Vasil’chenko, Stepan Vasil’evich
(pseudonym of S. V. Panasenko). Born Dec. 27, 1878 (Jan. 8, 1879), in the small town of Ichnia in the Chernigov area; died Aug. 11, 1932, in Kiev. Soviet Ukrainian writer and teacher.
Vasil’chenko was born into a peasant family. After graduating from a teachers’ seminary (1898) he worked as a teacher in the Kiev and Poltava areas. In his novellas Vova (1910), Over the Ros’ River, Heavenly Galia, and others he protested against the tsarist persecution of elementary school teachers and described their poverty-stricken existence. Accused of revolutionary activity, Vasil’chenko was arrested and thrown into prison. In 1908 he returned to Ichnia, where he wrote his best short stories, including “Peasant Arithmetic” (1911) and “Among the Masters” and “On the Farmstead” (1915), permeated with democratism and a realistic description of the life of the toiling masses. In 1911 his first collection of short stories, Sketches, was published. From 1914 right up to the February Revolution of 1917, Vasil’chenko was at the front as the commander of a sapper company. (The short stories he wrote during this period include “Black Poppies” and “The Poisonous Flower.”) In many of his prerevolutionary works he showed the creative strength of the working people and their revolutionary awakening.
Vasil’chenko greeted the October Revolution with enthusiasm. In his short stories “The Waif (1925), “The Flying Club” (1925), and “The Pewter Ring” (1927), Vasil’chenko celebrated the “beauty of the new day” with the lyrical excitement characteristic of him and created attractive images of the young builders of a socialist world. The cycle Autumn Short Stories was devoted to the revolutionary events of 1905. For many years Vasil’chenko worked on a novel about the life and works of T. G. Shevchenko, but he completed only part 1, In the Tall Weeds (published posthumously in 1938). He wrote the plays A t the First Party (1911), Karmeliuk (1927), and The Days Are Passing By (published in 1939), as well as film scenarios. Vasil’chenko also translated into Ukrainian works by N. V. Gogol, N. S. Leskov, V. G. Korolenko, and A. S. Serafimovich.
WORKSTvory, vols. 1-4. Kiev, 1959-1960.
In Russian translation:
Izbrannoe. Moscow, 1956.
REFERENCESGrudnyts’ka, M., and V. Kurashova. Stepan Vasy;’chenko: Statti ta materialy. Kiev, 1950.
Kostiuchenko, V. Stepan Vasyl’chenko, 2nd ed. Kiev, 1965.
B. A. DERKACH