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To the 180th Anniversary of the Mysterious Algerd Abukhovich

To the 180th Anniversary of the Mysterious Algerd Abukhovich
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Algerd Abukhovich (pseudonym Graf Bandinelli, August 6, 1840 - August 22, 1898) entered the history of Belarusian literature as a poet, realist writer, and translator, one of the founders of the Belarusian fable, fiction and memoirism.

He was born in the Kalatichi estate of the Bobruisk district of the Minsk province (now the Glusk district of the Mogilev region) into a noble and wealthy landowner family. He was a descendant of an ancient family on the father's side; the maternal ancestors were of Italian origin. Having received a good education at home, he entered the Slutsk Calvinist Gymnasium in 1852. Since about 1855 Algerd lived abroad. He studied in Geneva and Paris, traveled a lot. He visited France, Italy, Germany, learned the language, culture and literature of these countries, and met many wonderful people of that time.

According to some information, not confirmed by archival sources, A. Abukhovich took part in the uprising of 1863-1864, for which he was exiled to Siberia. When, upon returning to his homeland, Algerd decided to give out all his land to the peasants, the neighbors threatened to declare him mentally ill. He left his home and settled in Slutsk. He lived there very modestly, gave private lessons and wrote.

The most vividly A. Abukhovich's talent shone in the writing of fables. it is telling that he chose the Belarusian language for his works. Unfortunately, during A. Abukhovich's life, his fables were not printed and only a few of them ("Werewolf", "Chairman", "Court", "A Wolf and a Fox") have come down to us. Memoirs have a special place in the writer's oeuvre (1894). They are entertaining, filled with vibrant sketches, written in the folk language in a free form of storytelling and express a deep connection with folk culture. They reflect many aspects of the then life. Fragments of the memoirs were printed in 1916 in the Vilna newspaper "Homan". Thanks to his deep knowledge of foreign culture and literature, his brilliant mastery of the main European languages, A. Abukhovich became a true master of literary translation. He translated the works of Goethe, Schiller, Hugo, Byron, Dante, Pushkin, Lermontov, Mickiewicz, V. Syrokomlya, M. Konopnitskaya and others (translations were distributed in manuscripts) into Belarusian.

According to R. Rodchenko, a researcher of life and work of A. Abukhovich, after the writer's death, the manuscript, archive, numerous books from his personal library were either burned or thrown as waste paper. Some autograph manuscripts are in the library of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences and the National Library of Poland in Warsaw.

The main biographical and literary materials about the writer can be obtained from the collections and electronic information resources of the National Library of Belarus (E-Catalogue, database "Belarus in Persons and Events", National Database of Authoritative Records).

Bibliology Research Department

Illustration: Portrait of Algerd Abukhovich-Bandinelli by M. Vetsik // Альгерд Абуховіч-Бандынэлі: нарыс жыцця і творчасці / Рыгор Родчанка. – Мінск, 1984.

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We Will Teach You How to Look up Information

28 Sep 2020

A new academic year begins. The Library provides free group lessons on how to look up information and adapt to the working conditions in our building upon prior request. You can learn how to use a variety of resources of the National Library of Belarus – from a simple search in an electronic catalogue to working with databases and the Internet.

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