Inventing Galicia

The entire Central and Eastern Europe was “invented” in the 18th century by philosophers and travellers of the Enlightenment. This is the claim Professor Wolff makes and explains while studying the case of Galicia: a mosaic of denominations and nationalities gathered under the sceptre of a single ruler.

What made the people living in this area become, as Metternich expressed it, Galicians or Galicianers? How is it possible that people – so different, and speaking so many languages – have created, oftentimes unconsciously, a community whose memory and myth continue to intertwine in contemporary culture? Another reason to consider Larry Wolff’s interpretation interesting is that he is looking at Galicia from the other side of an ocean, without the burden of someone who developed within its myth.

Prof. Larry Wolff is a historian specialising in the intellectual and cultural history of Eastern Europe, the Habsburg monarchy and Enlightenment, and in the history of childhood. He is most keen on the questions of mutual relations between the East and the West of Europe, relations between Vatican in Poland, Venice and Slavs, and also Vienna and Galicia. His works include: Postcards from the End of the World. Child Abuse in Freud’s Vienna (1988), Inventing Eastern Europe. The Map of Civilization on the Mind of the Enlightenment (1994), Venice and the Slavs. The Discovery of Dalmatia in the Age of Enlightenment (2001), and The Idea of Galicia. History and Fantasy in Habsburg Political Culture (2012).
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