An iron snake in a highland forest: Olha Kobylianska’s The Battle
The article is devoted to Olha Kobylianska’s story The Battle (1895), which focuses on the introduction of railways into the Carpathian landscape (Bukovina). While in metropolitan areas and economically advanced regions of Europe railways became a “natural” element of the landscape at the turn of the 20th century, in distant mountain regions railways constituted an alien and invasive element. In the main part of the article the author examines the motif of the opposition between nature and civilisation. In addition, the author explores the cultural symbolism and opposing meanings of iron and trees. Thus what emerges as the central motif of the story is the fate of the Hutsuls as an ethnic group living in the highlands in the context of the opposition indicated above. The originality of Kobylianska’s story lies in the fact that nature becomes its main protagonist. In the last part of the article the author embarks on a comparative confrontation between The Battle and Karl Emil Franzos’ German-language prose.