Biletsky-Nosenko, Pavlo

Biletsky-Nosenko, Pavlo [Bilec'kyj-Nosenko], b 27 August 1774 in Pryluky, Poltava gubernia, d 23 June 1856 in Pryluky. A fabulist, poet, ethnographer, educator, grammarian, and lexicographer. After completing his education at the Saint Petersburg boarding school for the nobility, Biletsky-Nosenko joined the military. He retired from military service in 1798 and settled in the village of Lapyntsi near Pryluky. He compiled dictionaries, wrote textbooks on logic and ethics, and translated foreign works. As a writer he was an epigone of Ivan Kotliarevsky. He wrote a travesty poem, ‘Horpynyda,’ which was published posthumously in 1871, as well as tales and ballads (eg, ‘Ivha,’ one of the early reworkings of ‘Lenore’ by G.-A. Bürger). He also compiled a collection of sayings, Prykazky (I–IV, 1871) and, in the 1830s, a dictionary entitled Slovar' malorossiiskogo ili iugo-vostochnorusskogo iazyka (A Dictionary of the Little Russian or Southeast Russian Language), which was lost in manuscript form, but compiled anew in 1838–43. Based on dialects of the Poltava region, it also included words excerpted from literary works, some from the Middle Ukrainian period. At 380 pages it was the largest Ukrainian dictionary in the first half of the 19th century, yet it was published only in 1966 (edited by Vasyl Nimchuk) and therefore exerted no influence on the development of Ukrainian lexicography. A grammar of the Ukrainian language by Biletsky-Nosenko remains unpublished and possibly lost. Biletsky-Nosenko was also interested in the history of the Ukrainian language; he stated his views on this subject in the introduction to his dictionary. A collection of his poetry, entitled Poeziï (Poems), was published in Kyiv in 1973.

George Y. Shevelov

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

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