The Idea of Galicia: History and Fantasy in Habsburg Political Culture

By Himka, John-Paul | Canadian Slavonic Papers, March 2011 | Go to article overview

The Idea of Galicia: History and Fantasy in Habsburg Political Culture


Himka, John-Paul, Canadian Slavonic Papers


Larry Wolff. The Idea of Galicia: History and Fantasy in Habsburg Political Culture. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2010. xi, 486 pp. Illustrations. Index. $60.00, cloth.

Larry Wolffs new book is about "how an imagined or invented entity, like Galicia in the eighteenth century, became geopolitically real, meaningful, and historical in the nineteenth century - before receding again into the domain of fantasy in the twentieth century" (p. 7). The Habsburg state came up with the idea of Galicia to justify taking part in the 1772 partition of Poland. Galicia was manufactured out of medieval claims of the Hungarian crown to the former Rus' principality of Galicia- Volhynia. There was some geographical congruence between the principality that disappeared in the late fourteenth century and the Austrian land that appeared in the late eighteenth, but the threads binding the two "Galicias" were very thin. Still, the invention began to take on a life of its own.

After only twenty years of existence, Galicia figured as "the fatherland" in the conception of some Polish noblemen. By 1848 the Ruthenian (Ukrainian) clergy and intelligentsia wanted to partition Galicia into western (Polish) and eastern (Ruthenian) sections. Wolff feels that the contention over partition confirms that Galicia had become the political framework in which its inhabitants were then thinking. The reality of Galicia solidified even more after the land received autonomy within Austria in 1867. After the fall of the Habsburgs, Wolff shows, Galicia, as fantasy or apparition, haunted culture and politics for decades.

What is attractive about this book, however, is less the particular ground it covers than the way it does so. The study is a highly intelligent, delightful read, as much a work of art as an investigation of history. It is skilfully paced - the intellectual history of Galicia moves forward in almost imperceptible increments from the 1770s into the 1920s. True, the major transitions are marked by chapter divisions, but there is a tremendous fluidity in the presentation and never does the reader feel rushed to the next historical station. Wolff often makes his points through examples from literature, music, and the visual arts, even film - he manages to make legitimate use, for example, oí Some Like It Hot. Crucial figures who explain Galicia to the reader include the great Polish playwright Alexander Fredro, Mozart's son Franz Xaver Wolfgang Mozart, Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, Alfred Döb lin, Isaac Babel, and Bruno Szulc. Wolff quotes passages in his own elegant and sensitive translations. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Idea of Galicia: History and Fantasy in Habsburg Political Culture
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.