The introductory chapter examines manuscript book production beginning with the Ostromir Gospel, written in Kyiv as early as 1056. Subsequent chapters focus on the sixteenth to late eighteenth centuries, a time characterized by the coexistence of both manuscript and printed book production.
The first printed book authored by a Ukrainian was the Iudicium Pronosticon by Iurii Drohobych (Rome, 1483). Church Slavonic liturgical books for Ukrainians and Belarusians were published by Schweibold Fiol in Krakow in the late 15th century. The first printing shops on Ukrainian territory were established by Ivan Fedorov (Fedorovych) in Lviv (1574) and Ostrih in Volhynia (1578). Later important presses included the printing shops owned by the Lviv Dormition Confraternity (established in 1591 and owned from 1790 to 1939 by the Lviv Stauropegion Institute) and the Kyivan Caves Monastery (1616-1919).
The organizational structure of the Ukrainian and Belarusian printing industries and book trades were quite diversified. There existed at least four main categories of printing enterprises. First, there were private presses owned by merchants and printers themselves. Printing presses of Belarusian merchants Mamonichi in Vilnius, Mykhailo Slozka in Lviv and Maksim Voshchanka in Mahileu (Mogilev) had permanent addresses. But most private printers were traveling craftsmen, Wanderdruker, as the Germans called them. Ivan Fedorov himself, Zaprozhian Cossack Tymofiy Verbytsky, Byelourusian burgher Spiridon Sobol, Orthodox monks Pavlo Domzhyv Liutkovych Telytsia and Sylvestr, the Poles Daniel of Łęczyca and Jan Szeliga - all of them were typical itinerant printers. They had to make their enterprises profitable in order to obtain money for further activity. But they were not mere men of business: they certainly connected profit-making with an ideological program - to preach the ’true faith’, to promote education and first of all spiritual enlightenment.
The second enterprise category is represented by publishing houses owned by magnates: the Ostrih publishing house owned by the most influential Ukrainian noble Prince Kostiantyn Vasyl Ostrozky and several presses of Lithuanian and Belarusian Protestant magnates (those in Brest, Nesvizh, Panivtsi, and others). Only ideological aims were important for their wealthy owners. Most of the printing presses of this type were connected with religious schools and were administered by the literary-scholarly circles such as the famous Ostrih academy. Professor I. N. Golenishchev-Kutuzov considered the Ostrih academy to be an precursor of all east Slavic universities. Perhaps it can also be called the predecessor of all east Slavic scholarly institutions. Thus, the cultural and political interests of the owners and their advisers were reflected in their publishing activity. Bishop Hedeon Balaban organized presses in the villages of Striatyn (1602-1606) and Krylos (1606-1606). Their publications include good examples of Renaissance book ornamentation.
The third category is represented by publishing enterprises of the Orthodox confraternities. Most famous and prolific among them were the presses of the Lviv and /514/ Vilnius Confraternities. Printing presses were also owned by the Mahileu Epiphany Confraternity and by the Peremyshl’ Trinity Confraternity. We do not know of any books published by the latter. Perhaps the Peremyshl’ Confraternity press was used for the printing of engraved icons only. The Lviv Dominion Confraternity press during the first period of its activity served mainly educational and ideological purposes, publishing textbooks, political pamphlets and literary works. During the second quarter of the seventeenth century the Confraternity press turned into a commercial enterprise and published liturgical texts almost exclusively.
The fourth and the last category was monastery printing presses. For Belarusian culture, the most important were the press of the Vilnius Holy Spirit Monastery and its branch in Vevis (Evie). In Ukraine, besides little presses like those in Luts’k and Kremianets’, there was one exceptionally large printing house - that of the Kyivan Caves Monastery. It published not only liturgical works but also political pamphlets and dramatic and poetic works by teachers and students of the Kyiv Mohyla Academy. The Pamvo Berynda’s Slavic-Ruthenian Lexicon, as well as the Lithos and Confession of the Orthodox Faith by Metropolitan Petro Mohyla were published there.
Today we have evidence about the existence of no fewer than 25 printing presses in Ukraine between 1574 and 1648. They were situated in 17 localities: 7 in villages, the rest in cities and towns. Lviv alone had at various times 12 presses. Of 25 printing presses, 17 were owned by Orthodox Ukrainians and produced books mainly in Church Slavonic and Ukrainian (Ruthenian), six enterprises were owned by Polish Roman Catholics, one by Armenians and one by Protestants.
In the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, which included Belarusian and Lithuanian lands, at least 22 presses were active in 1569-1648 (11 Orthodox, one Uniate, four Roman Catholic, three Protestant and three, which published both Protestant and Catholic books). Among them 11 were located in Vilnius, the rest divided among 14 towns.
During the second half of the 17th century, most printing shops owned by private persons ceased to exist both in Ukraine and Belarus. The leading role was assumed by presses of monasteries and other religious institutions. In Ukraine, they were responsible for more than three-quarters of all titles published from 1651 through 1700. A similar shift, quite understandable in the context of the victorious Counter-Reformation, was also characteristic for printing industries of Poland, Bohemia and several other neighboring countries.
The decentralized structure of Ukrainian and Belarusian printing largely contributed to the diversity of book production, especially in the early decades of the 17th century. But at the same time, most presses, particularly those belonging to the itinerant craftsmen, were very small. The vast majority of books were published by several large enterprises only. For example, in Ukraine, during the period 1574-1648, 69.9% of the total volume of pages of books was produced by four publishers (29.8% by the Kyivan Caves Monastery, 21.7% by the Lviv Confraternity, 12.1 % by Prince Kostiantyn Ostrozky and 6.3% by Mychailo Slozka). In the second half of thel7th century 35% of all titles published in Ukraine came from the Kyivan Caves Monastery press, 25% from presses in the Chernihiv Orthodox eparchy.
On Belarusian territory in the second half of the 17th century, only three printing shops were active: those of the Orthodox burgher Maksim Voshchanka in Mahileu (1693c. 1707), the Uniate Basilian monastery in Suprasl’ (1695-7 and from 1715 on) and the Radziwill family in Slutsk (c. 1670-88). In Vilnius, only the Jesuit Academy printed /515/ books in the second half of the 17th century. Although in Lithuania, Belarus and Ukraine together, print shops were active in 32 locations until the middle of the 17th century, only the largest cities such as Vilnius, Lviv and Kyiv developed into large centers of the book industry and trade. The causes of this were mainly economic: the availability of qualified craftsmen and better market possibilities.
The quantity of books printed in Ukraine may appear small when compared to Western European book publishing. Nevertheless, the influence of books on the development of Ukrainian culture was far from negligible. According to a statement of the Syrian traveler Paul of Aleppo, in the middle of the 17th century there were numerous elementary schools in Ukrainian villages. Without printed books the activities of these schools would have been difficult, if not impossible. Theological works and some secular publications had an appreciable impact on people who were the most active cultural figures, and who virtually shaped the development of the Ukrainian cultural tradition.
Ukrainian printing assumed a distinctive character at the very first stage of its history. In the late 16th and early 17th centuries, economic development as well as the rise of social activity generated conditions for the assimilation of some elements of the Renaissance cultural heritage. These and both indigenous traditions and cross-cultural contacts contributed to the formation of distinctive features of Ukrainian publishing.
Since the 1720s, the Russian government issued several ukases completely banning the publication of anything except liturgical texts identical with those already printed in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Ukrainian language publications and publications in an Ukrainian version of Church Slavonic were strictly prohibited. This contributed to the decline of book publishing in Kyiv and Chernihiv. Deprived of the possibility to publish new texts, the Kyivan Caves Monastery press devoted much attention to providing books with illustrations and ornaments. Many books printed in Kyiv had excellent engravings by the best Ukrainian artists such as Oleksander Tarasevych, Hryhorii Levytskyi, and others.
On Right Bank Ukraine, administered by the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, most printing presses were owned by Catholic monasteries. The presses of the Byzantine rite Basilian monasteries at Pochaiv (1734-1914) and Univ (1660-1770) were the most productive centers of Ukrainian book publishing in the 18th century. The Pochaiv press is credited for using Ukrainian vernacular in some of its publications. There were also Jewish presses publishing in Hebrew and Yiddish. After 1772 many German books were printed in Lviv.
The largest publishing and printing enterprises had their own book shops. Books printed in Ukraine were sold not only throughout Ukraine, but also in Belarus. Russia, Lithuania, the Balkans, and elsewhere. The majority of books available on the Ukrainian market were imported from Central Europe. Books in Latin prevailed in school, monasteries, and private libraries.
The last chapter of the study examines the role of book publishing during the Ukrainian national revival of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In the afterward, the author discusses current problems of the Ukrainian book industry and book trade, including the impact of information technologies on book publishing.