"Kharkov Democrit"

  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.

The 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 society.

"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 sake:


The Fly

Akim Nakhimov   

  "Oh, Lord! My trouble has gone!
  And life is now gay and funny!"
  So says the Fly which breakes the web....
  And gets at once in honey.


Akim Nakhimov   

  The scientists in numbers towards Ukrain 
  Are hurring to enlighten our brains.
  And they are shining as the stars at night:
  It isn't the knowledge, it's their uniform
                                                            so bright!
    After publications of the magazine "Bursatsky Spusk", #1, 1992.  








Rambler's Top100
Home Welcome to Kharkov | City Government | Strolling through Kharkov | What, When, Where
General Information | Kharkov Region | Strolling through site | Internet
META - Ukrainian search engine TopList Rambler's Top100

All texts and images are permitted to use with the site reference only