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Tarass on Parnassus

The poem was first published in May 1889 under the name “Tarass”. “The Minsk Leaf” is the first Belarusian private literary newspaper issued from April 14 1886 to November 13, 1902.The newspaper published works by Belarusian authors, folk songs, legends etc.

The poem is a vivid satiric description of adventures of a common peasant forester who accidentally finds himself on Parnassus. The poem written in iambic tetrameter and inspired by Belarusian folklore is a real “visiting card” of Belarusian literature.

For a long time, an author of the poem stayed unknown. Different literary critics and researchers imputed the authorship of it to Belarusian poets and writers V. Ravinsky, V. Dunin-Martsinkevich, A. Verigo-Darevsky, and students of Gory-Gorytsky Agricultural Institute. Belarusian scientist G.V. Kisselev supposed that the most probable author of the poem was Konstantin Verenitsyn (1834–1904) born in Vitebsk region. Most modern scientists share this opinion.

At the exhibition are displayed archival materials: autograph and printed version of the essay by Belarusian historian M.V. Dovnar-Zapolsky “ V. Dunin-Martsinkevich and his poem “Tarass on Parnassus” and a hand-written copy of the poem made by the historian; fragment of the foreword by E.R. Romanov “First Attempt at Writing” to the Vitebsk publication and its copy made in the 1890th; Minsk publications of the poem of 1917 (Y. Griblyant Printing House), 1939 and 1967 illustrated by artists Malevich and E. Agunovich; a copy “Tarass the Forester” published in Kaunas in 1920 etc.

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