Yesterday was the 196th anniversary of the birth of Taras Hryhorovych Shevchenko, and today the anniversary of his death:
Shevchenko has had a unique place in Ukrainian cultural history and in world literature. Through his writings he laid the foundations for the creation of a fully functional modern Ukrainian literature. His poetry contributed greatly to the growth of Ukrainian national consciousness, and his influence on various facets of Ukrainian intellectual, literary, and national life is still felt to this day.
Shevchenko has held a unique position in Ukrainian intellectual history, and the importance of his poetry for Ukrainian culture and society cannot be underestimated. His Kobzar marks the beginning of a new era in Ukrainian literature and in the development of the modern Ukrainian language. Through his poetry, Shevchenko legitimized the use of Ukrainian as a language of modern literature. His poems’ revolutionary and political content found resonance among other captive peoples. The earliest translations of his poems—mainly into Polish, Russian, Czech, and German—appeared while he was still alive. By the 1990s parts of the Kobzar had been translated into more than 100 languages. Shevchenko’s poetry has also become a source of inspiration for many other works of literature, music, and art.