Parambul Iryna Vitaliivna


Existentialism in the Works of Valerian Pidmohylnyi: A Historical and Philosophical Approach


The dissertation explores existential philosophizing in the works of Ukrainian
writer Valerian Pidmohylnyi. There have been highlighted views in the prose of the
writer consonant with the reflections of the representatives of existential philosophy –
Soren Kierkegaard, Karl Jaspers, Albert Camus, Jean-Paul Sartre. There have been
revealed the characters in the prose of Valerian Pidmohylnyi, Stepan Radchenko and
Marta Vysotska, whose world views are close to the life settings of aesthetic
personalities found in the works of S. Kierkegaard. Marta Vysotska, one of the
characters of «Nevelychka Drama», promises well to reach an ethical standard of
living, because even without look of hers, she does not consider a persononly as an
object forth eachievement of poetic satisfaction. On the other hand, Stepan
Radchenko is very close to the aesthetics created by S. Kierkegaard.
There have been considered the «boundary situations» of death, suffering,
guilt, which absorb the heroes of V. Pidmohylnyi’s flash fiction in the context of
K. Jaspers’ philosophical views – the story «Ostap Shaptal», short novels
«Haidamaka» and «Vania». Among the characters of the mentioned works there are
those who, by facing deep crisis in life, have grown spiritually and risen to a new
level of existence. This interpretation of the impact of tragic periods on human life
completely fits into that of crisis states by K. Jaspers. The absurd heroes in the works
of V. Pidmohylnyi have been compared with the man of the absurd in the philosophy
of A. Camus and J.-P. Sartre. Particularly, the absurd worldview of Anatolii
Pashchenko, the character of the story «Povist bez nazvy», and the perception of love
as an absurd repetition of Stepan Radchenko from the novel «Misto» have been
analyzed. Anatolii Pashchenko accepted all the absurdity of the existence, but was a
step toward philosophical suicide. He could not become an absurd character capable
of knowing happiness against the absurd. On the contrary, Radchenko was able to
accept the repetition and irrationality of love, but absurdity touched only one sphere
of his life, unlike the characters in the French existentialists’ prose. There has been
analyzed V. Pidmohylnyi’s comprehension of the problems of human freedom and
God in comparison with the provisions of the atheistic existentialism of J.-P. Sartre. It
has been revealed that in line with Sartre V. Pidmohylnyi endows a person with
complete freedom and responsibility, rejecting any established moral norms. The
Ukrainian writer also doubts if God can help a man control his life, there by
proclaiming himself the sole creator of his own destiny.
The analysis of V. Pidmohylnyi’s aesthetic positions has been made. In his
works and some of his personal statements, the author affirms the image of an artist
standing between his own creative impulses and the social problems that need to be
exposed. Such thoughts are particularly consonant with the ideal of the active artist in
the views of J.-P. Sartre and A. Camus, who must immerse into historical reality, be
partial to the problems of the society he lives in, and at the same time not lose his
own creative freedom.
Based on the archival documents there has been researched the life path of
Valerian Pidmohylnyi which in a way influenced his work. It has been revealed that
the writer himself lived in the age of historical upheaval and personally experienced
those catastrophes that fell to the lot of his generation. Thus, his interest in
“boundary” states in human life, comprehension of the tragic periods of human
existence, the absurdity of life, completely coincide with the mood prevailing among
the thinkers of the first half of the twentieth century having witnessed two world
wars. It should be noted that the views of the writer completely fit into the European
context of the time, and in some visions V. Pidmohylnyi is ahead of the
representatives of existential philosophy.
Key words: existentialism, absurdity, «boundary situation», «nausea»,
aestheticism», freedom, love, «Executed renaissance».

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