cover of book
by Lesia Ukrainka
translated by Virlana Tkacz and Wanda Phipps
introduction by George G. Grabowicz
Harvard University Press, 2024
Cloth: 978-0-674-29187-4 | eISBN: 978-0-674-29189-8 | Paper: 978-0-674-29188-1

The Forest Song represents the crowning achievement of Lesia Ukrainka’s mature period and is a uniquely powerful poetic text. A play in three acts, it seemingly breaks with her intellectually charged social and cultural themes, which range from feminism and the deconstruction of patriarchy to the workings of colonialism, even in antiquity. Here, the author instead presents a symbolist meditation on the interaction of humanity and nature set in a world of primal forces and pure feelings as seen through childhood memories and the re-creation of local Volhynian folklore. The play unfolds in spirited dialogues between characters from Ukrainian mythology and people of the land: Old Man River, the Nymph, two water spirits, Uncle Leo, Luke, Sylph, and the peasant woman Kylyna and her mother-in-law. The Forest Song is a testament to the power of love to overcome differences and bring loved ones back from the dead.