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Lesya Ukrainka is a famous Ukrainian poetess. Her life and poetry cannot but arouse a feeling of administration. Her right name was Larissa Kosach. But she entered the world of literature under the pennane Lesya Ukrainka and became known as a brilliant poetess.
Lesya Ukrainka’s character and views took snape under the influence of folk traditions and cultural progressives who were frequent visitors at the house of her mother, Ukrainian writer Olena Pchilka. Lesya Ukrainka"s uncle Mikhailo Drahomanov was persecuted by the czarist government and lived in еmіgration in Bulgaria. The great Ukrainian composer Mykola Lysenko and one of the founders of Ukrainian theatre Mikhailo Staritsky were the Kosach"s close friends. Young Lesya was a sensitive girl. She felt deep sympathy for her people who suffered from czarist national and social oppression. When she was nine, her aunt, а member of the national liberation movement, was exiled Siberia. Lesya responded to this dramatic family event by writing her first poem, «Hope». From that tine Lesya Ukrainka constantly raisad her voice in defence of human dignity.
Lesya Ukrainka"s literary legacy is rich. It includes poetry collections («On Wings of Songs», «Thoughts and Dreams», «Echoes»), dramatic poems, prose, critical articles, studies in folklore and translations from many languages. And this large amount of work was done by a person who lived less than forty-two years. From childhood to the end of her life she battled tuberculosis. Her illness drove her from clinic to clinic, from country to country. She was in the Crimea, Bulgaria, Vienna, Berlin, Italy, Egypt, Georgia. Unlike other people who travelled to see exotic lands, Lesya Ukrainka took her foreign travels as a bitter necessity, which often drained her of the last cent. She never wasted her time though. She studied the history, language, culture and way of life of every country she visited.
Lesya Ukrainka knew many foreign languages and, already in her early years, read classical literature in the original for self -education (she could not go to school because of her illness).
Lesya Ukrainka worked towards acquainting her people with world culture. She thoroughly arranged a list of a World Library series or the Ukrainian reader.
In February 1971 the whole world celebrated the centenary of Lesya Ukrainka’s birthday. Her poetry, based on folk traditions and penetrated by advanced social and aesthetic ideas, made her a poetess of international caliber.