Frantsisk Kazimirovich Bogushevich

Bogushevich, Frantsisk Kazimirovich


Born Mar. 9 (21), 1840, on the estate of Svirana, Vil’na District, Vil’na Province; died Apr. 15 (28), 1900. Byelorussian poet.

Bogushevich was born into the family of an impoverished member of the gentry. He was expelled from the University of St. Petersburg for taking part in the student “disorders” of 1861. He worked as a teacher and took part in the 1863 uprising. In 1868 he graduated from the Nezhin Juridical Lycée and worked as an examining magistrate in the Ukraine and in various cities in Russia. Later he worked as a lawyer in the Vil’na district court. Bogushevich’s views were formed under the influence of the ideas of the Russian revolutionary democrats and the peasant movement. He was one of the founders of the trend of critical realism in Byelorussian literature. He wrote the collections of poetry The Byelorussian Pipe (1891, Kraków, published under the pseudonym Matsei Burachok) and The Byelorussian Violin Bow (1894, Poznań, under the pseudonym Symon Reuka zapad Barysava). The collections The Byelorussian Violin and Byelorussian Stories were not published because of censorship conditions, and they have not been found to date. Many of Bogushevich’s works were spread orally and in manuscripts.

Bogushevich’s poetry is pervaded with social passion and a profound faith in the creative powers of the people. The vigor of his creative work lies in his defense of the interests and rights of the oppressed peasantry and his angry criticism of tsarism and vestiges of the serfowning system. The poet closely linked his demands for national liberation with demands for political freedom for the broad masses of the people. In God Does Not Apportion Things Equally, The Peasant-Crow, In Prison, Things Will be Bad!, and How the Truth Is Sought the poet paints realistic pictures of the people’s misfortune, poverty, and lack of rights in the Byelorussian village after the reform. The narrative poem In Prison was an incisive pamphlet directed against the court system of tsarist Russia and against the arbitrary actions of the officials. The man of the people is presented as the bearer of spiritual nobility and social justice. Bogushevich was the first Byelorussian writer to come out in defense of his native language and literature. In his creative work he made brilliant use of the traditional poetics of folksongs and folk tales. Bogushevich influenced the development of Byelorussian literature through the work of la. Kupala, la. Kolas, and E. Pashkevich (E. Tetka).


Vybranyia tvory. Preface by M. Klimkovych. Minsk, 1946.
In Russian translation:
Izbrannoe. Moscow, 1948.
Izbrannoe. Moscow, 1953.
Antologiia belorusskoi poezii. Moscow, 1952.
Stikhi. Moscow, 1965.


“Bagushevich Frantsishak (1840–1900).” In Narysy Pa historyi belaruskai literatury. Minsk, 1956.