Humenna, Dokiia

Image - Dokiia Humenna

Humenna, Dokiia [Гуменна, Докія], b 10 March 1904 in a suburb of Zhashkiv, Kyiv gubernia, d 4 April 1996 in New York, New York State, USA. Writer. She studied literature at the Kyiv Institute of People's Education. Her first literary sketch, ‘U stepu’ (In the Steppe), was published in 1924, and thereafter her prose appeared in the major Soviet Ukrainian literary journals. She belonged to the peasant writers’ association Pluh. Her travel reports, ‘Lysty z stepovoï Ukraïny’ (Letters from Steppe Ukraine, Pluh, 1928) and Ekh, Kuban', ty Kuban' khliborodnaia (Eh, Kuban, Kuban, You Bountiful Land, (published in Chervonyi shliakh, 1930, and separately, in 1931), incurred party censorship. Stalinist terror forced her to remain silent until 1939. Then several stories and the novelette Virus (Virus, 1940) appeared, which once again brought on official censure. Escaping to Lviv during the German occupation of the USSR, she contributed her prose to the periodic press there. Emigrating after the Second World War, she lived in displaced persons camps in Austria and Germany where she wrote a collection of stories Kurkul's'ka viliia (The Kulaks’ Christmas Eve, 1946) and began her famous tetralogy Dity chumats'koho shliakhu (Children of the Milky Way, 1948–51), which she finished after moving to New York. After settling in the United States of America, Humenna maintained a very active literary career, publishing more that 15 books and contributing to journals and collections. Her abiding interest in feminism, prehistoric life, mythology, and archeology was evident in most of her postwar works, such as Mana (Delusion, 1952), Velyke Tsabe (The Great Tsabe, 1952), or Zolotyi pluh (The Golden Plough, 1968). Notable also are her essays about travels in the New World, such as Bahato neba (A Lot of Sky, 1954), about the United States, and Vichni vohni Alberty (The Eternal Fires of Alberta, 1959), as well as her collection of stories Sered khmarosiahiv (Among the Skyscrapers, 1962).

Danylo Husar Struk

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 2 (1988).]

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