The publisher, Oleksandr Savchuk, explained how to read Skovoroda’s texts to understand them better

Publisher Oleksandr Savchuk participated in the “Skovoroda’s Ideas in Our Time” discussion series by the Aspen Institute Kyiv in Poltava. Mr. Savchuk shared his advice on how to read and understand Hryhoriy Skovoroda’s texts.

We should read the original Hryhoriy Skovoroda.

In 2016, Oleksandr Savchuk published the «Complete academic collection of works» by Hryhorii Skovoroda. According to the publisher, it is worth reading Hryhoriy Skovoroda’s texts in the original:

– “These are such poetic texts that, just as in a poem, you cannot throw a word out of a line, so it is with these texts. Given the syntax of Hryhoriy Skovoroda, how he knits words together, and how he expresses his thoughts, the adaptation of his texts will be a translation. 

How to prepare for reading Skovoroda’s writings

According to Oleksandr Savchuk, reading Skovoroda requires some preparation. It is worth knowing the Old and New Testaments, the works of ancient authors, and commentaries that explain quotes, allusions, or metaphors. However, specific nuances will remain unclear:

– Sometimes, it isn’t easy to understand the 19th and 18th centuries. Moreover, Skovoroda doesn’t fit into the old Ukrainian baroque literature. He is different. 

Thoughtful reading of texts with a “guide” allows you to perceive them without regard to the external image of Skovoroda. 

Mr. Oleksandr dreams that in schools or parallel to traditional education, a slow reading of the primary texts, paragraph by paragraph, with a “guide” would be conducted. 

– First, you have a person by your side who can explain many specific references and images. Secondly, the joy of understanding emerges. It can be compared to a transformation. For you, Skovoroda, all this external image and tinsel disappear. It is more important to refrain from broadcasting knowledge about Skovoroda in a single lecture at universities but to spend these 1.5-2 hours on a minimal, thoughtful analysis of a few pages of the text. 

The Aspen Institute Kyiv held a series of discussions in Poltava titled “Skovoroda’s Ideas in Our Time” last December. This event is a way of realizing one of the components of the Institute’s mission — the exchange of ideas for positive social impact. The event was held on the initiative and in partnership with the Poltava Regional Military Administration.