Monday, September 28, 2009

Why I am Travelling to Ukraine

I have explained in earlier posts why I think Sukhomlinsky is worth studying, but why do I need to travel to Ukraine to do this? I have thousands of pages of published material at home, which I can reread and relate to my own experience. I could spend many years just translating the material I have already collected.

One of the reasons I am travelling to Ukraine is that on my previous trip to the Soviet Union, in 1987/88, I was unable to travel to Pavlysh, where Sukhomlinsky's school is situated. I would like to see with my own eyes the facilities and landscape he describes in his books. I would also like to take photographs to illustrate future books and a web site devoted to Sukhomlinsky's legacy.

The other reason is that at the school in Pavlysh and in Kyiv there are archives that house old photographs and manuscripts, many of which are not published. Access to this material will give me a more complete picture of Sukhomlinsky's work than is able to be accessed through published material.

It is my hope, then, that I will return with photographs that I have taken or scanned from archives, and also with material scanned from unpublished manuscripts, letters and notes. Not long before he died, Sukhomlinsky wrote to publishers about many unpublished works that he had completed. He knew that he did not have long to live, and was making a final effort to see his ideas and experience preserved for posterity. While many of the unpublished works listed in his letters have since been published, an equal number have not. These works are of particular interest to me, and I will be fascinated to see how much unpublished material is held in the archives.

I will be leaving in a week and am making final preparations for my departure. My sense of anticipation is growing, and I am starting to get feedback from people interested in my blog. I will try to keep posting material over the coming weeks.


  1. Hi Alan,

    Finding unpublished works will be a thrill for you I'm sure. What do you think are the possibilities that you can make copies of these to take home to Sydney and translate sometime in the future? What about photographs? Are you taking a scanner with you, or will there be facilities to scan photos provided for you in the Ukraine? Hopefully you can bring home a treasure trove of material to translate and share with the world.

    Regards, Paul Howson

  2. Hi Paul,

    Yes, I am taking a laptop and scanner, and a digital camera. I hope to come back with scanned photographs from the archives, scanned manuscripts, and photographs that I have taken myself of the school and the surrounding countryside.