[UKRAINIANS IN CANADA ] Robinson Crusoe
Winnipeg (Canada): Kanadyys’kyy Farmer, 1919. Item #1562
230 pp.: ill. 15.3x22 cm. In original publisher’s cloth. Fine condition. Private library stamps (J. P. Swityk - Manager 48-Union Bldg. Calgary, Alberta.) on the title page and p. 5.
Scarce. First edition. With 26 black and white lithographs by JED. Translated from English by an unknown translator under the pseudonym K. M.
Ukrainian translation of Daniel Defoe’s novel “Robinson Crusoe” (1719) published in Winnipeg (Canada) in 1919, at the peak of Ukrainian internment in Canada.
The book was issued by the publishing house of the oldest Ukrainian newspaper in Canada, “Kanadyys’kyy Farmer” [i.e. Canadian Farmer]. “Canadian farmer” was a weekly periodical issued in Winnipeg from 1903 to 1981, when it was merged with the newspaper “Ukrayins’kyy holos” [i.e. Ukrainian Voice]. The founding organizers and contributors to the newspaper were I. Bodrug, K. Genyk-Berezovskyi, and I. Negrych (first editor).“Canadian farmer” was aimed at highlighting the problems of the Ukrainian farmers and workers abroad, defending their interests, and promoting Ukrainian culture in Canada. From 1916, the newspaper began publishing The Library of the Canadian Farmer, mainly reprinting novels and short stories (including Taras Shevchenko’s “Kobzar”) printed on the pages of the “Canadian Farmer.”
The first wave of Ukrainian immigration to Canada began with Iwan Pylypow and Wasyl Eleniak, who arrived in 1891 from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and brought several families to settle a year later. Pylypow helped found the Edna-Star Settlement east of Edmonton, the first and largest Ukrainian block settlement. From September 1891 to August 1914, approximately 170,000 Ukrainians arrived in Canada from the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Ukrainians from Central Ukraine, which was ruled by the Russian monarchy, also came to Canada – but in smaller numbers than those from Galicia and Bukovyna. This Ukrainian immigration to Canada was largely agrarian, and at first Ukrainian Canadians concentrated in distinct block settlements in the parkland belt of the prairie provinces. In the early years of settlement, Ukrainian immigrants faced considerable amounts of discrimination at the hands of Northern European Canadians. From 1914 to 1920, the political climate of the First World War allowed the Canadian Government to classify immigrants with Austro-Hungarian citizenship as «aliens of enemy nationality». This classification, authorized by the August 1914 War Measures Act, permitted the government to legally compel thousands of Ukrainians in Canada to register with federal authorities. About 5,000 Ukrainian men, and some women and children, were interned at government camps and work sites. Although many Ukrainians were «paroled» into jobs for private companies by 1917, the internment continued until June 20, 1920 – almost a year after the Treaty of Versailles was signed by Canada on June 28, 1919.
Daniel Defoe’s “Robinson Crusoe” was one of the most popular foreign works in Ukraine. The novel was first translated into Ukrainian in 1877 by Orest Avdykovskiy (Lviv, 1877). With the second Ukrainian translation of the novel appearing in 1891 (by Boris Grinchenko), “Robinson Crusoe” came out in numerous other versions of the Ukrainian translation in the following years.