(pseudonym of Afanasii lakovlevich Rudchenko). Born May 1(13), 1849, in Mirgorod; died Jan. 28, 1920, in Poltava. Ukrainian writer. Son of a minor civil servant.
After graduating from the Gadiach District School in 1862, Mirnyi worked as a clerk in a law court. In 1871 he was appointed to a post in the Poltava Provincial Treasury and Revenue Department.
Mirnyi began his literary career in 1872 with the publication of the poem “Ukraine” and the short story “Led Astray by a Demon.” The social criticism implicit in his works made it necessary for him to use a pseudonym. His literary development was influenced by T. G. Shevchenko and the Russian revolutionary democrats and Narodniks of the 1870’s. His works are important for their realistic depiction of the Ukrainian village and its irreconcilable social contradictions and class stratification resulting from the reforms of 1861. In his novel Do Oxen Bellow When the Manger Is Full? (1872–75, first published in 1880 in Geneva), written in collaboration with his brother I. Bilyk (I. la. Rudchenko), Mirnyi showed the class basis of life’s conflicts, which he depicted realistically and with a profound understanding of human psychology. In exposing social evils, Mirnyi’s novel sounded a dissonant note in the chorus of liberal-bourgeois literature singing the praises of the “emancipated” Ukraine. It was published in the Ukraine in 1903 with the title Lost Strength, emphasizing the work’s main idea—that the anarchistic protest of a “noble bandit” cannot change an unjust world, but only diverts the peasants from genuine struggle for human rights and social justice. Such is the experience of the novel’s hero, Chipka Varenichenko.
The novella Villains (1877, Geneva) depicts the various paths taken by the Ukrainian intelligentsia, whose best representatives lived for the people. A broad picture of Ukrainian life is given in the novel Wayward Girl (parts 1–2, 1883–84; parts 1–4, 1928; Russian translation, 1948; film of the same title, 1961) and the novellas Misery Past and Present (1897) and Hungry Freedom (unfinished, published 1940). Wayward Girl portrays the spontaneous protest of a plundered village and the hard life and downfall of a peasant girl.
In the 1880’s Mirnyi created the series of stories We Take It as It Comes, of which only “A Day at Pasture” and “Father and Mother” were published during the writer’s lifetime (1884). Mirnyi was the author of short stories, fairy tales, the prose poem A Dream (1905) about a future classless society, and a free poetic adaptation of The Tale of Igor’s Campaign (1896). He also wrote several plays, including Limerivna (1883, published 1899), based on an 18th-century folk ballad, and The Nun (1884; published 1929). He translated into Ukrainian works by A. S. Pushkin, M. lu. Lermontov, I. S. Turgenev, A. N. Ostrovskii, Shakespeare, and H. Longfellow. Mirnyi’s works have been translated into many languages of the USSR and various foreign languages.
WORKSTvory, vols. 1–5. Kiev, 1960.
In Russian translation:
Sobr. soch., vols. 1–4. Moscow, 1951.
Izbrannoe. Moscow, 1952.
REFERENCESEvdokymenko, V. Iu. Suspil’nopolitychni pogliady Panasa Myrnoho. Kiev, 1955.
Bilets’kyi, O. “Panas Myrnyi.” In Vid davnyny do suchasnosti, vol. 1. Kiev, 1960.
Pyvovarov, N. F. Panas Myrnyi. Kiev, 1965.
S. P. KNIAZEVA