Yakubsky, Borys

Yakubsky, Borys [Якубський, Борис; Jakubs’kyj], b 27 September 1889 in Illintsi, Lypovets county, Kyiv gubernia, d 28 December 1944 in Kyiv. Literary scholar and critic. He joined the Bolshevik party in 1905 but left it in 1919. A graduate of Kyiv University (1908–14), he was a full member of the VUAN Historical and Literary Society (from 1918), the Ukrainian Scientific Society in Kyiv (from 1919), and the scientific research chairs of linguistics, art studies, and Marxism-Leninism in Kyiv, and an associate of the VUAN Commission for the Publication of Monuments of Modern Ukrainian Literature and of the Kyiv branch of the Taras Shevchenko Scientific Research Institute. Yakubsky was one of the first scholars to apply the sociological method in studying Ukrainian literature. An associate of the Neoclassicists, he published books on the science of versification (1922), the sociological method in literature (1923), and Stepan Vasylchenko (1928). His articles on the form of Taras Shevchenko's poems (1921), Shevchenko's style (1924) and rhythm (1926), and the sociology of Shevchenko's epithets (1928) appeared in Shevchenko studies compendiums. Yakubsky also published articles in literary theory, on Dmytro Zahul (1928), Mykola Vorony (1928), Lesia Ukrainka (1928), and Soviet Ukrainian literature, in periodicals such as Hlobus, Literaturna hazeta, Zhyttia i revoliutsiia, Chervonyi shliakh, and Krytyka. He also edited, with introductions, the collected works of Lesia Ukrainka (7 vols, 1923–5), an anthology of 20th-century Galician and Bukovynian poetry (1930), a subsequently banned Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian SSR edition of Shevchenko's complete works (2 vols, 1939), and other works. Though reviled as a formalist, Yakubsky survived the Stalinist terror of the 1930s and was still alive in Kyiv in 1943. His subsequent fate is unknown. Despite his contributions he has barely been mentioned in Soviet publications since the 1930s.

Roman Senkus

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 5 (1993).]

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