Studi Slavistici XVIII (2021) 2
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Mavka as Willow. An Ecofeminist Analysis of Lesja Ukrajinka’s Forest Song

Anastassiya Andrianova
North Dakota State University

Published 2022-02-02


  • Deforestation,
  • Ecocriticism,
  • Ecofeminism,
  • Lesja Ukrajinka

How to Cite

Andrianova, A. (2022). Mavka as Willow. An Ecofeminist Analysis of Lesja Ukrajinka’s Forest Song. Studi Slavistici, 18(2), 225–240.


Lesja Ukrajinka’s Lisova pisnja (1911) can be read as an eco-parable about Mavka, the forest nymph who transforms into a willow tree in danger of being felled. This paper provides a pioneering ecofeminist analysis of Lisova pisnja; it revises traditional approaches to the depiction of nature in the drama by combining them with an awareness of anthropogenic environmental degradation (the deforestation of the Volyn’ Polissja where it is set) and androcentrism, which is largely responsible for this degradation. After a brief review of key concepts in ecocriticism and ecofeminism, along with an overview of the state of eco-scholarship in Ukrainian studies and the scholarship on Lesja Ukrajinka within Ukrainian literary criticism, the paper analyzes the interrelated depiction of gender and nature, revealing Ukrajinka’s environmentalism and feminism and, at the same time, the ways in which she represents the world of the forest as mimicking and perniciously reinforcing human gender hierarchies.


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