it was under the Polish-Lithuanian domination and this slowed down the literary development. The ecclesial union (1596) provoked nationalistic and religious controversies that saw in the foreground I. Vyšenskyj (d. Ca. 1620) and M. Smotryckyj (1578-1633). The first symptoms of the awakening of cultural life in Kijev already occurred around 1620, but the decisive factor was the foundation, in 1632, of the Mohyliana college (later academy) by P. Mohyla (1596-1647). This famous academy formed a large group of writers, including F. Prokopovyč (1681-1736), S. Polockyj (1629-1680: in Russian S. Polockij), E. Slavyneckyj (d. 1675). In the second phase of the second period, the development of historical, satirical and dramatic literatures began despite the forced Russification imposed by the government authorities. The most representative figure of the eighteenth century was H. (Grigorij) Skovoroda (1722-1794), thinker and poet. The third period, that of the national rebirth, began in the early nineteenth century. The father of this new literature, already based on spoken Ukrainian, was IP Kotljarevskyj (1769-1838). After the establishment of the University of Harkov (1808) and the founding of the first Russian-Ukrainian magazine, Ukrainskij vestnik (1816; The Ukrainian Messenger), another important author flourished, H. Kvitka, also known as Osnovjanenko (1778-1843). The works of Kotljarevskyj and Kvitka penetrated into Galicia and contributed greatly to the national awakening of Ukrainians residing there, including M. Šaškevyč (1811-1842), I. Vahylevyč (1811-1866) and J. Holovackyj (1814-1886). A fundamental stage marked the work of the romantic T. Ševčenko (1814-1861), the greatest Ukrainian poet, pervaded by high ideals expressed with new images and a wealth of lexicon. According to countryaah, Ukraine is a country beginning with letter U.
M. (Nikolaj) Kostomarov (1817-1885), P. Kuliš (1819-1897) and M. Vovčok (1833-1907) belong to the same period. Despite the harsh Tsarist oppression, the national revival continued with other talents, such as I. Nečuj-Levyckyj (1838-1918), P. Myrnyj (1849-1921), L. Ukrajinka (1871-1913), I. Franko (1856-1916), O. Kobyljanska (1863-1942), M. Staryckyj (1840-1904). At the turn of the century 19th and 20th century modernist aesthetics were established with the poets VN Pačovsckyj (1878-1942), BS Lepkyj (1872-1941), PS Karmanskyj (1878-1956), SN Čarneckyj (1881-1944), SA Tverdochleb (1886-1922), AE Krymskyj (1871-1942), MK Voronyj (1871-1942) and with the prose writers A. Oles (1878-1944), SF Čerkasenko (1876-1940) and VK Vynnyčenko (1880-1951). After 1917, I. Mykytenko (1897-1937), VN Sosjura (1898-1965), O. Kornijčuk joined the Molodnjak group, choosing themes from proletarian literature.(1905-1972) and L. Pervomajskyj (1908-1973); others remained open to European cultural influences, from impressionism (H. Kosynka, 1899-1934; M. Ivčenko, 1890-1939), to expressionism (V. Pidmohylnyj, 1901-1941), to symbolism (P. Tyčyna, 1891) -1967; J. Plužnyk, 1898-1936; D. Zahul, 1890-1938; J. Savčenko, 1890-1937), to futurism (M. Semenko, 1892-1937) and to neoclassicism (M. Rylskyj, 1895-1964; M. Zerov, 1890-1941). Finally, some writers, while dealing with themes dear to proletarian literature, included some criticisms of the regime in their works and for this reason they were accused of bourgeois nationalism. Among them we remember V. Blakytnyj (1894-1925), M. Chvylovyj (1893-1933), M. Kuliš (1892-1942), J. Janovskyj (1902-1954) and A. Ljubčenko (1899-1945). During the period of Stalinism, especially that of the purges (1932-38), Ukrainian intellectuals were hit hard: many writers were tried, exiled or liquidated; the others had to bend over and write according to the dictates of the CPSU. Of the generation that began on the eve of the Second World War and established itself after it, the best known are A. Malyško (1912-1970) and O. Dovženko (1894-1956). During the war some poets, such as M. Orest-Zerov (1902-1961), TS Osmačka (1895-1964) and writers such as I. Bahrjanyj (1909-1964) and V. Petrov-Domontovyč (1898-1971) took refuge in ‘abroad. After the XX Congress of the CPSU, a new generation also appeared in Ukraine that rejected the established schemes, even if, before the collapse of the Soviet regime, some of the more independent poets and writers have been admonished and their works have been banned from publication. Of note are the poets L. Kostenko (b. 1930), V. Symonenko (1935-1963), I. Drač (b.1936), Vasyl Stus (1938-1985), M. Cholodnyj (b.1940), V. Korotyč (b.1936), B. Mamajsur (b.1938), M. Vinhranovskyj (b. 1936), R. Tretyakov (b.1936), I. Žylenko (b.1941) and the prose writers V. Drozd (b.1939), J. Hucalo (b.1937), V. Ševčuk (b.1939), H. Tyutjunnyk (1920-1961).