Svitlana (Lana) Krys, PhD, Kule Chair in Ukrainian Studies and Assistant Professor of English, MacEwan University (Edmonton, Canada)
Editor-in-Chief, East/West: Journal of Ukrainian Studies
My current long-term research project is a book manuscript “At the Origins of the Ukrainian Gothic.” It aims to contribute to the growing body of literature that stresses the international character of Gothicism and investigates the histories of the Gothic literary movement outside of strictly Victorian Britain. In it, I focus on the unique manner in which the leading Ukrainian Romantics (Hryhorii Kvitka-Osnov''ianenko, Nikolai Gogol/Mykola Hohol', and Oleksa Storozhenko) appropriated and utilized West European Gothic techniques in their horror oeuvre, and my manuscript adds to the newly emerging field of interest in East European literary studies: the Gothic. At the same time, it contributes to the discipline of comparative literature by drawing theoretical conclusions regarding the development and modification of the Gothic genre in a cultural context where it was not indigenous. What interests me specifically is the manner in which Ukrainian Romantics picked up on the West European Gothic tendency to respond to sociopolitical changes of the time and used the guise of the Gothic aesthetic to comment on certain events in the history of Ukraine that could not have been discussed openly because of the censorship in the Russian Empire. Hence, my manuscript capitalizes on the Gothic subversive tendency, challenging through it the presumed imperial conservatism and complacency with the Russian Empire that previous scholars saw in the oeuvre of some Ukrainian Romantics. I published several articles on this topic, including one on the relationship between E.T.A. Hoffmann’s Gothic tales and the writing of Nikolai Gogol/Mykola Hohol, which won the Best Article award from the AAUS (2009-10).
In the future, I plan to trace the manner in which the Gothic literary current manifests itself in the horror oeuvre of Ukrainian modernist and post-modernist authors and study the specifically post-colonial nature of their horrors. This will allow me to consider in full the hitherto overlooked Gothic tradition in Ukraine throughout the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries. Second, I would like to narrow my focus to one branch of the Gothic—the vampire discourse. I want to investigate how contemporary Ukrainian authors, writing within this thematic genre, attempt to move Ukrainian literature to the global literary market by establishing a Ukrainian branch of the transnational vampire discourse that challenges the potent Dracula myth popularized by Hollywood. These research directions are reflected in my recent publications on Halyna Pahutiak’s use of the vampire myth and on Andrii Liubka’s novel Karbid (Carbide, 2015), which draws on a neo-Gothic aesthetic.
Since the fall of 2016, a good part of my academic research has been devoted to scholarly editing and publishing. In October 2016 I accepted the position of editor-in-chief of East/West: Journal of Ukrainian Studies (sponsored by the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies, University of Alberta). EWJUS is the only academic journal in Canada, and one of a few in North America, dedicated to Ukrainian studies. EWJUS publishes original research in the Ukrainian humanities and social sciences and encourages comparative and interdisciplinary perspectives. Since becoming editor-in-chief, I have published three volumes of EWJUS (4, 5, and 6), which can be accessed at http://ewjus.com/index.php/ewjus/issue/archive
Krys, Svitlana (Lana). “Andrii Liubka’s Carbide (2015): Ukrainian Democratic Reforms through a Dark Glass.” Canadian Slavonic Papers, special issue “Postcoloniality and Neo-Gothic Fictions,” vol. 63, no. 4, December 2019, forthcoming, https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00085006.2019.1657355
Krys, Svitlana (Lana). “Vampires in Halyna Pahutiak’s Contemporary Ukrainian Fiction: Biting into the Global Myth.” Gothic Studies, vol. 20, nos. 1-2, 2018, pp. 257-275. https://www.manchesterhive.com/abstract/journals/gs/20/1-2/article-p257.xml.
Krys, Svitlana (Lana). “All-Time Sinner or National Hero? Language and Politics in Oleksa Storozhenko’s Ukrainian Gothic.” Slavic and East European Journal, special thematic section on the Ukrainian Gothic, vol. 62, no. 2, summer 2018, pp. 293-317. http://u.osu.edu/seej/issues/62-2/krys/