A walk through Kyiv along Antonovycha Street - 100 years ago -novel of Valerian Pidmohylyny

By Cryptotexty | Literature & Books | 16 Mar 2023

Recently, several publishing houses began to actively republish Valerian Pidmohylny. The most famous novel is "The City", which is still considered the first urbanist novel about Kyiv. In addition to the storyline and the character of Stepan Radchenko, Kyiv city as it was 100 years ago is interestingly revealed: the center, Podil, Nizhniy Val street where Radchenko lived. But an equally interesting novel is "A Little Drama", where the events also take place in Kyiv.

(On the photo: a view of Velyka Vasylkivska Street and Antonovycha Street in 2023)

The main character, Marta, lives on Zhilyanska Street, this house, or "shack" as it was also called, is one of the main locations of the novel. Without revealing the plot, let's take a walk with the heroes of the novel through Kyiv, as it was a century ago.

She walked along her Zhilyanska Street to Proletarska Street, straight and long, and turned into it. The evening was gentle and quiet, and somehow the girl immediately felt that spring had already arrived, that it had come to her unexpectedly, unnoticed in the adventures and isolation of her life. She forgot about spring, but spring did not forget about her! And the girl was grateful for this soft warmth, for the thick dampness of the permanent snow, for the inexpressible spirit of the swollen trees, and for the continuous hairy veil of the sky, which the moon laid out in ghostly silver in the west. She walked quietly forward, she walked and rested. Free from trams and buses, this wide street looked cozy and familiar in the evening. Taking advantage of the warmth, old women and men sat near the porches on chairs and benches, weaving a quiet conversation; boys on pedestrians played in the civil war, in reds and whites, in sailors, commissars, and bandits with all the proper executions; the girls, huddled together, screamed loudly while jumping, and couples walked through, the most diverse couples of young men and women, laughing, sad, talking, thoughtful, impetuous and restrained, enthusiastic and inattentive. "How blind they are," Marta thought with pity and envy.

Proletarska Street - that's what Antonovycha Street was called in those days, and I think Marta went down Antonovycha Street in the direction of Lybidska. Of course, this is just my guess, but the much shorter distance to go in the direction of Lva Tolstoho, as well as the "unknown streets" in the next paragraph, suggest this idea.

Finally, she went out into the streets, small, bendy streets she no longer knew, where there were fewer people, and spring was closer and more caring. Then she found herself immediately on the main street, among the light and the crowd, and everywhere she seemed to find support, every step freed her from hesitation, gave her strength to carry out her intention, the great intention of her love. And she felt the spring in herself, was overwhelmed by its glorious impulse, in which she whispered again and again: "So I will do it... I will do it tomorrow." She walked until late, without feeling tired, and returned home happy: her plan was worked out in detail.

There are many small streets around Antonovycha Street, just in the direction of Lybidska. These can be such streets as Fizkultury, Dilova, Laboratorna, VolodymyroLybidska, Nimetska, Jezhy Gedrotsia (in the foreground in the photo). That is why I think that Marta was walking exactly there, as we can see from the text - she walked for a long time. I advise you to visit this part of Kyiv when you have the opportunity.

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