Yaroslav Hrytsak is the director of the Institute for Historical Research at the Ivan Franko National University of Lviv and visiting associate professor at the Central European University in Budapest. One of Ukraine's most prominent liberal intellectuals, Hrytsak writes historical essays that often enliven the pages of Krytyka, Ukraine's equivalent of The New York Review of Books. The monograph under review is entitled, in translation, “A Prophet in His Own Fatherland: Franko and His Society (1856–1886).” This is not Hrytsak's first book about the poet and polymath Ivan Franko, but it is certainly his best, betraying many years of reading and reflecting, thinking, and rethinking. In 2007 Hrytsak's new biography of Franko won the “Best Ukrainian Book” prize in the nonfiction category in the competition sponsored by the weekly Korespondent. Very readable, this new biography is full of fresh perspectives. Hrytsak states in his introduction that “in the general hierarchy of scholarly values I place the discovery of new methods of conceptualization of already known facts above the collection of new facts” (20). For his new biography on Franko, Hrytsak chose an interesting illustration for every chapter and then interpreted the illustration in the text. This device is but a characteristic creative moment of Hrytsak's style.
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