Encyclopedia of Rusyn History and Culture

Article excerpt

Paul Robert Magocsi and Ivan Pop, eds. Encyclopedia of Rusyn History and Culture. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2002. xiii, 520 pp. Tables. Maps. Illustrations. $95.00, cloth.

As the first broad encyclopedic work dealing with the historical past and culture of the Rusyns, one of Europe's stateless peoples, this volume represents a positive and significant step forward in the field of Carpatho-Rusyn studies. Most importantly, it is not limited to any one area in which Rusyns live, such as Transcarpathia in western Ukraine where we find the majority of Rusyns, but offers abundant information about Rusyn history and culture in all the countries in which Rusyns have traditionally lived: Slovakia (Presov Region), Poland (Lemko Region), Yugoslavia (Vojvodina Region), Hungary, and Romania. Entries on all of these peoples focus on their mutually enriching historical and cultural relations with Rusyns and also cover Germans, Jews, and Roma who lived alongside Rusyns for centuries.

Overall, the encyclopedia contains 1,072 entries arranged alphabetically. They include numerous biographies of individuals-of both Rusyn and non-Rusyn background-important in Rusyn history, culture, or Rusyn studies; descriptions ofRusyn organizations and political parties both in Europe and in North America among immigrants; and Rusyn periodicals in the homeland and, again, among immigrants. Also covered are annual events such as the Lemko Vatra and Svidnik folk festivals and historical events such as the Vistula Operation after World War II, during which thousands of Rusyns and Ukrainians were forcibly deported from south eastern Poland and resettled in former German lands in western and northern Poland. Several lengthy entries deal with archaeology, architecture, art, cinema, ethnography, history, language, and literature, among others.

The encyclopedia is the collaborative product of University of Toronto professor Paul R. Magocsi; Ivan Pop, historian and former distinguished research fellow at the Institute of Slavic and Balkan Studies in the Soviet Academy of Sciences; and Bogdan Horbal, historian and librarian at the New York Public Library. Steeped for decades in the study of Carpathian Rus', these three scholars contributed the bulk of the entries, while other articles were written by experts in specific areas. Two examples: the literature entiy is the work of Elaine Rusinko, author of Straddling Borders: Literature and Identity in Subcarpathian Rus'; Helena Duc-Fajfer, professor of Lemko-Rusyn studies at the Advanced School of Education in Cracow; and Natalija Dudas, poet and cultural activist in the Rusyn national revival among Vojvodinian Rusyns. Contributing to the entry on language were linguists juraj Van'ko of the University of Constantine the Philosopher in Nitra and Aleksandr Dulicenko of Tartu University. …