The works and words of Maria K. – translator, author, illustrator.
Kotsubinsky M. M.
Mihailo Mihailovich Kotsubinsky (1864 – 1913) was a Ukrainian author, whose primary focus was to portray various aspects of everyday life in rural and newly-industrialized Ukraine. Despite lack of success with his earliest pieces, Kotsubinsky persisted in his pursuit of a writing career, inspired by Ukrainian authors Taras Shevchenko and Marko Vovchok.
Kotsubinsky received no formal education after graduating from a seminary, which made it difficult to find employment. For years, he served as a lowly clerk at the statistics department of the Cherhihiv in order to make a living and support his self-education goals. Nevertheless, his style and language evolved with time, and he became known as an impressionist writer and a remarkable representative of psychologism, was also greatly influenced by Nechuy-Levytsky, Panas Mirnyi, Guy de Maupassant, Chekhov, Swedish writers, and a number of other notable writers.
Always critical of Ukraine being overtaken by the Russian Empire, Kotsubinsky was arrested in 1882 for his connection with the national liberation movement, and after his release the police established secret surveillance over him. His apartment was searched several times. He remained a staunch proponent of Ukraine’s independence and frequently expressed his views through his writing.
Because of a heart disease, Kotsubinsky spent long periods at various health resorts on Capri from 1909 to 1911. During the same period, he visited Greece and the Carpathians. He spoke nine languages, including Italian, French, Romanian, and Turkish, which enabled him to go beyond the popular hotels and tourist spots and collect local folklore – always a subject of interest. In 1911, he was granted a pension from the Society of Friends of Ukrainian Scholarship, Literature, and Art. Kotsubinsky was finally able to quit his job and become a professional writer. Sadly, his health was already declining, and he died in Chernihiv only two years later, leaving behind his wife Vira and four children.
In 1927, a museum was opened in Vinnytsia in 1927 in the house where he was born. Later, a memorial was created near the museum.
In 1934, the house in Chernihiv where he lived for the last 15 years of his life was also turned into a museum. The house contains the author’s personal belongings. Adjacent to the house is an exhibit, which opened in 1983, containing Kotsubinsky’s manuscripts, photos, magazines and family mementos as well as information about other Ukrainian writers.