Ivan Nechuy-Levytsky, this eternally unmarried hermit of our literature, has always been a mysterious figure.
Nechuy-Levytsky owes his love of literature to his father, who did not like to keep the house but was an avid book lover and reader. Semen Levytsky was a progressive priest who preached sermons in Ukrainian and collected folk songs and rituals. He had many works on the history of Ukraine at home, including manuscripts. Through his father, Ivan became acquainted with the works of Shevchenko.
As his pseudonym the writer chose the name of the Cossack colonel, the hero of “Duma about Nechuy,” whom he loved very much.
Lonely, hungry, and cold, Nechuy-Levytsky died in 1918, at the age of 80, in a home for the elderly. He was buried at the Baikove Cemetery in Kyiv.
Nechuy-Levytsky amazed Kyivites with his punctuality: one could check their watches according to his schedule. Every day, at a certain time, he would go for a walk along the same route: up to Volodymyrska Street, then to the funicular and back down Khreshchatyk, always under an umbrella. He did not drink alcohol at all. He went to bed at ten o’clock sharp, and even on his own anniversary he went to bed without listening to the congratulatory speeches.