Anecdote. A very short narrative, usually of a humorous nature, with a culminating point. Ukrainian folk oral literature is full of anecdotes. Attempts to collect these were made by Borys Hrinchenko (Etnograficheskie materialy [Ethnographic Materials], 1895-9), Volodymyr Hnatiuk (Etnografichnyi zbirnyk [Ethnographic Collection], vi, 1899), Mykola Levchenko, and Volodymyr Shukhevych. Anecdotes often provided the foundation for literary works, not only in the baroque period (see Intermede) but also in the 19th (Stepan Rudansky) and 20th (Ostap Vyshnia) century. In oral literature anecdotes describe human types or situations, and in Soviet Ukraine, for example, many of them revealed popular, dissenting views on Soviet life and institutions.

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 1 (1984).]

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