about this book
Mykola Hohol’s (Nikolay Gogol) Taras Bulba is a tale set in 1630s Ukraine among the kozaks of the Zaporizhian Sich. The story revolves around veteran Ukrainian kozak Taras Bulba and his two sons, Ostap and Andriy. Although the main characters are fictional, the novella features historical figures, such as Adam Kysil (1649–1653), Yakiv Ostrianyn (Ostrianytsia, ?–1641), Dmytro Hunia (?–1638) and Mikołaj Potocki (1595–1651). It refers to some historical events, including the Ostrianyn Uprising, a kozak rebellion of 1638 against the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.
Most people who have read Taras Bulba would have read its amended version (or its translation), which was published as a second edition in 1842. The difference between the second and the lesser-known original edition of 1835 is considerable. The second edition was unfortunately heavily censored. It eliminated almost all mention of the main character’s homeland of Ukraine, makes Bulba a devoted knight of the state, which in reality was a hostile neighbouring country, and, finally, perverts his credo to the extent that he, a kozak, which by definition is synonymous with freedom, starts glorifying the occupying state and its ruler, the tsar. If Taras Bulba himself had read the changed 1842 edition, then instead of killing his son Andriy for betraying his comrades and faith for love, he would probably have committed suicide for betraying his homeland for no apparent reason.
The original Taras Bulba was published in the Russian language in 1835, as a part of the “Myrhorod” (“Mirgorod”) collection of tales.
This translation of Hohol’s original 1835 edition comes with the translator’s notes. The book cover features “Kozaky in the Steppe” (circa 1905) by Serhiy Vasylkivsky.