Historian, educator, and author Mykola Kostomarov was a leading figure in the Ukrainian national awakening of the nineteenth century, and played an important role in the cultural life of Russia as well. As an ethnographer, he sought to uncover the `mysterious soul? of the Ukrainian people, and his poetry contributed to the development of a Ukrainian literary language. An outspoken proponent of social and national emancipation, he was imprisoned and exiled for his role in the Cyril-Methodian Brotherhood, which worked towards a Ukrainian national renaissance and a pan-Slavic federalism. In Russia, he led the `populist? school, which shifted the focus of history away from the realm of tsars and princes, and argued the centrality of `the people? to their own story.
This first English-language biography of Kostomarov - and first large-scale study of the subject in any language - offers a compelling account of his original and controversial scholarship, and his role in the cultural politics of his day. Prymak brings to light a legacy long buried by the censoring mechanisms of both Tsarist Russia and the Soviet Empire. Claimed by both Ukraine and Russia as a major historian, Kostomarov?s biography provides insight into the complex question of inter-ethnic and international relations in Eastern Europe and in the former Russian and Soviet empires.
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