Yurynets, Volodymyr

Yurynets, Volodymyr [Юринець, Володимир; Jurynec'], b 28 September 1891 in Olesko, Zolochiv county, Galicia, d 4 October 1937. Philosopher and literary critic; full member of the All-Ukrainian Academy of Sciences from 1929. He studied mathematics and philosophy at Lviv University, Berlin University, Paris University, and Vienna University (PH D). After graduating from the Institute of Red Professors in Moscow (1924) he lectured at the Communist University of the Eastern Peoples and Moscow University. In 1925 he moved to Kharkiv, where he taught dialectical materialism and chaired the sociology department at the Ukrainian Institute of Marxism-Leninism. From 1931 he chaired the philosophy department at the All-Ukrainian Association of Marxist-Leninist Scientific Research Institutes (VUAMLIN). Yurynets knew 10 languages and was familiar with the history of and current developments in Western thought. His articles in Pod znamenem marksizma on Edmund Husserl’s phenomenology (1922, nos 11–12) and Sigmund Freud’s methodology (1924, nos 8–9) attracted wide attention. He expounded Karl Marx’s and Friedrich Engels’s doctrines of dialectical and historical materialism and defended them from ‘bourgeois nationalist’ criticisms (Prapor marksyzmu, 1927, no. 1; 1929, no. 6), and coauthored a textbook on dialectical materialism (1932). His chief ambition, however, was to develop a Marxist esthetics, and to this end he explored critically Gotthold Lessing’s esthetic theory (Krytyka, 1929, no. 3), Immanuel Kant’s theory of judgment (Hart, 1927, nos 2–3), and Georgi Plekhanov’s contribution to the sociology of art (Molodniak, 1927, no. 5). He argued that universal esthetic criteria were possible only in a classless society. Yurynets also took a keen interest in Ukrainian literature: he participated in the Literary Discussion of the 1920s, in which he criticized Mykola Khvylovy and the Vaplite writers’ group, and wrote a book on Pavlo Tychyna’s poetry (1928). In 1933 Yurynets was branded as a ‘bourgeois idealist,’ expelled from the Communist Party, and removed from his academic posts. About a year later he was denounced by the Party as an enemy of the state and was arrested. He was executed in a Soviet prison. Although he was posthumously ‘rehabilitated’ in the 1960s, he has hardly been discussed, and his works have not been republished.

Ivan'o, Ivan. ‘Volodymyr Iurynets'—doslidnyk mystetstva,’ Filosofs'ka dumka, 1970, no. 5

Taras Zakydalsky

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

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