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Danylo Mordovets

Portrait of D.L. Mordovtsev

Portrait of D.L. Mordovtsev
from , Ca. 1900

Daniel Lukic Mordovec (7 (19) December 1830, settlement Danylivka (now the administrative center in Volgograd region, Russia) – 10 (23) June 1905, Kislovodsk, Russia) – Ukrainian and Russian historian and writer. In Russian literature known by the russified name Mordovtsev.

Daniel was born in a family of Ukrainians. He studied first at home, in 1839 – 1844 years – in the district school in the village of Ust-Medveditskaia, in 1844 – 1850 – in the Saratov school, in 1851 – 1854 – University of St. Petersburg. While still a student, he acquainted with such outstanding (in future) Russian intellectuals as A. N. Pypin and N. G. Chernyshevsky.

In 1854, after graduating from university, Mordovets returned to Saratov and met with Nikolai Kostomarov, who has exiled therein in the case of Cyril and Methodius society. This meeting was very large, perhaps even crucial value for the formation of the young writer. Mordovtsev seems repeated after 20 years artistic career of Kostomarov: first poetry in Ukrainian, then historical research, then artistic works on historical themes. Just as in the Kostomarov's later works in historical novels by Mordovtsev on Ukrainian themes used macaronic language (Russian text of the author + Ukrainian language in replicas of characters).

As a historian Mordovets was perhaps the most faithful follower of the populist concept Kostomarov. The subject of his research were always masses, their status and their movements.

But if in the case Kostomarov historian strongly prevailed over novelist by the size and importance of written, then in Mordovtsev's case the ratio was reversed. He is best known as the author of numerous historical novels, the themes dominated the history of Ukraine and Russia (although he wes not limited to them, as Kostomarov, by the way).

Most of his life Mordovets lived in Saratov, St. Petersburg and Rostov-on-Don; in Ukraine he stayed only on short visits. The question – consider it a Ukrainian or Russian writer – can best be answered with two quotations from his novel "The tsar and the hetman":

Suddenly he hears someone touches him gently on the shoulder. In astonishment, he lifts the head and… do not believe his eyes: he is faced with a mermaid, or the goddess of heaven… and she all in the flowers, all radiant as the spring, as this wonderful blue sky…

So the writer draws a relationship guy and girl in the Ukraine. And this is – in Russia:

The last owner of village Krokhino with neighboring wastelands, fishing on Byelozero and other grounds, having lived on his will, to kill the three legal and seven illegal wives, who were then in turn to him in a dream, and another with a broken skull to the brain, the other with the pulled together with meat scythe, and the third with broken ribs and the like, executed to death two dozen fellows and slaves…

Mordovets little written in Ukrainian, he was not a great historical researcher, his historical novels often demonstrate lack the deep ideological concept. However, they are written in easily and efficiently manner, and continue to perform an impossible task – to introduce the reading Russian with the term "Ukraine".

N. Zh. October 22, 2013.