Inventing galicia: Messianic josephinism and the recasting of partitioned Poland

Larry Wolff

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


    In this article Larry Wolff considers the creation of Galicia in 1772 as an act of invention, the concoction of a brand-new geopolitical entity for the ideological legitimation of the Habsburg acquisitions in the first partition of Poland. Afterwards, especially under the auspices of Joseph II, Galicia was constructed both administratively and culturally, and the arbitrarily conceived province received form and meaning. The article considers published accounts of Galicia from the 1780s, mapping the province according to the perceived distinction between "Eastern Europe" and "Western Europe," defining its imperial relation to Vienna in terms of a civilizing mission, and articulating a perspective of Josephine messianism as the redemptive legitimation of Habsburg rule. This secular messianism was sometimes inspired by the notable religious presence of the Jewish population in the province. The article analyzes the affirmation of Galician political prerogatives in 1790 and the complex relation between Galician and Polish culture in the 1790s, focusing in particular on Wojciech Boguslawski and the L'viv production of his "national opera" Krakowiacy i Górale in 1796.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)818-840
    Number of pages23
    JournalSlavic Review
    Issue number4
    StatePublished - 2004

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Cultural Studies
    • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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