Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Hryhorii Skovoroda

Hryhorii Skovoroda (Grigorii Savvich Skovoroda) (1722 -- 1794) Ukrainian poet, philosopher and composer.

Skovoroda was born in the family of a poor Cossack in the village of Chornukhy in the Lubny regiment (Poltava region) of the Hetman State ("Malorossiia") in 1722. He studied at the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy (1734-1741, 1744-1745, 1751-1753) but did not complete the full program. From 1741 to 1744 he was a member of the imperial choir in the capitals of the Russian Empire. He spent the period from 1745 to 1750 in Hungary and may have traveled elsewhere in Europe as well. In 1750-1751 he taught poetics in Pereyaslav.

For most of the period from 1753 to 1759 Skovoroda was a tutor in the family of a landowner in Kovrai. From 1759 to 1769, with interruptions, he taught such subjects as poetry, syntax, Greek, and ethics at the Kharkiv College. After an attack on his course on ethics, he in 1769 decided to leave teaching for the last time. In the final quarter of his life he traveled by foot through Ukraine staying shortly with various friends, both rich and poor.

This last period was the time of his great philosophic works. In this period as well, but particularly earlier, he wrote poetry and letters in Ruthenian (Ukrainian), Greek and Latin and did a few translations from Latin. A lover of music, he played several instruments and composed songs.