The Return of Burlesque: Comic Forms in Contemporary Ukrainian Literature, 1985–2010
Keywords:burlesque, carnival laughter, satire, contemporary Ukrainian literature
AbstractBurlesque as a literary device can serve for satirical purpose, but its main function is revealed in the provocation of carnivalesque ambivalence. Unlike satire, where an author remains serious,
carnival laughter captures everyone, including its provocateur. This is exuberant laughter that affirms the joyful fact of very human existence. The use of burlesque in Ukrainian literature does not refer to a certain epoch, but forms a continuous and powerful tradition. In the middle of the 1980s, with the liberalization of Ukrainian society, literature steadily turned away from a purely utilitarian role, and burlesque returned, as a device of free and unrepressed laughter. The “Bu-Ba-Bu” literary group, Yuri Vynnychuk, Les Poderviansky, Mukhailo Brynykh most actively elaborate burlesque in their writings, either in a carnival context, or as a device of satire. Thus, the burlesque tradition is quite visible and influential in contemporary Ukrainian literature.
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