The Idea of Galicia

History and Fantasy in Habsburg Political Culture

by Larry Wolff

Galicia was created at the first partition of Poland in 1772 and disappeared in 1918. Yet, in slightly over a century, the idea of Galicia came to have meaning for both the peoples who lived there and the Habsburg government that ruled it. Indeed, its memory continues to exercise a powerful fascination for those who live in its former territories and for the descendants of those who emigrated out of Galicia. The idea of Galicia was largely produced by the cultures of two cities, Lviv and Cracow. Making use of travelers' accounts, newspaper reports, and literary works, Wolff engages such figures as Emperor Joseph II, Metternich, Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, Ivan Franko, Stanisław Wyspiański, Tadeusz "Boy" Żeleński, Isaac Babel, Martin Buber, and Bruno Schulz. He shows the exceptional importance of provincial space as a site for the evolution of cultural meanings and identities, and analyzes the province as the framework for non-national and multi-national understandings of empire in European history.

  • Stanford University Press; January 2012
  • ISBN: 9780804774291
  • Edition: 1
  • Read online, or download in secure PDF format
  • Title: The Idea of Galicia
  • Author: Larry Wolff
  • Imprint: Stanford University Press

In The Press

"The Idea of Galicia is a magnificent addition to recent works on Galicia . . . [Wolff] brings the work of historians, anthropologists, and cultural critics to bear, always giving credit where it is due and applying arguments gleaned from others in new and original ways. The resulting unexpected juxtapositions and insights are stunning, thought provoking, and inspiring . . . This remarkable book is an impressive achievement."


About The Author

Larry Wolff is Professor of History at New York University. His works include Venice and the Slavs (Stanford 2001) and Inventing Eastern Europe (Stanford 199