Marko Vovchok – pen name of Maria Alexandrovna Vilinska (1833 – 1907), Ukrainian writer.
Maria was born 10 (22) December 1833 in the estate Ekaterininskoe (located in the modern Lipetsk region of Russia, now does not exist) in a noble family. Therefore, she was considered a Russian with family.
In 1845 – 1848 she studied at a private boarding school in Kharkov, in 1848 – 1851 lived in Orel in the family of her aunt. There she met Athanasius Markovich (1822 – 1867), who was sent to Orel for involvement to . In August 1850 he was released from police surveillance and allowed to free select residence.
In January 1851 Athanasius Markovich married Mary, and up to 1858 they lived in Ukraine (Chernihiv, Kyiv, Nemirov). At this time they were together engaged in collecting Ukrainian folklore that gave Mary the opportunity to learn the Ukrainian language.
After the death of emperor Nicholas 1st (1855) there had been a breath of the liberal spirit. In 1856 – 1857 years Maria wrote a series of stories in Ukrainian that forwarding to P. Kulish in St. Petersburg. Kulish published them in book "The People’s stories by Marko Vovchok" (was released in early 1858). Pioneering form (stories on behalf of serf women) and strong anti-serfdom pathos answered the mood of the time. The leading literary journals comprised positive reviews of the book, and in 1859 it was published in Russian translation by I. Turgenev.
In January 1859 26-year-old provincial woman went to St. Petersburg – conquer the capital… and won. For four months she acquainted with the whole Ukrainian community, including Taras Shevchenko, Mykola Kostomarov, Panteleimon Kulish, and with many Russian writers – and all made a strong impression. There were hopes that she should made great achievements in literature…
But these expectations did not come true. In April 1859 Marko Vovchok moved from St. Petersburg to Europe, where she lived in different countries and returned to Russia only in 1867, after the death of her husband. After 1861 its activity in Ukrainian literature quickly dropped to zero, and besides, she broke all sorts of ties with Ukrainian leaders.
After her return to Russia Marko Vovchok was active in Russian literature, speaking as a writer of stories and novels, literary critic and translator (mostly from the French).
In recent years the writer lived in Nalchik (now – Kabardino-Balkaryiya, Russia), where she died on July 28 (August 10) in 1907 and was buried. She bequeathed move her ashes in Ukraine, but it is not yet implemented.
Even after the death of the writer were published some of her works in Ukrainian, that were not printed during her life.
M. Zh., 30 May 2016