Peretts, Volodymyr

Image - Volodymyr Petetts and Varvara Adriianova-Peretts

Peretts, Volodymyr [Перетц, Володимир; Peretc], b 31 January 1870 in Saint Petersburg, d 24 September 1935 in Saratov, Russia. Philologist and historian of Ukrainian and Russian literature; member of the Shevchenko Scientific Society from 1914, honorary member of the Russian Bibliographical Society from 1915, and full member of the All-Ukrainian Academy of Sciences (VUAN) from 1919. After completing his studies at Saint Petersburg University and lecturing there (1896–1903) he moved to Kyiv, and until 1914 he was a professor at Kyiv University, head of the philological section of the Ukrainian Scientific Society in Kyiv, and editor of its publication, Zapysky Ukraïns’koho naukovoho tovarystva v Kyievi. Peretts was the founder and director of the Seminar of Russian Philology, in 1907–14 at Kyiv University and from 1914 at Saint Petersburg University. The seminar produced many eminent scholars of early and modern Ukrainian and Russian literatures: Varvara Adriianova-Peretts (Peretts's wife), Oleksander Bahrii, S. Balukhaty, Leonid Biletsky, S. Bohuslavsky, Oleksander Doroshkevych, Mykhailo Drai-Khmara, Pavlo Fylypovych, Mykola Gudzii, Sylvestr Haievsky, Oleksander Hruzynsky, Serhii Maslov, Borys Yakubsky, Vasyl I. Maslov, Oleksander Nazarevsky, Ivan Ohiienko, Volodymyr Otrokovsky, Pavlo Popov, S. Shcheglova, Semen Shevchenko, and I. Eremin. In Kyiv Peretts held the chair and headed the commission of Old Ukrainian literature of the historical-philological division of the VUAN. The Leningrad Society of Researchers of Ukrainian History, Literature, and Language was active under his leadership between 1921 and 1933. His opposition to Party intervention in scholarship as well as his defense of his thesis on the Ukrainian character of the early literature and traditions of the princely era Kyiv resulted in repressions. Eventually he was exiled to Saratov, where he died.

In his scholarly research Peretts adhered to the principles of the philological school, which concentrated on the form and structure of early literature and insisted upon a solid knowledge and interpretation of the texts. He published over 300 scholarly works; over 100 of them were published in Kyiv in Ukrainian. Worthy of note are his publications and research on early Ukrainian literature in verse, early Ukrainian drama, and the early Ukrainian tale: Kukol'nyi teatr na Rusi (Puppet Theater in Rus', 1895), Materialy k istorii apokrifa i legendy (Sources for the History of Apocrypha and Legends, 2 vols, 1899, 1901), Malorusskie vershi i pesni v zapisiakh XVI–XVIII vv. (Little Russian Poems and Songs in Records of the 16th to 18th Centuries, 1899), Ocherki starinnoi malorusskoi poezii (Outlines of Ancient Little Russian Poetry, 1903), Iz istorii starinnoi russkoi povesti (From the History of the Ancient Rus’ Narrative, 1907), Novye dannye dlia istorii starinnoi ukrainskoi liriki (New Data toward the History of Ancient Ukrainian Lyric Poetry, 1907), Virshi iieromonakha Klymentiia Zinov’ieva syna (The Poems of the Priest-Monk Klymentii, Zynovii's son, 1912), and Issledovaniia i materialy po istorii starinnoi ukrainskoi literatury XVI–XVIII vekov (Research and Sources on the History of Ancient Ukrainian Literature in the 16th to 18th Centuries, 4 vols, 1926–9, 1962). Of special note are Peretts’s synthetic works, Iz lektsii po istorii drevnerusskoi literatury (From Lectures on the History of the Literature of Ancient Rus’, 1912–13) and the monograph Slovo o polku Ihorevim: Pam'iatka feodal'noï Ukraïny-Rusy XII viku (The Tale of Ihor's Campaign: A Monument of Feudal Rus'-Ukraine of the 12th Century, 1926). In his scholarly studies, publications, and lectures Peretts viewed the Princely era in Ukrainian literature and the period of the 14th to 18th centuries as an organic whole. Peretts was also the author of studies of modern Ukrainian literature, bibliography, paleography, textology, and archeology.

Bohdan Kravtsiv

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 3 (1993).]

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