Іван Франко

Ivan Franko

Hello, dear readers! Today I would like to tell you about the biography of Ivan Franko, a famous poet, playwright, and novelist who became one of the symbols of Ukrainian culture. Ivan Franko was born on August 27, 1856, in the village of Nahuyevychi in Eastern Galicia. He was a prominent writer who worked in various genres and languages, as well as an active public and political figure who advocated social justice and national revival. His oeuvre includes several thousand works that influenced the development of Ukrainian literature, art, science, and education. If you want to learn more about this extraordinary personality, I invite you to read this article.

Childhood and family

Ivan Franko was born into the family of a peasant blacksmith, Yakiv Franko, and his wife, Maria, who was the daughter of a priest. He had three brothers and two sisters, but only two of them survived to adulthood. Ivan showed an early interest in learning and reading. He attended a village school and then a normal school at the Basilian monastery in Drohobych, where he learned Polish, German, and Latin. He also independently studied history, geography, mathematics, natural history, philosophy, and literature. He wrote his first poems and short stories, inspired by folk art, nature, and the life of peasants.

EducationIvan Franko

In 1875, Ivan Franko graduated from Drohobych Gymnasium with honors and entered Lviv University, Faculty of Philosophy. There, he met prominent Ukrainian figures such as Mykhailo Drahomanov, Mykhailo Pavlyk, Osyp Makovey, Ivan Nechuy-Levytsky, and others. He takes an active part in the student Russian movement and becomes the editor of the Druh magazine. He also publishes his first literary works, such as the poem “Folk Song” and the story “Petriy and Dovbushchuks.” He is arrested twice for his social and political activities and spends more than a year in prison. In 1880, he graduated from the university and received a doctorate in philosophy for his dissertation “On the Origin of the Romance Languages.” In 1883, he moved to Vienna, where he continued his research and translation work. In 1893, he defended his habilitation thesis “On the Social Role of Poets” and received the right to teach at universities.


Іван Франко

Ivan Franko was one of Ukraine’s most prolific and diverse writers. He worked in a variety of genres and languages, producing poetry, prose, drama, criticism, journalism, scholarship, and translations. He was also one of the first professional Ukrainian writers to earn a living from his literary work. He collaborated with many publishing houses, magazines, and newspapers, such as Svit, Zorya, Dilo, Pravda, Literary and Scientific Bulletin, and others. He was also the founder and editor of his own publications, such as the General Encyclopedia, Life and Word, Literary and Scientific Library, and others. He was the author of more than 100 collections of his original and translated works.

Ivan Franko began his literary career at the gymnasium, when he wrote his first poem, “Folk Song” (1874), and his first story, “Petriyas and Dovbushchuks” (1875), which were published in the student magazine Druh.

In 1876, he became co-editor of the magazine Public Friend, where he published his first poetry collections Ballads and Romances and From the Heights and the Lowlands. At the same time, he was engaged in scientific work, researching the history of Ukrainian literature, language, folklore, and ethnography. He also took an active part in the social and political life of Galicia, advocating for social justice, national consciousness, and cultural development of Ukrainians.

In 1878, he moved to Vienna, where he entered the University of Vienna at the Faculty of Philosophy. There he continued his scientific research and also engaged in translation activities, translating works by Shakespeare, Byron, Goethe, Schiller, Heine, Pushkin, and others. In 1883, he defended his doctoral dissertation on “The Social Movement in Ukraine in the XVI-XVIII Centuries,” which was highly praised by the scientific community. In 1895, he received his habilitation in Ukrainian literature and language.

In 1886, he returned to Lviv, where he became one of the leaders of the Ukrainian Radical Party, which advocated the ideas of democracy, socialism, and Ukrainian nationalism. He was also an active member of various civic organizations, such as Prosvita, the People’s Council, the Taras Shevchenko Literary Society, and others. He edited and co-edited many newspapers and magazines, such as Zorya, Dilo, Literary and Scientific Bulletin, West Russian News, and others. He also continued to write his literary works, among which the most famous were The Rising Hawk, Boryslav Laughs, Moses, The Stonemasons, The Faded Leaves, Fox Mykyta, and others. He also created many poetry collections, such as Faded Leaves, From the Heights and Lowlands, The Garden of Divine Songs, My Israel, and others. He was one of the most prolific and versatile Ukrainian writers, proficient in various genres, styles, and languages. He was also one of the first Ukrainian writers to earn a living from his literary work. He was recognized as a classic of Ukrainian literature and a national hero of the Ukrainian people. He was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature four times, but did not receive it. He was also an honorary doctor of Kharkiv University and a full member of the Shevchenko Scientific Society.

He translated works from Polish, German, Russian, French, English, Italian, Spanish, and other languages.

When did Ivan Franko die?

Ivan Franko died on May 28, 1916, in Lviv of a heart attack caused by a serious illness. He was buried at Lychakiv Cemetery, where his grave has become a place of pilgrimage for many Ukrainians. Many streets, squares, schools, universities, libraries, museums, theaters, parks, and monuments in Ukraine and abroad are named after him. His works have been translated into many languages and are considered classics of world literature. He also influenced many subsequent generations of Ukrainian writers, such as Lesya Ukrainka, Mykhailo Kotsiubynsky, Oles Honchar, Yuriy Andrukhovych, and others. He was not only an outstanding writer, but also a profound thinker who left his mark on philosophy, history, sociology, psychology, economics, political science, religion, and culture. He was a true genius who gifted his people and humanity with his unsurpassed talent.


Іван Франко

In this article, we have described the biography of Ivan Franko, who was one of the most prominent Ukrainian writers, scholars, public and political figures. We looked at his childhood, family, education, career, and achievements, which testify to his incredible erudition, creativity, courage, integrity, patriotism, and humanism. We express our respect and admiration for Ivan Franko as an outstanding, talented personality who made a significant contribution to the development of Ukrainian literature, science, culture and society. We hope that this article has been useful to you and encourages you to read and study the works of Ivan Franko.

In conclusion, we would like to cite a few quotes by Ivan Franko that reflect his views on life:

  • “Whoever wants to be free must be kind, smart, and strong.”
  • “Life without an ideal is the life of an animal.”
  • “A man without a people is a tree without roots.”
  • “There is nothing holier in the world than work that leads to progress.”
  • “Freedom is not about doing what you want, but about not doing what you don’t want.”

Thank you for your attention!