Among Ukraine's magazines "Kharkov Demokrit" holds a
special position because it is the first magazine on the whole and the only magazine of
satire and humour in the first half of the XIX century at that. Already in the second half
of the XIX century its small sized copies were considered to be extremely rare.
magazine was only published during six months - from January to June 1816. Its publisher
was local writer Vasily Maslovich, and the magazine's title he partly borrowed from
Petersburg magazine "Democrit" (1815). However the authors of the new magazine
unequivocally stated that as opposed to the metropolis magazine was really funny.
Among the magazine's contributors were: Grigory Kvitka - the future classic author
of Ukrainian literature Kvitka-Osnovyanenko; Akim Nakhimov - the first Kharkov poet to
receive All-Russian fame; Orest Somov - the future romanticism theorist, author and
critic, he was close to the Decembrists and A. S. Pushkin; Ivan Sreznevsky - Kharkov
University professor, the forefather of the brilliant dynasty of the native philologists
and literary men; Razumnik Gonorsky - Ukraine's first literary critic; Alexander Palitsyn
- poet, the translator of Rousseau and Voltaire, the founder of Ukraine's first literary
"Kharkov Democrit" in keeping with the educational tradition of Novikov
magazines of the XVIII century touched upon the question of satire aims and genres. In the
authors' point of view, the real satire could not be aimless, it condemns social vices,
the faults of real people. The modern realities are exposed in anti-serfdom fables,
satirical works, in Maslovich's poem "Utaida". In the works dedicated to 1812
and the army's foreign campaigns there are a great number of historical and everyday life
details, that allows us to feel the atmosphere of that legendary period.
"Kharkov Democrit" poets dared parody "the fathers of Russian
poetry" Lomonosov and Sumarokov, the first poet of that time Zhukovsky. The
magazine's authors' works combined democratic views and quite reasonable desire to avoid
political debates in literature, without licking the boots of authorities.
The June issue of the magazine closed with a laconic notification of the editor:
"The Demise of Kharkov Democrit". By that time Maslovich became a Doctor of Fine
Sciences, closed the magazine and went to Petersburg seeking acknowledgement.
Here are samples of magazine's publications for the full impression