It was not until the end of the 19th century that modem Ukrainian literature emerged out of the colloquial Ukrainian language and the writers of that time greatly contributed to the reawakening of Ukrainian national consciousness.
Ivan Kotlyarevsky inaugurated modem Ukrainian literature with his "En-eyida", a brilliant parody on Virgil's "Aeneid". Kotlyarevsky turned ancient Greek characters into Ukrainian Cossacks. His works are full of humor and recognizable portraits. He influenced many other writers.
Classicist prose appeared with Hry-gory Kvitka-Osnovyanenko's novel "Marusya" and his short stories "Little Russian Stories".
In the 1830s the city of Kharkiv became the centre of Ukrainian Romanticism. The Romantic movement reached its peak in M. Kostomarov's work "Books of Genesis of the Ukrainian People". This work called for an end to tsarist rule and the creation of a free, democratic Ukraine within a Slavic federation.
The early poetry of Taras Shevchen-ko, the outstanding Ukrainian poet of the 19th century, drew a sad and unhappy portrait of Ukrainian history. His poems "The Haidamaks", "The Dream", "The Caucasus", "The Epistle" and many others made him the founder of modem Ukrainian realistic literature.
Ukrainian realism began with one of the first women-writers Marko Vovchok. It was continued by the novelist Ivan Netchuy-Levytsky. He drew the true picture of the village life in his work "The Kaydash Family" and the life of Ukrainian intelligentsia in "The Clouds".
Panas Myrny took over the realistic traditions and depicted contemporary social injustice and the birth of social protest in his work "Do the Oxen Low When the Manger is Full?".
The outstanding Ukrainian poet Ivan Franko in his dramas, lyric poetry, short stories and poems "Moses" and "Noblemen's Jests" wrote a chronicle of contemporary Galician society and called Ukrainian people to fight against social and national oppression.
It will always be a mystery how a gentle little woman with an incurable disease, Lesya Ukrainka (the pen name of Larissa Kosach), could turn into a giant of Ukrainian literature. Her verses "Contra spem spero" ("Dum Spiro Spe-ro"), "On the Wings of Songs" and plays like "The Forest Song" gave hope to the oppressed people of Ukraine and made them stronger in their spirit.