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Mykhailo Kotsyubynsky


Mykhailo Kotsyubynsky (aka Mykhailo Kotsyubynskyi) was born in 1864 in Vinnytsia. His father was a civil servant, who drank a lot. Because of problems with his superiors, he had to change jobs and the family moved to Bar. At age twelve, Kotsyubynsky fell in love with a sixteen-year old girl and, to impress her, read a lot of books. He attended the Kamianets-Podilskyi Theological Seminar but was expelled from it because of his political (socialist) activities. Because of the family’s financial difficulties, he had to stop his formal education. Because of his continued political activity, including Ukrainian nationalism, he was watched by the police. At this time – 1884 – he wrote his first story.

However, when his father died and his mother went blind, he became responsible for the family. He earned money giving private lessons and continued his self-education. In 1891, after passing the external exam for a public teacher at the Vinnytsia Real School , he worked as a tutor. He continued his political activity but also his writing. While initially he had little success as a writer, he persevered. He had various jobs but, when working at the city statistical bureau, he met Oleksandra Ivanivna Aplaksina, a married woman, sixteen years younger than him, whom he fell in love with.

He went on to have success with his writing and travelled in Europe, including Capri, where he met Maxim Gorky. He suffered from asthma and tuberculosis and died in 1913. Oleksandra Ivanivna Aplaksina outlived him by sixty years.

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Mykhailo Kotsyubynsky
Mykhailo Kotsyubynsky


(Only works translated into English)

1901 Лялечка (Chrysalis, and Other Stories)
1901 Дорогою ціною (At a High Price)
1912 Тіні забутих предків ( Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors)
1910 Fata Morgana ( Fata Morgana)
1973 The Birthday Present and Other Stories
1979 Brother-Months