Vovchok, Marko

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Vovchok, Marko


(pseudonym of Mariia Aleksandrovna Vilinskaia-Markovich). Born Dec. 10 (22), 1833, in the village of Ekaterinovka, in present-day Eletskii Raion, Lipetsk Oblast; died July 28 (Aug. 10), 1907, near the city of Nal’chik. Ukrainian and Russian writer. Born into a noble family.

From 1851 to 1859, Vovchok lived in the Ukraine with her husband, the ethnographer A. V. Markovich. In St. Petersburg in 1857 she published the collection of stories Narodni opovidannia Marka Vovchka (in Russian, Ukrainian Folk Stories, translated under the supervision of I. S. Turgenev, 1859). In 1859, Vovchok published Stories From Russian Folk Life. Vovchok’s stories, which were filled with sympathy for the Ukrainian and Russian peasants and protested against serfdom, were enthusiastically greeted by the progressive circles. Her friendship with T. G. Shevchenko helped her strengthen her revolutionary-democratic ideas. The antiserfdom novella College Girl (1860) was considered by I. Franko to be ’’among the outstanding pearls of our literature.”

From 1859 to 1867, Vovchok lived abroad in Germany, Switzerland, Italy, and primarily France; she met there with A. I. Herzen, N. P. Ogarev, and N. A. Dobroliubov and was close to the Polish and Czech political emigres and to many French cultural figures. While she was abroad, she wrote the novella Three Shares (1861; in Ukrainian), The Fairy Tale About Nine Robber Brothers and the Tenth Sister Galia (1863; Ukrainian), the fairy tateKarmeliuk (1865; Ukrainian), the novella The Tulle Woman (1861; Russian), and The Remote Little Town (1862; Russian).

After her return to Russia, Vovchok befriended D. I. Pisarev and worked with N. A. Nekrasov and M. E. Saltykov-Shchedrin on the journal Otechestvennye zapiski, in which her novels and novellas Live Soul (1868), Notes of a Junior Clergyman (1869-70), In the Backwoods (1875), and others were published. In 1874 her satirical collection Fairy Tales and Fact appeared. Vovchok portrayed the poverty-stricken situation of the people as well as the plight of progressive individuals who could not reconcile themselves to social injustice. At the end of the 1860’s, Vovchok began to translate the scientific and literary works of French, German, English, Danish, and Polish authors. She welcomed the Revolution of 1905-07 with great emotion. Her legacy occupies an important place in Ukrainian and Russian literature.


Tvori, vols. 1-7. Kiev, 1964-67. (Introductory article by O. Zasenko.)
Poln. sobr. soch., vols. 1-7. Saratov, 1896-99.
Sobr. soch., vols. 1-3. Moscow, 1957.


Zasenko, O. E. Marko Vovchok: Zhyttia, tvorchist’, mistse v istorii literatury. Kiev, 1964.
Brandis, E. Marko Vovchok. Moscow, 1968. (Bibliography.)


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.