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Two Important Studies of Galicia

  • John-Paul Himka

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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1 See the excellent collection of his essays, not just from Krytyka: Hrytsak, Iaroslav, Strasti za natsionalizm. Istorychni ese (Kiev, 2004).

2 Hrytsak, Iaroslav, Prorok u svoii vitchyzni. Franko ta ioho spil'nota, 1856–1886 (Kiev: Krytyka, 2006).

3 Struve, Kai, Bauern und Nation in Galizien: Über Zugehörigkeit und soziale Emanzipation im 19. Jahrhundert (Göttingen: Vandenhoek & Ruprecht, 2005).

4 “Among the numerous publications on the theme of his biography and his activities, we cannot find a single one that would discuss Franko's role in propagating new forms of marriage and sexual relations. This theme was and, to a great extent, remains under a taboo” (331).

5 Hrytsak's thinking on this issue was influenced by Petrovsky-Shtern, Yohanan, “Reconceptualizing the Alien: Jews in Modern Ukrainian Thought,” Ab Imperio, 2003, no. 4: 519–80. See also Shkandrij, Myroslav, Jews in Ukrainian Literature: Representations and Identity (New Haven, forthcoming 2009).

6 Struve makes good use of an excellent recent study of Jews as modernizers of the Galician economy: Tokarski, Sławomir, Ethnic Conflict and Economic Development: Jews in Galician Agriculture 1868–1914 (Warsaw, 2003).

7 These include Binder, Harald, Galizien in Wien: Parteien, Wahlen, Fraktionen und Abgeordnete im Übergang zur Massenpolitik, Studien zur Geschichte der Österreichisch-Ungarischen Monarchie, 29 (Vienna, 2005), reviewed in Austrian History Yearbook 38 (2007): 251–52; Magocsi, Paul R. and Hann, Chris, eds., Galicia: A Multicultured Land (Toronto, 2005); Zaiarniuk, Andrii, Idiomy emansypatsii. “Vyzvol'ni” proiekty i halyts'ke selo u seredyni XIX stolittia (Kiev, 2007). I was unable to review the latter two books, since I contributed to one and supervised the dissertation on which the other was based.

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Austrian History Yearbook
  • ISSN: 0067-2378
  • EISSN: 1558-5255
  • URL: /core/journals/austrian-history-yearbook
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