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Haunted EmpireGothic and the Russian Imperial Uncanny$
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Valeria Sobol

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781501750571

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501750571.001.0001

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’Tis Eighty Years Since

’Tis Eighty Years Since

Panteleimon Kulish’s Gothic Ukraine

(p.109) Chapter 6 ’Tis Eighty Years Since
Haunted Empire

Valeria Sobol

Cornell University Press

This chapter gives voice to Ukraine by focusing on the Ukrainian writer and scholar Panteleimon Kulish's historical novel Mikhailo Charnyshenko, or Little Russia Eighty Years Ago published in Russian in 1843. The chapter shows that multiple Gothic tropes employed in the novel — from “medieval” ruins and towers to exotic demonic villains and supernatural phantoms — produce an intricate play of temporalities. Moreover, they create an ambivalent vision of the Ukrainian heroic past, as both an object of Romantic nostalgia and a dangerous period of chaos overcome by the country's incorporation into the Russian Empire. Kulish's extensive use of the Gothic mode, when analyzed closely, reveals his profound ambiguity about Ukraine's imperial present haunted by the ghosts of its autonomous heroic past.

Keywords:   Ukraine, Panteleimon Kulish, Mikhailo Charnyshenko, Gothic tropes, Russian Empire, Romantic nostalgia, Ukranian heroic past

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