Ukrainian steppe in the memoirs of the English entrepreneur George Hume

Main Article Content

Olena Otzemko


The purpose of this research is to study George Hume’s memoirs as a foreign perspective on of the South
Ukrainian region in the latter half of the 19th century, determining the potential for obtaining information for studying the
history of Southern Ukraine during the period of post-reform modernization.
The novelty of this research is determining how the realities of life in the steppe Ukraine in the latter half of the 19th
century are reflected in the memoirs of the English entrepreneur, taking into account that they are a piece of historical and
literary writing about Ukraine on the one hand, and a source of personal experience on the other.
Conclusions. The South Ukrainian steppes in the memoirs of G. Hume are presented as a combination of natural and
human factors, social and economic relations that are closely intertwined with each other. Hume’s words generally coincide
with information from other sources used in modern research. First and foremost, undoubtedly, it was entrepreneurial activity
since this was the author’s main goal. Nature-related topics are also closely connected with his business interests: the author
emphasizes the need for effective exploitation of the fertile black land. The vivid essays about his business partners, estate
owners, peasants, and Mennonite Germans are an integral part of the memoirs. A keen interest in people is combined with
amiability, which reveals itself throughout. At the same time, the narrative is imbued with value judgments common for a
representative of the European (British) society, which are based on the following antithesis: talented people versus a backward,
inefficient state. The author writes with great sympathy about local (Ukrainian) peasants, emphasizing their abilities that had
not been properly developed due to lack of education.
Given this, it is logical that one of the main ideas of the memoirs is the author’s civilizational mission which was carried
out not only through the promotion of “labor-saving machines”, but also through the introduction of the “Eastern people” to
the benefits of civilization

Article Details

How to Cite
Otzemko, O. (2023). Ukrainian steppe in the memoirs of the English entrepreneur George Hume. Ukrainian Peasant, (29).
Methodology, historiography and source studies of agrarian history
Author Biography

Olena Otzemko, Vasyl’ Stus Donetsk National University

PhD (in History), Associate Professor, Associate Professor of the Department of History of Ukraine and
Special Branches of History, Vasyl’ Stus Donetsk National University, Vinnitsa, Ukraine
Scopus-Author ID 57411371700


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