Volume 11 Issue 1 CONTENTS


Az 1196–1235 közötti magyar történelem nyugati elbeszélő forrásainak kritikája [A critical study of the Western narrative sources of Hungarian history from 1196 until 1235]. By Tamás Körmendi. Budapest: MTA Bölcsészettudományi Kutatóközpont Történettudományi Intézet, 2019. 229 pp.
DOI 10.38145/2022.1.235

For over eight decades, scholars of medieval Hungary have had at their disposal the three volumes of the alphabetical repertory (or rather chrestomathy) by Ferenc Albin Gombos, which offers a corpus (albeit one far from complete) of the sources on Hungarian history between the Conquest of the Carpathian basin by the Magyars at the end of the ninth century and the extinction of the Árpád dynasty in 1301 (Catalogus fontium historiae Hungaricae aevo ducum et regum ex stirpe Arpad descendentium ab anno Christi DCCC usque ad annum MCCCI). Although the Catalogus fontium has been an essential tool for scholars since it was published in 1937–1938, no attempt had been made, until the doctoral thesis by Tamás Körmendi defended at Eötvös Loránd University in 2008, to accomplish a critical handbook examining the European chronicles, gesta, and annals collected by Gombos and containing information about Hungary in the Árpád era. The present volume is a revised version of Körmendi’s dissertation, which discusses the Western narrative sources of a shorter time period covered by the successive reigns of Emeric (1196–1204), Ladislaus III (1204–1205), and Andrew II (1205–1235). Körmendi, an associate professor, vice-head of the Institute of History, and head of the Department of Auxiliary Sciences of History at Eötvös Loránd University (Budapest), has also devoted attention, in his earlier writings, to the Latin language of the Greater Legend of Saint Stephen, the establishment of Hungarian rule in Croatia, and the history of coats of arms in medieval Hungary. The work, which is Körmendi’s first monograph, offers a philological and historical analysis of the narrative sources on Hungarian history between 1196 and 1235.

The Hungarian national chronicle (the so-called fourteenth-century chronicle composition) contains little information on the events of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Therefore, in addition to charters, foreign narrative sources prove essential for any understanding of the period. Although studies focusing on political history have, since the publication of the two-volume synthesis on the history of the Árpád era by Gyula Pauler in 1893 (A magyar nemzet története az Árpádházi királyok alatt [History of the Hungarian nation under the kings of the house of Árpád]), been exploiting the passages related to Hungary from the annals, chronicles, and gesta written beyond the borders of the Carpathian Basin, Hungarian scholars have limited knowledge of the texts themselves. Körmendi addresses this shortcoming by examining the narrative sources which contain information concerning the aforementioned four decades of Hungarian history.

In the preface to his volume, Körmendi specifies the criteria according to which the corpus of his analysis is established. His research has a wide geographical scope. By defining Western sources as texts from the lands of Latin Christendom, the book covers histories from Great Britain to Poland and from the Italian Peninsula to the eastern shores of the Baltic Sea. It does not deal with the historiographical tradition of the Kingdom of Hungary; however, the Historia Salonita by the Dalmatian chronicler Thomas the Archdeacon (of Split) is part of the corpus. Despite the fact that in the period under examination the Adriatic coast was ruled by the kings of Hungary, Dalmatian historiography proves independent from the Hungarian tradition. The monograph discusses only medieval narrative sources in the classical sense of the term. Therefore, the humanist literature of the Renaissance era is not taken into consideration: this explains the absence of the chronicle of Krakow’s canon Jan Długosz and the Annales Boiorum of the Bavarian historiograph Johannes Aventinus from the source material treated in the book. Using these criteria, Körmendi aims exhaustively to collect the narrative sources containing any information relevant to Hungary and Hungarians between 1196 and 1235. He compiles his sources primarily on the basis of the Catalogus fontium by Gombos, but as he mentions in the introduction, the list of the three-volume repertory can be completed with a few items, such as the lives of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary by Ceasarius of Heisterbach or the French poet Rutebeuf. (Due to its different genre, the extensive hagiographical literature on the Árpád princess is not subject to his analyses, however.) The texts are mostly Latin-language sources, but the corpus also includes a few vernacular chronicles (e. g. the Old French accounts of Geoffrey of Villehardouin and Robert de Clari on the fourth crusade).

The volume consists of four main parts. A chapter giving a chronological overview of the events of Hungarian history appearing in the Western narrative sources is followed by two case studies providing examples of the types of analyses that can be carried out on the basis of the corpus (I shall return to the subject below). The most important and extensive part of the work offers an encyclopedic inventory of the annals and chronicles, which include accounts on the Hungarians of the historical period between 1196 and 1235. This unit classifies sources according to their geographical origin, with the exception of the last three subchapters, which are thematic and are dedicated to the crusaders’ accounts and the histories of the two mendicant orders. As regards the geographical groups, it should be noted that German chronicles are the most numerous among the narrative sources in the corpus. In addition to historiographs of the German provinces, chroniclers from the French, British (Scottish), Iberian, Italian, Dalmatian, Polish or Bohemian territories also provide information related to the Kingdom of Hungary at the end of the twelfth and during the first decades of the thirteenth century. The eleven subchapters, which are often further subdivided into smaller units according to smaller geographical regions (such as Saxony or Flanders), describe, one by one, a total of 150 texts. Within the units, the sources follow each other in the chronological order of their genesis (from firsthand accounts to late Medieval tradition). The entries of the encyclopedic part of the book begin by summarizing, on the basis of the findings in the secondary literature, the most important knowledge on the annals, chronicles, and histories of the corpus. Following this general presentation of the sources, which indicates their author (if known), their historical context, the presumable date of their creation, the period they cover, their manuscript tradition, and their influence, Körmendi carries out, in the second part of the entries, a critical analysis of the chronicle passages related to Hungarian history. He attempts to determine the origins of the information on Hungary and the historical value of the accounts.

Körmendi’s thorough examination of the texts allows him to establish the philological relations within the corpus and the hierarchy of the narrative sources giving accounts of the same events. One can observe that information usually flows between annals and chronicles written within the same geographical area: the monastic annals of Austria are, for instance, closely connected and take passages from one another. At the beginning of each subchapter of the encyclopedic part, Körmendi specifies the information that can be found in the source material of the region and indicates which groups are formed by the philologically related texts. The chronicles mention Hungary especially in cases where there existed, in the period under examination, direct contacts between the territory in question and Hungary. While Thuringian sources seem to be concerned with the figure of Saint Elizabeth (the daughter of King Andrew II and wife of Louis IV, Landgrave of Thuringia), Bohemian chroniclers cite the dynastic marriage between Ottokar I Přemysl, King of Bohemia and Constance of Hungary, daughter of the late Béla III, in 1199. The chronological overview in the first chapter of the book shows clearly that some events of Hungarian history were of great interest to chroniclers from all over Europe. As Körmendi points out, three episodes received particular attention: the siege of Zadar by the crusaders in 1202, the assassination of Queen Gertrude of Merania in 1213, and the crusade conducted by Andrew II in 1217–1218 are well known among the medieval authors in the corpus.

The second and the third chapters of the volume present two (relatively) rich historical traditions in the form of independent case studies. The first focuses on the depiction in the sources of the capture of Prince Andrew (the future Andrew II), who was rebelling against his elder brother Emeric in 1203. The second analysis examines the large number of texts giving accounts of the aforementioned murderous attack against Queen Gertrude, the first wife of King Andrew. The 27 annals and chronicles providing details on the death of the royal consort are classified into five groups according to the type of information they contain. The studies show that the findings of philological investigations can be used to draw historical conclusions. In the first case, Körmendi affirms that the most cited sources on the conflict between Emeric and Andrew (the Historia Salonitana by Thomas the Archdeacon and the annals of Klosterneuburg) lack credibility and then tries to reconstruct the events mainly on the basis of the brief account in the annals of the monastery of Admont in Styria. As regards the tradition concerning the assassination of Gertrude of Merania, it should be noted that Körmendi, who considers the analysis of the narrative sources of the tragic event as a first step to further inquiries, has devoted elsewhere another study to the the circumstances surrounding the murder.1 In the concluding words of his book, Körmendi stresses that his comprehensive analysis of the corpus also allowed him to make some minor corrections concerning the chronology of the history of the Árpád era.

To summarize, Tamás Körmendi’s volume, inspired in part by the work of Wilhelm Wattenbach on the narrative sources of medieval German history (Deutschlands Geschichtsquellen im Mittelalter bus zur Mitte des dreizehnten Jahrhunderts), is a much-needed handbook for experts on Árpád-era Hungary. Körmendi has developed his own method to carry out a thorough analysis of a well-defined group of foreign narrative sources on Hungarian history which can serve as a model for scholars seeking to continue basic research on medieval annals and chronicles mentioning Hungary and the Hungarians. The critical observations Körmendi formulates on the texts offer further nuance to the findings in the previous literature in philology. As the sources examined provide information primarily on the foreign relations of the Kingdom of Hungary, the book will prove an essential tool for anyone interested in the foreign affairs of the kings of the Árpád dynasty between 1196 and 1235.

Judit Csákó
Research Centre for the Humanities
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Medicinische Policey in den habsburgischen Ländern der Sattelzeit: Ein Beitrag zu einer Kulturgeschichte der Verwaltung von Gesundheit und Krankheit. By Lukas Lang. Vienna: LIT Verlag, 2021. pp. 336.
DOI 10.38145/2022.1.240

Lukas Lang’s significant contribution to the field of medical history in the East Central European region, focusing on health care administration in the Habsburg Monarchy in the so-called “saddle period” (Sattelzeit), a period of transition from early modern to “modern” structures between the 1780s and 1820s, is based on his dissertation, which he defended at the University of Graz in 2017. Centered around a core problem of the age, which was rooted in the Enlightenment paradigm of the “pursuit of happiness” and the value of a healthy population viewed as a safeguard of stability and eventually progress, Lang’s volume deals primarily with medizinische Policey (which literally translates as “medical police”), a field strongly related to the comprehensive Polizeywissenschaft or “police science” concerned primarily with the internal order of the community, as well as the mechanisms and configurations of order and the ideals of order in an administrative-historical perspective on health and disease in four chapters, analyzing the different areas and levels of the discourse. Due to the abundance of texts and the diversity of health care regulations in the different regions of the Habsburg Monarchy, Lang wisely chose to limit his focus to the province of Lower Austria and the imperial residence city of Vienna. Instead of offering a general overview of the topic, he opted for an in-depth study of local affairs, revealing the dynamics of health care policy in the region but also successfully embedding the identified problem areas, discourses, and unique approaches to local policy in the transformations accelerated by, for example, the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars.

The introduction focuses on the relevant historiographical traditions, the current state of research, and the potential methodological and conceptual tools with the help of which one can explore the administrative-historical dimension of health care in the Sattelzeit in a dynamic framework, taking not only the theoretical, prescriptive aspect of the examined treatises on medical police into consideration but also the influence of theoretical works on medical policymaking and the successes and setbacks of the process through which such laws were implemented and evolved into “self-evident customs” (p.99). Lang provides a wide tableau of the different approaches to medizinische Policey and medical policymaking in general, beginning with the famous concept introduced by George Rosen, considering the health policy of the German-speaking territories and its theoretical background “narrow, conservative, and particularist in spirit” (p.15), a view challenged substantially by historians of medicine since the 1950s.

Lang also includes Michel Foucault’s conceptual framework, which exerted a strong influence on Germanic historiography until the 1990s, inspiring research revolving around the concepts of biopolitics, governmentality, and medicalization. Lang does not dismiss the latter concept (he uses the term Medikalisierung throughout the volume), but he does “recalibrate” it by considering the practical feasibility of the concept of “medical socialization” introduced by Francisca Loetz and highlighting the dualism between academic medicine and lay medicine, as well as their reciprocal dynamics and negotiation processes, which seem to be particularly suitable for his analysis, along with other methodological concepts focusing on dynamics and negotiations instead of rigid structures and top-to-bottom approaches to administration, among them the cultural techniques of administration (Kulturtechniken der Verwaltung) introduced by Peter Becker and Stefan Haas or the analysis of Ordnungskonfigurationen (configurations of order) introduced in medieval studies by Stefan Weinfurter and Bernd Schneidmüller.

The levels of discourse examined in the volume are shaped by the groups of sources chosen by Lang for his analysis: moving from the sphere of theory to the practical implementation of health regulations, he discusses the most significant contributions to the genre, including Johann Peter Frank’s comprehensive six-volume work on the system of medical police (posthumously amended by three further volumes), along with the treatises by Zacharias Gottlieb von Huszty, Franz von Steininger, Joseph Bernt, and Marquard Joseph von Kotz. The second level of Lang’s analysis deals with health legislation based on Johann Nepomuk Freiherr von Hempel-Kürsinger’s Handbuch der Gesetzkunde im Sanitäts- und Medicinalgebiethe (1830–1832), with a focus on Lower Austrian regulations, containing ca. 3000 ordinances from the period between 1230 and 1821. In the third, empirically-based analytical chapter, Lang delves into unpublished sources from the holdings of the police authorities of the Habsburg Monarchy from the years between 1783 and 1814 kept in the Austrian State Archives. Based on these texts, Lang was not only able to offer a comprehensive view of each individual level, but the sources also enabled him to convey an integral image encompassing the three levels and to fulfil his initial objective of offering a differentiated interpretation of how the different discourses and arenas of medical policymaking and the implementation of different regulations influenced and shaped each other.

After a both historiographically and methodologically convincing introduction, Chapter 2 focuses on the theoretical discourse of medizinische Policey based on the works of the abovementioned authors, whose texts, though theoretical in nature, were by no means disengaged from earlier attempts and discourses on the issues and most important tasks of (medical) police. Drawing on earlier regulations and medical expertise, the authors aimed to create the discursive foundation of normative principles for state health policy and administration and establish the academically trained physician as a medical expert, whose political engagement is vital for achieving the political, economic, and social objective of ensuring a healthy population. Lang in this chapter surveys the historical background and theoretical underpinnings of medizinische Policey ingrained in general police science (Policeywissenschaft) and cameralist economic theory, as well as the goals and structure of the works, the most important problem areas (population discourse, the relationship of the medical profession and state administration, and the correlation of theory and practice), and the significant discursive shift towards the importance of prophylaxis. Lang also discusses the mediality of works on medical police, highlighting that the typographical layout and structure, the “utilitarian” language, the different methods of dissemination, and the introduction of medizinische Policey in medical education at the universities of the Habsburg Monarchy were all imperative in establishing a widely received normative discourse.

Chapter 3 deals with the direct influence of this normative discourse on the legislation: as argued by Lang, this influence was by no means linear, and, as mentioned earlier, there had already been some interplay between theory and norm production, with the authors of medizinische Policey strongly drawing on older police and health regulations. Lang’s exhaustive and elaborate chapter focuses on several problem areas related to medical regulations in the Lower Austrian territory, surveying, for example, the distribution and development of Habsburg sanitary laws, the types of laws and their temporal and regional distribution, the most important subjects (e.g., disease control; the inspection of foodstuffs, hospitals and pharmacies; veterinary science and practices; hazard prevention; treatment practices; health administration; medical education; public hygiene; quackery; burial customs), the administrative organization and its most important bodies and actors. As in the previous chapter on the mediality of treatises on medical police, in this part Lang also focuses on the dissemination (publication, announcement) of legal knowledge, as well as the implementation processes illustrated with case studies, demonstrating how normative knowledge was received and used in society.

Chapter 4 focuses on case studies. It deals with three specific problem areas, pointing at the significance and stakes of thorough medical regulations and the stricter surveillance of society. According to Lang, this part is a “testing ground” for the general ideas presented in the earlier chapters of the volume and aims to show how the different norms, discourses, and legislative practices were set to work in certain cases, involving the conflicts of authorities, social norms and customs, and in some cases, human nature. The problem areas discussed are marriage and sexuality; prostitution and sexually transmitted diseases; and quackery. Lang claims that controlling the marital habits and sexuality of individuals are areas that have strong implications for both morality and for ensuring a strong, healthy, and growing population, while the battle against unlicensed healers and quacks on the diverse medical market in the Habsburg Monarchy at the time was imperative for achieving thorough state control and for enabling academically trained physicians to establish themselves as par excellence medical experts and a determinative force in health administration.

In sum, Lukas Lang’s comprehensive work on the changes, ruptures, and continuities in health administration in the Habsburg Monarchy in the decades between the 1780s and 1820s is a noteworthy contribution to medical history writing in the region, fulfilling a significant lacuna in the secondary literature. Though the text itself would have needed more input from the editors in correcting typos (a notable example is Huszty’s surname, which appears in three different forms) and unedited charts and in smoothening the sometimes overly repetitive and didactic argumentation, the book is still an important read for any historian of medicine, as it provides an important basis for understanding the most important theoretical underpinnings, discourses, and practices through which health administration evolved in the province of Lower Austria, providing an important example for the other regions of the Habsburg Monarchy as well. In the future, an English edition (and not a mere translation of the current German version) would be useful, as it would make the volume more widely accessible.

Janka Kovács
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Szörnyeteg Felső-Magyarországon: Grünwald Béla és a szlovák–magyar kapcsolatok története [A monster in Upper Hungary: Béla Grünwald and the history of Slovak–Hungarian relations]. By József Demmel. Budapest: Ráció, 2021. 283 pp. / Ľudožrút v Hornom Uhorsku: Príbeh Bélu Grünwalda. Bratislava: VEDA, 2020. 288 pp.
DOI 10.38145/2022.1.244

Before this book, József Demmel had written three other monographs about men who, in different ways, maneuvered in between the conflicting Slovak and Hungarian identity projects of the 1860s and 1870s: the Evangelical pastor Gustav Adolf Seberini/Gusztáv Szeberényi, the senior county official József Justh, and the members of the so-called “New School.” This time, he chose a protagonist from the same period whose commitment to a militant, state-sponsored Magyar nationalism was solid and unwavering. Béla Grünwald (not to be confused with the painter of the same name) was both an eminent historian and a theoretician of public administration, but he is known first and foremost for his nationalist pamphlet from 1878, A Felvidék [Upper Hungary]. Demmel’s book concentrates on his earlier career, also drawing on Grünwald’s previously unexplored personal papers.

Demmel first paints a portrait of the elites of Zólyom County, where Grünwald’s career unfolded. The 1840s saw the emergence of two parallel local public spheres, one in Hungarian consisting of nobles and one in Slovak of a priestly-commoner character. The latter was more numerous. More locals read Ľudovít Štúr’s journal Slovenské národné noviny than the organs of the Hungarian press, and the citizens of Zvolen elected Štúr to the 1847 diet. After 1848–49, the tide briefly turned in favor of the Slovak cause. Slovak was introduced into the administration and became the language of instruction in the local Catholic grammar school. By the time Grünwald arrived in the county in 1867 as its freshly elected chief county clerk, the political winds had shifted again, and the local strongman Antal Radvánszky had forced several Slovak cultural institutions to take refuge in neighboring Turóc County.

As Radvánszky’s protégé, Grünwald placed the fight against the Slovak movement at the center of his concerns. He coordinated the Magyarization of the Banská Bystrica gymnasium, fulminated against the Nationalities Act when it was passed in 1868, and later bombarded the government with memoranda demanding a crackdown on the national minority movements. In 1873, he launched the Slovak-language Svornosť with government aid, which he edited and partly wrote in a pro-Magyar spirit. The following year, already as the alispán (top elected official) of Zólyom County, he came to national fame by initiating a government investigation against the then-existing four Slovak grammar schools, an unusual move given that none of them operated in his jurisdiction. Demmel provides a detailed account of the infamous process that led to the closure of the four schools. He emphasizes that, contrary to popular belief, it had little to do with Kálmán Tisza and mostly took place under the watch of Prime Minister István Bittó.

Turning to the dissolution of the Matica slovenská in 1875, Demmel again stresses that it was not Tisza’s plan so much as the result of Grünwald’s intrigues. While the procedure against the Slovak high schools was already underway, Grünwald had started fomenting public outrage against the Matica in the Budapest press. Based on Grünwald’s manuscripts, Demmel identifies him as the author of several denunciatory articles. Through private channels, Grünwald later also gained access to confidential investigation materials and, appealing to a public opinion increasingly riled up against the minorities, he put pressure on the government to suspend the association. Since the Matica operated in Turóc County, the incident allows Demmel to open a parenthesis and describe local political life since the 1840s, which diverged considerably from the trends in Zólyom County.

The book is arguably the least successful as a work of psychohistory. Demmel motivates much of his inquiry by the goal of understanding what turned Grünwald into such a passionate enemy of the Slovak identity project and what secret personal trauma drove him to commit suicide. The array of facts that he digs up in the process are unquestionably suggestive of the political and social milieu, but they don’t answer these questions. To uncover Grünwald’s Slovak roots and present his anti-Slovak fervor as the fanaticism of a convert would be facile, given that only his uncle Anton Majovský/Antal Majovszky seems to have flirted with the Slovak movement for a while in the 1860s. Grünwald’s many love affairs, on the other hand, made him the butt of small-town gossip, involved him in at least one duel, and left him with one illegitimate child. In particular, the Slovakist Viliam Pauliny-Tóth’s anonymously penned mock-heroic lampoon in Národnie noviny in 1873–74 ridiculed his love escapade with a married woman. It sold out instantly in Banská Bystrica, where everyone could identify the characters. Demmel may be right that the popularity of this satire forced him to relocate to Budapest, and it may even have cost him his relationship with his son’s mother. But Demmel goes too far in projecting a causal link between Grünwald’s suicide and Pauliny-Tóth’s politically motivated snipe at him 16 years earlier.

Demmel does not hide the fact that, in his endeavor to uncover Grünwald’s secret trauma, he takes a hint from Mihály Lackó’s brief biography of Grünwald, an early Hungarian representative of the psychobiography genre (Halál Párizsban: Grünwald Béla történész művei és betegségei [1986]). It remains something of an enigma, however, why Demmel feels the need to convince his reader that Grünwald was not an anomaly, the lonely Slovak-bashing “monster” (as he is described in the title), or, more perplexingly, that “his chauvinist nationalism was not rooted in his low character” (p.237). Demmel implies the existence of a scapegoating narrative in Hungarian historiography that blames Grünwald for the oppression of Slovaks. However, he does not specify where he sees this narrative, which lends his reasoning a slight strawman character.

One could note other controversial points. For example, Demmel takes it as proven that the use of Slovak as the language of instruction in the four gymnasia did not disturb the Magyar political elite. But his reference to existing German high schools makes a weak case, because German soon had to retreat from high schools in Hungary (although not in Transylvania). Moreover, he backs up his statement that the four gymnasia functioned as training bases for the Slovak national idea with the following innocuous quote from the headmaster of the gymnasium in the town of Martin: “follow your faithful leaders and be grateful to those who want to lead you towards enlightenment and education” (p.173).

But these are either relatively minor or superficial details, which do not lead the argument into fruitless digressions and are greatly outweighed by the merits of the book; its useful biographical clarifications, a rich portrayal of political life and elite sociability in two counties over the course of three decades, a lucid account of the closure of the Slovak gymnasia, and insights such as the impacts of inter-county rivalry on the Slovak national movement and the creation out of nothing of a Magyar public sphere in Zólyom County. Demmel reconstructs “the extent to which the Hungarian character of the county was just a smokescreen” (p.24). At pains to present a Hungarian image to the outside world, the local liberal nobility of the 1840s began to speak Hungarian in county assemblies and social events, which obviously required serious effort and excluded many monolinguals. As a result, however, they were able to blot out the Slovak world of the country from the view of the wider Hungarian public. They actively sustained such a vision to convince their co-nationals of the county’s loyalty, which also made them keener to silence the Slovak opposition than the central authorities were.

Last but not least, Demmel deserves plaudits for a terminological innovation. He uses the word “magyar” in inverted commas for denizens of contemporary Upper Hungary with a pro-Magyar cultural and political outlook and calls their opponents “Slovak enthusiasts.” While unhyphenated Magyars without Slovak ancestry were indeed few and far between in the Zólyom County of the 1870s, the latter term may sound oddly archaic or even condescending. On second thought, however, its looseness can recommend it as an alternative to the narrow and reductive “nationalist.” Certainly, this binary opposition gives more justice to the politics of identity choices in the given context than a crude contrast between “Magyars” and “Slovaks.”

The book was published in parallel Hungarian and Slovak versions.

Ágoston Berecz
Imre Kertész Kolleg, Jena
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Geography and Nationalist Visions of Interwar Yugoslavia. By Vedran Duančić. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2020. 286 pp. 
DOI 10.38145/2022.1.248

The recent book by Vedran Duančić is a work which will be of interest to any reader, whether historian or geographer, who is eager to learn more about the relationship between nationalism, nation states, and politics, and not only for scholars on the Balkans. Duančić’s approach, which straddles the border between the two disciplines, was something of a revelation to me, and the theme itself is of unquestionable relevance. His style is also fresh, engaging, and simple, yet also precise, and his insights are emphatic. The text is logical and coherent, and his approach is centered around problems. He takes the challenges faced at the time and the responses given by the discipline of geography to these challenges as his point of departure. The book is much more than a history of the geography of interwar Yugoslavia, and indeed it is much more than an analysis of the intertwining of science and politics. It is a substantially new contribution because its innovative approach is not Serb-centric. Duančić stresses that, although one could hardly afford to ignore the role of geographer Jovan Cvijić and his wide network of contacts, the book is not intended as another analysis of Cvijić, but rather seeks to reveal to the reader his impact on the domestic scientific and political milieu, his organizational work, and the consequences of his contacts abroad. Cvijić’s contemporaries, including his disciples, his followers, and his ideological opponents (indeed, there is a common intersection of the three categories), are all brought into the discussion and subjected to analysis (Erdeljanović, Filip Lukas, Artur Gavazzi).

The book also excellently situates Balkan geography in a European context, with a look at Central European “state-building” geographers such as the Polish Romer, the Czech Dvorsky, and the Ukrainian Rudnyits’kyi. It offers a clear overview of their connections to Friedrich Ratzel’s anthropogeography and the initiatives which went beyond it: the local confluence of the determinist-possibilist debate and its consequences and implications for the organization of the political state. We are given a picture of the scientific milieu from which the first generation of geographers of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes came. Not surprisingly, Vienna and Berlin were the centers where they were trained, so of course their initial acceptance of Ratzel’s position concerning the development of nations and the superiority of the nation state framework over the supranational empire is understandable, even if they were politically opposed to the states which were home to their alma maters. We learn of the influence of Penck on Cvijić, who moved from Vienna to Berlin after 1906 (they continued to correspond vigorously after World War I, when they were on opposite sides) and of Cvijić on Penck in the latter’s geographic turn, in the course of the elaboration of the “Blood and Soil” ideology after 1920. We also learn of the time Cvijić spent in “exile” in Paris during the war years, which led to the birth of his book La Péninsule Balkanique and also gave him the chance to win the friendship and sympathy of Isaiah Bowman and de Martonne, who played a major role in policymaking in 1920. Duančić also offers an analysis of the contents and conceptual frameworks of the main geographic works. He notes that Cvijić’s arguments were contradictory, and although his voluminous work exerted a considerable impact on readers and politicians, Romer achieved the same thing in Poland in far fewer pages. Thus, in the end, it was not the coherence of the work or the extent to which it testified to its author’s expertise that was decisive, but the simple fact that the Yugoslav (Polish, Czech, Ukrainian, etc.) arguments (regardless of their accuracy or relevance) were precisely what politicians needed in 1918. Thus, a work that numbered only some 50 pages could serve as scholarly background material just as effectively as a work that was 500 pages long.

Thirdly, the political and ethnic character of the nascent Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes itself was riddled with contradictions, which meant that the rival ideologies of Paul Vidal de la Blache’s possibilism and Ratzel’s determinism appeared in the argumentation of both opposing national and etatist (including Greater Serbia versus Yugoslav) and centralist and federalist geographers, with strong political overtones. Sometimes, even the same geographer would change his opinion over time. At the time of the birth of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes, there were several possible alternatives: it could have been created as a strongly centralized supra/transnational (Yugoslav) political entity or a decentralized federal-national entity. What in reality emerged was really more a state that rested on a centralist foundation with Greater Serbia leanings (at least according to the Croats in the opposition).

It is worth taking a moment to consider how the political-constitutional problem was grappled with in geography. In 1909, after the annexation, in his first explicitly political (and more ambitious) work, Cvijić rejects the Austrian imperial contention that Austro-Hungary needed Bosnia to ensure the security and economic development of Dalmatia. After 1920, however, he himself argues against Italian claims that Dalmatia was necessary to promote the economic development of isolated Bosnia. In other words, he uses the (imperial) argumentation he had earlier rejected in support of his own political claims. The notion that access to the Adriatic was necessary for the viability of the state (once Thessaloniki had been lost) was again a geopolitical argument and more imperialist in nature. It could even be called a paraphrase of the “Drang nach Salonika” accusation levelled against the Monarchy. (Similarly, the Serbian geopolitical argument for the unification of Serbia and Montenegro as a means of cutting off the Monarchy from the Turkish Empire and putting an end to the former’s constant meddling in the Balkans is also merely a rephrasing of an imperialist idea.) Moreover, this argument led to another geographical—and politicized—problem. The Greater Serbia ideology saw Austro-Hungary’s endeavors in Bosnia as a form of colonization, and it dismissed developments such as the construction of the railways with the contention that Serbia could have done this on its own. However, after 1920, as the new masters of the territory, the politicians who had promulgated this ideology were unable to connect the cities of the Adriatic with the interior. The lack of political and economic unity led to another geographical debate: did it make more sense to unite economically and socially similar territories into a single state or, on the contrary, would it be more practical to unite territories which, precisely because of their differences, complemented one another? This question, obviously, cannot be answered unequivocally from a purely academic point of view (both arguments were made in the peace negotiations), but it was raised in practice in connection with the political structure and territorial extent of the nascent Yugoslav state. Economically and ethnically, Dalmatia was not similar to Bosnia, so the latter argument (which put emphasis on the importance of uniting complementary territories) had to be used, and this in turn raised the question of local self-government and decentralization, which the Serbs rejected. However, the notion that the Serb-Croat-Slovenian nation was a closely linked tribe (a notion that also served as an explanation for the rejection of national-subnational levels of self-government) served to buttress the visions of those who espoused the idea of similarity. Thus, depending on the nature of the state that the emerging Yugoslavia would be, a different system of geographical argument would have to be used. In other words, it is very clear that the structure of the state was not determined by scientific, geographical considerations. Rather, geography merely offered a system of argument as a basis for claims to legitimacy on which the political will behind the structure of the state could build.

The Ratzelian and national Darwinist notion of nation state supremacy was just as problematic. Before 1920, this notion provided a logical ideological background for Serbia’s territorial growth. The young nation state was trying to achieve its ethnically ideal borders against two non-national empires that were seen as evolutionarily obsolete. Yugoslavia could only be understood as a “nation state,” however, if the idea of Serb-Croat-Slovenian unity could gain at least theoretical acceptance. This notion, however, was thrown into question, primarily by the Croatian side, and the new political entity was seen as a Greater Serbian empire. Supranational Yugoslavism, as a possible alternative, could not be coupled with the nation state logic either. In other words, both the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes and Yugoslavia embodied a type of state criticized as obsolete by Serbian geographers (and Ratzel). It is thus not surprising that Yugoslav geographers, whether they identified themselves as Serb, Croat, or Yugoslav geographers (which they did), alternately drew on Ratzel’s nation state determinism and Vidal de la Blache’s possibilism. These two theories offered divergent explanations of (if indeed they could explain) the trajectories of Serbian, Croatian and Slovenian national development (the debate between Lukas and Cvijić’s successors). If one accepts as a point of departure the existence of the “three-one nation” in the historical past, the question is: when did they begin to develop in different directions? Some Croats and some Serbs lived in a geographically similar environment (far from the Dinaric Alps), yet their development took different paths. In contrast, the Croats of Dalmatia and the Croats of Pannonia, though they lived in strikingly different regions, formed one nation, while the Serbs, Muslims, and Croats living in the Bosnian mountains did not. This would suggest that it is not the geography of the land that is the determining factor but rather culture, and this meant that Ratzel and people belonging to his school of thought were wrong. When did the nation’s path of development split? With Byzantium? With the Turks? Or did the natural geography-based dilemma suggest a similar political-ideological background: the Dinaric Alps morphologically tie the country together? Or the Vardar-Morava axis? According to the geography on which visions of Greater Serbia were based, it is the latter, since the two sides of the Dinaric Alps have different climates, lifestyles, etc. But according to those who espoused the notion of a Yugoslav state and also proponents of the race theory (there were also those who believed in a “Dinaric” type of man as the prototypical Yugoslav), the Dinaric mountains and the importance of uniting people of complementary (not identical) cultures and lifestyles were the essential factors. It is clear that the relationships among geography, ethnography, linguistics, and cultural anthropology on these issues needed to be clarified, as did the stances in these various branches of the sciences, and there were serious debates and differences among members of the first generation of geographers (inherited from the empires), who were transforming either to proponents of the national ideal or to supporters of the Yugoslav vision. Some of the new university centers, such as Skopje, were merely part of the long arm of Belgrade. In Ljubljana, first Croatian and then local influence became dominant. Zagreb was seen by Belgrade as a reactionary hotbed, not only politically but also academically. Social geography, especially its Yugoslav dimension, was, on the basis of the curricula analyzed, relegated to the background under the Croatian-Italian Artur Gavazzi, who was educated in the Austrian school and, moreover, published little and traveled little, in contrast with the traditions of the “autochthonous” school. Cvijić himself traveled a great deal, and before 1914, he was engaged primarily in geomorphology (thus, it was not credible to blame Gavazzi for a lack of interest in social geography; rather, he could have been faulted for a lack of “field studies in local history”). At the same time, geomorphology was considered a much more serious science than anthropogeography, and it is hardly surprising that the latter was chosen by many people and was also in demand by the state.

The book sheds light on such problems, while examining one by one the struggles of the leaders of the Yugoslav/Grand Serbia center and the national university centers, as well as their attitudes to the changes which came in the wake of Cvijić’s death and the introduction of the royal dictatorship (which were a caesura from the perspective of the history of science). The book will also be of interest to readers who are not geographers, because it provides an impressive array of information on the history of ideas and mentality, the history of relations, and the interweaving of politics and science in the period, and it also discusses and interprets the main events and the roles of academic work in the process of state and nation building in Yugoslavia (a process rich with contradictions), not in a descriptive manner but rather by placing this all in context (with aptly chosen quotations). The fact that the author is a representative of a new generation who was not raised in the Belgrade geographic tradition and thus dares to be critical of the dominant narratives, bringing into focus and putting in a favorable light peripheral (or rather damned to the periphery) local-national narratives (while presenting not only the Croatian trend, but also others through their relation to it), obviously plays a major role in this assessment. Thus, the Croat-Serb opposition, all too familiar among historians, manifested itself not only among contemporary historians, but also in the natural sciences.

Gábor Demeter
Research Centre for the Humanities
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Bécs művészeti élete Ferenc József korában, ahogy Hevesi Lajos látta [Viennese art world in the era of Franz Joseph – seen by Lajos Hevesi]. By Ilona Sármány-Parsons. Budapest: Balassi Kiadó, 2019. 472 pp.
DOI 10.38145/2022.1.254

This is a rather rewarding topic: turn-of-the-century Vienna has an exceptionally good press. The world of Wittgenstein, Freud, and Schönberg is appealing to almost any reader. A book about Vienna and its art at the turn of the century is, one would think, an obvious choice. It is quite surprising, therefore, that the key player in this 450-page-long story, the art critic Lajos Hevesi, is largely unknown and his vast and scattered oeuvre is academically uncharted.

As Sármány-Parsons’ book makes very clear, Hevesi is a colorful and compelling character. Born as Lajos Lőwy and known in the German-language context as Ludwig Hevesi, this Hungarian journalist and influential art critic with a Jewish family background was born in provincial Heves in the Hungarian Kingdom, in 1843 and was educated in the Piarist grammar school in Pest. He studied medicine and classical philology first in Pest, but in 1862 he began to pursue studies at the University of Vienna. There, he also attended lectures on aesthetics and the arts. Given his talent for languages (he was fluent in German, French, English, and Italian, in addition to his native Hungarian), he earned his living for some time by translation, which brought him close to journalism, which became a life-long love affair for him. Writing for Hungarian and German language journals alike, he continuously played with his authorial identity. In politics, he was a supporter of the circle of Deák and Andrássy, following basically a classical national-liberal program. After the Settlement of 1867, although he had the opportunity to publish in Pester Lloyd, an influential German-language journal centered in Budapest, he decided to stay in Vienna, and he managed to turn himself into a Viennese journalist, art-lover, and man of letters, publishing in the influential Fremden-Blatt. Remaining unmarried, he sacrificed his whole life on the altar of art criticism and belles-lettres.

As an art critic, he was the personification of the new-style professional critic of the fine arts and theater. He joined the club at the right moment: very soon he made himself known as a dominant voice in Viennese art life for decades. As such, he was not only a witness to but also one of the first defenders of the Secessionist movement, which made Viennese art famous all over Europe. It also caused loud social and political scandals and brought in vast amounts of wealth for some of the fortunate artists in the group and for the most skillful art dealers. As a spokesman of the movement, Hevesi did not make a fortune, although he made a decent living with his regular feuilletons. But his engaging writings brought him success, and he was able to shape discussions on the art world in Vienna. He wrote a great deal, he saw everything worth seeing in the town, and he had very good personal contacts in the art world in Austria, Hungary, and abroad. He also travelled around Europe, working as a writer and publishing short stories and novels alongside his critical writings. His book-length writings on art include a work summing up nineteenth-century Austrian fine art and another on the Secessionist movement. After having had a successful career, he committed suicide in 1910, just before the outbreak of World War I, in the last minute of the Belle Époque.

Ilona Sármány-Parsons, the author of the present volume, is an art historian who was a researcher at the Institute of Art History of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. She has taught at a number of institutions, including Nottingham University, the University of Vienna, and Central European University, and has lived in Vienna since 1984, as did her hero hundred years earlier. Uncharacteristically within Hungarian historiography, she does not adopt a culturally nationalistic perspective, preferring instead to keep an imperial vista. Her aim is to present Hevesi’s views on the art events of the day and the main protagonists of the art scene chronologically and to show the major elements of his frame of mind as an art critic. However, she does not neglect to give a synthetic account of her protagonist’s personal identity. As we learn, Hevesi had a complex, four-layered personal identity, divided as it was between a Jewish, Hungarian, Viennese Austrian, and European self. Hevesi’s Jewishness was the innermost core of this identity, something of which he rarely spoke or wrote, while the external, sociable part of his identity was that of the European man of letters. Yet his Hungarian and Viennese identities were the determining factors of his character, two features which surprisingly seem to dwell side by side quite well in his case.

It is perhaps exactly this unproblematic relationship between Hevesi’s identities and, especially, his Hungarian and Austrian selves that makes him a rather remarkable case of late-nineteenth-century Central European culture. Hevesi was not present in Vienna’s art world as an exotic Hungarian voice. Rather, he had the position of an insider, who identified himself with the presuppositions of the local culture, an achievement in itself remarkable from someone born in the other part of the Dual Monarchy. The book presents in a detailed fashion the creative and original aspects of the main protagonist’s oeuvre in a dynamically growing and transforming art market. This methodology helps Sármány-Parsons avoid repeating often heard stories of well-known oppositions between national sovereignty and the pan-European cultural elite, offering instead a close view of the Austrian cultural witches’ brews. There are two historical lessons, however, that we can learn from this story. The first is that soft power was already a crucial element in middle-to-late nineteenth-century continental politics, as witnessed by the repeated world’s fairs and biennales and the other international fine art exhibitions. Secondly, a cultural cold war took place within Vienna’s art world in the second half of his career, proving that modernity brought with it a sharp, almost antagonistic struggle among interest groups and world views.

If those interested in the political history of the age have to read between the lines to learn from this refined narrative in an indirect way, art historians have a lot to digest directly here. Although the story itself is by its nature teleological, as its finish-line is the explosion of the art market called the Secessionist movement, it does not commit the fatal mistake of reading previous events retrospectively as a sign of what is to come. Instead, it interprets in a balanced manner the major events and turns of roughly three decades of Hevesi’s life as a critic, until he became a full-hearted advocate of the Secessionist artists and, in particular, Gustav Klimt.

Sármány-Parsons usefully offers a scheme of the stylistic transformations of the age, arguing for three major style-defined periods in the last third of the century. The first is the time of Historicism and academic art; the second is the victory of Realism and Naturalism; the third is the specifically style-focused period of Symbolism and Secession. Although both the second and the third phase of this story are usually interpreted as the antechambers of Modernism, Sármány-Parsons is careful to point out that Hevesi had no real chance to confront Modernism, the breakthrough of which happened after his untimely death.

Sármány-Parsons also reflects on the duality of Hevesi’s persona as an art critic. She emphasizes that, until the last phase of his career, his voice was that of a balanced middle-of-the-roader, who was able to see the valuable parts of even those often radical works that were not particularly close to his own personal taste. Yet the fact is that Hevesi not only supported wholeheartedly the case of the Secession, but for some time he became one of its main “Etzesgeber,” or even a key theorist. In the last part of his career, he became more of a reader-friendly enthusiast of art works, apparently giving up much of his earlier distanced, objective-professional tone.

Sármány-Parsons’ detailed, well-documented, and abundantly illustrated volume (thanks for this last merit to Balázs Czeizel’s excellent work as the designer of the book) gives a year-by-year account of this great oeuvre, relying on primary sources and making a major contribution to our understanding of the art history of Austria. Her major hit is to reclaim Hevesi for the canon of late nineteenth-century and turn-of-the-century Viennese art. By the end of this tour-de-force we also learn the names of the favorite painters of the day, included the Vedutist Alt, Makart, the colorist, and finally Klimt, the most original “aesthete” artist of the Secession. Hevesi knew all of them, and he interpreted their outstanding works for the general public with exceptional clarity and clear-sightedness. Furthermore, he was one of the first to establish the custom of real-time art criticism in these eventful final decades of the Golden Age of the Dual Monarchy.

Ferenc Hörcher
University of Public Service, Budapest / Research Centre for the Humanities
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The Soviet Union and Cold War Neutrality and Nonalignment in Europe. Edited by Mark Kramer, Aryo Makko, and Peter Ruggenthaler. Lanham MD: The Harvard Cold War Studies Book Series, Lexington Books, 2021. 627 pp.
DOI 10.38145/2022.1.258

Officials in the United States and several West European countries viewed the neutral states as a first line of defense during much of the Cold War. But what did the neutral states’ relationship with the Soviets look like? This question takes center stage in The Soviet Union and Cold War Neutrality and Nonalignment in Europe. At first glance, this title might seem a bit convoluted. However, the double use of the conjunction indicates a serious approach to the Soviet relationship with Cold War neutrality and its relationship with nonalignment, without risking a conflation of the two. This is part of this book’s key objective: to supplement often West-centric examinations of neutrality with examinations based on a much wider range of sources and viewpoints.

The first part of the book deals with different neutrality policies in Cold War Europe, and its chapters lay bare the discrepancies between theories of neutrality (more often than not based in political configurations that no longer existed) and their practice in this period. The first chapter by Franz Cede busts several myths about Austria’s neutrality, such as the notion that neutrality was imposed upon the country. Cede argues that, while circumstances outside Austria’s borders combined to make neutrality viable, that does not mean that neutrality was Austria’s to accept through no agency of its own or that there were no ideological considerations at play. Olaf Kronvall, in his chapter on Swedish neutrality, shows that Washington regarded Sweden’s way of being neutral as immoral, a conviction that could not be seen as separate from the events of the early 1940s. Thomas Fischer offers a short chapter on Switzerland which, despite its brevity, offers a nuanced grasp of the many different understandings and orientations that coexisted under the label “neutral.” This difference in orientation is further mapped by Mark Kramer in the conclusion of the book, in which Kramer confirms Switzerland was an outlier (p.543). The chapter by Rainio-Niemi on Finland is more globally focused. Importantly, this chapter views 1955 as a breakthrough year that brought new definitions of neutrality. This year recurs in many of the volume’s chapters as a key moment.

The second part of the book deals with Soviet foreign policy towards the neutral states. The first chapter by Alexey Komarov, which examines Swedish neutrality as viewed from Moscow, serves as a counterpoint to the chapter by Kronvall. It is interesting to see that the Swedish position was seen as “free-riding” not just by Washington DC but also by Moscow. It is a pity, however, that the characterization of Sweden as “peace-loving” (p.120) is not further developed. This is very much in line with the political language of the World Peace Council, very much a part of Soviet foreign policy but nevertheless barely present in this book. In chapters like this, a more capacious understanding of (Soviet) foreign policy would have reaped dividends. The potential gains of such a broader definition do appear in the chapter by Peter Ruggenthaler on Soviet policy towards Austria. Ruggenthaler incorporates, for instance, the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow into his discussion. I learned a great deal from this chapter, especially its thoughtful treatment of the difficult position in which Austria found itself in 1956 and 1968. This section is completed by Kimmo Rentola’s chapter on Soviet policy towards Finland during the early stages of the Cold War and a brief chapter by Olga Pavlenko on the run-up to 1989 in Soviet-Swiss relations. In this part of the book, 1955 again emerges as a key moment. Rentola’s chapter covers “das tolle Jahr” (p.138), while Ruggenthaler emphasizes the importance of the military withdrawal of the Soviets from Austria (p.149).

The third part of the book deals with the role of the Soviet Union in the foreign policy of European neutrals. The qualifier “European” neutrals here is especially important, given that this part of the book in particular would have been markedly different, as well as more unwieldy, had the viewpoint been more global. The first chapter by Aryo Makko on Swedish foreign policy mirrors the view from the Soviet perspective and demonstrates that the tensions covered in the earlier parts of the book were both-sided. Next, Kari Möttölä shows that Finnish foreign policy was determined (even more so than Swedish foreign policy) by geographical location, in which Finland’s “Nordicity,” as Möttölä calls it, served as a stabilizing factor. Maximilian Graf continues the discussion with a view of Austria’s Ostpolitik after 1968. Graf returns to the idea of Austrian policy “myths” first taken up by Cede at the beginning of the book. In a coauthored chapter on Swiss foreign policy, Thomas Bürgisser, Sacha Zala, and Thomas Fischer close this part by offering a detailed periodization of the evolving Swiss-Soviet relationship, which manages to show an evolution in Swiss attitudes even while acknowledging that the resulting policy was very much a “yoyo affair.”

The fourth part offers a new set of countries by examining departures from the Eastern Bloc and turns toward neutrality on the part of Yugoslavia, Hungary, and Albania. Andrei Edemskii centers his chapter on Yugoslavia on the complicated process of rapprochement in the years immediately after Stalin’s death, culminating in the Belgrade Declaration of 1955 (and thus returning once more to that year as a pivotal global moment). Csaba Békés stays in the mid-1950s by covering the 1956 revolution and specifically the declaration of neutrality in November of that year. Finally, Robert Austin chronicles the evolution of Albania’s isolationist turn in the years between its break with the Soviet Union after Stalin and its break with China in the late 1970s. Nadia Boyadjieva picks up where Edemskii leaves off by examining Yugoslavia’s non-alignment policy in the decades after 1955. This chapter offers a great tie-in with global politics and shows not just the difference between neutrality and non alignment but also the different physical and mental geographies of the two. Tvrtko Jakovina closes this part with a final chapter on the last Cold War era Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit in Belgrade in 1989 and the breakup of Yugoslavia itself. This chapter offers a thoughtful continuation of the neutrality-nonalignment debate and how it was waged within the NAM generally and within Yugoslavia specifically.

Turning the tables, the fifth part of the book deals with other Western states’ perception of neutral-Soviet relations. Jussi Hahnimäki continues themes raised earlier in the book with a thorough view of the United States’ perception of Scandinavian neutrality. Günter Bischof tackles the perception of Austrian neutrality with a focus on the years after the withdrawal of occupation forces in 1955. Anne Deighton departs from the American perspective by turning to the United Kingdom and its closer physical proximity to the European neutrals. This chapter shows where the United States and the United Kingdom diverged and casts the latter’s policy as far more cautious. Nicolas Badalassi turns the lens on France and highlights the pragmatic awareness in Paris that total neutrality did not exist, that the neutrals were all dealing with historical and locational contingencies, and that, therefore, France would likewise adapt accordingly. Andreas Hilger shows how West German attitudes towards the neutrals were part of a complex high-stakes balancing act. In a second coauthored chapter, Milorad Lazic and Magnus Petersson take on “the flanks” by examining NATO’s relationship with the countries on the margin.

The concluding chapter by Mark Kramer brings together the main themes raised in the book. Crucially, it returns to the question of neutralism versus nonalignment. Kramer places it in a wider global context and acknowledges that nonalignment in Europe and nonalignment elsewhere were very different concepts. This chapter provides crucial context for the rest of the book, so much so that the reader is left wishing it had been offered earlier. This does point to a larger issue: global context cannot come from the conclusion alone. While the book is focused on the European neutrals, the countries covered did not operate in a purely European theater, nor were their foreign relations with the aligned world limited to interstate diplomacy. I am mindful of the fact that this book covers a lot of ground by uncovering the political and historical contingencies hidden behind the term “European neutral.” But the chapters in which the global does appear do help deepen the reader’s appreciation of the larger political landscape in which neutrality was navigated. Notable instances are Kronvall’s inclusion of the Vietnam War and Makko’s inclusion of the Congo Crisis. Crucially, Rainu-Niemi asserts that the 1955 Bandung Conference marked the “globalization of neutralist sentiments,” which went hand in hand with the globalization of the Cold War. Though this statement does elide concepts of neutralism already circulating in the decolonizing world, this chapter is an important one in the volume, as it acknowledges that the Soviet Union viewed nonalignment positively (even if selectively so) as a break away from imperialism. The United States, in the meantime, was slow to grasp the global uses of neutrality and their significance in the intersection of decolonization and Cold War.

In all, however, the book absolutely delivers on its promise to provide a polycentric perspective on neutrality in Cold War Europe. It is going to be the first book to which to point students and scholars who are seeking a comprehensive history of the concept. In that context, I would be remiss not to mention the stellar bibliography of further reading, which lists not just the most important works on the subject, but also takes seriously the different historiographies of neutrality across Europe, and offers a rare collection of key works regardless of the language in which they were published. This book is a very welcome intervention indeed.

Carolien Stolte
Leiden University
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Western Europe’s Democratic Age, 1945–1968. By Martin Conway. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2020. 357 + xii.
DOI 10.38145/2022.1.262

Martin Conway’s most recent book focuses on one simple question: how did democracy become the dominant form of organizing politics and societies in Western Europe following World War II. Conway, who teaches contemporary European history at Oxford’s Balliol College, proffers no simple answers. As he emphatically argues, establishing and consolidating political democracy in postwar Europe was neither a simple nor a smooth process. The fact that representative democracy was sustained in the Western half of Cold War Europe is to be explained by a range of factors and, indeed, a variety of historical accidents. Perhaps the most innovative methodological and original theoretical points of the book is its focus on the contingencies of making democracy. Conway challenges the often smug presumptions about the organic and automatic genesis of democracy in Western Europe (and, by implication, in North America), which rest on an implied faith in an obvious road from Enlightenment ideas towards contemporary democratic societies and politics. Conway argues, instead, that the perilous position of democracy in the postwar period renders the concept more an exception to be explained than a natural process to be taken for granted. By doing so, he unfetters democracy from the clutches of theological thinking and makes it a historical event again.

The five chapters of the book contribute to this historicizing of democracy from several angles: by explaining the genesis of postwar democracy, its stabilization in the 1950s, the dynamics of its Christian Democratic and Socialist alternatives, its broad-ranging social and cultural appeal up until the late 1960s, and the attempts to reinvigorate the meaning and content of democracy in the 1960s. The book is based on an extensive secondary literature on France, Germany, Italy, and the Benelux states. Conway also often adds complementary material from Scandinavia, the UK, and southern Europe. Albeit the comparative angle is not lost, instead of registering national differences, he focuses on what connected these countries. He expressly suggests a broader template for rethinking post-World War II European history and therefore uses national cases to discern general developments valid throughout Western Europe. This is, emphatically, a book about European history and not a comparative history of European politics. Thus, North America and Eastern Europe are also brought into the discussion when they provide eloquent contrasts with which to highlight the specificities of developments in post-World War II Western Europe.

In the first chapter, Conway underscores that the democratization of Western Europe was, in many ways, a consequence of the demise of central governments during the war. The serious lack of infrastructure and communication rendered the organization of food and fuel, first and foremost, the task of local communities. The book argues that these processes of localizing authority opened ways for communities to shape political power effectively. The democratization of Western Europe was also spurred by the forms of making politics that democracy embraced, which were in many ways continuous with prewar precedents. Despite the postwar rhetoric of radical change, such continuities helped attenuate political struggle and antagonism and, thus, encapsulated the widely shared desire to return to normalcy after the war, as Conway claims.

The book is emphatic in its insistence that political democracy in Western Europe was also the product of the Cold War. The ideologies of liberty, property, tradition, and Christianity, which postwar democratic elites advocated, were embedded in a broadly shared anti-communist consensus in Western Europe and North America. Democracy in this context appeared the bulwark of European civilization and nations against the threat of communism. In Western Europe in the 1950s, when many considered communism the dead end of popular participation based on the psychological manipulation of the masses, democracy could be seen a sustainable mode of responsible mass political participation. Nevertheless, as Conway highlights, democracy was not powerful and appealing simply as an antidote to totalitarianism. The democratic state in Western Europe in the 1950s and 1960s promised and also had the ability to give benefits to its citizens. The consolidation of postwar democracies was linked to the establishment of the welfare state: to the extension of social security systems, improvements in schooling, and growing investments in the public sector. Although Conway is not explicit about this, the extension of welfare systems was also part of the Cold War competition. In many ways, increasing maternity benefits or state education investments in Western Europe were responses to similar measures in socialist Eastern Europe. In addition to the material benefits, the institutions of representative democracy offered modes of participation in political decision making in ways completely absent from (and rejected by) the party-states of contemporary Eastern Europe. As Conway underscores, these factors shaped new forms of active citizenship, which helped the peoples of Western Europe perceive the democratic state as their own.

Conway concludes that the consolidation of democracy was linked to the growing power of the state. The democratic welfare state was based on the increasing ability of the institutions of the state to predict and plan processes and, thus, to shape and manage societies. These fresh capacities of the state, claims Conway, not only spurred state intervention into the lives of citizens, they also empowered the people to build pressure on the institutions of the state. The ways in which the elites rendered the wellbeing of citizens the responsibility of the democratic state prompted the citizenries of these states to put new social expectations on the state and opened up novel ways of exerting popular control over the state. Conway presents democracy as a serendipitous biproduct of the confluence of the political agendas of elites and the expectations of the societies they sought to govern.

Conway seems very much aware of the limits of postwar democracy. He points out that Western European democratic governments in the 1950s and 1960s were carefully structured and engineered towards the balance between the political elites and mass participation. As such, postwar democracy was biased in terms of class and gender. The Western European democratic states benefited the middle-classes the most and succeeded in quickly expanding the borders of these groups by offering new types of urban professions and jobs as well as paths of social mobility. At the same time, however, democratic governments also sustained and invigorated class identities and frontiers. Similarly, the enfranchisement of women made the Western European electorate predominantly female for the first time, though male dominance in public politics remained largely unchanged until the 1960s.

The book argues that conflicts and tensions concerning forms of partic­ipation created possibilities for a democratic critique of democracy. Conway makes an important point when he asserts that the growing voices of discontent at the beginning of the 1960s espoused the values of postwar democracy such as individual freedom, social justice, and political participation. Dissent was not a rejection of democracy, but it was an expression of doubt concerning the notion that the existing institutions of vertical political parties and representative government based on these parties were the most adequate means of achieving the goals of democratic societies. The modes of contesting democracy in the 1960s became debates concerning various visions and understandings of democratic practices and rights. These debates increasingly drew from global sources as anticolonial movements in the Global South challenged Western European notions of self-determination, human rights, and social justice.

Conway limits himself in this book to Cold War Western Europe, but his work has important implications for the study of post-World War II Eastern Europe, as well. The approach he adopts invites an exploration of the socialist dictatorships as the contingent outcome of a range of historical factors instead of the consequence of a Manichean struggle between advocates and enemies of democracy, ending with the victory, at least for a time, of the latter. Conway’s vigorous push to problematize some of the sacrosanct concepts of contemporary history makes it relevant to fields and contexts beyond postwar Western Europe. This aspect of the book makes it important reading for anyone who hopes to understand the recent history of Europe and beyond.

Péter Apor
Research Center for the Humanities
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1 Tamás Körmendi, “A Gertrúd királyné elleni merénylet körülményei” [The circumstances of the murder of Queen Gertrude]. In Egy történelmi gyilkosság margójára. Merániai Gertrúd emlékezete, 1213–2013. Tanulmánykötet, ed. Judit Majorossy. (Szentendre: Ferenczy Múzeum, 2014.) 95–124.

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pdfVolume 7 Issue 2 CONTENTS


European Regions and Boundaries: A Conceptual History. Edited by Diana Mishkova and Balázs Trencsényi. New York–Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2017. 401 pp.

The social construction of markers on which we rely to interpret the world has functioned as an inexhaustible source of raw material for historians and social scientists. Research in this field has become increasingly prevalent over the course of the past three decades. Space especially has emerged as one of the concepts closely interrogated in a wide variety of research projects. It is a fundamental device of orientation, and its constructed character is masked by its appearance as quintessentially a priori in character, always already “given.” By engaging critically with the semblance of naturalness, research can uncover a multiplicity of knowledge production mechanisms linked to the social construction of space.

There remain, however, aspects of such practices which have attracted limited attention so far, precisely because of the vastness of the material available for study. While notions of national territory and boundary-making have been analyzed repeatedly, regionalization, which in this context means the imposition of supranational divisions over continuities of physical expanse, has remained understudied. Discipline-specific treatises on the academic or political construction and instrumentalization of specific regions abound, but the existing literature has been less inquisitive regarding what may be said in general about the logics of regionalization as recurring modes of knowledge production.

The ambitions of this edited volume include making inroads into this latter, imperfectly charted meta-territory of academic and political language games. The research project organized by editors Diana Mishkova and Balázs Trencsényi adopted two different perspectives with an effect similar to organizing two concurrent expeditions towards the same hard-to-reach summit. The first half of the book presents interdisciplinary analyses of the construction of regionalized spaces in the mode of conceptual history. The concepts investigated here are Western Europe, Scandinavia/Norden, the Baltics, The Mediterranean, Southern Europe, Iberia, the Balkans/Southeastern Europe, Central Europe, Eastern Europe, and Eurasia. The second part changes the perspective, offering disciplinary case studies of logics of regionalization operating in specific fields of academia (European History, Political Geography, Economics, Historical Demography, Linguistics, Literary History, and Art History). The two parts should ideally lead the reader towards the same destination, offering complementary analyses. These analyses would demonstrate how conceptualizations of space converge around certain ideologically (if not academically) overdetermined regions, on the one hand, and offer the reader a peek into the academic laboratories of regionalizing knowledge production, on the other. The latter would emerge as a meta-study of “how-to” construct regions (regionalizing knowledges), while one expects the former to contain case studies (regionalizing practices) that tie in with the meta-studies.

If one accepts this logic, European Regions and Boundaries may be summarized as an exceptionally rich and productive failure. Failure here does not refer to the quality of either the contributions or the work of the editors. Rather, failure here is a research outcome. It highlights an important imbalance in the production of spatial knowledge with regard to conceptualizing regions which causes the two parts of the book to be more corrective to each other than symbiotic in character. Nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century political, civilizational, and geopolitical frames have shaped and often determined the ways in which we think about regions. This is shown in the first half. The second half of the book demonstrates the extent to which these inherited notions of regions that populate even present-day collective imaginaries have either been deconstructed or superseded by critical and reflexive academic work within the individual disciplines. The first half is a reminder of the ideological determinants of spatial thinking, the second perhaps a cautious argument in favor of academia’s potential (at least in some cases) to recast its toolbox by generating novel and ideologically less burdened conceptualizations.

The first half presents a survey of regions as strategic concepts. Some of these regions have been strikingly underutilized in shaping public thinking throughout the Late Modern Era, the notion of Iberia, for instance (discussed by Xosé M. Núñez Seixas). Others have become thick and layered to the point of being impossible to disentangle. This is notably the case with the Balkans/Southeastern Europe (Mishkova), Central Europe (Trencsényi), and most importantly Western Europe (Stefan Berger). The latter emerges as a polyvalent signifier that can enter almost any discourse as a point of comparison, and, accordingly, the notion of the (or “a”) West resonates across almost all chapters. Berger’s perceptive analysis provides a solid footing, but the reader begins to understand the omnipresence of “some” concept of Western Europe only when repeatedly encountering it, with shifting meanings, in the subsequent papers as a point of reference and comparison. In the end, the (nuanced, yet fairly unequivocal) image that emerges is one of the West against the Rest. Dichotomies based on normative contrasts between the meaning of Western Europe and the concept of some other region appear as the rhetorical devices governing the discourses. Relying on these dichotomies, the regionalizing discourses disseminate notions of belatedness or “authenticity”, depending on whether they possess a westernizing or a more autochthonous bent. Regionalization is shown to function (in the clearest form perhaps in Frithjof B. Schenk’s chapter on Eastern Europe) as yet another battleground for the competing ideologies.

Despite the Archimedean position of the “West” in the conceptualization of macroregions, the thickest and most intriguing (hi)story emerges out of a parallel reading of several chapters on the shift in spatial thinking under the aegis of liberal ideology in the nineteenth century. These highly dialogical chapters on Eastern Europe, the North, and Eurasia (by Schenk, Marja Jalava and Bo Stråth, and Mark Bassin, respectively) significantly enrich our understanding of this complex process, which has had repercussions into the present. This is accomplished by drawing liberally on past scholarship, including Larry Wolff’s classic contribution on the construction of Eastern Europe in the “West” (Inventing Eastern Europe [1994]) and also on less frequently cited, yet groundbreaking texts, inter alia by Hans Lemberg (“Zur Entstehung des Osteuropabegriffs im 19. Jahrhundert,” Jahrbücher für Geschichte Osteuropas [1985]) and Ezequiel Adamovsky (Euro-Orientalism: Liberal Ideology and the Image of Russia in France [2006]). The chapters offer an exceptionally nuanced account of how the triadic division of Europe was reduced into an often orientalizing East–West dualism in the wake of the Napoleonic wars. As both Jalava and Stråth and Schenk observe, the repositioning of Russia as an Eastern rather than a Nordic power opened up a way to a reconstruction of the concept of the North as a minor region with positive connotations, becoming synonymous with Scandinavia in the process (pp.36, 45–47, and 189–93). At the same time, the mapping of Russia onto the East also “colonized” understandings of Eastern Europe as a zone not only of backwardness, but also of political otherness, under the specter of tyranny (p.194). This added a juridico-political layer which reinforced the already established civilizational cleavage. While the chapters do not explore current European controversies about perceived threats to regional identities in any detail, this tradition of intracontinental othering has already been traced to the present and shown to influence current discourses of political identity in the European Union, most recently by Maria Mälksoo (“’Memory Must Be Defended’: Beyond the Politics of Mnemonical Security,” Security Dialogue [2013]).

If the authors can be faulted for anything, it is perhaps the relative lack of attention given to nineteenth-century reflections originating from the newly constructed “East.” Schenk’s discussion of interwar conceptualizations of East Central European is an important quasi-digression in his text on Eastern Europe, and his subsequent account about region-focused research in the Eastern Bloc is both detailed and conceptually refined (pp.195–97 and 199–203). Adding to these, Balázs Trencsényi’s detailed chapter on twentieth-century notions of Central Europe further enriches the image of intellectuals belonging to a mesoregion (the non-Russian East, rebranded as East Central Europe). They are seen struggling to distance themselves and their homelands from the dominant image of the macroregion under which they have found themselves subsumed, while also increasingly resenting the orientalizing discourse they perceive as developed and deployed by the “West.” What is not discussed in either chapter is the nineteenth-century liberal reaction in the non-Russian parts of the new East, to which Polish, Czech, Hungarian, Romanian, and other intellectuals contributed in droves. Before the birth of intellectual discourses about East Central European specificity, such as that of Oskar Halecki, the initial reaction to finding oneself relegated to the zone of backwardness and tyranny was to reject the classification (while acknowledging the fact of backwardness itself) and to construct discourses about belonging to the West by virtue of culture and often constitutional or legal traditions.

The tradition of negating the perennial character of one’s “home” region (Eastern Europe or the East) even made spearheads into Russia through the ideology of zapadniks. Yet, as Bassin’s essay makes clear, Russian spatial thinking was shaped to a far greater extent by the idea of Eurasia. Eurasia represents a rather novel construct when compared with the triadic and dualist Western divisions of Europe, and it was usually deployed, from the late nineteenth century on, as a trope challenging the orientalism inherent in the East/West dichotomy. It replaced (and is still used to replace) the expanse traditionally thought of as the East, providing it with an autochthonous and positive character (pp.211–13). With some of the ideas familiar from present-day Russian neoimperialist thought, the essay also works as a reminder of how Eurasia once enjoyed broad currency also in Western scholarship and spatial thinking in general. In the end, both Russia and its smaller Western neighbours, that is to say both the imperial half and the other half composed of nation-states managed to produce their respective emancipatory discourses. However, Eurasia and (East) Central Europe represent divergent elective affinities symptomatic of the thinking of the intellectuals who promoted and still promote these concepts. One of the chief virtues of the book is that it sheds light on how these identity discourses have unfolded in the interplay of often competing regionalizing logics.

The second part of the volume offers a different background narrative to the social construction of regions. Traditional “allies” of regionalizing discourses, first and foremost history (Stefan Troebst) and political geography/geopolitics (Virginie Mamadouh and Martin Müller), are revisited in discipline-specific analyses which suggest patterns of increasing reflexivity as a mode of “scientific evolution.” With regard to both of the aforementioned disciplines, the texts relate how in recent decades scholarly discourse has tended to move towards critical engagement with earlier entanglements in the production of spatial impositions, or, in plainer terms, with having functioned as a language of power. As the overlaps and synergies with the first half of the tome make evident, these disciplines were indeed responsible for sustaining and refining the bulk of conceptualizations that have structured social thinking about Europe’s regions in the past.

The other disciplines differ from history and political geography both with regard to their impact on collective imaginaries of space and their modes of engaging with intra-disciplinary legacies. While both history and political geography have engaged in the deconstruction of its earlier regionalizing modes, disciplines less impacted by linguistic and reflexive turns and less central to the production of the late nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century cognitive maps of European regions have tended simply to evolve away from earlier modes of regionalization. This movement has involved abandoning conceptualizations borrowed from prevailing ideologies and engaging in discipline-specific conceptualizations. Some chapters in the volume are thoroughly historicizing and offer ample insight into this process (for instance the chapter on historical demography by Attila Melegh). Others tend towards academic presentism and highlight the current prevalence of discipline-specific regionalizations (the chapter on economics by Georgy Ganev, for instance). Yet more straddle a medial position (the chapters on linguistics by Uwe Hinrichs, literary history by Alex Drace-Francis, and art history by Eric Storm). Despite this variation, the overarching realization that academic evolution has led to, inter alia, the discipline-specific and increasingly autonomous production and deployment of regionalizing discourse shines through most contributions.

The shared character of this trend nevertheless allows for considerable variation. Historical demography both reflects and diverges from received spatial knowledges, reproducing regional divisions familiar from historical and political thought (as in the case of LePlay), but as a discipline it has also “evolved away” from the traditional patterns of dividing Europe either into a triad or two opposing poles (pp.303–04 and 312–14). At the same time, these legacies have never quite disappeared. In Melegh’s text, they transect the discipline itself. A more traditional approach investigates existing regionalizations and considers whether demography reflects or lends support to them. Simultaneously, a broadly critical stream argues against projecting cultural-ideological regionalizations onto demographic data and vice-versa.

The chapter on linguistics does not reflect this kind of bifurcation. It describes a fairly linear evolution away from reliance on exogenous, culturalist notions of regions towards a procedural (as opposed to substantive) understanding of them. In this latter mode, the existence/operability of a certain regionalizing frame within the discipline is conditional on confirmation by linguistic markers, rather than being accepted as existing a priori. Similarly to the “critical stream” in demography, contemporary linguists (and also economists) have tended towards generating their own, intra-disciplinary concepts, which are less connected to the political and cultural legacies of earlier patterns in regionalizing knowledges.

Despite all of the above, a survey of the volume as a whole demonstrates first and foremost the confluence of research and ideology in the invention of regions. Traditional academic knowledges have greatly contributed to the construction of a value-laden, culturalist lexicon of regions on which most of us still routinely rely in referencing larger European spaces. Both in the humanities and the social sciences, practitioners have mapped onto the globe images of civilizational difference, neatly tucked in behind regional boundaries. The studies included in this selection enable the reader to trace these processes both across disciplines and across specific cases. Continuing and expanding on earlier work by some of the contributors (such as Bassin, Troebst, and Trencsényi), the volume respects the divergent disciplinary histories, paying the cost of this attention to detail and idiosyncrasies with an occasional loss of coherence or dialogue between the individual contributions. This is especially palpable towards the final chapters of the book. The present-day state of linguistics or economics seems to have little bearing on the nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century genealogies of regions which the reader encounters in the first chapters. At the same time, this relative lack of coherence highlights the very justified emphasis on the collusion of other disciplines (history and political geography) with political languages of spatial division. Perhaps current regionalizing schemes prevailing in linguistics or economics could also be deconstructed as older onesschemes in interwar history and geopolitics have been deconstructed in this book, i.e. through engagement and self-reflective critique.

This volume accomplishes a great deal even if it stops short of this (i.e. offering a deconstruction of current regionalizing schemes used in linguistics or economics). It analyzes and subverts the late-nineteenth century regionalizing frames by highlighting the ideological contingencies underpinning them and adds to this a survey of contemporary, more reflexive and cautious, less sweeping trends of thinking about regions within the confines of individual disciplines. In this respect, the book amounts to a considerable reflexive achievement, and it is itself part of the cross-disciplinary trend towards the kind of greater academic autonomy its last half-dozen or so chapters aptly survey.

Gergely Romsics
Hungarian Academy of Sciences

Vpdfolume 7 Issue 2 CONTENTS


A kalandozó hadjáratok nyugati kútfői [Western sources on the tenth-century Hungarian military incursions]. By Dániel Bácsatyai. Budapest: HM Hadtörténeti Intézet és Múzeum, 2017. 296 pp.

pdfIn his recent book, Dániel Bácsatyai examines the Latin sources on the period of the Hungarian incursions into Western Europe. By offering a critical historico-philological analysis of the sources, he provides an overview of the events, stages, directions, and methods of the incursions that took place in the ninth and tenth centuries.

The book is organized into three chapters. In the first, Bácsatyai presents assessments in the French historiography of the Hungarian incursions which were launched against Burgundy, and he examines sources from the Burgundian monasteries on the Hungarians. This chapter is a case study which demonstrates that the interpretations by Western historians of the narrative sources from the period can be misleading. Modern Belgian and French scholars often presume that the references to the arrival of Hungarians in settlements in the West are untrue, and they consider these references stereotypical remarks or hagiographical and rhetoric clichés. According to them, by mentioning the Hungarians and the raids they conducted, the chroniclers only intended to create a ‘necessary’ enemy, which a Christian religious community could overcome. Bácsatyai contradicts this approach by pointing out that even if there are descriptions in the sources which rest on or rehearse stereotypes, this does not mean that their authors should be dismissed entirely as unreliable. A fine example of this is the Vita Sanctae Wiboradae, which describes how Wiborada suffered martyrdom at the hands of the Hungarians in Sankt Gallen in 926. As Bácsatyai states, the Hungarians depicted in the vita are indeed clearly portrayed as the necessary executives of Wiborada’s martyrdom, but their presence in Sankt Gallen can be confirmed by other, more reliable sources. This questioning of the rather critical concept about the Hungarian incursions is a valuable methodological innovation with which Bácsatyai manages to argue persuasively that many Hungarian incursions which have come to be seen in much of the secondary literature in the West as never having taken place (i.e. as mere rhetorical fictions) did indeed happen.

In the second chapter, Bácsatyai discusses a theory suggested by the historian Szabolcs Vajay, according to whom some of the Hungarian military expeditions, – e. g. the campaign in 917 to Alsace and Lorraine or the attack against Burgundy in 937, – were part of an alliance between the Hungarians and the Carolingian rulers. Bácsatyai gives an overview of the related events in support of his argument that there was never any such alliance.

In the third chapter, Bácsatyai analyzes Western sources containing notes about the incursions. The subchapters are organized according to source-types: annals from the ninth and tenth centuries, tenth-century necrologies, chronicles by abbots, hagiographic works, chronicles (most importantly those of Liutprand and Widukind), and charters and letters.

It is particularly useful that Bácsatyai evaluates these sources alongside a discussion of the relevant historical-philological problems, and he demonstrates the manuscript-traditions of the sources, too. A fine example of the usefulness of this approach is his exploration of a manuscript of the Annales Bertiniani by Hincmar, Archbishop of Reims. By emphasizing the significance and the authenticity of this manuscript, – which until now has been largely overlooked in the Hungarian secondary literature –, Bácsatyai argues persuasively that the manuscript’s note about the Hungarian incursion of 862 can be accepted as credible.

Another valuable finding in the book concerns the settling of a number of chronological disputes. Drawing on the sources, Bácsatyai outlines the chronological order of the Hungarian military campaigns from the middle of the ninth century to the end of the tenth, which were launched against East and West Francia, Moravia, Italy, Bavaria, Carinthia, Saxony, Swabia, Thuringia, Burgundy, Lotharingia, and Aquitaine.

The clarification of the events of the great campaign against Italy (899–900) is extremely valuable. With the help of a charter from Altino, Bácsatyai demonstrates that the expedition began in the spring or summer of 899, and after the Hungarians were defeated in Venice, they probably devastated the monastery of Altino on June 29. Using the Gesta/Catalogus abbatum Nonantulani, Bácsatyai clarifies the date of the Hungarian victory over Berengar I in Brenta (September 24). As Bácsatyai points out, the Annales Fuldenses reported that Berengar lost 20,000 of his soldiers in this battle. Using a necrology, Bácsatyai specifies the possible date of the Hungarian attack against Vercelli and the murder of bishop Liutward. The chronology of the events of the Hungarian campaign against Italy, – which ended in the spring of 900, – offers a good example of how Bácsatyai uses different types of sources concerning each episode of the Hungarian incursions in order to obtain a picture that is as complete as possible.

In addition to these strengths of this important monograph, I would be remiss not to mention another new finding in the book. Bácsatyai draws attention to a story from a work entitled Translatio et miracula Sancti Marci. The tale, which has been ignored by Hungarian historians so far, tells the story of a crippled churchman. Seeking (for) healing, the man visits a site of pilgrimage which, – according to the Translatio, – fell under the control of the Hungarians. Bácsatyai points out that there is only one settlement in the Carpathian Basin where a relic was kept in the ninth century, and this was Mosaburg/Zalavár.

In conclusion, Dániel Bácsatyai’s monograph presents significant findings. His opposition to the minimalist attitude of the Western European scholars and the theory presented by Szabolcs Vajay about the Hungarian-Carolingian alliance can be regarded as important progress and therefore an important addition to earlier historiographic viewpoints. Bácsatyai was able to add several insights concerning the chronology of events, and he has also made a number of corrections. His examination of the manuscript-traditions also yields important findings, and he has made unique discoveries, such as the identification of Mosaburg/Zalavár as an early site of pilgrimage in the Carpathian Basin.

In addition to the insights and contributions mentioned above, the most important point of the book is the argument it presents according to which the Hungarian tribal federation pursued an organic, unified foreign policy in the first half of the tenth century. This contention is significant in part because it runs contrary to the interpretations of some of the most well-known scholars of the period (such as József Deér and Gyula Kristó). Kristó’s main argument was that there were certain occasions, namely in 917, 934, and 943, when the tribes appeared in Western-Europe, and Byzantium. This implies that the tribes must have acted independently, without central guidance. However, as Bácsatyai points out, the sources reveal that the Hungarian defeat in Bavaria took place in 945, not 943, there are no reliable sources verifying the existence of an incursion in 934, and the authenticity of the expedition in 917 is also questionable. Therefore, it seems that the Hungarian incursions in the first half of the tenth century fit a pattern of a conscious strategy, and they were far from random campaigns.

Iván Kis
Eötvös Loránd University


pdfMagyarországi diákok a prágai és a krakkói egyetemeken, 1348–1525, I–II. [Students from Hungary at the universities of Prague and Kraków, 1348–1525, I–II]. By Péter Haraszti Szabó, Borbála Kelényi, and László Szögi. (Hungarian students at medieval universities, 2.) Budapest: Eötvös Loránd Tudományegyetem Levéltára / MTA–ELTE Egyetemtörténeti Kutatócsoport, 2016–2017, 152 pp., 592 pp.

Peregrination (or study tours) of Hungarian students has long been a subject of interest for scholars dealing with Hungarian history and literature. Though the important series in which the present volume was published was launched nearly two decades ago, medievalists and early modernists have been waiting for new volumes, their appetites endlessly whetted by the research produced by László Szögi and his colleagues, which has, so far, produced twenty-four rich volumes about Hungarian students who traveled to destinations abroad (between 1526 and 1919), including the lands of the Habsburg Empire, (and for instance cities like Vienna), Switzerland, the Netherlands, Germany, the Baltic region, England, Scotland, Italy, Kraków, Prague, and, in the most recent and final volume, France, Belgium, Romania, Serbia, and Russia.

The two new volumes about Hungarian students in Prague and Kraków step back in time, since they are part of the subseries on peregrination in the medieval period. The first volume of this section dealt with the University of Vienna between 1365 and 1526 (Anna Tüskés, Magyarországi diákok a Bécsi Egyetemen, 1365–1526 [2008]), and this is now complemented by examinations of the lives and scholarly endeavors of Hungarian students at two other universities important in Hungarian cultural history. The earlier publication on Kraków dealing with the modern period has now been supplemented with student data from 1401 onwards, while the list on students from Prague ranges from ca. 1365 to 1526. The two volumes are not divided by university; the first volume contains introductions and essays in Hungarian and shortened versions in English about the two universities. The second presents the data regarding the students.

The first volume (published in 2016) begins with introductions to both Prague and Kraków. Péter Haraszti Szabó provides a detailed summary of the secondary literature on the former, and Borbála Kelényi provides summaries of the literature on the latter. Haraszti Szabó offers a history of the university founded by Charles IV, describes the judicial and economic aspects of the institution, and plots the rise and fall in the number of students. He also addresses the influence of monarchs (such as the aforementioned founder and Louis the Great) and figures and groups such as John Wycliffe and the Hussites. The introduction concludes with a list of Hungarian students in Prague. Though the sources are fragmented, some 252 students (of which 84 are potentially Hungarian in origin), most of whom studied at the institution before 1420, can be identified. (To highlight the difficulties with the sources, the estimated number of Hungarian students at this important university over the course of the two centuries in question is around twelve to fifteen hundred.) Borbála Kelényi introduces a much wider corpus concerning the Hungarian students in Kraków. The Jagiellonian University, founded in 1364 by Casimir the Great (and re-founded in 1386 by Vladislaus II), hosted 4,476 students (229 of whom had ambiguous origins) from the territory of medieval Hungary between ca. 1365 and 1526. In its heyday in the second half of the fifteenth century, the Jagiellonian University was the most popular destination for Hungarian students. In its peak year (1484), there were 109 registered students of Hungarian origin. Notably, almost ten percent of those who studied in Kraków continued their studies at other European universities (mainly in Vienna and at German and Italian institutions). While information regarding Prague is rare, Kraków has copious accurate and detailed descriptions allowing for a variety of views. Both authors adopt a wide-ranging view which takes into consideration the history, structure, and everyday life of the university, with information about university circles (such as the Bursa Hungarorum in Kraków) and Hungarian professors. They also include numeric information regarding graduations and average student numbers, and they comment on the geographical and social origins of students. (Interestingly, while most of the Hungarian students in Prague appear to come from southwestern Hungary, the largest number of students in Kraków came from Upper Hungary and the east-central region.) Both introductions have extensive bibliographies, and the first volume concludes with illustrations and detailed maps and visualizations.

The second volume (published in 2017) contains a list of the students with indices of names and places. Though the preface, which details the methodology and format, is in Hungarian, the entries follow a logical pattern: student name, ecclesiastical rank, dioceses from which the person was sent, date of birth, date of registration at the university, faculty, academic rank received, names of other universities the student visited, information concerning later career, and other details about the student and his studies. Though the editors repeatedly stress that the entries could be expanded (as the new charters and data in the second volume prove), the 4,722 names clearly bear witness to the effort invested in the enterprise. Though further findings will be included in the planned online edition on peregrination, these two volumes are a substantial resource for any scholar even vaguely connected to the topic. Any researcher dealing with a figure who attended one of these universities, which exerted a strong influence on the intellectual, political, and cultural life of the Hungarian Kingdom in the fourteenth, fifteenth, and sixteenth centuries, will find ample context, and any researcher interested in the broader picture will likewise be fruitfully rewarded.

Borbála Lovas
MTA–ELTE Humanism in East Central Europe Research Group


pdfSamospráva města Košice v stredoveku [Urban administration in Košice in the Middle Ages]. By Drahoslav Magdoško. Košice: Univerzita Pavla Jozefa Šafárika v Košiciach, 2017. 304 pp.

The organization and execution of administration are cornerstones to an understanding of the history of any town or city within any historical period. In European urban history, analysis of different forms of municipal governance is a popular topic which has great potential for comparative research. These two reasons in themselves are sufficient explanation for why the publication of the book by Drahoslav Magdoško devoted to the self-governance of the city of Košice in the Middle Ages is to be welcomed. Chronologically, the book covers the period from the mid-thirteenth century to the end of the first third of the sixteenth century. In fact, there are more reasons to appreciate this book. Its findings are based on long-term and careful archival research, which has yielded several new insights and revisions of our previous knowledge on this subject. Primarily, Magdoško has focused on the mechanisms of operation related to the performance of municipal self-governance in Košice, such as the agenda of the local town judge (villicus, iudex, ger. Richter) and of the city council, the role of the Community of Burghers (later replaced by the Council of Elders), the functioning of the municipal offices, management of the urban economy, administration of the local suburbs, etc. To frame this issue in context, Magdoško dedicated the introductory passages of his book to an outline of the history of Košice in the Middle Ages and also to an assessment of the position and role of this city in the urban network of the medieval Kingdom of Hungary.

The tendency to compare the situation in Košice to other contemporary Hungarian towns is generally strong in the text, making Magdoško´s book very relevant for urban historiography on this area. One might regret that the same comparative point of view was not always consistently applied to compare his findings for Košice to the history of cities in the neighboring countries, in particular Lesser Poland, Silesia, Moravia, and Bohemia. Certain issues, such as the election and competencies of the town judge, are viewed from a wider, Central European perspective. In other cases, however, Magdoško offers not a systematic comparison, but rather an indication of wider contexts. For the periods of time in question, when the events in Hungary were closely linked to the situation in the surrounding kingdoms under the rule of one sovereign (Sigismund of Luxembourg, Matthias Corvinus), the comparative approach would be particularly desirable. Moreover, to assess the situation in the neighboring countries, it is possible to rely on various secondary literature titles.

Despite the fact that Košice´s urban sources are preserved in greater integrity only from the second half of the fifteenth century, Magdoško has succeeded in compensating for the lack of direct evidence by considering analogies with the situation in other Upper Hungarian towns. In this respect, it is possible to quote, for instance, his convincing reasoning that although a specific document attesting to this is missing, one can nonetheless assume, on the basis of other sources, that Košice had complete judicial autonomy even before 1342.

The most interesting parts of the book include a description of the processes the common denominator of which was the effort of the Košice urban elites to ensure their share of power in the city. Their endeavors had a significant result. In the mid-fifteenth century, for the election of town judge and councilors, the Community of Burghers (a group of full-fledged citizens owning property within the city walls) was replaced by the more exclusive Council of Elders, which included several dozen men who were appointed by the outgoing members of the council and by the town judge. We can hope that by providing a description and analysis of these events, Magdoško has paved the way for more detailed (and potentially very interesting) prosopographical studies devoted to the particular families belonging to the circle of Košice power elites, which consisted mostly of wholesalers. Magdoško’s observations concerning the analysis of incomes and expenses of the city, which are neatly presented in the appendix of the book, are also valuable, as is his detailed survey of the competencies of individual urban officials and city employees, who were determined by the town judge and councilors. In the city’s leadership there were visible efforts by a limited group of burghers to restrict the government in the city to themselves as much as possible. It would be very interesting to see whether and to what extent these tendencies of the Košice power elites were manifested, for example, in the socio-topography of the city (as suggested in tables in the appendix), marriage strategies, the existence of the exclusive urban societies, etc.

It is also necessary to acknowledge with gratitude the carefully crafted appendices, including lists of notaries, town judges, and members of municipal councils until 1534, which clearly show continuity in the individual personalities/families who occupied these offices. The book also includes a detailed summary in English of the main findings and conclusions.

Michaela Antonín Malaníková
Palacky University, Olomouc


pdfA költészet születése: A magyarországi költészet társadalomtörténete a 19. század első évtizedeiben [The birth of poetry: A social history of poetry in Hungary in the first decades of the nineteenth century]. By Gábor Vaderna. Budapest: Universitas, 2017. 656 pp.

Gábor Vaderna’s new book represents a significant contribution to both nineteenth-century literary and social historical studies. It takes as its primary aim the reading of the neglected corpus of poetry in Hungary from 1800 to 1820. Following the author’s classification, this corpus consists of a discussion of poetry written for ceremonial (representational) functions on or for various occasions important to members of the upper classes; popular and bardic poetry, and finally, the poetry of sensibility. Later reactions against this immense number of texts and nineteenth-century literary canon formation produced a state of cultural amnesia which Vaderna’s book engages to correct. It will certainly provoke discussion among anyone interested in the decades of poetry it considers.

As far as Hungarian literary history writing is concerned, much of this enormous corpus of texts has been rather ignored so far, and not much scholarly work has been devoted to this kind of writing. This neglect has caused a serious deficit in our ability to read and examine the poetry of the first decades of the nineteenth century. Consequently, our understanding of modern poetry in Hungary has also suffered. Vaderna’s book offers a convincing explanation of the genesis of this indifference, as well. Ferenc Toldy, considered the “father of Hungarian literary history writing,” established a long tradition of an extremely narrow literary canon in his handbooks published in the mid-nineteenth century. Though Toldy had a good knowledge of the poetry investigated in Vaderna’s book, he eventually disqualified most of these texts based on criteria such as language, aesthetic value, and characteristics associated with the concept of the “genius.” Due to his particular approach to literary history, he decided to omit non-Hungarian texts, occasional poems, and traditional forms of poetry. No wonder that the ensuing literary history writing, strongly influenced by Toldy’s handbooks, again ignored the vast amount of manuscripts and printed material written in the first decades of the nineteenth century. As a result, literary canon formation not only erased a large corpus of vital and important poetry, it also obscured the conventions that supported such writing. This impressive monograph is therefore an attempt to recover an almost lost world.

As stated in the introduction, Vaderna seeks to explore the poetry of the first decades of the nineteenth century in its originating social historical contexts. In other words, Vaderna is not only interested in texts but also in the social milieu in which the cultural practice of literature emerged. Thus, combining the methodological practices of ingenious text interpretation, social historical analysis, and the history of ideas, the monograph eventually reads as an alternative story of modernization within the Habsburg Empire and East Central Europe.

The book is prefaced by a brief history of research and some major considerations regarding its structure. Following the preface, two long introductory chapters reflect on the position of the lyrical poetry of the first two decades of the nineteenth century within the narratives of Hungarian literary histories. Moreover, the introduction provides a detailed overview of the poetic tradition of the eighteenth century, indispensable to an understanding of the poetry of the first decades of the 1800s. According to Vaderna, the five chapters that follow the introduction establish the structure of a previously unknown poetical system.

Chapter 1 considers works of poetry associated with public representations of the upper classes. The authors of this kind of poetry were usually literate people, secretaries and tutors, living in the employment of the nobility. The literature they wrote followed fixed verse forms taught in the schools of law and theology they had attended. Furthermore, the poetry of patronage they practiced was intimately linked to rites of passage of their patrons’ lives: births, weddings, inaugural ceremonies, and funerals. This chapter also deals with poems written by aristocrats themselves. Chapter 2 examines another consistent corpus of texts generally regarded in Hungarian literary history as popular poetry. This kind of poetry is basically a hybrid literature of both popular and folkloric forms, a large corpus located at the crossroads of elite and popular culture, and respectively orality, scribal culture, and print publicity. Chapter 3 investigates the writing practices of clergymen authors and focuses on the ways in which ecclesiastical practices intertwined with secular poetry. Chapter 4 explores the poetics of sensibility targeting the lyrical cycle, a genre of considerable importance in Hungarian literature in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Finally, Chapter 5 ponders the possibilities of bardic poetry in the oeuvre of Dániel Berzsenyi, a major representative of neoclassical poetry in Hungarian literary history.

In general, Vaderna’s monograph addresses a broad variety of texts structured around lively case studies to illustrate points in the argument. The title, ambitious as it is, refers in fact to the birth of modern poetry: poetry written for publication by an individual author expressing individual experiences and common group identities. The corpus of texts examined in Vaderna’s book is relevant because it unfolds an intricate story of the birth of modern poetry, and it uncovers the various traditions from which this poetry emerged. From a socio-historical perspective, the monograph also accentuates the importance of eighteenth-century and nineteenth-century educational institutions and an educational system that deliberately nurtured poetry writing. Therefore, from the perspective of the twenty-first century, the story of the evolution of modern poetry becomes the story of a process of deinstitutionalization, as well. For while the eighteenth-century and nineteenth-century educational system provided young people (mainly young men) with the necessary knowledge and skills to become poets or to write poems occasionally if needed, this process gradually became an autodidactic one in the twentieth century and the first decades of the twenty-first. The monograph, however, does not aim to offer teleological explanations: it exhibits traditions and practices of poetry which can only be understood in their own sociohistorical and cultural contexts.

Clearly, the problem that most concerns Vaderna is not a change in the Hungarian literary canon, it is the tendency to approach literature in all its forms (canonical or non-canonical) in rational, scientific terms. His study therefore is an ambitious and consistent effort to reevaluate the Hungarian cultural and literary heritage. Serious in its argumentation but often humorous in style, the monograph is a most relevant contribution to our understanding of larger processes between literature and society during the first decades of the nineteenth century.

Zsuzsa Török
Hungarian Academy of Sciences


pdfThe World of Prostitution in Late Imperial Austria. By Nancy M. Wingfield. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017. 288 pp.

The World of Prostitution in Late Imperial Austria explores the history of prostitution in the Austrian provinces of the empire from the late nineteenth century to the dissolution of the Habsburg Monarchy after World War I. Based on extensive research in archives found in cities, towns, and regions across the former empire, the book provides new insights and a novel approach to the history of prostitution.

In terms of its methodology, the study takes a three-pronged approach. It examines prostitution on the level of individuals, the larger society, and the state. The book presents prostitutes as individuals who made conscious choices and therefore possessed agency. It also reveals a society that projected its fears about the effects of modernization, urbanization, and dramatic social transformation onto the issue of prostitution. Finally, Wingfield analyzes the official approach of the state and its representatives to prostitution. Concerned as they were with public morality and protecting the health of middle-class men, public officials believed in regulating the supply side of prostitution. In contrast to studies that focus on large urban centers or individual towns, Wingfield’s approach integrates large cities, such as Vienna and Prague, and provincial centers, such as Cracow and Salzburg, with small municipalities, such as Theresienstadt, and spa towns, such as Karslbad, as well as other rural areas. In addition to providing new local histories of prostitution, the author’s expansive scope illuminates a complicated web of interrelationships in the realm of commercial sex between the imperial center, provincial centers, and the periphery of Habsburg Austria. In so doing, The World of Prostitution portrays a Monarchy-wide integrated sexual economy which the book contextualizes within contemporary European and global trends.

The book opens with a discussion of the 1906 trial of Vienna’s infamous madam, Regina Riehl, a Jewish brothel owner charged and ultimately convicted of embezzlement, fraud, and pandering. Wingfield’s colorful narrative of the trial and the media frenzy it generated is a window into contemporary views about prostitution and its regulation. Widely considered an inevitable part of society, prostitution was treated by the state primarily as a public health issue. In an age when there was no effective cure for syphilis, prostitutes (although not their clients) were considered disease carriers who had to be controlled and regulated. Placed under the authority of the Vice Police, prostitutes voluntarily registered with police officials and agreed to have regular medical examinations in order to work in brothels or police-approved private residences. The Riehl trial brought attention to the treatment of prostitutes, while Vienna’s anti-Semitic press stressed the alleged role of Jews in the corrupt brothel business. Yet as Wingfield’s analysis of official responses in Chapter 2 highlights, despite attempts to reform prostitution, the 1911 revision of the law did not change the overall approach. This approach continued until the dissolution of the Habsburg Empire and even beyond in the new nation states created out of it.

At the same time, by incorporating smaller cities into the history of prostitution, the book provides new insights into the considerable role local officials played in the regulation of prostitution. Even as centrifugal forces from Vienna provided general guidelines, local circumstances and particularly the local police determined how regulations would be enforced in the provinces (p.80). This was especially the case in smaller municipalities. In contrast to the provincial centers of Prague, Trieste, or Czernowitz, which tended to follow Viennese reforms enacted in 1911, as revealed in Chapter 3, middle-sized and smaller municipalities adjusted regulations to fit the needs of their local communities.

One of the book’s important contributions to the scholarship on sexuality is the social history of prostitutes, brothel keepers, pimps, and panderers. The discussion of contemporary views of female prostitutes is particularly valuable. Scrupulous research and her discovery of the voices of women who worked as prostitutes, combined with a critical reading of official sources about them, allow Wingfield to compare the actual lives of prostitutes with contemporary discourse about them. In contrast to official and public attitudes that framed prostitutes as women either to be saved or damned as immoral creatures, Wingfield reconstructs the actual lives of registered and unregistered prostitutes. Chapters 3 and 4 focus on the varied reasons which might influence a woman to choose to become a prostitute and the paradox of making choices and having agency amidst the daily difficulty of making a living in this era.

Chapter 6 places fin-de-siècle Austria and the specter of Mädchenhandel within the broader context of European conversations about trafficking women. While popular representations usually depicted deceitful Jewish traffickers moving “innocent” girls to foreign (often South American) brothels, the reality was much more complicated. Both the traffickers and the women trafficked defy this kind of simplistic portrayal. As Wingfield demonstrates, traffickers and panderers also included non-Jewish men and women, while many women who were trafficked decided to go on their own terms. Regardless, concerns over young women being forced into prostitution aided both official and voluntary efforts to “save” them.

The last chapter investigates the impact of World War I and how deprivation and economic austerity on the home front led to the collapse of regulated prostitution and an explosion of clandestine activity. As a result, men in the military were subjected to forced inspection for venereal disease for the first time. The goal was to cure those infected so they could return to the front. Predictably, the state continued to view women as primarily responsible for the spread of disease. As in most of the countries at war, women who transgressed sexual norms faced greater scrutiny than men, whether officials or civilians. Consequently, World War I brought further intrusion by government authorities into the private lives of working-class women.

The book would have benefitted from the inclusion of Budapest and the Hungarian side of the Monarchy into the analyses. This would have highlighted the role of Vienna as a model for larger cities on both sides of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, and it would have strengthened and added more context to the argument about local autonomy in dealing with prostitution, while also placing greater emphasis on the role of ethnic stereotypes in shaping public discourses on prostitution. This is a relatively minor criticism, however, of a book which otherwise shows remarkable range in its coverage.

Anita Kurimay
Bryn Mawr College


pdfKarl Polanyi: A Life on the Left. By Gareth Dale. New York: Columbia University Press, 2016. 381 pp.

As Gareth Dale puts it in his introduction, Karl Polanyi is “an attractive biographical protagonist” (p.8). The contemporary revival of interest in Polanyi’s social-economic theories, his exciting and sometimes contradictory personality, and his inspiring career all make him an appealing main character. Dale’s previous books on the great thinker (Karl Polanyi: The Limits of the Market [2010], Karl Polanyi: The Hungarian Writings [ed., 2016], and Reconstructing Karl Polanyi [2016]) focused on analyses of Polanyi’s ideas. His new monograph concentrates instead on his life. However, it undertakes something more complex than the mere retelling of a life story, as Dale aims to offer an intellectual biography. His ambition is to reconstruct the cultural and social milieu in which Polanyi’s intellectual formation took place and to paint a picture of both his formative years and the intellectual currents that influenced later developments in his thought. Dale also explicitly notes, furthermore, that the “lessons” of Polanyi’s life shed light on the whole intellectual climate of his era and his milieu and, more specifically, on the history of reformist socialism, “an international movement that sought to transform capitalism into a socialist society by means of parliament-led piecemeal alterations” (p.9).

This “lost world of socialism” not only provides the context of the Polanyian defense of a “nonmarket utopia,” it also constitutes the main concern of the book itself, which is Polanyi’s search for an alternative to “market fundamentalism,” as Dale characterizes (using Polanyi’s words) the global economy’s current neoliberal face. Without having written a political pamphlet, Dale expresses explicit regret that after the 1959 Bad Godesberg Conference of the German Social Democrats adopted a program of combining democratic systems with self-regulating market capitalism, the reformist version became marginal and the chances of a radical transformation were reduced to the minimum.

The contextualization of Polanyi’s intellectual biography takes place in two directions, as, chapter by chapter, Dale offers detailed descriptions of the social background of his protagonist, whether this background was fin-de-siècle Budapest or Columbia University in the 1950s. Dale also provides an exhaustive history of ideas connected to Polanyi’s intellectual world. From Hungarian radical bourgeois circles through H.G. Wells-inspired guild socialists to the London-based Christian socialists Robert Owen and Richard Tawney, Dale examines personal and intellectual encounters in order to reconstruct Polanyi’s lifelong quest for a feasible form of socialism. This double agenda makes the book rich and thoughtful, but it is a vertiginous ambition which ultimately leaves the reader with an occasional feeling of incompleteness.

One can only admire the quantity and quality of research into sources in three languages and from archives in five countries, the careful and critical use of oral history, and the meticulous reconstruction of links between life and scholarly work. An exciting example of the latter is Dale’s interpretation of the fact that for Polanyi, when diagnosing the crisis of his age, the main concern was social unification and the search for solidarity in a fragmented society whereby individual moral responsibility would remain subsidiary. This concern, Dale reasons, was related to Polanyi’s Budapest years, when “the Jews of his milieu (…) were acutely sensitized to questions of detachment, alienation and community” (p.83). The way Dale sketches the very different but also (re)unification-centered ideas of Georg Lukacs and Karl Mannheim, both of whom came from the same milieu, makes his conclusions all the more intriguing and convincing.

At the same time, Dale is less persuasive when providing accounts of some historic events. Obviously, the reader cannot expect a detailed history of the countries in which Polanyi lived and worked, but against the brilliantly drawn background, some key moments of history should have been sketched more precisely. Because of the absence of this more analytic approach, some simplistic judgments attenuate the argumentative strength of the narrative. Qualifying for instance the Austro–Hungarian Monarchy as “a short-lived and forgettable empire that […] was destroyed by the mutiny of its own armies” (p.1) is such a strong statement that at least some supporting evidence should have been provided. Similarly, when describing the Republic of Councils, Dale seems to oversimplify the events when he accepts without critical overtones a Polanyian appreciation of the Commune, described as “desperate but not inglorious” (p.71). As a matter of fact, even Polanyi had more ambivalent feelings about this experience, which descended into paramilitary violence (the so-called red terror). Polanyi was deeply concerned about Bolshevism and gave several lectures warning against such a turn. It would have been worthwhile to investigate Polanyi’s attitude towards the events and the people who shaped them, as he was very close to several of the Commune’s leaders but nonetheless chose emigration at the time. At these specific points and, more generally, whenever Dale reports on other highly controversial events, one could reasonably have expected him to draw on the relevant proliferating debates in historiography.

Dale has the rare ability to bring a personality closer to the reader through, for instance, descriptions of his warm family relations, but without entering into intimate details. He evokes not only the popular and the brilliant from Polanyi’s oeuvre, but also the failures, dilemmas, and even some of the embarrassing details. Ironically, by the 1930s, the man who made it his lifelong vocation to bring the moral dimension back into the political and economic spheres and who had had a nuanced view of the 1919 commune of Béla Kun had become blind to the inhuman practices of the Soviet Union under Stalin. The most striking example might be the way in which he stubbornly defended Stalinist methods of governance even when his own niece, Éva Zeisel, became the victim of a show trial in 1936. (Her experiences were to inspire parts of Arthur Koestler’s Darkness at Noon.) In spite of the warm relationship between the Polanyi brothers, on which Dale writes in detail, Michael sternly reproached Karl on the issue.

This was not a singular instance of Polanyi’s lack of clear discernment. Even this sometimes idealized portrait, which describes him as a man of principle with a very strong sense of duty, occasionally makes note of his “Hamlet-like irresolution” (p.77), though the delicate conflicts between this “life on the left” in principle and the comfortable bourgeois lifestyle of the Polanyi’s in practice goes unmentioned. When, for instance, Polanyi describes his standard of living as “a normal proletarian life” (p.78), in spite of the fact that his family employed a servant (Erzsi, whose last name, of course, has been forgotten) and he could count on a significant annuity from his wife’s family, the irony seems to be lost on Dale.

The narrative strikes a truly critical tone only in parts of the Epilogue. This is regrettable, given that more explicit reflections by Dale regarding some of the abovementioned issues would have enriched the text. Furthermore, only in the epilogue does Dale undertake to analyze briefly the contemporary reception of Polanyi’s oeuvre, including his popularity among the most diverse tendencies critical of capitalism. Nevertheless, for a reader interested in these kinds of critical tendencies, this volume makes an enormous contribution to a better understanding of Karl Polanyi’s sometimes contradictory but always thought-provoking ideas.

Veronika Eszik
Hungarian Academy of Sciences


pdfEurope on Trial: The Story of Collaboration, Resistance, and Retribution during World War II. By István Deák. Boulder, Colorado: Westwiew Press, 2015. 257 pp.

This monograph by István Deák goes against the conventional narratives of World War II. The widely accepted accounts of the war which were established after 1945 won approval from the major participants in it in no small part because these accounts were convenient. According to these narratives, World War II was basically a struggle between the “democratic” and the “fascist” powers. Furthermore, a special but popular exculpatory interpretation was established as a kind of subplot of these stories which held significant sway until the 1960s, according to which ordinary German people were not responsible for Nazi crimes, as these crimes had been committed by the Nazis who “captured” ordinary Germans as well. The Polish took a privileged position in the remembrance of World War II because they could be represented entirely as victims, and the Poles did not miss the opportunity to portray themselves as martyrs. However, several books have been published since the mid-1990s (for instance Christopher Browning’s Ordinary Men about the role of “ordinary” Germans in the Holocaust or Jan T. Gross’ work on the massacre in Jedwabne) which undermine these interpretations (which have enjoyed a significant degree of consensus). The new monograph by István Deák, professor emeritus at Columbia University, fits in this recent trend in the secondary literature. The keywords of his book (as one can see from its title) are collaboration, resistance, and retribution, and he is more interested in the limit situations of everyday life during the war than in major war operations, in no small part because he has personal experience of them. His brother-in-law and idol Béla Stollár, an antifascist journalist and member of the resistance in Hungary, was killed in 1944 by members of the Hungarian Arrow-Cross Party, which ruled the country as a pro-Nazi puppet government at the time. Deák also shares with his reader the latest results of research on World War II, offering new perspectives on various key issues.

In clear opposition to revisionist works, István Deák’s book rehearses the traditional interpretation of the outbreak of the war. According to this interpretation, the war was launched consciously by Hitler in order to colonize the territories of Eastern Europe and destroy the Jewish communities there: “the extermination of the Jews, as a war goal, at least equaled the goal of winning the war” (p.134).

In their ambition to exterminate the Jews, Germans could count on the assistance of locals. Perhaps the most important and also provocative and unpalatable statement of the book is Deák’s assertion that, “if there was one major European project, it was ethnic cleansing” (p.10). With this assertion, Deák deprives the Holocaust of its aura of “incomprehensibility” and supposed uniqueness in the sense that he places it in a series of ethnic cleansings, which he describes as the logical, if radical consequence of the absolutization of the idea of the “organic” nation state. He thus links the deportation of the Jews to the expulsion of the East European Germans after World War II, without, however, intending to relativize. Another link between the deportation (or in the case of the Jews of Europe, the deportation and massacre) of both scapegoated ethnic groups was the redistribution of properties and wealth, i.e. the governmental practice of bribing or rewarding “desirable” social groups by redistributing the stolen property of the victims and thereby making these social groups accomplices.

Collaboration with Hitler’s Germany allowed countries to realize their “national” goals, which included territorial acquisitions, ethnic homogenization (or “cleansing”), and taking possession of the property of people who lost their civil rights and later their lives. Deák does not mute his critical view of the Hungarian “gentry middle-class,” which he sees as the greatest beneficiary of the Holocaust in Hungary. Hungary realized each of the aforementioned goals (at least, in the case of territorial acquisitions, for a time), and this may explain why the Hungarian elite did not turn its back on Germany even on the verge of certain defeat and Soviet occupation.

Deák characterizes the attitude of European leaders and citizens during the years before World War II and in the first period of the conflagration as political and moral bankruptcy, and he maintains that the sacrifice of Czechoslovakia was the moral nadir. (It is worth noting that, as a consequence of the decision in Munich, a huge part of the European military industry was given to Germany.) Deák does observe (and contributions like this make Europe on Trial a revelatory book) that food rations were better in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia (created in 1939) than in Germany. Moreover, “the survival rate among Czech males [was] much higher than among Sudeten German males,” as Czech males were not recruited for military service (p.34). During the German occupation, the Czech public administration functioned like the public administration of ‘an eminent allied state,’ even without ideological identification. This phenomenon was not specific to the Czech lands: Germans trusted “obedient bureaucrats” over “new Nazis” in almost every country. The “new Nazis” were given power only as a last resort, for instance in Hungary with the coup by Ferenc Szálasi and his Arrow Cross Party in October, 1944.

Deák continues to complicate and undermine the traditional narrative according to which the European countries could be divided into “bad” and “good” countries, active “conquerors” and passive “victims.” He points out how the allies, above all Italy, typically caused more problems for Germany than the occupied countries. Denmark, which tends to be idealized because it saved its Jewish citizens, even entered the Anti-Comintern Pact in November 1941.

Operation Barbarossa was not a preventive attack, as revisionist authors tend to claim, but a direct consequence of Hitler’s explicit aim: the desire to acquire Lebensraum. However, in spite of the Nazi racial theory (according to which Slavs were subhuman), many locals helped the invaders, especially in territories which had been occupied by the Soviet Union in 1939/40.

A contention characteristic of Deák’s ambition to avoid and challenge simplification is his observation about people who are usually referred to as “partisans” and who were uniformly idealized by the Soviet propaganda as “antifascist heroes.” Deák insists that these people (and the groups of which they were part) conducted ethnic cleansing similar to the German genocide. The various partisan groups fought against one another on several occasions, and the fault lines in these conflicts were based on perceived ethnic difference. The Jewish inhabitants of Timothy Snyder´s Bloodlands were targets not only of the German invaders, but also of the nationalistic and anti-Semitic partisan groups, for instance of Ukrainian nationalists, who simultaneously fought both the Germans and the Soviets.

Deák makes the bold claim that serious resistance in the countries of the West only began in 1943, when, after the German defeat at Stalingrad, it began to seem possible that Germany might lose the war. As the resistance groups did not hesitate to commit attacks that typically prompted German acts of revenge against civilians, any evaluation of the acts of these groups must grapple with serious moral dilemmas. Excellent examples of this include the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich or the contested case of the Italian communists who exploded a bomb at Via Rasella in Rome in March 1944.

Assessments of the practices of retributions after World War II are even more contested. Europe on Trial gives a panoramic overview of the various attempts at retribution in every single country after the war, and it reminds the reader that several prime ministers of Hungary were executed, whereas German Plenipotentiary and key Holocaust perpetrator Edmund Veesenmayer spent only a short period of time in prison and went on to become a successful businessman in West Germany. As Deák writes, “The great irony of history is that whereas Eastern Europe paid a heavy price for its political purges and its ethnic cleansing, Germany, which hardly had any purges and received millions of German and other refugees, soon became a model democracy and the motor of the postwar European economy” (p.223). Of course, the main explanation for the lack of adequate retribution in West Germany remains the outbreak of the Cold War, in which West Germans became “valuable allies” for the Atlantic Powers (p.193). From this perspective, the West German “economic miracle,” which enabled Germany to become the engine of the Common Market (the predecessor to the European Union), was launched and operated by Nazis who could (and should) have been punished for their war crimes. From this point of view, the “Adenauer Deal” was problematic on ethical grounds, but one could well claim that history has justified the acts of politicians “who had dreamed of a new, unified, and better Europe” (p.229), to close my review with the final words of Deák’s provocative book. It will make an interesting and informative reading for anyone who would like to learn more, easily and quickly, about the most recent findings of the scholarship on the history of World War II.

Péter Csunderlik
Eötvös Loránd University – Institute of Political History


pdfThe Value of Labor: The Science of Commodification in Hungary, 1920–1956. By Martha Lampland. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2016. 348 pp.

While the 1990s transition to capitalism has sprouted an impressive amount of literature, from buoyant transitologies to more sober analyses, very few scholars of Central and Eastern Europe have dared to zoom in on an equally significant transition: the one from capitalism to socialism in the immediate postwar period. In an ironic twist, it seems the claims of post-1945 communist leaders have surreptitiously seeped into the academic literature, being taken for granted: the advent of socialism has been customarily described by scholars as a moment of powerful rupture, of total discontinuity, a new era in stark contrast with the interwar years.

Framed within an elegant conceptual structure, Martha Lampland’s The Value of Labor brings an important corrective to this narrative. The work traces the diverse technologies and practices used in Hungary to evaluate agricultural labor before and after World War II. This seemingly unassuming topic allows her to pose crucial questions, however. The book offers an inquiry into how the history of the region may be integrated into a larger analysis of commodification as a global process, a process marked by local contingencies and discontinuities, but also molded by global structural constraints and international networks of expertise. Similarly, the book touches upon the crucial issue of how an analysis of state socialisms could enter into dialogue with the history of capitalism, catering in this way to a varied readership, from labor historians and STS scholars to social anthropologists.

The volume is a prequel to Lampland’s previous work, The Object of Labor (University of Chicago Press, 1996), an ethnographic foray into the labor practices structuring the agricultural cooperatives of state socialist Hungary. A central, unavoidable reference for (post)socialist anthropology, the 1996 study was a daring attempt to historicize and put to work, through meticulous fieldwork, Moishe Postone’s reconceptualization of commodification and labor value. It highlighted an apparent paradox: that the commodification of labor could thrive in conditions which, at face value, would seem inimical to such developments, a collectivized agriculture where market institutions were fairly rare. Lampland’s earlier book also posed a chronological challenge. It traced a direct continuity between the pre-socialist conceptions of labor and the ones emerging after collectivization, and it emphasized the centrality of work in determining social value at large.

The current volume picks up this insight into the relevance of labor in creating and establishing social worth, thus continuing to draw on Postone’s notions, but it develops it further through the instruments of an STS scholarship sensitive to the importance of formalizing practices and knowledge technologies. The main question concerns how labor as such was valued, assessed, and formalized and what types of technologies were used in this process. The answer provided by Martha Lampland moves from work science experts in interwar Hungary and their focus on agrarian labor to the first collectivization attempts and wage formulas developed by the communist authorities. Underpinning her narrative is an attempt to avoid a rather common pitfall of commodification debates: the excessive focus on markets which, according to her, has prevented us from analyzing other means of assessing and evaluating labor. This dangerous market-bias has obscured the gigantic infrastructure necessary to make labor “commodifiable” in various historical contexts.

This infrastructure includes the complex formalizing techniques needed to standardize labor practices across local variations. The development of work sciences at the end of the nineteenth century and their global spread gave rise to different forms of expertise, harnessed in order to streamline and frame the rich variety of labor forms. For the Hungarian case, it was German business economics and scientific work management, from Taylorism to work psychology, that provided the novel instruments and new formulas that were used to regulate and evaluate labor power. Through a permanent dialogue with the local manorial traditions of labor administration, these developments spurred the emergence of original wage schemes and accounting techniques. At least as importantly, however, these kinds of formalizing practices required a complex infrastructure, straddling the boundaries between academia, state institutions, and the private economy: research centers, new university departments, statistical offices, bureaucratic experts, etc. And throughout the interwar period, Hungarian work scientists were at pains to find the resources necessary to establish and maintain such a complex infrastructure of expertise. Analyzing both the formalizing technologies developed by the Hungarian labor experts (new wage schemes, new accounting methods) and the infrastructure of knowledge they relied on, the first part of the volume draws a fascinating portrait of Hungary’s agricultural modernizers: work scientists, accounting experts, agricultural economists, etc.

This portrait is framed by a specific ambiguity regarding capitalism and market institutions. Although they were generally market enthusiasts, Hungarian modernizers devised formal tools and evaluation instruments which could be impervious to the vagaries of a market shaken by constant economic crises, from the Great Depression to waves of postwar inflation. Thus, the way in which they conceived of rural labor was somewhat outside market constraints or at least indifferent to them. For this reason, adopting and making use of their technologies became an easy job for a communist regime keen on scraping off market institutions. As Lampland shows in the second part of the book, communist agricultural modernization was not so much a revolution from abroad as a process underpinned by techno-political devices developed locally throughout the 1930s and 1940s. The end result was an original synthesis which can hardly fit a specific label. It was neither a Soviet import nor simply a local offshoot. A case in point is the history of the work units, a complex hybrid between Soviet collectivization practices (trudnoi), interwar work science, and manorial practices, each of which was constantly changed by the social violence of the immediate postwar years.

Commodification appears throughout the volume as a complex bundle of practices and technologies that can hardly be confined to market mechanisms. This has the heuristic advantage of problematizing the relationship between capitalism and socialism. Following the archival trail, one can trace these technologies across economic systems and construct a more inclusive historiography in which the relationship between state socialism and postwar capitalism is one of constant dialogue and interaction. The book leaves untouched, however, a more extensive discussion on the relationship between market mechanisms and the technologies of commodification it analyzes. We do not find out, for instance, exactly how the formalizing practices developed by Hungarian work scientists might have interacted with agricultural labor markets. More generally, we do not know too much about pre-1945 labor markets as such or the way they functioned (in conjunction with other commodification mechanisms or not). This is far more than a mere empirical addendum, as it raises an important theoretical question that should interest economic anthropologists and social historians alike. And the period analyzed by Martha Lampland, marked as it was by extensive economic experiments, might provide one of the best empirical terrains for research going in this direction. Similarly, it would be important to see how essential shifts in managing economic life, such as the Great Depression or the war economy, might have influenced the management and evaluation of labor and the formalizing practices developed by work scientists before and after 1945.

It is of course one of the chief ironies of the book that the techno-political dreams of the advocates of capitalism, the work scientists of interwar Hungary, could take shape only under the auspices of communism. It is, however, precisely these kinds of ironic insights, born out of an acrimonious attention to technical detail that may help scholars reconnect the history of capitalism with the study of state socialism, building up a more inclusive global historiography. An understanding of commodification as a complex bundle of practices and technologies, which can easily circulate and be adapted to local conditions, might offer a more nuanced grasp of the economic history of the twentieth century.

Mihai-Dan Cirjan
Central European University – CEFRES Prague


pdfSearching for the Human Factor: Psychology, Power and Ideology in Hungary during the Early Kádár Period. By Tuomas Laine-Frigren. Jyväskylä: University of Jyväskylä, 2016. 369 pp.

The Department of History and Ethnology at the University of Jyväskylä in central Finland is one of the most important institutes at which Hungarian history and culture is studied and taught outside of Hungary, both from the perspectives of teaching and research. Many historians, ethnographers, and literary historians have gotten doctorates at the university pursuing research on Hungary and its culture, and the institute has managed to catch the attention of many young Finnish scholars, who have then taken a more active interest in Hungary. The university, in keeping with tradition, publishes every dissertation as a book and, now, also online. Tuomas Laine-Frigren’s dissertation, which has now been published as the 280th volume in this series (the number is not a typo), offers important new information and insights for scholars of the Kádár era and anyone interested in the history of sciences in Hungary and, more narrowly, the historiography on the social sciences.

Laine-Frigren examines how the science of psychology developed under Kádár, or more precisely, how it was reborn. He considers how the institutional system first began to take shape and the various political and professional/scientific debates amidst which it developed in the period that lasted from the defeat of the 1956 Revolution to the mid-1980s. Laine-Frigren refers to himself as a revisionist historian, by which he means that he considers the state socialist system a meeting and collision point of many competing interests. He adheres to a complex analytical method which includes perspectives from the history of ideas, the history of science, and political history. His discussion is polycentric, by which I mean that he considers, alongside the discipline of psychology in Hungary and its connections to international scholarly life, the significance of formal and informal networks, circles, and individuals, and he also examines the various discourses on this branch of the sciences.

The book is divided into four chapters. In the first, Laine-Frigren offers a historical glance back, providing a portrait of the rich and recognized school of psychology that developed in Hungary, going back as far as the work of Sándor Ferenczi. He also shows how utterly devastating the anti-Jewish laws, the Holocaust, and the destruction of the war were to the discipline, followed, after a brief moment of respite, by the Stalinist dictatorship. He quite rightly notes that the science of psychology never disappeared entirely in Hungary. A slender thread of continuity always remained, though separation from the world of international (and particularly Western) scholarship unquestionably was a serious hindrance.

In the second chapter, Laine-Frigren examines the ideological milieu in which psychology prospered or struggled. This process clearly was in close parallel with the processes underway in the Soviet Union, where behaviorism (based largely on the ideas of Ivan Pavlov) and the ideas of education theorist Anton Makarenko had become dominant. On the other hand, however, the desire of power to rear and shape society collectively also created opportunities. Indeed, the process which came to its culmination in the 1960s and 1970s had already begun before 1956, if only very embryonically. Researchers managed to secure major financial resources and launch comprehensive programs, since the government had ever greater demand for the advice and counsel of psychologists in its attempts to deal with the various social problems it found itself compelled to confront.

These developments are perhaps most clearly evidenced by the changes which took place in the approach to child and youth psychology and treatment, which Laine-Frigren presents in the third chapter (which is the most thorough and circumspect chapter of the book). He was able to draw on serious preliminary studies, since the circumstances of and problems faced by the younger generations in Hungary after 1956 have become popular subjects of study. Laine-Frigren persuasively argues that the large number of young people who took part in the 1956 Revolution and the various forms of counterculture which emerged in the 1960s deeply worried the political leadership of the country. The various measures which were adopted and organizations which were created in order (allegedly) to protect children dealt with these problems in an array of varying ways. Numerous serious issues came to the surface, including the traumas faced by the generation which was growing up in the postwar decades, overburdened parents, and shifts in family roles. Furthermore, the authorities often criminalized and labeled as deviant the behavior of young people who found themselves in difficult circumstances, and instead of providing care, they strove to isolate them. Laine-Frigren offers analyses of numerous case studies, and he offers examples of the kinds of tragedies which took place in the foster and community homes. He also shoes how, with the passage of time, it became increasingly clear that the state was not able and did not particularly even want to address the causes of juvenile delinquency.

The book includes a similarly excellent chapter on the ways in which social psychology gained ground and became increasingly institutionalized. Laine-Frigren essentially ties the increasing prestige and prominence of the social sciences to the introduction of the process of economic reform. The debates which preceded and followed the introduction of the new economic mechanism helped nudge the processes of decision making away from the ideological and towards the rational. The sciences of economics and agriculture acquired new value and respect, but so did branches of the sciences which focused on the ways in which society functions and responds to shifts, as these branches of inquiry provided important information for decision makers. This shift had a positive influence on assessments of the science of psychology.

Laine-Frigren offers two examples illustrating this, examples one might describe as concealed. Ferenc Pataki began his career as part of the People’s College Movement, and was given a Soviet scholarship, and became involved in the Petőfi Circle. In the 1960s and 1970s, through his personal ties to György Aczél, he played a key role in the management of the institutional and personal background of psychology and, in particular, social psychology. The book contains frequent mention of his name, the titles of his works, and references to the decisions he made, and quite rightly so. Pataki’s career quite clearly illustrates that it was possible to pursue a career within the state socialist system which may well have been founded on political loyalty, but which nonetheless yielded important contributions to the field. Not everyone was so fortunate, of course. For Ferenc Mérei, who had a similarly outstanding mind, the period between 1945 and 1949, i.e. the golden age of the short-lived People’s College movement, was the zenith of his career. Mérei was pushed to the margins of official scholarly life, first because of the anti-Jewish laws, then because of the Stalinist dictatorship, and then because of the role he played in 1956. His life story, however, is clear testimony to the fact that a person of his talents could not be completely banished from scholarly life in Hungary. Because of his remarkable intellectual capabilities and stunning knack for pedagogy and teaching, he was given an opportunity, as a laboratory leader, to form a significant circle of students at the National Institute of Psychiatry and Neurology (known more familiarly as Lipótmező after its location in a neighborhood in the Buda hills). The effects of his work and the works of this group of students can still be discerned today. Perhaps the only more serious shortcoming of the work lies in the fact that Laine-Frigren was not always entirely aware of the antecedents in the careers of the psychologists on whom he has chosen to focus, and this sometimes leads to odd lacunae.

In the closing chapter, in which Laine-Frigren offers a summary of his findings, he again raises the central questions: to what extent did the development of a discipline depend on the individual wills of the decision makers in the party state and to what extent did it depend on submitting to political pressures and constraints? Were there any real intentions to reform, and was it possible to resist calls to catch up, as it were, with the science of psychology in the West? One of the great strengths of the book, in conclusion, is that Laine-Frigren has very precisely depicted the opportunities for action and the limits of these opportunities.

István Papp
Historical Archives of the Hungarian State Security


pdfOf Red Dragons and Evil Spirits: Post-Communist Historiography between Democratization and New Politics of History. Edited by Oto Luthar. Budapest–New York: Central European University Press, 2017. 248 pp.

The volume surveys eight national contexts from East Central and Southeastern Europe in an attempt to reconstruct the defining features of the contemporary politics of the past. As the authors suggest, falling short of the hopes and expectations of many in the aforementioned two regions, instead of a process of democratizing the narratives about the past, there is a return to or rather no change in the dominance of nation-centered narratives. This diagnosis strikes the often rather disillusioned and pessimistic tone of the volume. The introduction by editor Oto Luthar identifies a veritable watershed in the politics of history in 2010, after which serious breaches of professional standards have occurred within the respective countries. However, this periodization is explicitly reflected upon only by some of the contributors.

Most chapters discuss state socialist politics of history and historical narratives before delving into more recent developments. The new or recurrent narratives analyzed in the various chapters embrace the equation between Nazism and Communism and refuse any investigation of broader societal participation in the most infamous episodes of the past century. It is suggested that such currents are initiated from within the scholarly field (Luthar, p.8). While this is a defensible position, it can be usefully complemented by a focus on all those engaging in the discourse from the margins of scholarship or well beyond its realm, most notably, the prime makers of politics of the past, the so-called memory brokers. Though Of Dragons and Evil Spirits is a fairly coherent edited volume, the foci of the chapters oscillate between national memory brokers and academia-bound debates, politics of history pertaining to specific episodes of national history or the battles over establishing the grand narrative of the nation after the collapse of state socialism. Therefore, in the following I will pinpoint several shared topics to highlight the comparative potentials of the volume.

Some of the authors find it important to reflect on the lustration laws in their respective countries, suggesting that an investigation into their qualities and functioning (or often mere existence) is essential to an understanding of politics of history in a broader sense. Daniela Koleva underlines not only the specific features but also the modest institutional effect that these laws had in Bulgaria. Šačir  Filandra is quite disillusioned with the lack of Bosnian lustration laws and explains their absence by pointing to “post-independence chaos.”

As for the narrative aspects of this new politics of history, all of the authors in the volume claim that an opportunity for the thorough pluralization of historical discourses emerged with the respective regime changes, but this moment has passed. The practically monophonic national canons hardly allow for self-reflection, and their instrumentalization to serve the purposes of politics of the past result in “memorial militancy” (Koleva), which uses selective negationism (Michael Shafir) as a key discursive strategy. In the Croatian case, some sort of pluralization is mentioned, though as Ljiljana Radonić argues, this does not really help further a more critical assessment of the nation’s past. In the Hungarian and Croatian cases, Jewish suffering during the Holocaust serves as shorthand for the rhetorical practice of subsuming different victim groups under the same category (i.e. victims of World War II) and downplaying societal involvement. Although the concept of collective and competitive victimhood has been established primarily in relation to the post-Yugoslav societies, which have been subjected to a form of transnational justice, as Shafir demonstrates in particular, its analytical virtues can be applied to the interpretation of East Central European cases as well. (Shafir’s notion of competitive martyrdom has considerable overlaps with that of C. A. Nielsen, “Collective and Competitive Victimhood as Identity in the Former Yugoslavia,” in Understanding the Age of Transnational Justice: Crimes, Courts, Commissions and Chronicling, ed. Nancy Adler [2018].)

The European dimensions of the politics of history are tacitly present in all of the chapters but are discussed in greater detail only in the contributions by Daniela Koleva and Ferenc Laczó. The former calls attention to the lack of integration of communist experience into common European remembrance after the entry of post-communist countries into the European Union. Laczó does not fully share her view, as he claims that both radical left-wing and right-wing actors’ responsibility for equally serious crimes has been acknowledged to a certain extent. EU conditionality regarding the establishment of consensual remembrance is discussed by both authors. While Bulgaria was a notable exception to this condition, Laczó claims that for the Hungarian public, EU accession amounted to another missed opportunity for engagement and reconciliation.

Although visual representations of the past constitute one of the most often scrutinized aspects of the politics of history, this volume focuses more on narratives and agendas. There are sporadic utterances though, regarding both public spaces and exhibitions. Radonić briefly discusses how Croatian Prime Minister Ivo Sanader (2003–2009) ordered the removal of controversial memorials, and Koleva underscores the importance of local initiatives in Bulgaria, where a comprehensive museum of communism has yet to have been built. At the same time, Todor Kuljić describes competition, i.e. an ever-changing hierarchy among ethnic groups that make similarly exclusive claims to the remembrance of “their” victims at the expense of others.

Although the introduction sets a clear agenda for the volume, some degree of divergence in terms of approaches and style remains inevitable; the authors tend to share a conceptual framework which enables the reader to perceive the texts as directly comparable. Of Dragons and Evil Spirits as a whole has the virtue of addressing some time-specific aspects of contemporary politics of history. Scholars and policy makers may learn important lessons from the cases presented. However, only time will tell whether the authors have truly managed to capture the starting points of a new politics of history.

Réka Krizmanics
Central European University


pdfLong Awaited West: Eastern Europe Since 1944. By Stefano Bottoni. Translated by Sean Lambert. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2017. 292 pp.

It has been almost three decades since Eastern Europe’s communist governments fell and over a decade since the countries of the former Soviet Bloc joined the European Union. The time has certainly come for historians to revisit the grand narrative of Eastern European history under socialism and beyond. Long Awaited West is Stefano Bottoni’s attempt to do just that. This is an ambitious work of synthesis that aims to distill the history of an enormous region over seven tumultuous decades. Bottoni defines “Eastern Europe” as the area that came under the influence of Soviet communism during and after World War II (p.6), a definition which encompasses parts of what became the Soviet Union (the Baltics, Western Ukraine, Moldova). The book concentrates, however, on the countries that made up the former Soviet Bloc, along with Yugoslavia and Albania.

While Bottoni makes an excellent effort to incorporate recent scholarship into the book, his narrative nonetheless largely hews to existing frameworks. The book is organized chronologically along established turning points in political history, with chapters on the impact of the war and creation of communist regimes across the region (1944–48), the Stalinist period (1949–55), the era of the Thaw and the failure of more radical reform (1956–72), the years of stagnation and the collapse of the system (1973–91), the chaos of the 1990s, and a final chapter on European integration and recent challenges to the post-communist neoliberal order. The story Bottoni tells in these chapters is focused on the actions of governments and political elites, giving only cursory attention to the everyday experiences of ordinary people. The choice to concentrate on political history and economic policy fits his general interpretation of Eastern Europe’s communist regimes. Here, they are largely portrayed as repressive forces concerned primarily with maintaining their hold on power. While this is never spelled out explicitly in the text, the title of the book, Long Awaited West, implies that most East Europeans were not invested in socialism, but instead merely dreamed of the day when they would be able to join the West and achieve its higher standard of living. This is underscored by the cover design, which consists of an image of a barbed wire fence with a gate tantalizingly left open, pointing the way across a field into the setting sun.

In line with Bottoni’s previous work, one of the book’s important contributions is its attention to the issue of national minorities and nationalist politics. Bottoni argues the region’s communist governments failed to create viable policies to deal with national difference. Particularly as the region’s economies began to sputter in the 1970s and 1980s, this failure encouraged different groups to see economic woes in national terms. By putting the experiences of Yugoslavia, Romania, Bulgaria and the Soviet Union itself side by side, the book allows us to see common threads in what were otherwise quite different histories.

What most sets this book apart from similar surveys of East European history is its orientation in the contemporary moment. The motivating question behind this book is not a re-evaluation of the socialist past, but a desire to understand the situation of Eastern Europe in 2017 (when the last pages were being written). The post-communist period is therefore not treated as an epilogue or coda, but as an integral part of the narrative; fully one third of the book deals with the period after 1989. Unlike earlier authors, Bottoni does not tell a triumphalist story, in which communism is vanquished and Eastern Europe emerges free and ready to be reunited with the West. He writes from a vantage point from which we already know that joining the European Union and NATO did not bring the prosperity many had imagined. Instead, corruption became even more entrenched and neoliberal “reforms” hurt even wider swaths of the population. The 2008 financial crisis helped fuel a wave of anti-EU and nationalist populism, leading, in Hungary, to the enormous victory by Fidesz in 2010 and the Law and Justice Party in Poland in 2015. For Bottoni, this more recent past highlights the cruel irony that the Iron Curtain might be gone, but “Eastern Europe,” itself a creation of the Cold War, still remains as a region that is not, and may well never be, the same as the West.

In the conclusion, Bottoni implies that the desire to be like the West—or, more precisely, to have the same standard of living as the West—has itself been the cause of Eastern Europe’s misery and malaise. It created unreasonable expectations that could never be fulfilled and had the effect of widening the gap between elites who prospered and the majority who did not. What is happening in Eastern Europe today is, says Bottoni, only the most recent iteration of a longer dilemma; whether Eastern Europeans should try to mimic the West or define themselves against it in nationalist terms. Yet, for Bottoni, the only hope for Eastern Europe in the end is to become integrated into the West. Anything else, he says, would result in a “new era of catastrophe” (p.254). The book leaves us, then, at a critical juncture, wondering what the future may hold.

With any survey text, there is the question of audience. Long Awaited West was first published in 2011 as part of a longer history of Eastern Europe that was used by Italian university students. This revised English-language version, however, is too dense and complicated for a typical U.S. undergraduate audience. It assumes a fair amount of knowledge on the part of the reader and does not define basic concepts and terms (like “central planning” or “Stakhanovite”). Given this, the best audience for this book would consist either of graduate students or of specialists looking for a recent and readable survey of the East European past.

Melissa Feinberg
Rutgers University

pdfVolume 7 Issue 3 CONTENTS


The Habsburg Monarchy 1815–1918. By Steven Beller. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018. 315 pp.

Important, summative assessments of the Habsburg Monarchy have been appearing with increased frequency in recent years. One factor is the series of rolling centenary anniversaries beginning with the outbreak of World War I followed by the death of Franz Joseph, the fall of the Monarchy and the foundation of the successor nation-states. Another is the maturation of a generation of historians who emerged in the decades from the 1970s to 1990s. Many were trained in America and are associated with the “revisionist” trend, which emphasizes the continued viability of the Monarchy and the contingent, constructivist, multivalent nature of nationalism. Pieter Judson (born 1956) and Steven Beller (born 1958) have both recently published general histories of the Habsburg Monarchy in its last century. The monumental series published by the Austrian Academy of Sciences entitled Die Habsburgermonarchie, which covers the period 1848 to 1918 and provided much impetus to the “revisionist” trend, is nearing its end. Other general histories, whether by single authors or multi-authored, are also planned for publication.

A previous generation of historians undertook a similar process of summation and synthesis in the 1960s. The prevailing viewpoint then portrayed a decaying, anachronistic Monarchy weakened by rising nationalism. Historians such as A. J. P. Taylor, Robert Kann, Hans Kohn, Hugo Hantsch and Erich Zöllner, who all published or revised general works in the post–World War II period, had built on the nationalist focused work of the inter-war period, especially the influential analysis of the Hungarian emigré Oscar Jaszi. Kann, Kohn, Hantsch, and Jaszi were born within old, pre-war Austria-Hungary and had thus personally witnessed the end of the Monarchy and the difficult, tragic aftermath. By the 1960s their views dominated the historiography. The influential series of volumes in the Austrian History Yearbook of 1967 were largely ordered around competing nationalities and the concepts of centripetal and centrifugal forces, inspired by Jaszi’s framework. The English historian Carlile Macartney (born 1895) capped a lifetime of work with his massive general history published in 1968. He begins the book with the failure of Austrian state centralism in Hungary in the late eighteenth century and proceeds in admirable breadth and detail to outline the gradual retreat of the state and Empire in response to the multiple challenges of the nineteenth century, including rising nationalism. Thus by the late 1960s, the general consensus was of an old-fashioned, dynastic Monarchy out of step with the modern world of nation-states. Broadcast in 1968, Edward Crankshaw’s BBC documentary series entitled “The Fall of the House of Habsburg, 1848–1918”—largely based on his book published five years earlier—encapsulated this interpretation for a wider audience.

From the 1970s onwards these paradigms of a rigid, feudal, reactionary Monarchy torn apart by competing nationalisms have increasingly been questioned. Starting with reassessments of economic history then spreading to aspects of the governmental system, the administration, legal practice, politics, education, civil society and the military—amongst many other topics—the older assumptions have gradually been overturned. According to this “revisionist” view, the economy was developing well, the legal and educational authorities were mostly fair, the military was creating a relatively coherent, loyal army and the political and administrative framework showed significant flexibility when faced with the demands of an engaged, organized, active populace.

Pieter Judson’s acclaimed book brings together many of these “revisionist” arguments into a sophisticated, compelling conceptual framework. The guiding theme is the changing relationship between the state (defined broadly) and the populace. For the pre-1848 years this was mainly a triangular schema of ruler/state, local elites (mainly aristocrats) and people (especially the peasants). Judson shows how the Habsburg state and ruler often appealed over the heads of the aristocrats directly to the people, thus empowering the central state against local structures and traditions and also slowly forming a loyalty or patriotism amongst the common people towards the distant, abstract, beneficent ruler and her (Maria Theresa’s) or his (Joseph II’s) institutions. The wars against an assertive revolutionary and Napoleonic France further encouraged this gestating loyalty and patriotism. The subsequent Metternich years emerge in Judson’s account not as a stagnant, oppressive interregnum but as a dynamic, engaged, developing and stimulating era.

The complex turning point of 1848–49 is covered extremely well. Rather than the familiar battles and political intrigue, Judson shows how the populace actively participated in the newly opening public sphere to articulate potential reforms to the Empire. This burgeoning grass-roots political culture and the issue of representative bodies gradually transformed the relationship between ruler/state and the people. Layers of administration and representative bodies, along with a myriad of changing political actors and organizations, meant increased state involvement in everyday life as well as increased demands from the citizens. A complicated, contested, rowdy, fluid set of constitutional and political institutions and practices evolved. Amidst the many difficulties and challenges, there was also adaptation and accommodation—from the state, the political actors and the general populace. Throughout the book Judson illustrates his arguments with examples from across the Empire—Dalmatia, Bosnia, Bukovina, Transylvania, Tyrol, Galicia, Croatia, South Styria as well as Bohemia, Moravia and Hungary—giving a sense of the Monarchy’s tremendous geographical diversity and grounding his arguments in specific contexts. Nationalism is, to some extent, presented as tool for instrumental, pragmatic purposes—whether to form and integrate a political movement or for tactical maneuvering within the system. This mirrors the approach of Judson’s previous book Guardians of the Nation and of Tara Zahra’s work on national indifference or flexibility.

Judson has reflected on the latest scholarship—much of it “revisionist” in nature—and provided a general narrative framework based on the relationship between ruler/state and the people. He has questioned and rethought countless issues within the historiography of the Monarchy. He has also provided some comparative perspectives, placing the Habsburg Monarchy within general European developments. His book is an impressive achievement and is full of provocative ideas and formulations that point towards possible future directions for new research.

Steven Beller, in a prolific career, has written books on Vienna’s Jews, anti-Semitism, Theodore Herzl and Franz Joseph as well as a general history of Austria. In his acknowledgements he concedes that his present book has some overlap with previous works yet he, nevertheless, wished to outline his interpretation in response to recent historiography, in particular Judson’s book. Beller’s book is more traditional and less “revisionist” than Judson’s. It provides more of a standard narrative based around high politics and foreign affairs.

There are some constant themes—modernization (only defined near the end as representative government, national self-determination, popular sovereignty and rule of law [p.275]), successive challenges (Beller uses the term “squaring the circle” [pp.77, 119, 135, 151, 185, 227]), the Habsburg Monarchy as a “European necessity” (p.7; pp.273–86) and an awareness of the Empire’s possibilities (p.21; p.220). Nevertheless, it is sometimes difficult to trace the connecting threads through the book, while the overall argument is rarely stated in an explicit, integrated manner. This is partly because Beller covers more ground then Judson including cultural developments (especially the Biedermeier and c1900 eras), foreign entanglements and the financial strains of maintaining a military befitting a “Great Power.” Beller is best in the final chapters of the book when he combines historiographical comment with interpretive exposition. For example, chapter 6 “1897–1914: Modernization” presents a fascinating portrayal of a flourishing Empire (a stable society and economy, intellectual ferment and achievement) coupled with “everlasting political crisis,” an aging Monarch and an elite embroiled in the Balkans.

Throughout the book, Beller conveys the multiple options and possibilities for the Habsburg Monarchy. Beller outlines this theme in the introduction:

Central European culture was not one which encouraged certainties…. It was a culture fated, almost, to see ironies rather than coming to definite conclusions, not definite theories but rather the penumbra of possible alternative interpretations that connected, one to the other…. As we shall see, this lack of a decisive approach, a lack of a definite national identity, or of a unified national culture, or even of an obvious, straightforward political purpose, was a large part of what brought the Monarchy down, repeatedly, during the course of the nineteenth century, a century of modernization on national, decisive lines. (pp.22–23)

Beller’s characterization of the governing elite is of a conservative, fearful, aristocratic closed circle generally in opposition to the wider populace. This is a stark contrast to Judson’s schema, which postulates a flexible, symbiotic, if sometimes difficult, relationship between the state (in a broader sense than the Viennese ruling class) and the people. Beller’s view is from the centre—of the governmental, military and administrative elite trying to control and direct events and people. Judson’s focus is primarily from below—on the local, everyday level of engagement between the expanding state and its citizens. These are not necessarily incompatible viewpoints. The Monarchy was a vast, diverse and complex entity, as is evident from the myriad of topics and viewpoints in Die Habsburgermonarchie. Amidst perpetual crisis there was reform and adaptation, amidst despair there was hope, amidst extreme nationalism there was fervent patriotism—sometimes simultaneously, sometimes changing over time and often in the same individual or movement. How does Beller, then, navigate the Monarchy’s bewildering variety and diversity?

Starting with 1815 Beller provides an overview of the Metternich system—both internationally and domestically. While acknowledging that Metternich’s security state was not particularly efficient, Beller still states that:

the suppression of an active political scene meant that the emerging German-speaking middle class and intelligentsia in the Monarchy never gained the practical experience in representative politics that their equivalents in northwestern Europe did at this stage of social and economic development…. Had there been more of an active forum for political debate in these crucial post-war decades, a more Viennocentric, albeit German-speaking, but Austrian political consensus might have been able to mitigate, or even co-opt the centrifugal forces of nationalism that would dominate politics later in the century. (pp.35–36)

Yet was such political reform in a Catholic Empire recovering from decades of revolutionary and Napoleonic violence and upheaval ever possible or realistic? Which other countries undertook progressive political reform directed by forward-thinking elites towards representative, constitutional government and freedom of expression immediately after 1815? None of the “Great Powers.” The small states of Baden and Wurttemberg had constitutions in 1818 and 1819, Belgium and France experienced Revolutions in 1830 and the British Reform Bill was passed in 1832. The elites in all of these cases were generally reactive, moderate and pragmatic.

Interestingly Beller pursues the idea of missed opportunities in the following section, beginning with Ferdinand’s ascension to the throne in 1835. Certainly there was even less possibility for reform under the mentally incompetent Ferdinand. Nevertheless, society, the economy and nationalist culture were rapidly developing, despite the “drag” (Beller’s term) of Metternich’s system. The 1848–49 Revolutions, in Beller’s account, exposed further and deeper questions of modernity—Germany, nationalism, representative and constitutional government, the place of Jews, amongst the more significant. Franz Joseph became the ruler and he is well characterized by Beller as “brave, but not imaginative; conservative, even reactionary, but also practical and empirical in his approach, prepared, ultimately, to let the ends justify the means” (p.90). Yet the 1850s “revolution from above” was, according to Beller, not accompanied by sufficient support or loyalty (p.100). From 1861 onwards, then, the task facing the Monarchy was “to achieve the necessary basis of political and financial support” (p.107). Beller’s assessment of the 1867 Compromise is mostly negative, principally because it perpetuated national strife (pp.126–27). This was exacerbated by the onset of mass politics leading to the world of c1900; politically chaotic but also culturally, intellectually, creatively innovative, indeed evincing a form of modernity (p.191). In the context of regional and local administration, Beller acknowledges that some indistinct sort of “multinational federation” was emerging and that “national groups were realizing their goals within the Monarchy’s parameters” (p. 211). Nevertheless, the administrative costs and the ongoing political crises crippled the military budget. The Monarchy, it seems, was trying to balance between incompatible goals and viewpoints, without truly committing to any fundamental new direction.

Here, on the cusp of World War I, Beller summarizes his overall argument. The relationship between state and citizen “was still mainly ‘top-down’”—a contrast with Judson’s representation of a complex negotiation between state and citizens (pp.223–24). According to Beller, it was up to the decision-makers to “square the circle” and introduce decisive, fundamental reforms.

The Monarchy could have, hypothetically, developed as a progressive, federal, prosperous, efficient and law-abiding state, where each nation’s equal status was protected, and acted as a magnet for the rest of southeastern Europe, becoming a real European necessity. (p.225)

These sentiments are reminiscent of Taylor’s and Kann’s view (recently also asserted by Helmut Rumpler) that the only a federalized Monarchy could have survived into the modern era. In addition to these domestic problems of “everyday empire,” the ruling class of 1914 continued to believe in the Monarchy as an old-fashioned “Great Power,” which had to project prestige and power—hence the decision for war. Ironically, when the ruling class was finally decisive, it led to the destruction of the Monarchy (p.248).

After an account of World War I, Beller concludes with a section entitled “Conclusion: Central Europe and the Paths Not Taken.” In the first section, largely covering possible domestic reasons for the failure of the Monarchy—liberalism, nationalism, the 1867 Compromise—Beller concludes that “the Monarchy was still a viable entity in 1914” (p.276). Nevertheless he stresses that the military and the Monarch remained old-fashioned and dangerously detached from wider society. In the final pages Beller states that:

In an era when modernity meant allowing societies to govern themselves, when modernization went hand in hand with Kantian self-determination, the old Habsburg role of being an imperial power, of governing people well, whether they accepted your legitimate authority as their ruler or not, would not work… The problem was that the Monarchy, as a political enterprise, was unable to create in modern form the authority and legitimacy that it had possessed before the modern age…. The Habsburg leadership was never able to square the circle that could turn a dynastic conglomeration of possessions into an all-embracing home for all its people, as well as peoples. It could never come up with a way to convert necessity into a coherent identity. The “Austrian Idea” never achieved cogent meaning. That is why the Habsburg Monarchy collapsed in the crisis of 1918. (pp.284–86)

Fundamentally, Beller’s argument seems to have two crucial aspects—war and democracy. According to his analysis, dealing effectively with these twin aspects of “modernity” remained mere possibilities or “paths not taken.” The spectre of war haunts the book, even if there is little explicit discussion of it. The Monarchy survived the Napoleonic Wars intact and even expanded its territory. It had its chances to continue as a “European necessity” or a vital component of the international scene. Yet throughout the nineteenth century according to Beller’s book, the military did not keep pace with its rivals and the political system could not provide the necessary funding or legitimacy. While the Monarchy survived minor upheavals and defeats in 1848–49, 1859 and 1866, it did not have the coherence or loyalty to withstand the total war of 1914–18. Neither, Beller notes, did Germany, Russia or the Ottoman Empire. If the measure of a state is its ability to wage war, then, the Monarchy was an ailing, declining state in its final decades. Would a democratic, federalist Monarchy have survived the war? What form of democracy could have been implemented, taking into account the delicate balance of interest groups within the Monarchy? In fact, there had already been considerable progress towards a wider democracy, particularly in the Austrian half. For example, the 1907 introduction of equal, universal manhood suffrage in Cisleithania preceded similar reforms in Sweden (1909), Holland (1917) and the United Kingdom (1918). It proved, however, no panacea for the Monarchy’s problems.

In conclusion, the books by Judson and Beller have clearly contrasting goals and arguments. Judson focuses on the dynamic between the Imperial state and the wider populace, especially in provincial and local contexts. Empire, in Judson’s book, is conceived of as a large umbrella, multi-national entity. Judson emphasizes the everyday interactions of the people with a contested, inefficient system, which nevertheless facilitated discussion, participation and distribution of resources. Beller views Empire in more traditional terms—territorial acquisition, monarchical power and the assertion of military prestige and strength. His book is about the governing elite’s traditional conceptions of the Monarchy and their difficulties in the modern world of representative bodies and rising nationalism. While acknowledging the “revisionist” trend and never conceding the “inevitability” of the Monarchy’s collapse, Beller’s assessment is considerably more pessimistic than Judson’s.

What framework will future general histories of the Habsburg Monarchy adopt? The multi-faceted nature and role of nationalism will always be an important aspect of the Monarchy’s history but it will probably never return to the prominence and dominance within the historiography that it occupied in the inter-war and immediate post–World War II eras. My wish list includes more comparative history, some focus on the nexus of military/civil society/politics and on the everyday experience of politics. The historiography of the Monarchy could go in any number of directions. For now, at least, despite Beller’s reservations and caveats, the “revisionist” viewpoint has become the new orthodoxy.

Jonathan Kwan

University of Nottingham

Vpdfolume 7 Issue 3 CONTENTS


Legenda vetus, Acta processus canonizationis et Miracula sanctae Margaritae de Hungaria: The Oldest legend, Acts of canonization process, and miracles of Saint Margaret of Hungary. Edited by Ildikó Csepregi, Gábor Klaniczay, and Bence Péterfi. Translated by Ildikó Csepregi, Clifford Flanigan, and Louis Perraud. Central European Medieval Texts 8. Budapest – New York: Central European University Press, 2018.

Another volume in the Central European Medieval Texts series is the second presenting hagiography. Bilingual editions of the narrative sources from Central Europe and modern translations into widespread academic languages are undoubtedly necessary. The hagiographical corpus of Saint Margaret (1242–1270), daughter of King Béla IV, and Dominican nun, is one of the most important ones. Holy princesses following St. Elizabeth of Hungary present the transition towards new models of sanctity, but also represent the prestige of the ruling dynasties, and reflect their cooperation with the mendicant orders. The book offers the first translation of hagiography related to Margaret into English and any modern language (except for Hungarian translations, and fragmentary translations into Czech and Slovak, and excerpts in various studies). The history of the translation goes back to the 1980s, with delays and several editors and translators involved over time, and luckily reached a happy ending much faster than the centuries-long quest for the canonization of Margaret, with success in 1943.

The volume contains the oldest legend (between 1272–75), the acts of the second canonization investigation (1276)—both on the basis of existing editions, a series of recently discovered documents on the fifteenth-century miracles, edited for the first time, and a few more documents related to medieval canonization attempts (both newly discovered and those edited earlier).

G. Klaniczay’s introduction not only summarizes the state of research on the saint (overview of hagiography and canonization efforts), but adds observations on the phenomenon of royal and female sanctity, especially in the thirteenth century. The introductions to particular parts explain the vicissitudes of the sources from the dossier and their relation to canonization attempts.

The edition and translation of two oldest texts, the legend and the acts, which further served as bases for later lives of the saint, form the core of the volume. The editors accept Marcellus as the author of the oldest legend, for which they adopt the designation Legenda vetus. The basis for the translation is the most recent edition by Szovák (1999), which introduced emendations to the first edition by its discoverer Bőle (1937). The explanation of the base text is somewhat hidden in the introduction by Csepregi (p.38); it would perhaps merit a separate section, including applied conventions, etc. The editors accept Szovák’s corrections, and profit occasionally, as signaled in the apparatus, from further variants proposed by Ilona Nagy working on the Hungarian vernacular legend, or note variants by Bőle. Corrected readings are introduced in the apparatus only; it is a question whether they would be better placed in the main text itself. Biblical citations are identified at places. New critical editions are not the objectives of the series; in this case as well the editors take the old source edition as the basis and add some critical insights. We often have to admit that a new critical edition of the source in question would be desirable. Part III, Acts of the Canonization Process, is the most voluminous one (570 pages!), based on Fraknói’s edition (1896), adding minimum apparatus to the Latin text. The translation of depositions of witnesses, answering the puncta interrogatoria in detail, is a great achievement. Footnotes bring in a lot of useful information: identification of persons, dates, and places, explanation of local realia, but also issues concerning female sanctity and alike.

The volume summarizes recent important findings concerning Margaret’s hagiography and canonization attempts (Deák, Krafft, Nagy, Péterfi) for a broader audience as well. The history of the St. Margaret dossier abounds in discoveries. The basic sources from the period shortly after Margaret’s death are supplemented with the edition and translation of the documents found by Péterfi in the Archivio Orsini (Archivio Storico Capitolino, Rome), described in 2011. The introductions to Parts IV–V provide the first description of the hitherto unknown 6 charters (one of them with transcription of 7 others), including miracle depositions, for non-Hungarian readers. Their edited material is of utmost interest to the Hungarian audience as well.

The editor argues that the set of documents was related to the renewed attempt at canonization during the reign of Matthias Corvinus, which was known about for a long time (thanks to two undated petition letters from ca. 1462–64), but precise information had been missing. The hypothesis that the charters got into the Orsini family archives (where they remained unknown for centuries even to those who renewed the attempts at her canonization in the following centuries) via Latino Orsini, who acted as cardinal protector of the Kingdom of Hungary and was probably entrusted with submitting the issue, is convincing.

The documents include depositions of miracles that happened at the tomb of Margaret in 1446–67, edited and translated in Part V (V/1–11), with necessary corrections in the Latin text and notes in the English translation (mainly identification of persons and places, specification of dates, etc.). They have a noteworthy format of charters issued by the Buda chapter and authenticated by public notaries. They provide information about the local cult on the Island of Hares in the Danube, about which we did not know much previously.

Part IV contains Correspondence relating to Margaret’s medieval canonization attempts, altogether 9 mandates and letters: besides two hitherto unknown documents—the copy of the first papal mandate for starting the investigation (1272) and the petition of Emeric, bishop of Várad/Oradea (1306)—discovered in the Orsini dossier by Péterfi, the editors included other documents related to the Angevin and Corvinus attempts at canonization (edited previously by Krafft and Fraknói).

The last part, a useful tool, offers a list of hagiographic sources—there is much more in the Margaret dossier than the sources translated here — their first and best editions and modern translations. A Slovak translation in Legendy stredovekého Slovenska (ed. Marsina, transl. Vaneková, 1997) could be added to the list of translations of the Legenda maior by Garinus (for long referred to as the Legenda Neapolitana, BHL 5331). It should be noted that the listed Czech translation of the Legenda vetus by Pražák contains only its part (around a third). The summary of the life and miracles of Margaret in a chapter of the Epithoma rerum Hungararum by Ransanus (ed. Kulcsár, pp.123–31, BHL 5333) could have been included in the discussion and catalogue of the sources, especially as it falls within the reign of Corvinus, a couple of decades after the new depositions and petition.

The volume will be of interest not only to scholars of medieval hagiography, but also those interested in the insights into everyday life in the cloister, in towns and villages, and in general life in thirteenth-century Hungary. Besides translating the known important sources, the editing and translating of hitherto unknown documents gives the volume an added value.

Stanislava Kuzmová
Comenius University in Bratislava

Mulieres suadentes – Persuasive Women. Female Royal Saints in Medieval East Central Europe and Eastern Europe. By Martin Homza. Translated by Martina Fedorová et al. East Central and Eastern Europe in the Middle Ages 42. Leiden: Brill, 2017. 260 pp.

Undoubtedly, the topics of female sanctity and the role of women in ruling dynasties, pertaining also to conversion to Christianity in medieval Europe, have been extensively researched during recent decades. Most studies however focus on Western Europe, while the analogous phenomenon in East Central and Eastern Europe is usually overlooked or appears only marginally. This gap has partially been filled by the publications of medievalists from the region, including Martin Homza’s monograph published in Slovakian in 2002. Their reception was, however, limited due to the language barrier. For this reason the English, expanded version of the book is more than welcome.

The book opens with a short but important chapter explaining the methodological approach of the author, the presence of which is a definite improvement upon the original edition. The next two chapters describe the phenomenon of the religious role of women in ruling dynasties in Central and Eastern Europe, especially persuasive women, that is, those who influenced their pagan husbands, sons, or grandsons. The comparative character of this analysis is praiseworthy.

The following three chapters are case studies of the images of three such women. The cult of Ludmila of Bohemia and its influence is discussed with a special focus on her image in the homily Factum est. Homza shows its similarity to that of Olga of Rus’, observed in various sources in the following chapter. Finally, in analyzing the figure of Adelaide—according to the thirteenth-century Hungarian-Polish Chronicle, the mother of St. Stephen of Hungary, who converted her husband Géza (Yesse)—the author poses the question of her real existence on the one hand and of the ideological basis of her presence in the chronicle on the other. The book ends with a short conclusion.

The material gathered in the book without a doubt is not only very interesting but also important for further research. However, the material is presented in ways that might be questioned, as the use of some of the analytical categories is problematic.

I would like to focus on only one, namely, the way the author understands the category of sanctity, which seems to be rather fluid. I do this, of course, not in order to claim that sanctity, especially in the Middle Ages, is a sort of either/or category; however, some distinctions should be observed more carefully. In fact, contrary to the title of the book (Female Royal Saints), of the group of Central and Eastern European women the author focuses on, only Ludmila and Olga were really venerated as saints, while Dubravka of Poland and Jelena of Croatia were never treated as such; the latter can hardly even be called a persuasive woman, as she did not participate in the conversion of anybody. Of course the author himself is conscious of this and informs us of the cult of particular figures or its lack, but one must ask if sanctity is in fact the category which could be effectively used in the analysis of all of their images. I would rather suggest that the book is much more about the patterns of female royal religiosity than about sanctity or female royal saints.

This problem might be related with a misunderstanding that appears in the very beginning. Discussing the question of royal sanctity in his methodological chapter, Homza calls Bloch’s Les rois thaumaturges and Kantorowicz’s The King’s Two Bodies “a fundamental change in hagiographic studies” (p.4). Yet, in my opinion, neither of those can be treated as a part of such studies, as both are rather focused on the phenomenon of sacralization of royal power—strictly connected, but distinct from royal sainthood. As Janet Nelson aptly noted in her 1973 Royal Saints and Early Medieval Kingship, “the concept of sanctity itself could be not only sharply differentiated from sacrality but turned against it” (p.43).

Sometimes even in the case of figures that are to be found in Folz’s Les saintes reines du Moyen Âge, we should be very careful in asking about their real cult and its influence. We should also distinguish different patterns of sanctity. For instance, Homza uses the example of Ottonian saint queens and empresses, Matilda of Saxony and Adelaide of Burgundy, and shows them as “the most immediate inspiration for a creation of the image of St. Ludmila” (p.86), as well as “the most important models to legitimize a new dynasty in a broader context of East Central and East Europe” (p.87). However it should not be overlooked that although both women were believed to be saints, in fact it was only in very limited circles. In the case of the former we do not know of any cult at all, while the cult of the latter remained very local. From this point of view, their status as commonly accepted saints might be questioned, but even more so, it is doubtful that their images could be so influential in Central Europe. The other problem is that although Ludmila was presented in her hagiography as a pious widow, she was at the same time—a fact undoubtedly crucial for her cult—a martyr. So we may wonder to what extent the above-mentioned examples of queens/confessor saints might be seen as models for her image. For the same reason one could also ask whether St. Ludmila’s and St. Olga’s model of sanctity were really as close as the author claims.

Paradoxically, even the case of the sanctity of Helena, mother of Constantine the Great, is much more complicated than the author suggests (“Who has ever questioned the sainthood of Helena?”—he rhetorically asks [pp.181–82]). It is exactly her status in Latin Christianity that was for a long time unclear, as was that of her son (and remaining so in the medieval West). She was undoubtedly treated as a model for royal women (as Constantine was for rulers), but not necessary treated as a venerated saint in the strict sense. Not even mentioning the lack of churches or altars dedicated to her from the Early Middle Ages, let us just note that she is omitted in all but one (the ninth-century Usuard) of the most important martyrologies, her name did not appear in calendars until the eighth century, and during the following centuries is not commonly present. This is, for example, the case of most of the oldest Bohemian calendars. So of course the author is right that the example of Helena and Constantine must have been known to the authors of Ludmila’s and Wenceslaus’s hagiographies, but it is not clear whether they really thought of her as a saint figure and if her influence was obvious enough to allow for the claim that in Ludmila’s life “the name of St. Helena was deliberately avoided” (p.49). Of the group of Central and Eastern European woman the book covers, it is only Olga who is openly compared to Constantine’s mother.

This is not to oppose the general idea that Helena was a very important model for medieval female rulers, including the realm of female royal sanctity. Both royal female sanctity and female religiosity had, however, as the author aptly shows himself, many different sources. The idea that the conversion of a country is related with a male-female couple can also be explained in many ways. It is therefore not clear why Homza, who shows this very interestingly, in many cases decides, in the end, to reduce this phenomenon only to an imitatio Helene et Constantini.

Concluding, I must repeat that we have received an important book, which gathers overlooked material from Central and Eastern Europe and analyzes it with a broad, comparative approach. However, the analysis itself sometimes disappoints due to its lack of precision, especially in the application of analytical categories.

Grzegorz Pac
University of Warsaw

Late Medieval Papal Legation: Between the Councils and the Reformation. By Antonín Kalous. Viella History, Art and Humanities Collection 3. Rome: Viella, 2017. 255 pp.

Antonín Kalous, the well-known young Czech medievalist, published his book on late medieval papal legation in 2017. The author, as the subtitle of his excellent work shows, focused his research mostly on the period beginning with what can be characterized as the success of the popes against the conciliar movement and other institutions of the Church. The spread of the German Reformation, by contrast, marked the outset of a whole new era, also because it resulted in reforms in the Curia, which changed the system of papal representation, including the role of the office of full legation, the legati de latere. Therefore, Kalous excluded the conciliar and the Reformation periods, so that the system of papal representation could be described and analyzed as a separate period in between.

The research was based on the examination of canon law, papal plenitude of power, and the ways of distribution of that power in the second half of the fifteenth century. The author investigated how the office of the so-called de latere legates fit into the system of papal administration and i.e. how they were handled within the church. It was not a stable institute, yet the legates shared the power, the plenitudo potestas of the pontiffs, like the curial offices did. According to Kalous, the engagement of legates in the selected period was an answer to the challenges of a new era, as they could have been applied in cases of various types. One of the most important tasks of the legates was to distribute dispensations and licenses according to their faculties (facultates). Naturally, legates were also political and diplomatic envoys; they were active in the international diplomacy and used their spiritual authority in order to act as peacemakers in European conflicts.

The book in question is divided into four larger chapters. Apart from a summary of previous research, they all serve one main goal, namely, to show the complexity of the system of late medieval papal legation. The first chapter deals with the questions of terminology and the typology of late medieval legates and nuncios from the time of the reforms of the papacy in the late eleventh century, accompanied by a detailed analysis of the sources. It was crucial to handle this topic delicately, since the term legate was indeed in active use in the Middle Ages, and despite the fact that contemporary canonists dealt with the question theoretically, several legal issues remained being attached to it. Furthermore, Kalous dedicated his attention to the possible distinction between legates and nuncios, to the difference between the generic and specific usage of terms (legati laterales, constituti [missi], nati), and he also examined the question of the papal judges-delegate and the practice of subdelegation. The author did not aim to cover the entirety of Western Christendom, but focused primarily on East Central Europe and the states of this region: the Holy Roman Empire, Bohemia, Hungary, and Poland. This approach is justified not only from the viewpoint of historical research, but the contemporary situation also vindicates this perspective since the mentioned territories appeared together frequently in the authorizations of legates.

The second main section of the book discusses the question of authority and powers of the late medieval legates, which derived from the papal plenitude of power, and so from the popes themselves who created and shared their powers with them in form of a transfer. The other fundamental source was the Roman law from which the essential terms like iurisdictio, imperium, etc. derived. De latere legates had the highest possible authority, yet they needed special mandates for certain measures. Their faculties (facultates) were exceptional rights and privileges, a concession of papal reserved powers. Legates represented the pope as the highest judge too; however, this was not the sole aspect of their operations. Their presence meant “celestial gifts,” a blessing for the region they entered; they could mean the way to salvation for the people there.

The third chapter of the book focuses on the modus operandi, and the condition of the legates and their own journeys and activities. Kalous answers questions like what the practice of the legatine missions was like, what rules they followed, if there were any regulations at all, and how they managed to get to their provinces. The author dedicated a subsection to the financial aspects of the legations, the procuratio canonica until the fourteenth century, and the new way of central payments that the legates gained after that century. It is crucial to emphasize that in the investigated era legates did received a regular salary whilst on their missions. Kalous, just like in his whole book, collected a series of examples to support the general statements.

The last chapter deals with the diplomatic and political features of legations as well as, in the words of the author, how we come “from the how to why.” The fundamental questions according to the author are the following: Why did the legates leave Rome, and why did the popes send them? Kalous cites the words of Pope Innocent III, who gave the explanation for the necessity of the authorization of legates as, “a man could not be simultaneously in diverse places.” Nevertheless, the factual reasons behind sending out papal representatives could have been extremely diverse, although crusades represented the most crucial problem of the given period. Therefore, the questions of the fifteenth-century crusades against the Ottomans, the heretics of Bohemia, and the theory of just war were analyzed and presented by Kalous with a handful of fascinating and telling examples.

In summary, the book of Antonín Kalous is an essential contribution to the history of a special medieval institution, the papal legation. The author incorporated the sources and secondary literature from the very beginnings of the practice of authorizing de latere legates to the end of the Middle Ages. However, his main effort was to complete an analysis on the fifteenth-century situation. This choice is especially worth noticing, since previous research has focused mostly on the eras prior to the fifteenth century, or after it. From a Hungarian point of view, it has to be highlighted as well that Kalous chose his examples mostly from the circle of legations that were related to East Central Europe, among them a series of Hungarian affairs. The author shows an extraordinary knowledge not only regarding the Czech sources and literature, but the German, Polish, and Hungarian too. This valuable contribution can be recommended to everyone who is interested generally in the history of papal legation as well as a special segment of the fifteenth-century history of East Central Europe.

Gábor Barabás
University of Pécs

 Water, Towns and People: Polish Lands against a European Background until the Mid-16th Century. By Urszula Sowina. Frankfurt: Peter Lang, 2016. 529 pp.

 This work contributes immensely to urban and environmental history in general, and Polish medieval studies in particular. The book comes as the obvious culmination of Urszula Sowina’s years of archival research and careful sifting of both published and unpublished sources. The author employs a diverse set of sources, including charters, town statutes, notary books, lay and ecclesiastical court records, as well as letters, chronicles, and learned treatises on medicine and the natural world. Yet she does not confine herself merely to textual evidence but combines it with the latest archeological findings, including the data and images related to cistern, well, and water-pipe construction. The work further succeeds in its aim to contextualize the Polish case within a wider European frame. Each section opens with reference to areas outside Poland and careful comparisons are made throughout. Unsurprisingly, given the subject, Italy appears prominently as a counter-example, but special prominence is also given to cases in France, the author’s other area of expertise. Given the time period covered, it is important to note that the author defines Poland within the boundaries it currently occupies, thus including both Silesia and Pomerania. The work benefits greatly from this choice as it allows for the inclusion of more densely sourced areas formerly occupied by the Teutonic Knights, including Gdańsk, Toruń, and Elbląg, and the large body of research related to Wrocław. She does not focus her interests further into the lands of former Poland–Lithuania, which means detailed explorations of Lviv or Vilnius that might have proved interesting are absent, but the line had to be drawn somewhere. Krakow, due to the abundance of its surviving sources and its prominence as the former medieval capital, receives the most attention. While the work is obvious in its focus on towns and their relationship to water, the hinterland is not completely absent, and the section on the roles of suburban gardens and fishponds is enlightening for its blurring of the urban rural divide.

As to the content, the introduction proves useful reading to anyone interested in the historiography of water and environmental studies in Europe over the last thirty years and particularly the often less well-known work done in Central Eastern Europe. The book is further divided into three main parts with the final section comprising more than half of the total volume. Part one captures in twenty pages historical opinions on the nature and quality of water as discussed by learned individuals in Poland, starting with Vitruvius and ending with Sebastian Petrycy of Pilzno, a doctor and philosopher writing in the early seventeenth century. This part frames for the reader the medieval understanding of water, humans’ relationship to it, and how this dynamic impacted the course of urban development over the centuries. Part two moves from the realm of ideas to the physical relationship between urban sites and rivers; categorizing urban sites as low-land and up-land by their relationship to water courses. It covers briefly the various types of mills in use, highlights the importance of water-related rights, transport, fishing, and water’s impact on a sites’ topographical, social, and economic development. Part three is really the bulk of the work, and here the author’s deep knowledge of the field and primary source material shines. She covers the broad range of cisterns, wells, fountains, and storage reservoirs employed in Poland, discussing their development and design but more remarkedly places them in their social context. Here, she uses Krakow as a specific example, discussing tax policies and costs while convincingly demonstrating how the building out of the city’s public water system was heavily promoted by, and closely linked to, the interests of its burgher elites. In other sections, she gives some attention to the lives, remuneration, and working habits of Poland’s “master fountain builders,” and compares the use of ceramic vis-à-vis wooden piped water supply systems and the water-raising methods used to supply them across Central Eastern Europe. The author’s exploration of the topic as a whole is impressively broad in scope and deep in particulars. While her research is specific enough to give the cost of iron fittings for a new well bucket in Krakow in 1414 (p.220), she simultaneously casts a wide comparative gaze, tracing European water supply systems from Roman aqueducts to the Noria of Arab Spain, and German Wasserkunste, before offering a meticulous tracking of Polish water-works from the fourteenth to the sixteenth century. This list provides only a sampling of the topics covered in detail in part three.

Indeed, throughout the book, the author lays out a veritable cornucopia of information; seemingly every smidgeon of interesting data related to water she has pulled from archival cupboards over the last twenty years. Its very diversity and expansiveness however, make the work somewhat indigestible. The lack of a strong narrative thread and the many interesting but tangential asides leave the reader feeling somewhat lost at the banquet. This problem is further compounded by the rather skimpy index which makes hunting for specific nibbles difficult. Part of the difficulty may come from the fact that the book is a translation from the Polish original, which although generally superb, includes a few minor errors and leaves something stylistically to be desired. Taken together, it is not an easy work to read, but the depth of research and broad range of topics covered make it well worth the effort. Anyone wishing to know more about water and its uses in Poland, and indeed the rest of Europe during the middle ages, would profit highly from cracking its cover.

Leslie Carr-Riegel
Central European University

L’Europe des Lumières/Europa der Aufklärung. Oeuvres choisies de Éva H. Balázs/ Ausgewählte Schriften von Éva H. Balázs. Edited by Lilla Krász and Tibor Frank. Budapest: Académie Hongroise des Sciences – Corvina, 2015. 424 pp.

 The publication of the articles and manuscripts in French and German of Éva H. Balázs, organized on the occasion of her 100th birthday, offers profound insights for international scholarship on the Enlightenment into her creative research. These texts, which were written between 1969 and 1990, laid the foundations for her ambitious monograph Hungary and the Habsburgs 1765–1800: An Experiment in Enlightened Absolutism, published in English translation in 1997. They are, however, also self-standing examples of her scholarship on the Enlightenment in Hungary.

The studies, which are cautious in their argumentation and build on one another, present the characteristic features of the Enlightenment in Hungary, which began to emerge in the latter half of the eighteenth century. These features included religious and confessional plurality, the distinct social strata which served as vehicles and mediaries of Enlightenment thought (which included segments of the upper and middle nobility and the intelligentsia, but not the economically weak municipal “bourgeoisie”), and the fundamental importance of freemasonry for the theoretical, political, and cultural orientation of Hungarian representatives of Enlightenment thought and their political engagement, which ranged from cooperation with the traditional Habsburg elites to open political opposition.

Balázs’s analyses are significant in part because of the very precise perspective they offer on the distinctive features and the interwoven social conditions of the Enlightenment in Hungary. They systematically reveal the meanings of Habsburg Enlightened Absolutism and its transformation in Hungary, as well as the threats it faced. They also offer a cautious presentation of the socioeconomic constellations in which the Enlightenment unfolded in Hungary, including the varied economic-geographical spaces and their distinctive (primarily) agricultural production methods, the strong influence of Habsburg economic policy, the complex and varied connections to economic life in Europe at the time, etc. Last but not least, they also draw attention to the sociocultural conditions of the Enlightenment in Hungary, for instance the gradual waning of confessional tensions and oppositions, the growth of interest in improving education through visits to schools and universities (first and foremost in Central Europe—the Göttingen University played a prominent role in this), Enlightenment forms of sociability (such as lodges and reading circles), and the emergence of a literary marketplace.

Through the nuanced reconstruction of the conditions and motivations which underlay the emergence of the Enlightenment in Hungary, Balázs creates opportunities for analyses of the scope for action of the Enlightenment thinkers, both from the perspective of subjective perceptions and from the perspective of actual institutional frameworks. She makes very clear that their cooperation with the power elites of the Habsburg realm offered them chances to exert an influence on both culture and politics, but she also shows persuasively that there were relatively rigid borders which limited this cooperation and influence. The Freemasonry Patent, for instance, which made freemasonry illegal, and the results of the state parliament of 1790 pushed the representatives of Enlightenment thought out of the political sphere step by step, compelling them increasingly to limit their efforts to the field of culture.

Balázs is able to offer these insights in no small part simply because she shows an intimate and thorough knowledge of the relevant sources. She has examined an extensive array of material on the Hungarian Enlightenment of which precious little use had been made, and she has also looked at familiar sources from new perspectives. She shows tremendous sensitivity to important questions of theory and offers not simply a mechanical registry of the various utterances of the historical actors, but also reflects of what they actually sought to express. In her interpretations, she draws not simply on a precise and broad knowledge of history, but also on her familiarity with the complex theories of historical knowledge itself.

Balázs’ works are distinctive in their field in part because they exemplify a creative change of research approaches. Alongside biographical studies, she includes synthesizing interpretations. From the outset, her reflective form of biographical writing contextualized the historical actor in his or her distinct social, cultural, and political constellation. This focus on context is considered indispensable to the biographical genre today. And because they draw on biographical case studies, the syntheses she offers are both more colorful and more historically informed.

Balázs abandoned the long-standing research perspective of national Enlightenments earlier than other researchers on the Enlightenment. Fully aware of the diversity of the representatives of Enlightenment thought in Hungary, she consistently frames her arguments as discussions of the Enlightenment in Hungary and not of the Hungarian Enlightenment. Her research emphatically emphasizes the European orientations of Hungarian Enlightenment thinkers, and it integrates them persuasively into the larger European context. She does not start from the premise of a European Enlightenment, but rather adopts a theoretically consistent approach and emphasizes the different manifestations of Enlightenment thought in Europe. Her interpretations suggest that Enlightenment thinkers in Europe raised the same questions, but they arrived at different answers depending on the different cultural contexts. Unlike some contemporary scholars of the Enlightenment, she argues in favor of the thesis of the unity of diverse Enlightenments in Europe as a precondition of reciprocal exchange.

The collected works of Éva H. Balázs, which are now available thanks to the efforts of Lilla Krász and Tibor Frank, represent research on the Enlightenment which meets the highest international standards. The element of chance which happened to draw her attention towards the scholarship in the intellectual history of the eighteenth century turns out to have been quite fortuitous for research on the Enlightenment as a broadly international movement and, more narrowly, the Enlightenment in Hungary. Her writings strike one as representative of an innovative approach to the interpretation of the Enlightenment as a cultural practice in its European dimensions.

Hans Erich Bödeker
Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin

Russia and Courtly Europe: Ritual and Diplomatic Culture, 1648–1725. By Jan Hennings. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016. 297 pp.

Diplomatic history has fallen out of favor in recent decades, paling before trendier approaches and topics. Jan Hennings leaps into the fray with this daring book, making no apologies for his pursuit of what could be a dusty subject. The resulting book demonstrates that there is yet much of interest and importance to be done in this area. Taking the formal ceremonial aspects of diplomacy as seriously as its substantive political goals, he situates Muscovite diplomatic practices within the accepted framework of early modern European understandings. He reorients the field by moving beyond debates over the degree of Russian backwardness, to show, instead, that Russia functioned well within the parameters of early modern European norms. Russian rulers and ambassadors fully understood the defining principles of diplomatic exchange and operated flexibly within them. He illustrates that the tendency of modern historians to scoff at Russia’s rigid ritualism, its tendency to sacrifice substance for form, was already evident in the writings of Europeans at the time, but both then and now, these derisive assessments miss the point. Form and substance were of a piece: a monarch could not wrest major diplomatic concessions without maintaining his or her ritual standing among European rulers.

Hennings’ richly researched comparative approach and impressive linguistic range allows him to establish that Russia was neither more nor less hide-bound and ritualistic than its interlocutors. Representatives of the English, French, Venetian, and Austro-Hungarian courts all insisted on the niceties of precedent just as much as the Russians did, and, moreover, Russians were just as deft at compromising and reworking according to the needs of the moment as any of their contemporaries. Hennings supplies some entertaining examples of each end of the spectrum, hidebound to flexible. He treats the reader to occasional laughs. My favorite, I think, was the discussion of the careful timing of the dismount by receiving and visiting diplomats, to whom the question of which one touched the ground first was of utmost importance. The sixteenth-century Habsburg envoy Herberstein, we learn, slyly kicked his foot free of the stirrup, thereby tricking his Russian host into jumping off his horse, while Herberstein himself took his time.

Exploring the fraught question of whether Russia was in or out of Europe, Hennings leans toward inclusion. Although tropes of barbarism and exoticism not infrequently colored European writers’ impressions of Russia, when it came to diplomatic theater, Russia was assigned a role distinctly within the European, Christian orbit. Non-Christians, by contrast, were greeted with more distancing rituals. For instance, where the ambassadors from Russia or other European countries would kiss the hand of their royal European hosts, non-Christians were denied that intimacy. Still, the author concludes, the key questions were not about membership in Europe but rather about participation in “transcultural political space” characterized by “gradually standardized codes of behaviour and communication” (p.247). Rather than static, isolated “scenarios of power,” court receptions were interactive, constantly subject to reworking as needed, though within accepted parameters of ceremonial language. By the time Peter I entered that field, Russia was no longer struggling to catch up with those norms of conduct but was actively contributing to shaping them.

A clear introduction sets the historiographic framework for the book and makes a compelling case for the significance of this reexamination of early modern diplomacy. The early chapters work through Muscovite interactions with foreign courts, mainly European but also with some attention paid to its eastern and southern neighbors. The first chapter explores early modern perceptions of Russia and more generally, ways of categorizing cultures and polities. Chapter Two explains the peculiarities of Muscovite diplomatic practices. Narrow channels of communication, sharply prescribed forms and genres of reporting, and restrictive rules about what diplomats could and could not do in particular situations all lent Muscovite interactions a distinctive flavor, but did not set it far apart from its contemporaries. Hennings manages not only to present this information with verve and clarity, but also to inflect it consistently with his important argument about Russia’s participation in a shared field of court ceremony and the high stakes involved in succeeding in that arena. Chapter Three turns to Anglo-Russian encounters, providing close readings of diplomatic exchanges in the second half of the seventeenth century.

The book gains momentum as it moves into the era of Peter the Great in the final two chapters, where it decodes some of the most mystifying moments in that imposing ruler’s reign. Why, for instance, did the unmistakable Peter—two meters tall and easily recognizable—pretend to travel incognito as part of an embassy to Europe in 1698? Through the lens of diplomacy, Hennings reveals the practical advantages of this transparent ruse, which allowed Peter to bypass many of the constraints of formal diplomatic protocol and to get business done. Or, what did it mean when Peter accepted the title of imperator in 1721, when his forbearers had already been imperial rulers by their own lights with the title of tsar’ for close to two centuries? The closing chapters tackle these and other important questions of the Petrine era.

Based on research in archives in Russia, Austria, France, and Britain, using both visual and textual sources, and built on wide-ranging erudition, Russia and Courtly Europe sheds truly new light on a much-studied era.

Valerie Kivelson
University of Michigan

 Die literarische Zensur in Österreich von 1751 bis 1848. By Norbert Bachleitner, with contributions by Daniel Syrovy, Petr Píša, and Michael Wögerbauer. Literaturgeschichte in Studien und Quellen, Bd. 28. Vienna, Cologne, and Weimar: Böhlau Verlag, 2017. 528 pp.

 The modern social sciences have extended the uses of the term “censorship” far beyond its original interpretive framework. In the introduction to his most recent book, Norbert Bachleitner, a professor of literary history at the University of Vienna, offers a detailed account of the different interpretations of this term, but his study takes a narrow, traditional understanding of the word as its point of departure. He examines a specific realm of the state use of power with which the state seeks to exert supervision and control over communication in print between its subjects or citizens with the intention of protecting and preserving the social and political establishment.

There are almost innumerable studies on censorship and the history of censorship in German. They tend for the most part to focus on the practices of censorship under the Enlightened Absolutism of the eighteenth century and during the Vormärz period in the Habsburg Empire and the German states. Bachleitner’s book nonetheless constitutes a new contribution to the field, first and foremost simply because it offers a comprehensive history of roughly 100 years of censorship between the mid-eighteenth century and the 1848 revolutions. He draws on the registries of censored books which were regularly compiled in Vienna, censorship documents of the Viennese and Prague committees and police bodies, and works of imaginative literature, which is hardly surprising, since he himself characterizes the inquiry as “literary-sociological” in its inspiration (p.13). For he is interested, first and foremost, not in the history of the institutions through which censorship was practiced or their work processes and the people who collaborated with them (though he provides a detailed presentation of all this), but rather in the decisive influence of censorship on literature and literary life. He calls attention to the fact, however, that censorship (and the practices of self-censorship to which it gave rise), while it may have had repressive and limiting effects on authors and works, also had some positive effects. For instance, censorship compelled authors to develop “Aesopian” methods or writing, i.e. “strategies of writing that were suitable for symbolic language” (p.28), and restrictive measures taken by the authorities often drew the attention of potential readerships to the works censored.

As a kind of preparatory phase in the project, a database was created under Bachleitner’s leadership entitled “Verdrängt, verpönt – vergessen? Eine Datenbank zur Erfassung der in Österreich zwischen 1750 und 1848 verbotenen Bücher” (“Suppressed, Frowned Upon – Forgotten? A Database for a Survey of Books Forbidden in Austria between 1750 and 1848;” http://univie.ac.at/zensur). The database is itself based on the lists of censored publications regularly compiled in the imperial center. Perhaps the most important contribution of Bachleitner’s book is the clear discussion and analysis it offers of this database. The focus is on the works censored. In other words, Bachleitner addresses questions such as how these works can be grouped according to theme, language, publication date, and place of publication, what kinds of works were censored most frequently and according to what justifications, were there any significant shifts in the period under discussion, who were the most frequently censored authors and publishers, and in which time periods was the censor’s power to impose limitations the most unbridled. The processes become almost palpably clear on the basis of the statistics, for instance: religious considerations were pushed somewhat to the background; after the French Revolution political motifs were of primary concern; works of imaginative literature (first and foremost works by French novelists) began to figure in ever greater numbers among the forbidden books in the first half of the nineteenth century; greater tolerance was shown for publications which were intended for an educated, refined, wealthy readership; and a stricter attitude was adopted towards works which were written for broader social layers, in particular the younger generation.

In the first two chapters after the introduction, Bachleitner examines the “Enlightened-paternalistic” censorship of Maria Theresa and Joseph II, as well as the period between 1792 and 1848. The latter roughly half-century was, after three transitional years at the beginning, a period of a “sternly restrictive,” “paternalistic-authoritarian” system of censorship. However, one could not describe the history of censorship over the course of the hundred years in question as a straight line tending in the same direction. Rather, the analyses of the data suggest ebbs and flows from the perspective of the strictness of the censors as consequences of important political events. The history of the institutional frameworks shows considerable continuity, but as far as the functioning of the censors is concerned, a process of professionalization was underway. Beginning in 1781, the call for imperial centralization as a move away from (and in opposition to) the degree of administrative autonomy which the provinces had earlier enjoyed from some perspectives gradually was implemented, even if this process was not entirely completed by the mid-nineteenth century. The fourth chapter, entitled “Ein Blick in die Länder” (“A Look into the Lands”), examines this process. The chapter includes two essays by three authors on the history of censorship in the Kingdom of Bohemia (by Petr Píša und Michael Wögerbauer) and the Kingdom of Lombardy–Venetia (by Daniel Syrovy) in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The inclusion of studies by other authors is a bit unusual in a monograph, but the essays in question offer an important supplement and counterpoint to Bachleitner’s summary, which adopts a central-imperial perspective. It might have been worthwhile to have included a discussion of censorship in Hungary and Transylvania, since, with the exception of the chapter on the history of the theater, both Hungary and Transylvania seem to have escaped Bachleitner’s notice.

In the fifth chapter, Bachleitner offers a summary of the questions of censorship in the life of the theater. In keeping with the tradition of works on the history of censorship, this is followed by engaging case histories, which cast light on the history of literary publications, two forbidden “motifs” (the devil and suicide), and clashes between censors on the one hand and writers and poets on the other (this is the most substantial section of this part of the book). A short conclusion offers a sketch of avenues for further research. More thorough study of the practices and regulation of censorship in the states of Europe (the German states, France) and the other provinces of the Habsburg Empire (for instance, Hungary) could offer a subtler and more nuanced understanding of the subject, as could more discussion of the personalities of the censors. Systematic analyses of the period between 1849 and 1918, based on similar questions and perspectives, might reveal larger-scale historical processes. The appendix includes a few documents concerning state regulation of censorship and a few censorial reports. It might have been fruitful to have included more of these reports, since they provide glimpses into the minds and reasoning of the people who worked as part of the censorship apparatus.

Ágnes Deák
University of Szeged

Das global vernetzte Dorf: Eine Migrationsgeschichte. By Matthias Kaltenbrunner. Frankfurt am Main: Campus Verlag, 2017. 598 pp.

In his impressive and inspiring study, Matthias Kaltenbrunner tells the remarkable story of the migration history of six villages in the Sniatyn district of western Ukraine from the end of the nineteenth century until today. Until World War I this region was located at the southeastern border of Austrian Galicia, and in the interwar period it was part of Poland.

Beginning in 1898 and more intensely after 1905, these villages were involved in transatlantic migration to Canada. From the second half of the 1890s, Ukrainians from Galicia went in increasing numbers to North America for work or settlement. Between 1899 and 1914, 261,000 Ukrainians migrated to the United States and about 171,000 to Canada (p.130).

A well-known pattern of migration processes is that family and local networks largely determine directions of migration. Usually, migrants go to places where members of their family or larger local community already live. After the first families from Rusiv (the book’s central case study) and neighboring villages left for the Canadian prairies in 1898, Canada became the prime destination of migration from this area. While the first migrants left with the aim of permanent settlement and building new farms in Canada, from 1902 and more strongly 1905, a non-permanent pattern of migration emerged. Now most of the migrants did not intend to settle in Canada, but to earn money for supporting their families and for buying additional land for their farms at home after their return.

Kaltenbrunner’s core interest are the networks among migrants and between them and their villages. His study clearly confirms that such networks were extremely important to the process of migration, but he also demonstrates that they lasted for several decades after World War II, when western Ukraine became a part of the Soviet Union.

While transatlantic migration is the book’s most important subject, it also analyses forced and voluntary migration during World War II and during the period of Soviet rule. Here Kaltenbrunner discusses Soviet arrests and deportations between 1939 and 1941 as well as in the early postwar period, the deportation of forced laborers under German occupation, and labor migration within the Soviet Union.

The author was able to use a very wide range of sources, among them archival material from the Austrian, Polish, and Soviet periods, but also from Canadian and US archives. Most important for his analysis of village networks are letters that were exchanged between migrants and their families. In addition, he used a large number of memoirs and, for the postwar period, interviews that he conducted with villagers between 2013 and 2015.

The author gained access to a surprisingly large number of personal documents, especially letters. A fact that contributed to the rich source base for these villages is that the writer Vasyl’ Stefanyk (1871–1936) was born in Rusiv and spent most of his life there. His short novel The Stone Cross, first published in 1901 and set, as most of his writings, in his native village, became a classic work of Ukrainian literature on migration and is part of school curricula until today. Stefanyk’s own family—one of his sons migrated to Canada—and the families who served as inspiration for Stefanyk for some of his literary characters, appear also in Kaltenbrunner’s book. Stefanyk’s literary fame clearly contributed to the fact that archives and individuals kept more personal documents than usual or even published some of them.

The strength of the study consists of three points in particular. First, the author very skillfully uses these personal documents in order to analyze networks of migrants and villagers and their economic and emotional ties. His well-written account brings personal fates and motives very close to the reader and they are tied very effectively to the analysis of economic, cultural, and political circumstances. Second, the long-time frame of the study from the end of the nineteenth century until the beginning of the twenty-first century makes strikingly clear that migration (in a voluntary or a forced form) was a central feature of the villages’ and region’s history for the entire period. Furthermore, the author strongly and convincingly situates migration in the context of the social and political conditions of the villages. Thereby, in a way the book is also a history of western Ukraine in the twentieth century from the perspective of villagers’ experiences. Above all, the chapter on transatlantic networks in the Soviet period has a pioneering character (pp.403–544). It shows a remarkable amount of contacts and exchange of letters, goods, and visits from the beginning of the 1960s onward that connected these western Ukrainian villages with former inhabitants in North America.

Furthermore, the study powerfully rejects any image of remote, isolated, backward villages, but demonstrates their “global interconnectedness,” despite the economic poverty that prevails here until today.

Even excellent studies, as Kaltenbrunner’s book clearly is, oblige a reviewer to look for critical points or desiderata. Two should be mentioned here. The first one is that the study does not really attempt to give an answer to a central question of migration history, i.e., what effect return migration had on the villages as a whole in economic, cultural, or political terms, or if returning migrants introduced innovation and change into villages. The second point refers to the fact that local case studies inevitably provoke the question of the extent to which their results can be generalized. For Kaltenbrunner’s book this question could be asked primarily in regard to its section on the Soviet period. In contrast to most other parts of rural eastern Galicia, in the Sniatyn area the basic political mobilization of the rural population during the last two to three decades before World War I took place primarily within the framework of the left-wing Radical Party. That party remained strong here also in the interwar period. Many migrants left already with some leftist political loyalties that further strengthened or radicalized when they became laborers in Canada. Many of them worked in the harsh conditions of mines. A rather large portion of migrants in Canada from these villages seem to have maintained pro-communist or at least strongly leftist attitudes also after World War II. This may raise the question of the extent to which this rather unusual feature among the post-war Ukrainian diaspora contributed to the number and intensity of contacts in the Soviet period.

In any case, these points are rather suggestions for further research than a critique of this excellent, rich book that is important for Ukrainian history in twentieth century, for Soviet history, and for the history of migration more generally.

Kai Struve
Martin Luther University Halle–Wittenberg

“Europa ist zu eng geworden:” Kolonialpropaganda in Österreich-Ungarn 1885 bis 1918. By Simon Loidl. Vienna: Promedia, 2017. 232 pp.

 In the 2000s, a handful of Austrian historians started to engage with the imperial and colonial past of the Habsburg Monarchy (Walter Sauer, ed., K.u.K. kolonial: Habsburgermonarchie und europäische Herrschaft in Afrika [2007]; Evelyn Kolm, Die Ambitionen Österreich-Ungarns im Zeitalter des Hochimperialismus [2001]). In investigating the history of the Austro-Hungarian Colonial Society (Österreichisch-Ungarische Kolonialgesellschaft or AHCS), Simon Loidl joined this approach. Loidl questions the trend which excludes the postcolonial approach from historical investigation of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy (Chapter 1). He argues that the Dual Monarchy regarded itself as a great power, hence it devoted significant effort to the colonial issue. To prove this statement, the author investigates expansion projects which targeted territories beyond Europe. Although Austria-Hungary participated in no concrete overseas colonial projects out of political and economic reasons, a number of colonial pressure groups were organized in Vienna alongside the Ballhausplatz which elaborated concrete colonial plans. Of these colonial pressure groups, the most important was the Austro-Hungarian Colonial Society which tried to harmonize the theoretical questions and practice of colonialism with the needs of the empire.

The monograph focuses on investigating the Austro-Hungarian colonial attitudes vis-à-vis the Austro-Hungarian Colonial Society’s propaganda activity and colonial practice. The author describes the political, social, and economic background of the Austro-Hungarian colonial debate at the turn of the century (Chapter 2). Loidl proves convincingly that having its own protocolonial period, the Habsburg Empire had reached the threshold of potential colonialism at the turn of the century. Chapter 3 describes how the society was established, the main points of its program, and the reason why a faction radicalized during World War I. The author tries to reconstruct the biographies of the most important society founders as well.

Using discourse analysis methods, the author scrutinizes books, travelogues, reports, articles, and memoranda written by society members (Chapter 4). Loidl focuses his attention first of all on terms of Austro-Hungarian colonialism and particularities and changes in the course of the colonial debate. Despite the lack of proper sources, the author tries to reveal the social and political background of the most important propagandists of the society.

Chapter 5 catalogues the main tendencies and topics of the AHCS propaganda: the place of Habsburg colonialism in the European and global context, the questions of overpopulation and emigration, their analysis from the perspective of society, and the nationalism and treatment of the everyday problems of the emigrated population. The author briefly discusses the case of Bosnia-Herzegovina and certain military aspects that became dominant in World War I and which facilitated the way for some propagandists into the national-social movement of the interwar period.

The most important actions of the AHCS were reconstructed based on archival sources (Chapter 6). The archival corpus enabled the author to carry out a refined research of emigration and the Brazilian action of the society, two of the key issues of the Austro-Hungarian colonial propaganda and activity. It follows from the foregoing that Loidl uses an empirical approach to his topic as he reconstructs the contact points between the colonial theory and praxis of the society. In this chapter, the author draws parallels between the Austrian and the German social reasons and phenomena of colonialism. The most interesting case is how a group of AHCS publicists adjusted their colonial views to the German world domination plans during World War I.

Through the life story of three persons, the book examines the legacy of the Austro-Hungarian colonial discourse and of the society’s propagandists in the interwar period (Chapter 7). After the collapse of Austria-Hungary, the AHCS ceased its activity and its members had to find their place in interwar Austria. Investigating the biographies of Adolf Mahr, Robert Stigler, and Richard Seyfert, Loidl demonstrates clearly that the former members of the AHCS became supporters of Nazism and themselves actors in the racist and colonial ambitions of the Third Reich.

In the conclusion (Chapter 8), Loidl shares the views of Evelyn Kolm. Accordingly, the Habsburg Empire did not participate in the collective colonialism of the great powers and it did not have its own colonial project in the long-run. Yet, having no overseas colonies, Southeast Europe was regarded as a kind of compensation which could be culturally colonized to a certain degree. All in all, the monograph treats the propaganda activities of the AHCS beyond Europe well and provides useful data on the structure and membership of the society.

Although the book’s title promises a general overview on the colonial propaganda of Austria-Hungary, the author in fact fails to investigate Hungary. In some cases Loidl hints that the Hungarians hindered and impeded the Austrian colonial initiations, but the author offers no in-depth explanation of the alleged Hungarian refusal. Furthermore, the author did not put the AHCS in a wider, European context either, and the handful of references to parallel German colonial phenomena do not compensate for this.

Despite these shortcomings, Loidl has produced a dense book that enriches the still embryonic research into the colonial past of Austria. The book demonstrates well the attractivity and potential for further research in this field.

Krisztián Csaplár-Degovics
Hungarian Academy of Sciences

Der Poststalinismus: Ideologie und Utopie einer Epoche. By Pavel Kolář. Cologne: Böhlau, 2016. 370 pp.

 In the course of contemporary historiography devoted to state socialist regimes in Central East Europe, the most attention has been paid to the question of how these regimes were established and according to what measures the process followed. At the same time many scholars have been coping with the question of how and why the state socialist system fell apart. The reviewed monograph represents a study which is devoted to neither of the above mentioned themes, but to a relatively recent historiographical phenomenon focusing on post-Stalinism. Pavel Kolář defines the era as an epoch situated in the time period between Stalinism and late socialism. It is exactly this “between” position that leads the author to interpret post-Stalinism as a phase (Zwischenphase) based on a dilemma between the burden of the past and a radiant future. In this sense post-Stalinism is determined by three decisive features. It was the era when class as a category lost its dominance in favor of nation. Simultaneously, the linearity of time started to be replaced by fragmented narration as well as by a certain level of cyclicality. The third aspect was based on the leading role of the Communist party which was now supposed to be renewed as a true Leninist organization. Compared to Stalinism it was rather the era of instability, when the social and political praxis oscillated between utopian zeal and actual questions of the day. This ambiguity leads the author to define post-Stalinism as a form of processual utopia which was different to the previous fanaticism as well as to the pragmatism of late socialism.

The book is structured into five chapters in which the author seeks to reveal different aspects of post-Stalinist processual utopia based on the examples of Czechoslovakia, Poland, and East Germany. The first one (“After Stalin’s Death: Factual Revolution”) focuses on the role history and historical writing played within the process of the creation of a new communist party identity following the de-Stalinization of 1956. The rediscovery of facticity in the writing of the history of the communist party, especially on the local level, led to a relativization of party identity in comparison to the previous master narrative. In the second chapter (“Party Makes History”), Kolář manifests how in struggling against the cult of personality, the party became a self-confident subject of history (Demiurge). At the same time, he presents here how the discussions about dictatorship and violence changed the shape of the post-Stalinist party line. The third chapter (“Nation: With or Against Party”) is devoted to the antinomy of the communist movement in general, based on the conflicting character of both communist and national emancipation. The author shows how the national discourse overlapped with the communist one, and vice versa. Despite the fact that the national rhetoric was widely present in party agenda, it never became, argues Kolář, a dominant part of the post-Stalinist processual utopia. In the following chapter (“Enemies of the Party”), new images of post-Stalinist enemies are described. As in previous cases, one of the most characteristic features of enemy discourses (e.g., revisionism, social democratism, Zionism) was their unstable and permanently developing and changing character. Post-Stalinist coping with enemies was not based on their annihilation but on persuading strategies. Thus revisionists for example were seen as enemies endangering the official party line, nevertheless they were rather perceived as partners in discussion than former saboteurs set for physical liquidation. In the last chapter (“Longing for the Golden Age”), Kolář pays attention to the post-Stalinist perception of time. In his eyes this era was typical for its return to a pre-Stalinist revolutionary period, which was now perceived to a certain extent with nostalgia. It is this cyclical dimension newly appearing during the post-1956 years that brings the reader to the initial definition of the post-Stalinist epoch, understood as a period trapped between the past and the future.

Without a doubt, the reviewed monograph is a seminal work on the analyzed time period, moreover it represents its first serious conceptualization. Some of the author’s findings are fresh and convincing, especially his interpretation of the Khrushchev speech, his remarks on the problematic relationship between national and communist discourses, and his conceptualization of the perception of time during revolutionary and post-revolutionary periods. His arguments are strong especially when they are derived from an analysis of historical writings of the time and from debates on the Stalinist past. Although Kolář’s book represents a nicely written and inspiring read, it is provocative and in some aspects problematic at the same time. I fully agree with the author’s understanding of post-Stalinism as a relatively unstable era differing from the very universality of the previous period, nevertheless in order to save his comprehensive conception of post-Stalinism as Zwischenphase, Kolář tends to describe both Stalinism and late socialism in a very traditional way (radical fulfillment of future; pragmatic era lacking any utopian visions) which contrasts with his analytical approach. While defining post-Stalinism as indecisive time period, he characterizes it as an epoch based on the analysis of the above-mentioned aspects. It is not the aspects by themselves but the way in which they are understood that is most characteristic and mutually intertwined. Such a comprehension unintentionally portrays post-Stalinism rather as a closed than a vivid and relatively dynamic system. Thus the post-Stalinist internal plurality based on many social, theoretical, and political approaches of the era remains overshadowed by a given set of analyzed features as factuality, past, nation, class, and time. By the same token, it seems to me that the author overestimates some and overlooks other characteristic aspects of the time. Undoubtedly, factuality belonged to key features of post-Stalinist historical writings, regardless of however many Marxist theoreticians of the time criticized absolutization of ‘rare facts’ at the expense of grasping the reality in its very complexity. Similarly, the past, regardless if Stalinist or pre-Stalinist, played an important symbolic role in the post-Stalinist environment, and the return of Marxists intellectuals to Marx’s original texts and to pre-Stalinist theory is a good example of this notion; however, Kolář’s conceptual framework does not allow him to recognize post-Stalinist thought as part of the socialist modernity project which was definitely more oriented towards the future than to a nostalgic longing for the golden age being lost somewhere along the way. Taking the future into account as an important part of post-Stalinist thought could then depict the era in a slightly different tone, as a complex of autonomous and original conceptions of the future based on a dialectical overcoming of the past, as the world of miscellaneous socialist visions. In spite of above mentioned polemical comments, I am convinced that the book will attract a broad readership of historians who are taking the state socialist experiment seriously and not merely as a manifestation of totalitarian rule that deserves our condemnation.

Jan Mervart
Czech Academy of Sciences

The Invisible Shining: The Cult of Mátyás Rákosi in Stalinist Hungary, 1945–1956. By Balázs Apor. Budapest–New York: Central European University Press, 2017. 415 pp.

Leader cults in modern European history had strikingly common elements. They emerged and existed in democratic, authoritarian, and totalitarian regimes alike, as well as in right-wing and left-wing political systems. Accordingly, the types of these political cults differed from each other. Monographs on this phenomenon have already been published, discussing cultic practices around the persons of Hitler, Hindenburg, Mussolini, Metaxas, Stalin, and Horthy. The authors of these books, such as Ian Kershaw, Anna von der Goltz, Simonetta Falasca-Zamponi, Marina Petrakis, Ian Pampler, and the author of this review, have investigated the different aspects of leader cults, including the Stalinist type.

The Invisible Shining is a long-awaited work because no detailed and systematic analysis has been published on the Hungarian type of Stalinist leader cult so far. The aim of the book is to analyze the Hungarian Stalinist political system’s “attempt to implement the Stalinist leader cult in postwar Hungary” (p.1). The emergence of the Rákosi cult and the cults of other “mini Stalins” were the symbolic consequences of the Sovietization of Central and Eastern Europe after 1945. This occurred because the cult of Stalin, “the adaptation of leader worship to local Party secretaries” (p.15), the international hierarchy of cults, and the Stalinist pantheon with its rituals, myths, and symbols were imported from the USSR at that time. Apor emphasizes convincingly that the cults of satellite leaders were partly based on the Soviet model but, on the other hand, were rooted partly in local and national traditions. In addition, the author underlines that the leader cult of Rákosi seems to be “an example of […] self-Sovietization” because Moscow’s “direct influence,” the role of “explicit Soviet orders” in its construction, “remains unclear” (pp.336–37). The careful analysis of the Rákosi cult provided by Apor highlights this complexity.

This book is divided into three parts: the first is about the construction of the cult, the second is about the societal responses to the cult’s expansion, and the third is about the dismantling of the cult. Its structure is based primarily on a thematic, not a chronological, order. The thematic order highlights the agents, institutions, and the techniques of the leader cult. A 45-page chapter (I/1) is devoted to the history and the evolution (chronology) of the analyzed cult, which, with the third chapter, adds a chronological outline to the dominant thematic discussion.

A systematic overview of the construction of the cult is preceded by the short analysis of modern Hungarian leader cults. Apor emphasizes that “although the Stalinist leader cult originated in the Soviet Union, the language employed to deify the leaders of the Hungarian Communist Party did not originate there.” The reason for this was the striking similarity “to the verbal repository of interwar cultic representations” (p.45). It means that the leader cults during the Horthy era can also be considered to be the antecedents of the Rákosi cult. This is a very important contribution to the analysis of the Hungarian symbolic politics of the twentieth century.

Apor summarizes the most important aspects of the leader cult of Mátyás Rákosi from its origins and roots, to its phases between 1945 and 1949, and to its fully developed form (1949–1953). The first main chapter analyzes the role and function of this cult, the evolution of the leader’s image, and the techniques, occasions, agents, and increasingly centralized institutions of cult-building. Between 1945 and 1948/1949 his leader cult existed primarily within the framework of the Hungarian Communist Party. Rákosi became a Hungarian party leader, “father figure,” wise, all-knowing “teacher of the nation,” “man of the people,” “caring leader,” and so on. Between 1949 and 1953 the cult existed in a full-blown form: cult-making was institutionalized and centralized, a wide range of institutions and individuals participated in the complex process of constructing it. Apor systematically refers to the occasions (i.e., the meticulously planned public appearances, anniversaries) and the techniques (speeches, articles, letters, telegrams, biographies, visual representation, and so on) of cult-building when he analyzes the evolution of this leader cult.

In the last three chapters of the first part, the author focuses on three important methods of cult-making: the role of biographies, nationalism and the leader, as well as visual representation. First, the biographies were “heavily exploited” to justify the leadership of Rákosi, “to project the mythical images of the Party secretary” (p.25). They presented an oversimplified, constructed, and depersonalized image of the leader who was the embodiment of the Party and whose life was dedicated to the cause. Second, national traditions, myths, especially the Hungarian revolutionary traditions, were used to justify his elevated position. Rákosi was often portrayed as the heir to the Hungarian freedom fighters. As a result, he was presented “as the embodiment of the entire (national) political community” (p.142). Third, besides language, techniques of visual representation (portraits, busts, posters, newsreels, and so on) were also heavily deployed to describe him as an omnipresent leader.

In the second main chapter, Apor deals with the impact of the Rákosi cult on Hungarian society and with the efficiency of the party-state propaganda. This analysis is based on mood reports, surveys of public opinion, letters written to Rákosi, and telegrams. The author emphasizes that due to the lack of reliable representative sources it is difficult to estimate the extent to which the Hungarian population identified itself with this phenomenon. Apor analyzes positive (“communicative practices” [p. 188]) and negative (“spontaneous manifestations of dissatisfaction” [p.211]) responses to this leader cult. Another chapter about popular indifference and the ineffectiveness of propaganda provides further important details regarding how the propaganda machine worked. Apor concludes that “the Rákosi cult […] found little fertile ground” (p.259), but, on the other hand, this cult “had a remarkable impact on communicative practices, verbal and non-verbal alike;” the population internalized the cultic vocabulary, “even if it generally failed to turn Hungarian society into a community of believers” (p.188).

The third part focuses on the dismantling of the Rákosi cult. The careful analysis is closely connected to the events and trends of political history, first and foremost to the de-Stalinization. The author divides the period into two phases: the decay of the cult (1953–1956), when its significance was slowly decreasing, and its collapse after the Twentieth Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in 1956, when it disappeared relatively rapidly from public spacesand public discourse.

This monograph, which provides a detailed, valid, and systematic analysis of every important aspect of the Hungarian Stalinist leader cult, is a significant contribution to the better understanding of this political phenomenon. The context of the Rákosi cult was the Soviet symbolic politics, its international system of satellite cults, myths, and symbols, and the Hungarian—especially interwar—cultic traditions, including, the leader cult around Miklós Horthy. The analysis convincingly highlights this complexity. Though the book deals primarily with the Hungarian Stalinist leader cult, it also reflects on important aspects of other parallel phenomena. It provides a theoretically and methodologically valid analysis: the author reflects on, for example, the term ‘charisma’ and ‘the personality cult.’ In all these respects, Apor’s monograph, based on a wide range of primary and secondary sources, is an indispensable work for those interested in leader cults and in the complexities of East and Central European history.

Dávid Turbucz
Hungarian Academy of Sciences

Hungarian Women’s Activism in the Wake of the First World War: From Rights to Revanche. By Judith Szapor. London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2018. 224 pp.

Judith Szapor’s book is an important and novel contribution to early twentieth-century Hungarian women’s history, in particular the kind that not only presents substantial knowledge about the history of women but also helps place “mainstream” history in a different light. The time frame covers the period from 1913 to 1922, focusing on the multiple turns between 1917 and 1920, the densest years in terms of women’s politics too.

The author discusses the trends and development of women’s movements in a wide and detailed historical context, focusing on the system of relations in which they were embedded and interacted. Its aim is to “write women into the aftermath of the First World War” (p.1), covering two revolutions and a counter-revolution, the three major branches of Hungarian women’s movement with their (changing) bases, scope of action, slogans, aims, interests, and ideologies, as well as their relationship with the actual political system. In its analyses it considers the complex interconnections and transitions between private and public, formal and informal relations. The scholarly background of the book includes the historiography of European women’s movements and the history of interwar Hungary, for both fields using macro- and microhistorical lenses.

Structurally, the book has a general direction and arc from the broad historical-political context to the organizational level, and then to the individual figures, but it also fluctuates among these levels in the narration. The author often refers to later parts of the book, giving it a kind of a “teleological” character.

In the introduction, the author draws our attention to two symbolic events that constitute the frame of the book, representing the poles of the period in question: the 7th Congress of the International Women’s Suffrage Alliance in June 1913, hosted by the mayor of Budapest, and the greeting of governor Miklós Horthy by MANSZ (National Alliance of Hungarian Women) in November 1919. The highlighting and close-reading of particular events is a returning method of the book and it proves to be not only a good way to narrate but is also illuminative in understanding the essential differences between the two (maybe three) eras of (women’s) politics.

The first chapter presents the progressive prewar women’s movements as being able to cooperate not just with one another but also with the governmental authorities. It tells the history and the major causes, leaders, forums, allies, and rivals of the three main branches of women’s politics: the liberal Feminist Association, the Christian, and the socialist women’s movement. (Talking about their foundations, Szapor uses the term “origin myths,” which looks a bit misleading as the roots she reveals are basically factual.)

One of the main common causes of women’s movements was the struggle for equal suffrage, but they were largely differing in their strategies and priorities. A determinative difference is that while the Catholic and socialist women’s movements were attached to and found allies in male-led institutions (the church and the workers’ movement), the Feminist Association was connected primarily to the international liberal women’s rights movement. The divergences especially sharpened in the political circumstances of the postwar era when general suffrage served as a tool for legitimizing the authoritarian system.

In the second chapter Szapor explores a special semi-private meeting place, the Hungarian Women’s Debating Club (initiated by Countess Mihály Károlyi and Rózsika Schwimmer in February 1918), as a “case study.” As she reveals, behind the seemingly apolitical purpose of “social intercourse,” the Club was founded with the purpose of circulating the idea of suffrage among aristocratic women. Thus it was a melting pot of women from different social classes organizing debates on a wide range of issues with many speakers. Behind the cooperation on basic issues, there was much strained disagreement, encapsulating larger and later developments, and after the revolution it became a nest of counter-revolutionary mobilization.

The next chapter explores the two (1918 and 1919) revolutions from the viewpoint of women’s politics after the loss of the war. The announcement of universal suffrage happened immediately in November 1918, but it was not put into practice until the beginning of 1920, and under completely different political circumstances. Szapor also reconstructs the names of the women participants in the National Council. The Republic of Councils between March and August 1919 had ambitious and egalitarian projects but also hasty and anti-democratic actions, including the way they prepared and carried out the elections. As the author underlines, it resulted in alienating and radicalizing the conservative middle class, and strengthened their social anxieties and thus their prejudice-led intolerance. It is remarkable that many women were involved in the Commissariats and in other decision-making positions, but the leadership was dominated by men. After the fall of the Republic of Councils, the majority of its participants went into exile, which resulted in disrupted individual careers and social networks and destroyed prewar unions.

Szapor points out the gendered nature of the reception of Horthy in November 1919. This was manifested in women’s (namely MANSZ’s) emphatic presence and also in the way Horthy’s speech narrated the city and the nation through female symbols. But the author extends the gendered view to the whole era, stressing that women had an active role in restoring prewar social system and values (together with the old borders of the Monarchy); they contributed to creating, realizing, and legitimizing the basic values and slogans of the regime. MANSZ and its rhetoric repressed other women’s movements and women’s representations, occupying the political space in prewar Hungary. The marginalization of liberal feminists was part (and in anticipation) of the general anti-modernist, illiberal, nationalist, and anti-Semitic trend with actually anti-feminist views. The question—“Who is supposed to represent Hungarian women?”—became a wider question of social norms and national ideologies too.

A separate chapter explores the career and semi-literary writings of the two dominant leaders of the right-wing women’s movement, both of them influential figures of contemporary culture too: Emma Ritoók and Cécile Tormay. They both contradicted their own image of the ideal woman (being public figures, unmarried, and in Tormay’s case also lesbian), which caused inner conflicts especially in the case of Ritoók.

At the January 1920 elections the message of MANSZ indicated an important shift in women’s politics, suggesting that there are no separate women’s interests, only national ones. The Christian parties won the elections with the help of women’s votes—paradoxically (or just disappointingly), women supported parties with a very restrictive image of gender roles.

The 1920s period of István Bethlen’s consolidation mitigated post-revolutionary political and racial aggression but brought ethnic homogenization/exclusion and limitations of political and educational rights for women. Szapor does not mention that the numerus clausus law was also created originally for restricting the number of female students (who were to a large extent Jewish). As Szapor emphasizes, the content of citizenship was not determined only by electoral rights.

In the concluding chapter, the author presents an important outlook regarding the long-term impacts and models of the era until today—including its basic values and also the ways of (ab)using democratic tools for anti-democratic purposes. After the 1989 regime change, conservative and sexist views on gender roles and family returned as a part of the revival of the interwar nationalistic-conservative ideologies. The renaissance in Tormay studies has been also an emblem of the wider revival of the Horthy regime and its ideologies (together with spatial restorations and eliminations).

The book relies on and applies a diverse and up-to-date literature as well as partly unknown archival and press sources involving memoirs, correspondences, and organizational papers. (Hungarian names that I missed from the bibliography doing notable research especially on women’s organizations in the countryside are Katalin Kéri and Zsolt Mészáros.) The insightful and well-structured text is also an exciting and enjoyable read in its entirety due to its clear, elegant, and witty style and the good construction of the chapters. The only slightly annoying element is the sometimes redundant narration with returning phrases (especially in the characterization of trends and periods), even if it may have a didactic function. As for the factual part, I found only one mistake on page 42: Lajos Hatvany’s (first) wife, Christa Winsloe was not British but a German (sculptor and playwright).

New explorations and smart interpretations are well-suited in the book. The author confidently navigates the tangle of periods, layers, interests, and conflicts, as well as their roots and changes. She sensitively notices the significant details which constitute and represent larger historical processes and make them more understandable. One of the main conclusions of the book is that the history of women as a group cannot be separated from history as a whole—not just in the sense that it was an organic part of it and influenced by it, but also because in certain (not necessarily the most glorious) moments, women (on individual and organizational levels) fundamentally influenced politics by making alliances based on social and ideological bases. It also leads us to see the significance of intersectional relations and the social and political heterogeneity of women and their key causes. One of the greatest merits of Szapor’s work is that it reveals and nuances these very intersections and the conflicting interests among the different subgroups of women according to their respective social and political connections.

Anna Borgos
Hungarian Academy of Sciences

Vpdfolume 7 Issue 4 CONTENTS


Towns and Cities of the Croatian Middle Ages: Image of the Town in the Narrative Sources. Reality and/or Fiction? Edited by Irena Benyovsky Latin and Zrinka Pešorda Vardić. Zagreb: Croatian Institute of History, 2017. 412 pp.

As a sort of successor volume to Towns and Cities of the Croatian Middle Ages: Authority and Property, this volume is the result of the second triennial held at the Croatian Institute of History in autumn 2013. It consists of 17 papers on images of medieval towns in the region of present-day Croatia. More precisely, these papers deal with the many complex ways in which urban spaces were depicted in narrative sources from Late Antiquity to the Early Modern period and how these sources can enrich our understanding of medieval urbanity. With regards to the subtitle, the term “image” is not limited to one rigid conceptual framework. Rather, it includes a wide range of topics, such as the formation of urban settlements and topographies, the constitution of certain civic identities and memories, and even historical-demographic calculations on the basis of noble genealogies (see the article by Nenad Vekarić).

Except for the article by László Veszprémy (pp.253–63), which examines historiographic accounts of medieval Buda, all of the papers in the volume focus on cities on the northeastern Adriatic coastline and in Dalmatia, especially Dubrovnik, Split, and Zadar. This is due in no small part to the fragmentary nature of medieval sources which have survived on these areas and cities. Nevertheless, it is a bit surprising that Zagreb is mentioned only by Marija Karbić (pp.241–52), who compiles descriptions of the free royal town from chronicles and narratives in some of the charters of the Hungarian court.

Rather than offer summaries of the individual papers, I seek here to emphasize some significant guidelines of the volume by way of example. The introduction (pp.13–60), which was written by Irena Benyovsky Latin (one of the editors), provides a detailed history of the research on the subject and also addresses the varieties and intersections of the narrative sources, which have been considered in a primarily comparative way throughout the volume. In other words, legends of local saints and bishops, annals and universal chronicles, and various histories of primarily clerical and monastic institutions are all important sources on the appearance and perceptions of high and late medieval Croatian towns. As far as images of towns in narrative sources are concerned, communal histories (be they preserved as chronicles, laudatium urbium, or poems) are an important sources and objects of research. Furthermore, expanding the timespan up to the eighteenth century (i.e. well beyond the traditional border of the European Middle Ages) allows us to take into account travelogues and even diaries from well-known Italian humanists and pilgrims. This provides useful complementary information as well as an external point of view (see the articles by Donal Cooper, Zoran Ladić, and Dušan Mlacović).

The merits of the conference proceedings can definitely be ascribed to a constant reference to the primary sources and a distinctive approach to source criticism. This is especially true when it comes to different provenances, intricate channels of tradition, and depictions of how the prevailing circumstances were perceived at the time. The authors analyze, more or less meticulously, the respective social contexts of the chosen sources for their case studies by taking into account the medieval authors’ intentions, methods of writing, and self-perceptions. Readers of this volume are given an opportunity to refresh their insights by comparing various aforementioned narrative sources with contemporary pragmatic written records, e.g. notarial documents, charters, and municipal codifications. Zrinka Nikolić Jakus (pp.123–36) reconstructs genealogies of Dalmatian urban elites, using both diplomatic sources and information provided by Thomas the Archdeacon of Split (1200–1268) in his famous Historia Salonitana. Other examples of this include examinations which focus on the communal histories of Dubrovnik (see the articles by Zrinka Pešorda Vardić and Zdenka Janeković Römer), Trogir (see the article by Ana Plosnić Škarić), and Zadar (see the articles by Ivan Majnarić and Sandra Begonja). These literary and historiographical works contain descriptions of urban structures and topical accounts of peaceful and adversarial interactions among social groups in the cities and their hinterland. These descriptions provide (again in correlation with administrative sources) a vivid picture of everyday life and multi-faceted medieval urbanity. Apparently, the military and political conflicts with Venice in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries were a trigger for the construction of narrative models of urban community which shed light on utopian ideas of cohabitation and social order in major Dalmatian cities.

In addition to the intertextual comparisons, the contributors to the volume also took into consideration material and visual sources. Starting with De Administrando Imperio, a kind of “manual” for adolescent emperors written by Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus in the mid-tenth century, Ivan Basić, for instance, sheds light on the etymological confusion of the town Spalatum and its suburb Spalatiolum (pp.61–115). He connects linguistic investigations based on contemporary chronicles with results from archaeological excavations, and he also takes epigraphic sources into account. He thus succeeds in giving a more precise picture of Split’s urban structure during Late Antiquity. This structure provided the foundation for the early medieval development of the town and its surrounding area. In his iconographic investigation, Tripimir Vedriš (pp.179–212) focuses on the cult of Zadar’s patron saints and how they became symbols of communal identity and instruments of societal differentiation among local elites. He therefore discusses how changes to their visual depiction (in shrines and on seals, coins, mural paintings, etc.) within the urban space were connected to times of struggle against the maritime republic of Venice in the fourteenth century.

The editors’ aims have certainly been met from the perspective of interpreting narrative sources not just as “histories,” whose reliability is to be determined, but rather as “historical facts in themselves” (p.58). Beyond the diversity of topics and sources brought up in combination with refreshingly comparative analyses, this volume presents matters of intensive research concerning medieval narrative sources, and it lays emphasis on Croatian cities which so far been have neglected in the secondary literature. Given the simple fact that all the articles were written in English and even short titles of Croatian sources are given in translation, the volume is accessible to a broad, international readership. It thus constitutes a crucial step towards more spatially balanced approaches to the study of medieval urban history.

Herbert Krammer
University of Vienna

Nova zraka u Europskom svjetlu: Hrvatske zemlje u ranome srednjem vijeku (550–1150.) [New ray in the European light: Croatian lands in the early middle ages (550–1150)]. By Zrinka Nikolić Jakus. Biblioteka Povijest Hrvata 1. Zagreb: Matica hrvatska, 2015. 656 pp.

Nova zraka u europskom svjetlu is the first volume in a new series in Croatian of Biblioteka povijest hrvata published by Matica hrvatska and launched in 2015. The series of seven volumes is the latest Croatian narrative of the history of Croatia and the Croatian lands from late Antiquity to the late twentieth century. The first volume is the work of eighteen authors who are among the most prominent scholars of Croatian historiography, art history, legal history, literary history, archaeology, and many other fields. They belong to the younger or middle generation of Croatian historians, and they adopt modern approaches to the study of history, dealing with topics that have been comparatively or entirely neglected according to Zoran Ladić, the editor of the series, and Zrinka Nikolić Jakus, the editor the volume under review. The volume begins with two prefaces, in which the two editors note that the volume aims to follow in the wake of two earlier Croatian projects, Hrvatska i Europa and Povijest Hrvata, and also drew inspiration from the New Cambridge Medieval History in its aspiration to address a wide range of topics, including spiritual life, environmental issues, economy, art history, archaeology, law, written culture, everyday life, society, and the institutions and formation of the state. The volume can be divided into three major parts. The first unit offers a general overview from different perspectives on and approaches to the history of Croatia and the Croatian lands (meaning territories or regions which were not parts of the Medieval Kingdom of Croatia but which belong to the present-day country, such as Istria and Slavonia). The first study, by Hrvoje Gračanin, narrates the history of the lands of present-day Croatia in late Antiquity (pp.3–36). It is followed by Ante Birin’s chapter on the history of Croats in the early Middle Ages (pp.37–72). Neven Budak then discusses the Early Medieval ethnogenesis of the Croats (pp.73–88). In the next two chapters Damir Karbić, analyses the formation of the Croatian state, royal power, society, and cities (pp.89–122, 123–32). Florence S. Fabijanec then examines the economic aspects of Early Medieval Croatia, such as trade, commerce, and agriculture (pp.133–158). In the next chapter, Ante Nazor discusses the Early Medieval Croatian army (pp.159–72), and Trpimir Vedriš summarizes formal practice of baptism, Christianization (he separates the two), and the ecclesiastical life and practice of religion in the Croatian lands (pp.173–200, 201–36). Damir Karbić and Branka Grbavac present legal life and legal written culture in Croatia (pp.237–54), Mirjana Matijević-Sokol examines literacy in Latin (pp.255–72), and Tomislav Galović presents the literacy in Cyrillic and Glagolitic (pp.273–96). Magdalena Skoblar summarizes the most important aspects of the art history of the region (pp.297–322), and as the final part of this unit, the study by Jakus examines everyday life of Croats (pp.323–42). The second main part of the volume reflects the historical and cultural regionality of Croatia. The first two chapters deal with northwestern and northeastern Croatia separately, and both were written by Hrvoje Gračanin, who was joined by coauthor Silvija Pisk for the first study (pp.345–66, 367–84). In my opinion, probably it would have been preferable not to have divided the two chapters, as they deal with similar topics and territories which belonged together at some point of the period in question. The subsequent chapters, which were written by Maurizio Levak and Ante Birin respectively deal with Istria and the Kvarner Gulf (pp.385–414) and Gorski kotar, Lika, and Krbava (pp.415–26). The narrative of the Early Medieval history of Dalmatia is also divided into two parts according to geographical region. Ivan Basić deals with northern and central Dalmatia (pp.427–62), and Ivan Majnarić and Kosjenka Laszlo Klemar focus on southern Dalmatia (pp.463–78), but unlike the first two chapters, in this case historical circumstances and differences could justify this division. In the final chapter of the second part, Goran Bilogrivić deals with the territory of Bosnia and Hum (pp.479–91). The third unit of the book offers international, geopolitical context, as it deals with the countries and empires that either had close relationships with the Croats or the territories of present-day Croatia or held any parts of these territories. Hrvoje Gračanin provides a short summary on Byzantium (pp.495–516), and Ivan Majnarić then presents the Ottonian, Frankish, and Holy Roman Empire’s role in Croatia (pp.517–32) and the relationships with the Papacy (pp.533–48). Lovorka Ćoralić analyses Venice’s role in Croatia (pp.549–62), and Jakus examines the southern Italian territories and their relationships with Croatia, highlighting the Normans’ activities (pp.563–80). Trpimir Vedriš presents Bulgaria and other Slavic states in the Balkans (pp.581–608), and finally Nikolić Jakus deals with Hungary (pp.609–29). The volume is the first outcome of a huge project, and it is one of the finest modern syntheses in the historiography in Croatian. Apart from some minor, distracting editorial choices, such as the unnecessary division of some territories, the volume presents wide range topics many of which had been largely neglected earlier but now are part of contemporary trends in the study of history. The emphasis is not on the traditional, political history at all, and the variety of areas of focus makes the volume unique. The importance of the book as a contribution to the existing scholarship lies also in the targeted readership. While the book offers rigorous studies for scholars, it is also useful and accessible to students and the wider public. The volume reflects the regionality of Croatia and highlights the uniqueness and the different social, economic, and political evolution of each territory. The third unit of the book puts Croatian history in international context, which is inevitable, since most of the present-day Croatia was under the rule of another country in some part of the period in question. Its minor shortcomings notwithstanding, the volume is a modern historical synthesis and a motivating example for new projects on the histories of other Central European countries.

Judit Gál
Eötvös Loránd University

Textilvégek védjegyei: A textilkereskedelem régészeti emlékei a Magyar Királyság területén [Lead seals of cloth rolls: archaeological remains of the textile trade in the Kingdom of Hungary]. By Maxim Mordovin. Budapest: MTA BTK Történettudományi Intézet, 2018. 355 pp.

The new book by Maxim Mordovin addresses an important lacuna in the secondary literature. The focus of the monograph is lead seals (used as trademarks), which is an interesting topic in part simply because very few historians have dealt with it. This is not entirely surprising, given that lead seals are among the findings which remain the most concealed in the course of excavations (like coins). Thus, it should not come as a surprise that research on this subject is only now beginning to take off, at a time when metal detectors are popular not only among “treasure-hunting” amateurs, but also (quite understandably) among archeologists. Mordovin was inspired to pursue research on this less trodden path a few years ago, when in the course of the excavation of the main square of the city of Pápa in western Hungary a surprising number of textile permits were found, in part with the use of metal detectors.

Mordovin focuses first and foremost on lead seals, though inevitably he often must touch on issues related to the textile industry which made use of them, since at the time textile permits functioned a bit like brand names do today. They modestly accompanied textiles which were once splendid or less splendid. For this reason, the European textile industry of the Middle Ages and the Early Modern Era constitutes a particular focus of the book, which sometimes is a bit uneven in the attention devoted to a particular period, though this is due to the nature of the sources, i.e. the unevenness of the information available to Mordovin and the simple question of how many such seals actually survived from a given period. Mordovin was bold with his choice of temporal framework. He does not use 1526, which is commonly regarded as the end of the Middle Ages in Hungary (because of the defeat of the Hungarian army by the Ottoman Turks at the Battle of Mohács), as the end of the period in question for his inquiry. Rather, he uses sources dating from as late as the second half of the sixteenth century. This decision was wise, since the subject which is the focus of his study should be examined independently of political-historical periods. The theme, after all, should be studied from a European perspective, and indeed it offers a European perspective. One odd irony of the research on which Mordovin embarked is simply that, given the lacunae in the secondary literature, the scholar must embark on journeys as extensive as the journeys once taken by textile merchants. However, the curious traveler is rewarded with a multitude of diverse lead seals, which clearly constitute only a tiny slice of the actual seals once in use. Objects in state collections and private collections which are often almost inaccessible can be invaluable as sources, as indeed can items sold in online actions. Mordovin has clearly exerted a considerable amount of effort to explore these kinds of repositories, motivated perhaps by the pleasure of the hunt.

Mordovin relies on archaeological, historical, and visual sources concerning material culture, as clearly one would expect of a scholar of Medieval and (Early) Modern archeology, though in differing amounts depending, of course, on the available sources. True, he makes particularly strong use of archaeological sources. In the first chapter, he subjects the contentions in the secondary literature concerning lead seals found both in the Kingdom of Hungary and beyond its borders to intense scrutiny. As he shows, with the exception of a few early Italian reports, the first works to be published in Western Europe on the subject appeared in the middle of the nineteenth century, when the textile industry which had flourished before the industrial revolution still subsisted as a memory at the very least. In contrast, by the advent of the Modern Era, lead seals in the Kingdom of Hungary, which for the most part had been a market for the textile industry, had essentially been forgotten and only became familiar again in the course of excavations. After having introduced the historical frameworks of the scholarship, Mordovin familiarizes his reader with the practical areas in which lead seals were used, for the most part on the basis of Western European examples, beginning with a discussion of the evolution of the designation and its further development. It might have been worthwhile to have provided some discussion of the basic principles of the use of lead seals, which served as a clear, visible way of designating a product of high quality (and not just textiles, but also other wares), even if there is already a fairly substantial body of secondary literature on the subject. The short third chapter, in which Mordovin discusses forgery as a means of circumventing legal restrictions, offers a picture based for the most part on written sources. It is worth noting that Mordovin has included in his book not simply the “basic materials” on the subject of forgeries, but also additional archeological data (pp.231–51). In the fourth chapter, he divides the seals into groups on the basis of their formal features and then deals with them from the perspective of the functions.

These four chapters comprise roughly 20 percent of the first section of the book. They offer a general overview of the subject, and the aforementioned contingencies have little influence on what Mordovin writes. This is not true, however, of the fifth chapter (roughly the remaining 80 percent of the book) or the collection of data in the appendix, to which additions will undoubtedly be made in light of later findings and which, indeed, may well undergo a shift of emphasis because of one or two exceptional sites. One should note, however, that these “dangers” are always present in the case of a groundbreaking study which deals with data from primary sources. As far as the fifth chapter is concerned, in which Mordovin examines regions and cities in which textiles were produced (arranged geographically), in my assessment it would have been preferable to have used the names of the political-geographical units that were in use at the time instead of the names in use today (the contemporary names are used in the collection of data in the appendix), though of course I concede that the terms in use today may make it easier for the reader to orient him or herself. The subchapters, which are divided up on the basis of regions, contain a wealth of maps as well as several charts in which Mordovin has organized the specimens known in larger numbers from the same city. Alongside the archeological information, in order to offer the reader some sense of context, Mordovin draws heavily on the secondary literature in the discipline of history. One finds, in the sea of data, a few striking gems. For instance, Mordovin makes a fascinating suggestion concerning the seal of the city of Szeged, which was redesigned in the eighteenth century (p. 148). People had already noticed the strong resemblance between the Nuremberg coat of arms and the Szeged coat of arms, and scholars have also known that the seal on which the new Szeged coat of arms was based allegedly was fished out of the Tisza River. Mordovin, however, contends that the Szeged coat of arms cannot have been based on a classical tiparium. Rather, it must have been based on a lead seal found in the waters of the river, and indeed he gives examples of this.

And yet the most significant contribution Mordovin has made with his study lies not in this finding or his similar insights, but rather in the fact that he has stumbled, upon the archeological remains of an area in southeastern Hungary (Békéscsaba, Gyula, Orosháza) in which, until the late sixteenth century, the textile industry flourished or at least was active, an area to which historians have already called attention (pp.231–51). This area, furthermore, did not market its products under its own “brand name” domestically, to the soldiers in the border fortresses, but rather used the Tudor rose lead seals of English textiles or imitations of these seals to mark its wares.

The book concludes with a collection of data, a bibliography, and indexes, all of which are indispensable given the subject. In the collection of data, the production sites of the textiles belonging to a given seal are listed in alphabetical order with separate sections on each individual seal illustrated with high-quality black-and-white photographs.

Given the strengths of Mordovin’s monograph, it would be worth publishing in good English translation. As the first few pages of the book make clear, both the subject and, more narrowly, this inquiry would be met with considerable attention in international scholarly circles. It is regrettable that until a longer summary is published in translation, historians potentially interested in the subject but unable to read Hungarian will have to make do with this review, as there is not even an abstract of the book available in English translation.

Bence Péterfi
Hungarian Academy of Sciences

New Home, New Herds: Cuman Integration and Animal Husbandry in Medieval Hungary from an Archaeozoological Perspective. By Kyra Lyublyanovics. Central European archaeological heritage series 10. Oxford: Archaeopress, 2017. 337 pp.

Archaeozoology is the science based on the study of faunal remains from the past, so archaeozoological records reflect the meat-eating patterns of the contemporary inhabitants of the settlements under investigation and also animal husbandry practices, which is seen as an economic activity, a lifestyle, and part of the socioeconomic integration. Considering the quality and quantity of the available data, in her book, which is based on her PhD dissertation, Kyra Lyublyanovics has made a substantial contribution to this science. She has provided an overview of the delicate process of the integration of the Cumans as seen through the mirror of animal husbandry, animals use, and meat consumption patterns.

In the first section of the book, the reader is given a short but thorough overview of the history of the Cumans, from the Eurasian steppe (their place of origin) to their migration to the Carpathian Basin, which is followed by a short history of the Hungarian scholarship on the Cumans at the end of the chapter. Lyublyanovics then summarizes the aims and questions of her research and clarifies the methodological concerns of the work. While she notes the problems in the scholarship and points out the limits of the research on Cumans in Hungary, she also clarifies main definitions, including for instance what the term Cuman actually means from an archaeological point of view and what the main problem of nomadism in archaeology is.

The main part of the volume is the third chapter, which includes a very impressive description of the archaeological sites investigated. Lyublyanovics precisely summarizes the available data, both written sources and archaeological and archaeozoological records. Altogether, 11 sites are compared from Greater and Lesser Cumania (Central Hungary) and their periphery and one site from Transdanubia. She provides a historical introduction to each larger geographical territory, illustrated with maps, from the arrival of the Cumans till the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. These summaries precisely show the social and economic structures of this ethnic group and their ability continuously to adapt to historical shifts.

Some of the archaeozoological data comes from earlier published research, but the other part of bone find has been analyzed by the author herself. Although in some cases very little material was available, Lyublyanovics follows her methodological intentions consistently and productively in her analyses. Perhaps due to this consistency, some disproportions can be seen in the archaeozoological interpretations. When reading these section of the chapter, one has the feeling that it came to an end, but it was not finished.

Lyublyanovics uses some statistical and osteometric comparisons to demonstrate the ratios and size-variability of the main domestic species from different archaeological sites from the period in question, using colorful graphs and diagrams. These diagrams clearly demonstrate the homogeneity of the distribution of animal bone fragments from different species, and these distribution patterns fit the trends prevalent in the medieval rural settlements. In almost all osteometric comparisons only two metric dimensions of the bones were used. Although there are strong correlations between the used metric dimensions proved by statistical methods, sometimes they did not provide precise answers to the research questions. It is possible that Lyublyanovics would have done better to have used some multivariate methods to demonstrate her findings.

The conclusions reached in this rather long chapter, however, are methodologically flawless. Step-by-step, Lyublyanovics compares the taxonomic richness, the structures of the herds, and the ratios of the main domestic species (cattle, sheep and goats, pigs, and horses) from the Cuman sites and places them in the animal husbandry economies of medieval Hungarian villages. She claims that the key factor in the characterization of Cuman animal keeping is the ratio of the triumvirate of the horse, the pig, and sheep, which has been proven by statistical tests. However, as she writes, while the “Cuman and Hungarian samples are statistically different from each other,” (p.165), the archaeological material does not clearly demonstrate the presence of distinct breeds, and “domesticates kept by Cumans fit into the medieval domestic populations of Hungary in general” (p.171).

In the subsequent chapters, Lyublyanovics examines the exploitation of the environment and the management of resources. This short section is an introduction to the significant factors of animal keeping. Pastures and water resources, forests, wetlands, and grazing rights all influenced the everyday lives of the contemporary animal keepers. On the other hand, hunting and fishing were ways of using wildlife as a resource.

Lyublyanovics dedicates an entire chapter in the second half of the book to the processing of an animal carcass. She identifies two different approaches to this process: the functional type, which includes the consumption patterns and the utilization of the non-edible parts of the animals (e.g. bones), and the ritual type, when the body of an animal is given a role that differs significantly from its conventional roles. As she rightly states, “the arbitrary dichotomy between ‘ritual’ and ‘functional’ deposits threaten arguments with circular reasoning as it involves an inherent interpretation in itself” (p.191). In this chapter, she examines similarities and dissimilarities in the butchering techniques and the preferred body parts of the main domestic species. For the purposes of classification, she uses Uerpmann’s meat categories: low, medium, and good quality.

One functional aspect of her observations is the analysis of the worked bone tools. The animals, after all, weren’t simply sources of meat, but were also sources of many potential raw materials (bones, hides, and wool, for instance). Numerous tools made out of bone, which were discovered in the settlements under investigation, indicate the importance of bones as a raw material.

Lyublyanovics also presents the reader with a short summary of the animal bodies from Cuman ritual contexts. In this section, she examines burial customs involving animals (e.g equestrian graves, dog burials, food offerings, etc.). The last chapter is dedicated to discussion of the observed osteopathological lesions on the bones, which reflect the health conditions of the contemporary domesticates.

Finally we can say that Lyublyanovics is leading us through the book with a secure hand, and no doubt that her work is an important contribution to Hungarian zooarchaeology. She persuasively shows the complexity of the Cuman socio-economic integration in medieval Hungary from a neglected perspective, that of animal husbandry.

Péter Csippán
Eötvös Loránd University

 A 18. századi Magyarország rendi országgyűlése [The feudal parliament of eighteenth-century Hungary]. By István M. Szijártó. A magyar országgyűlések története. Budapest: Országgyűlés Hivatala, 2016. 331 pp.

The book under review is part of a series on the history of the Hungarian Diets and National Assemblies which is published by the Office of the Hungarian National Assembly. The aim of the series was to create an introduction to the history of Hungarian diets until 2014 authored by respected researchers. István M. Szijártó (associate professor at Eötvös Loránd University, Department of Economic and Social History) is the author of the second volume in the series, which focuses on the history of Hungarian diets between 1708 and 1792. The book is based on two previous works by Szijártó, which offer a more thorough treatment of the topic (A diéta: A magyar rendek és az országgyűlés 1708–1712 [2015] and A politikai elit társadalom- és kultúrtörténeti megközelítésben: Emberek és struktúrák a 18. századi Magyarországon [2017]). In recent decades, numerous books have been written about the diets from various approaches, such as social and cultural history. Historians have analyzed the diets, the political debates and decisions, and the roles of different political groups like the clergy and the nobility. In the book under review, Szijártó comprehensively examines the changes and developments of the diet as an institution, as well as the political power of county representatives and other participants. He thus sheds light on the ways in which this institution functioned in the eighteenth century, while also outlining its workings in the nineteenth.

The book consists of four parts. The first part presents the workings of the Hungarian diets, the second focuses on debates and conflicts, and the last two analyze observable changes in the diet and contextualize parliamentary phenomena.

This suppletory monograph opens with a detailed description of the diets’ workings from convocation to closure. The reader learns about the members of the Upper and the Lower House and their functions and the relationship between the king and the estates. The book also offers sketches of the political groups within the houses. This overview includes negotiations and agreements, the work of commissions, the drafting of articles, the question of precedence, the presence of adolescents in the diets, the sites and duration of assemblies, and the Latin terms used in the documents. Szijártó analyzes political languages, and he also discusses how the different sources (contemporary diaries and official documents) came into being. The first section sums up the workings of the Hungarian Diet in the eighteenth century, which though shaped by custom, was at the same time complex and shifting.

The second part of the book is about debates and conflicts in the assemblies, and the Szijártó divides the period under examination into two parts based on the themes of the debates. In the first period, negotiations were dominated by confessional debates. Calling into question the persuasiveness of earlier hypotheses found in the secondary literature, Szijártó points out that the king and the Catholic estates were not always in opposition to Protestants, and sometimes Protestants applied successfully to the king for support in different conflicts. From 1728 onwards, the estates were not allowed to discuss confessional matters, so deputies belonging to different religions were able to cooperate with one another when defending their nobiliary privileges.

There were also heavy debates concerning taxation. The Hungarian diet had had the right to vote about raising taxes, but it could not assert this right from the second half of the seventeenth century until the beginning of eighteenth, i.e. the end of the rebellion led by Francis II Rákóczi. In connection with the rate of the war tax, Szijártó analyzes the king’s income from Hungary and the costs of maintaining his army stationed in the kingdom. He points out that war taxes on which votes were held in the diet represented only a small fraction of the king’s income, and the army’s maintenance costs were several times that sum. The government repeatedly wanted to impose a tax upon the nobility, but the noblemen successfully defended their exemption from taxation.

The disputants in the diets could be divided into two sections, the government party and the opposition, but an individual’s membership in one of these two groups was neither unambiguous nor continuous. In general, the members of the Upper House were in the government party, and the members of the opposition sat in the Lower House. Szijártó emphasizes that the chairman of the Lower House was appointed by the king, so this chairman tried to influence the estates to support royal interests. To achieve this aim, he had many means, but this did not always guarantee success. The clergy and the deputies of royal free boroughs supported the king, while the county representatives and deputies of absent magnates tended to defend the interests of the estates.

The third part of the work examines changes in the diet from the perspectives of social, cultural, and institutional history. The first chapter of this section starts with analyses of the careers of important political figures. Szijártó adopts an innovative method by examining different motivating factors behind both parties’ political practices. He identifies thirteen kinds of career, depending on religion, county, being an office-holder or not, and the success of the career. Szijártó offers thirteen examples of the professional lives of deputies as illustrations of these careers. He refutes the widespread view according to which the leaders of the opposition were Protestants and, in the eighteenth century, came from the counties through which the Tisza River passed. With regard to political practices (including taxation), Szijártó makes it clear through statistical analysis that the attitudes of the members of the opposition and the government party cannot be simplified according to religion, because Protestant deputies occasionally supported the ruler’s standpoints, while many members of the opposition were Catholic. Szijártó arrives at the conclusion that in the first half of the eighteenth century important politicians were still able to express an oppositional opinion in one matter while voicing a loyal one in another. This situation, however, changed in the second half of the century.

Szijártó analyzes political debates which were held in the diets at the end of the eighteenth century from the perspective of cultural history. His inquiry concerning confessional debates in 1790–1791 reveals that disputants used argumentation looking back at the past as well as towards the future. Thus, Szijártó challenges the view according to which the estates embodied “backwardness” in the diets. The research drawing on ceremonial speeches is important as an introduction to the political languages in use in these contexts. However, only a few speeches have survived in full, and so they offer only fragments of information, while the speech summaries which survived in diaries present the views of contemporaries concerning the speeches.

The realignment of the estates is observable in the decision-making process at the diets. The advocatory deputies made suggestions concerning emerging problems. There were several ways of reaching agreement, and there were no precise regulations, and this resulted in changes in the balance of political power.

Szijártó’s significant analysis of the instructions given by the county assembly is the subject of the fourth part of the work. He points out that while these instructions were general and short at the beginning of the eighteenth century, they became detailed and long by the end of the century. Furthermore, by that time, even lesser noblemen had started to take an interest in national politics, and they elaborated their own political programs.

The book includes several illustrations, and the maps show where county deputies from the opposition came from in the eighteenth century. The references are listed at the end of each section as endnotes, and additional information about the examined topic can be read at the bottom of the page, so the text is easy to follow. At the end of the book, the literature and list of sources are presented according to the four main parts of the book. The monograph ends with an index. The book’s sectioning is clear, and the topics are logically built and full of relevant information. The reader can follow Szijártó’s analyses, because he gives several examples to support each of his statements.

This work is the fruit of several decades of research by Szijártó. It is based on a wide range of sources and thorough methodological knowledge that is in line with European trends. Szijártó relies on the methodological works of several foreign scholars, and thus he has studied the history of the Hungarian diets from several viewpoints, and he has provided a great deal of valuable information. Scholars, students, and any one curious about the political history of the region will find this monograph of great use. They will also find it a pleasure to read.

Fanni Hende
Hungarian Academy of Sciences
National Széchényi Library

Apácaműveltség Magyarországon a XV–XVI. század fordulóján:
Az anyanyelvű irodalom kezdetei [The education of nuns in Hungary at the turn of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries: The beginnings of vernacular literature]. By Sándor Lázs. Budapest: Balassi Kiadó, 2016. 460 pp.

The monograph by Sándor Lázs is the continuation of and a significant supplement to one of his earlier works (“A nyulak szigeti domonkos apácák olvasmányainak korszerűsége,” in “Látjátok feleim”: Magyar nyelvemlékek a kezdetektől a 16. század elejéig, ed. by Edit Madas [2009]). The aim of the book is to explore the effects of the monastic reform on the convents of the Dominicans, Poor Clares, and Premonstratensians at the turn of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries through a comprehensive examination of the existing vernacular codices. However, while introducing the codices, Lázs also touches on the roles of the monks, who wrote the codices, in shaping and establishing the education of the nuns. An important strength of the book is that it situates its topic in an international context by continuously pointing out well-elaborated parallels with monastic reforms in the monasteries in southern Germany and their effects.

In addition to the short preface and the conclusion, there are six chapters in the monograph. The first five can be regarded as an introduction, i.e. a sort of short but detailed guide which helps the reader better understand the topic. The architectural surroundings of the nuns (pp.15–31) and the monks (pp.33–57), who were at the head of the monastic reforms and provided pastoral care for the convents, are briefly described. The Latin and vernacular literature in the German convents is discussed in a separate chapter, and through this analogy, Lázs introduces the situation in Hungary, which is less known in secondary literature the sources (pp.59–83). The relationship between the monastic reform and literature is elucidated in a separate chapter (pp.85–103); the scriptorium, which created the codices in the early vernacular (already Hungarian) literature, is also introduced, as is the library which housed the volumes of the monastery and the two stages (public and private) for the use of the codices (pp.105–38).

The most important chapter in the book is the sixth (pp.139–389), which analyses the 44 examined codices (not all of which were used by nuns) in detail according to different genres. In his analysis of certain genres (catechismal texts, legal texts, liturgical texts, Bible translations, periscopes, sequences, hymns, cantios, examples, legends, preaches, treatises, passions, and private prayers), Lázs often quotes certain codices, and this enables his reader immediately to check his argumentation and his characterization of the codices. It would have been preferable to have provided short summaries at the end of the subchapters clarifying the content.

Certain codex-extracts are analyzed on the basis of the circumstances in which they were used, such as in a community of nuns or during a private devotion of certain nuns. Where the place of use of certain codices could be determined, Lázs separately examines the source-collection practices of the various monastic orders, and he offers a comparison. He thus is able to draw further conclusions about the veneration of saints among various orders and the private prayer practice of certain nuns.

In the conclusion (pp.391–403), Lázs summarizes the subchapters, and he then explains the necessity of his genre-based analysis. In his assessment, a proper comparison of the Hungarian and southern German monastic codex-literature can only be done on the basis of such an analysis. In the second half of this final chapter, Lázs challenges two concepts (“church society” and “monastic culture”) that are familiar to medievalists. His aim is to call attention to the fact that neither “church society” nor “monastic culture” can be regarded as discrete units: they were in constant interaction with the secular world and its culture.

Finally, Lázs draws an important conclusion concerning the education of the nuns living in convents in the Late Middle Ages and the Early Modern period. He contends that the sources suggest that in the convents of the Poor Clares in Pozsony (Bratislava) and Nagyszombat (Trnava) an independent vernacular literature did not develop at the turn of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, because in the seventeenth century the nuns did not use their own vernacular books: they read the codices that had been brought by the nuns of Margaret Island, Óbuda, and Somlóvásárhely, who were fleeing the advancing Ottoman forces. In his view, there were two reasons for this: first, the daughters of the citizens of Upper Hungary lived in these convents, and they laid no claim to codices in Hungarian since their mother tongue was German; second, the monastic reform was not implemented in these institutions. In these convents, the abovementioned situation changed only at the beginning of the seventeenth century, when the Hungarian nuns who had fled the Ottomans took their books and the monastic reform finally took hold.

The conclusion is followed by a list of sources, consulted literature (pp.405–37), and a detailed index (pp.447–59), which will make the use of the bulky volume easier for researchers and for anyone interested in the topic. The charter in the appendix (pp.439–45) further adds to the value of the monograph; it contains the pericope signs of the Codex of Munich, which may have served as a model for the Hungarian periscopes, and the sketches and reconstruction plans (related to the topic of the first chapter) of an ideal monastery building and the Convent of the Blessed Virgin of Margaret Island.

In conclusion, the volume meets high scholarly standards and will be useful to historians and literary historians interested in this topic. The abundant footnotes testify to a comprehensive knowledge of the Hungarian and international secondary literature. The topic of the monograph is important, and it raises questions for further research, so it may well motivate other scholars to reflect on its findings, undertake further research, and launch fruitful debates on the topic.

Terézia Horváth
Hungarian Academy of Sciences
Pázmány Péter Catholic University

Felvilágosodás és babonaság: Erdélyi néphiedelem-gyűjtés 1789–90-ben [Enlightenment and superstition: The collection of Transylvanian folk beliefs from 1789–90]. Edited by Ambrus Miskolczy. Budapest: L’Harmattan, 2016. 297 pp.

In a circular letter written in the spring of 1789, Michael Brukenthal, commissioner of the Fogaras (Făgăraş) district, sought answers to the question of what superstitions and rites existed among the people of the region. Three Saxon Lutheran and three Hungarian Calvinist pastors, one Hungarian Unitarian minister, and one Greek Catholic priest sent their reply to Brukenthal’s request. The book reviewed here has taken on the task of publishing this rather unique source. Although this source material has already known to scientific researchers, it has been only partially published, and thus the source value of this full publication is enormous. Furthermore, the diversity of the respondents already hints at the fact that the source introduces the folk beliefs of multiconfessional and multiethnic Transylvania in the late eighteenth century.

As one can see in the very detailed introductory study of Ambrus Miskolczy (pp.13–130), covering a long list of secondary literature, he situates the source in the relevant academic discourse, and then discusses in detail how the manifestation of folk belief was judged by the masterminds of the Enlightenment and why superstitions were paid remarkable attention. This train of thought is clearly summarized as follows: “superstition played the same role in the Enlightenment’s world of ideas as the evil in religious views that was condemned by the same given ideas. The Enlightenment’s image of superstition – due to its character as a substitute for evil – almost took on a transcendent character; however, it was present everywhere in its true countenance – according to everyone’s own standards” (p.18). Miskolczy mainly relies on the radical thinkers of the French Enlightenment, yet, later on we see that the thinkers of the Enlightenment living in the (Catholic and Protestant) ecclesiastical milieu and having more moderate views condemned with the same vehemence the superstitious behavior occurring among their fellow members of the congregation.

Thereafter, by following the themes present in the source material, the study deals with the concepts relating to witchcraft and vampires. Concerning witches, it states that in the folk belief of the early modern period, the belief in the existence of witches was present irrespective of denomination, although the Catholic and Protestant interpretation of witches differed in many respects. While the former relied on the famous Malleus Maleficarum, the latter focused mainly on the punishments for wizardry and oracle seeking in the Old Testament. “Witch-hunting is a crisis phenomenon. The community that became unbalanced searched for and found a scapegoat accompanied by an ideology and a proper background. It all happened when it was struck by an epidemic or a weather catastrophe, the concomitant phenomenon of which was the political world’s upheaval,” states Miskolczy, in harmony with the results of the historical and ethnographic research dealing with the belief in witches (p.21).

Following Descartes and Spinoza, the philosophers of the Enlightenment the belief in witches among superstitions against which one had to show determination in the same way as against other harmful beliefs. However, the “disappearance” of the witches was followed by the “occurrence” of the vampires. Although the belief in vampires was rare in the earlier centuries, at the beginning of the eighteenth century it became a mass phenomenon. Miskolczy blames the media for this change, and then on the basis of vivid examples he shows how belief in vampires became an exotic belief coming from the East among the contemporaries. “Our vampires came in useful for the Enlightenment, since they were needed for the cult of light. Light does not exist without darkness; the self-worship of the Western civilization needs the barbaric East” (p.32). The introduction discusses many Hungarian cases in detail and refers to the fact that contemporary administrative leaders considered the belief in vampires to be a danger to national health due to the exhumation of corpses. They mainly wanted to counter it with the help of medicine and to restrain it with measures taken by the authorities. The author touches upon the stance of the Orthodox Church by calling attention to the conduct of Orthodox bishops in the Romanian voivodships, who also intervened in the exhumation of corpses from the second half of the seventeenth century. Besides, in Transylvania, due to the closeness and interdependence between the Orthodox and the Calvinist churches, the heads of the former church were especially encouraged to keep a distance from superstitious customs.

The second large thematic part of the introduction draws conclusions based on the sources. On the one hand, Miskolczy emphasizes Joseph II’s determined actions against superstitions, on the other hand he clearly refutes the idea that the published sources were written by the order of the monarch. He names Michael Brukenthal, commissioner of the Fogaras district, as the initiator of the inquest, and describes him as an official who talks many languages, has links to the Freemasons, and has far-reaching connections.

Following this, and relying on the available information, the reader is introduced to the pastors who answered Brukenthal’s questionnaire. Sámuel Köpeczi Bodos, a Calvinist pastor, is highlighted due to the more detailed information that could be collected about him, mainly owing to his memoirs. It appears that similarly to Brukenthal, Köpeczi was also interested in the question of superstitions, which augmented his most detailed report to the commissioner. The villages where he was a parish priest are regarded as good sources due to their mixed ethnicity and denominational constitution. In his memoir, Köpeczi mentions Joseph II many times, from which it becomes clear that in the early days, much like the majority of Protestant intellectuals, he too belonged among the staunch adherents of the monarch. However, after the radical reforms were initiated, he gradually deserted him. Miskolczy could gather less information about the other respondents; it is known that Ioan Halmaghi, the Greek Catholic episcopal vicar of Fogaras, opposed religious superstitions in his circular letters.

According to Miskolczy, the parish priests who presented these reports can somehow be considered as “anthropologists living in the field” (p.84), since by living among the people, they had firsthand information about the superstitious acts. Nevertheless Protestant and Greek Catholic priests, who generally had a more in-depth theological education, were separated from their congregations to a greater extent than the Orthodox priests, who only occasionally received such education, and thus more greatly resembled their flocks in terms of living standards and beliefs. According to Miskolczy, herein lies the border between the West and East, which explains why many of the superstitious occurrences – listed as a catalogue – were confessed with shame by the pastors, or they did not detail them due to the same feelings of shame.

The introductory study also presents examples of superstitions mentioned in the source. He draws the following conclusion from them: “The details of the superstition inquiry form an overall picture that we have not known so far; besides, the true-life reports bring the surviving reality of the past nearer” (p.95). Indeed, there are magical texts written on a slip of paper, beliefs relating to witches, various alliances made with evil powers, and cases relating to vampires. Finally, the reader can get to know Joseph Karl Eder, a Transylvanian Saxon learned official, with whose assistance Brukenthal’s collection made it to the National Széchényi Library.

The introduction, which constitutes almost half of the volume, is followed by the source material. It starts with Brukenthal’s questionnaire, which was addressed to the pastors in Hungarian as well as in German (pp.131–36). Then, there are the answers, written either in Hungarian or in German, but with one exception (pp.136–293). Ioan Halmaghi worded his answer in Latin, which is published in its original form, as well as the original translation made by István Fazekas (pp.187–208). Explanatory notes to the sources are provided by Miskolczy and he also compiled notes for the foreign and dialect words and abbreviations occurring in the Hungarian texts (pp.294–97).

In conclusion, it can be stated that Ambrus Miskolczy has excelled at presenting this rich collection of Transylvanian folk beliefs from the eighteenth century. The lengthy introduction, which could stand on its own as an independent monograph, uses the specific topic of the questionnaire only as a starting point: it discusses the question of superstition in the early modern era in a European context by covering English, German, French, and Romanian secondary literature. The analysis of secondary literature is a much-needed addition to the Hungarian historical literature. This publication brings the reader much closer to the folk beliefs of this multiethnic and multiconfessional region.

András Forgó
University of Pécs

Peasant Violence and Antisemitism in Early Twentieth-Century Eastern Europe. By Irina Marin. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018. xvii+304 pp.

This thoroughly researched book explores the causes of the 1907 peasant uprising, which was the most violent episode ever to occur in Romania during peacetime. Within a few weeks, the riot had spread all over the county, causing massive destruction of property and a death toll that climbed to 11,000 according to the bleakest estimates. Although the international community considered Romania the most stable and flourishing country in southeastern Europe, the revolt revealed that the young state was utterly dysfunctional. Irina Marin unpacks several paradoxes that undergirded notions of Romania’s spectacular accomplishments. For instance, the country proudly displayed its new industries and transport facilities, while 82 percent of the population was still employed in agriculture. Moreover, at the beginning of the twentieth century, the country’s main exports were agricultural products. Furthermore, Romania could only become one of the main grain exporters in the world because big landowners extended cultivation surfaces and exploited peasants’ labor. This system of exploitation was kept in place by a political system that had no interest in implementing checks and balances in the conflict between peasants and landlords. As Marin aptly puts it, the Romanian land reform and the emancipation of the peasantry were implemented by the great landowners for the landowners (p.110). This situation further proves that Romania’s much praised constitutionalism functioned only pro forma, because it failed to establish neutral arbiters to balance social conflicts.

The great strength of the book is that it takes as its point of departure a series of singular events which took place in the spring of 1907 and paints a panoramic view of the Romanian political, economic, social, and legal system at the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Furthermore, it places the uprising within the larger context of the triple frontier, explaining why Romanian villages caught fire while those in the borderlands of Austria-Hungary and Tsarist Russia remained peaceful. Thus, it provides an in-depth analysis of the social relations in the three neighboring states. The argument it follows is twofold. First, Marin proves that although the border provinces seemed fairly similar (sharing the same big latifundia, a recently emancipated peasantry, and a moderate level of investment in agriculture), the Romanian rural system was the most oppressive of all. Second, although state authorities in all borderlands were constantly on the alert (fearing the spread of unrest from one state to the next), social ferment had its own localized source and did not occur by imitation (p.280).

Faced with the endemic spread of violence in their own rural areas, Romanian state actors were the most blinded by contamination theories, looking exclusively for external factors that allegedly had inflamed the local peasantry. This paranoid attitude shows that the country’s elites were utterly disconnected from the majority of the population, with little or no concerns for their fates. When the riot broke out, authorities were ill equipped to contain the violence and restore order. Passivity, negligence, absenteeism and ignorance were endemic to the entire state apparatus, from the prime minster to local employees and policemen. And even amidst the social crises, their only response was to shift blame to minority groups, for instance Jewish leaseholders, for allegedly imposing exploitive contracts on the Romanian peasantry and on Russian émigrés for bringing anarchism to the countryside. Antisemitism and xenophobia were the answers of a weak and unstable state whose biggest fear was that foreign powers and aliens might interfere in its internal affairs.

While the authorities resorted to self-delusion and deflection, the peasants used different tactics to make sense of their deeds. In a country in which the rural poor were systematically disregarded by those in power, they found unexpected ways to express themselves, resorting to mythologies and rumors. In line with the recent historical literature on the meanings of rumors, Marin does not discard these stories as fantasy, but sees in them an act of self-empowerment by a community that had previously lacked a voice. Thus, Marin gives agency to this oppressed group, which had been written off by all other social groups. One recurring trope used by the peasants to justify violent behavior was antisemitism, which they used differently than the authorities. Peasant rage directed against the Jewish leaseholders was rarely ethnical or religious, but had social and economic motivations directed at the exploitive nature of the social contracts in the Romanian countryside. Thus, the peasants understood what the elites could not or chose not to see.

The comparative framework in which Marin analyzes the events in the spring of 1907 ultimately confirms the localized socio-economic causes of the uprising. It also explains why the violence was contained to one side of the border. The post-emancipation land reform in Romania did not enable peasants to become self-sufficient. Rather, it forced them to sell their labor to the landlord. All across the triple frontier, the transition from a manorial to a capitalist system was far from ideal, but in the other provinces either legal or political provisions protected the rural population. For instance, peasants in Bessarabia profited from the conflicts between the local elite and the Tsarist government, and peasants in the Habsburg Monarchy benefited from various modernization schemes. And if everything else failed, peasants could always choose emigration, except for Romanian peasants, who were cut off from relevant travel networks. In other words, the comparison revealed structural differences among the borderlands, emphasizing the unique combination of factors that led to the conflagration. Land laws and rural practices established a system of exploitation in Romania that put all pressure on the peasant, leaving him without any protection or proponents. Thus, Marin rejects an ethnical or “national” explanation of the conflict, showing that Romanians along the border acted differently because they lived under different social and economic conditions. Herein lies the book’s major contribution to historiography, namely Marin’s observation that national and social emancipation did not automatically improve the fate of the peasantry, but on the contrary led in this case to more oppression.

Luminita Gatejel
Leibniz Institute for East and Southeast European Studies

A nyomor felfedezése Bécsben és Budapesten: Szociális riportok a 19–20. század fordulóján [The discovery of poverty in Vienna and Budapest: Social reports at the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries]. By Roland Perényi. Budapest: Napvilág Kiadó – BTM Kiscelli Múzeum, 2018. 169 pp.

Roland Perényi’s book is a novel endeavor to study various forms of social reports that were written by reporters with diverse social and political backgrounds in Vienna and Budapest at the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Perényi plausibly argues that these written and visual sources offered unique insights into the largely unknown social problems (poverty, want, famine, homelessness, etc.) of metropolises and put these “social evils” on the mental map of middle-class people, thus drawing considerably more attention to them. However, these sources are important not simply because they mediate social realities, but also because they often provide informed plans and suggestions on how to solve the social questions addressed, which are occasionally investigated in due compliance with “social scientific” methods (statistics, systematic analyses of case studies, etc.). Perényi succeeds in showing his reader the “dark side” of the two capitals, which were known in the period mostly for their dynamic development, rich culture, and splendor.

The social reports chosen as major sources are examined with the help of an impressive range of methods, from urban and media history, combined analyses of textual and visual representations, and comparative perspectives. Furthermore, Perényi’s work also scoops into the rich reservoir of contemporary documentaries and films featuring social reports in order to explore how social questions permeated the public imagination and enhanced communal interest in Vienna and Budapest in the prewar and postwar eras.

First, Perényi draws on the Anglo-Saxon origins of some of the social reports (Henry Mayhew, Charles Booth, John Thomson, Adolphe Smith, Jacob Riis, and Nelly Bly), as well as German representatives of the genre (Eduard Deutsch, Paul Göhre, and Hans Oswald), to show that when the genre reached the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, it had already subsumed an exuberant plethora of methodological and intellectual endeavors, from urban ethnography and anthropology to urban sociology and sociography. Nevertheless, as Perényi points out almost innumerable times, social reports always retained a belletrist vein; they mostly reached out to the reader with a picturesque literary tone in order to foster empathy. Thus, social reports used scholarly methods but remained within the generic boundaries of reporting (pp.19–27).

Secondly, the book concisely surveys the most important aspects of the turn-of-the-century urban history of Vienna and Budapest. By taking a comparative look at the astonishing economic development of the two capitals, Perényi is able to contrast this development effectively with a simultaneous comparative tableau of growing social “evils” in both cities, which ultimately provoked a turn in social policy (child care, criminal policy, the decriminalization of poverty, housing, etc.).

However, the Austrian and Hungarian social reports suggest that there were considerably more differences between the two cities. The political movement of social democracy and other leftish intellectual groups had more extensive and stable positions with more influential newspapers (Gleichheit, Arbeiter-Zeitung) in Vienna than in Budapest. Thus, social reporters had greater opportunities to report on “social evils” in the imperial capital, which were primarily want and poverty. Their basic aim was to form the identity of workers (Victor Adler, Emil Bader) and mock the middle classes (Hans Maria Truxa). Moreover, alongside the often picturesque depiction of poor districts and slums, reporters also focused on the combined application of textual descriptions (report, statistics) and visual representations (photos and later films) in order better to catch the imagination of middle-class people and offer a more lucid, effective, and concise documentation of the topic (Emil Kläger and Hermann Drawe Durch die Wiener Quartiere des Elends und Verbrechens). Nonetheless, the “father” of Central European social report, Max Winter, united these efforts in his oeuvre. Winter was not only a social reporter but also an activist in various associations dedicated to helping the poor (Pfleger). Winter’s importance lies not only in the fact the he produced more than 1,500 reports in 38 years (p.50), but his work inspired several important social political measures (e.g. housing acts and child care reform in Vienna).

In line with their Austrian counterparts, Hungarian social reports clearly depicted the critical social aspects of an emerging metropolis. Social criticism in Budapest was less radical and did not have an explicit leftish lean (Gyula Révész and Márton Molnár), which, as Perényi lucidly explains, was due to the fact that political debates were preoccupied with the reform of franchise in Hungary and a general criticism of the conservative political system. Hungarian social reporters included women in their ranks (Lydia Kovács, Mrs. Antal Géza, and Margit Fried), who for the most part drew on romantic images of poverty. With the emergence of mass media and newspapers with high circulation numbers, the first major figure of social reports also appeared. Kornél Tábori was a man of many talents (lawyer, organizer, publicist, entrepreneur) who, with his colleague Vladimir Székely, the head of the media department of criminal investigations, was engaged in producing criminal reports, including numerous passages on the Budapest poor (in 1908, he began to produce a series entitled A bűnös Budapest [Sinful Budapest]). Tábori also successfully united traditional methods of a publicist (humorous conversation pieces, genre-descriptions) with that of the new media (photos, slides, and, later, films). Nonetheless, Tábori’s visions were less critical than Winter’s dirge, which might be explained by Hungarian society’s persisting “semi-feudal” social perceptions. Perényi argues that both Winter’s and Tábori’s reports show that these works raised the issue of empowerment: reports were intended to show the “colonial world of the poor,” which had to be “colonized” by the Enlightened middle class, and they also facilitated seeking out new ways of controlling the terra incognita of turn-of-the-century urban life (pp.76–78). Furthermore, both Winter and Tábori excelled in writing scripts and preparing materials for early documentaries on urban poverty (pp.121–26).

One of the most valuable contributions of Perényi’s work to interpretations of the social realities of the period in question is how he manages to show how this combination of new sources (social reports in articles, on photos, and in films) redrew the mental maps of urban classes, especially the middle classes, pertaining to the realm of the poor, and how these textual and visual representations can be interpreted as projections of existing social and political hierarchies of the empowered classes. This is particularly apparent in the examination of the so-called Urania Movement, both in Vienna and Budapest, which aimed to provide general education for the working classes by offering inexpensive tickets, large rooms, and readymade social messages. And therein stands the greatest merit of the book: it greatly contributes to the re-interpretation of various social groups’ mutual understandings of each other’s complex social realities through the examination of social reports.

Perényi’s work is richly illustrated with photos, pictures, maps, and drawings, and this makes the reading experience livelier. He succeeds in exploiting the scholarly potential inherent in the analysis of social reports, which was part of his earlier research on the social history of crime in fin-de-siècle Budapest. Perhaps the only shortcoming is that more quotations could have been added to the text, especially in the discussions of the various functions of the social reports (the length of the book would certainly have allowed for this). All in all, the book is a must read for social or media historians and practically any reader who is interested in the cultural and social realities of the imperial capitals at the turn of the century.

Zoltán Cora
University of Szeged

Tschechen auf Reisen: Repräsentationen der außereuropäischen Welt und nationale Identität in Ostmitteleuropa 1890–1938. By Sarah Lemmen. Cologne: Böhlau, 2018. 358 pp.

In 1932, zoologist Jiří Baum and his friend sculptor František Foit undertook an eight-month automobile journey from Cairo to Cape Town in their Czechoslovak-made Tatra wagon. One highpoint of the trip was retracing the steps of pioneering Czech explorer Emil Holub to Victoria Falls nearly sixty years after he had been there, but this was hardly the only moment of national significance during their adventure. The Czech nation was everywhere: they saw Africans wearing Baťa shoes, their Czechoslovak car outperformed the ubiquitous Renaults and Citroëns across desert and jungle terrain, and they unexpectedly met hospitable compatriots in Khartoum, at the foot of Kilimanjaro, and on the border of Rhodesia-and South Africa. At the same time, they were sometimes hard pressed to explain to “natives” and western Europeans where in the world Czechs and Czechoslovakia were located. When Baum released a carrier-pigeon with a message in Czech in Cairo, the pair was investigated for espionage for having used a “secret alphabet” (p.261). Baum and Foit were ambivalent about the colonial system, which denied non-European peoples the right to self-determination, a right which Czechs had only relatively recently been able to assert and of which they were staunch champions. Yet they expressed relief, not least for the sake of their comfort, that Europeans were in charge in Africa.

Baum and Foit’s journey and their published reflections on it are at the heart of Sarah Lemmen’s book Tschechen auf Reisen: Repräsentationen der außereuropäischen Welt und nationale Identität in Ostmitteleuropa 1890–1938. These men, along with 51 other Czech travelers to the extra-European world (Africa, Asia, Australia, Latin America, and Oceania), produced 91 travelogues which, Lemmen argues, shaped Czech self-understandings in the years between 1890 and 1938—a critical era in both the history of globalization and the nationalization of European societies. Lemmen follows Sebastian Conrad’s work on the global origins of Kaiserreich-era German nationalism to argue that the Czech nation was, in important ways, constituted in its encounters with the non-European world. Unlike scholars who explain the rise of modern nations and nationalism with reference to internal national or European dynamics or indeed to more general processes, such as socio-economic modernization and the spread of print capitalism, Conrad and others inspired by postcolonial studies and global history have suggested that, in their decisive phase (i.e. after 1870), European nations and nationalisms were produced through globalization, of which overseas colonies were a key component. The need to situate oneself and one’s purpose in a globalized world gave distinctive content to nationalisms around the world. But what are the implications of this recent scholarship for small nations like the Czechs, who were stateless until 1918 and who never possessed colonies?

The originality of Lemmen’s book lies in her answer to this question. In imagining the Czech nation’s place in a globalized world, travelers tended to seek a “third way” (p.240) between the western European colonial powers and the colonized peoples themselves. This combined assumptions of European superiority—often predicated on notions of “civilization” and its non-European Other—with criticism of the colonial powers, particularly the rigidity of the system they imposed on their colonies and the conspicuous (sometimes enviable) wealth of their representatives and metropolitan travelers. On the one hand, Czechs identified strongly with the project of European modernity, embodied above all in technological infrastructural improvements and perceptions of “order.” Research institutions devoted to understanding the extra-European world, such as the Prague Oriental Institute (which enjoyed Masaryk’s largesse), lent scientific credibility to notions of European superiority. Many of Lemmen’s travelers were associated professionally or philanthropically with such endeavors. The euphoria which accompanied Czechoslovak independence in 1918 even led some to entertain the possibility of Czech overseas colonies. Colonies were envisaged as a convenient way for the Czech nation to prove its maturity by spreading civilization, to secure raw materials for its sizable industry, and to provide a destination for emigrants who would remain Czech instead of assimilating to the host society.

On the other hand, the colonial world discomfited many Czech observers. While they remarked admiringly upon the luxury hotels frequented by colonial elites and British, French, and American travelers, they usually lacked the means to stay there themselves and felt more comfortable in guesthouses run by fellow Slavic expatriates, who were often from Yugoslavia. Colonial hierarchies also grated on their sensibilities as members of a “naturally democratic” nation who had only recently escaped from the Habsburg “prison-house of peoples.” The establishment of the Czechoslovak state marks a turning point in this study since before independence, Czech travelers tended to identify more strongly with a Central European and even Austro-Hungarian identity. After 1918, by contrast, Czechs compared themselves more readily to west European nations and regarded themselves as potential players on the global stage. Although they rued the fact that knowledge of Czech culture was generally limited or nonexistent in the regions they visited, there were signs of hope. Czech beer (a quintessentially national product) was served in far-flung exotic locales, and Baťa shoes opened a branch in Dakar and advertised on a billboard near the pyramids. The “Czechification of the world” (p.244), based especially on the robust Czech export economy, seemed within grasp.

The reader might question the extent to which pronouncements by Czech travelers shaped the broader self-understandings of Czech national society in this era. While travelogues of journeys in faraway places undoubtedly sold well and their authors frequently gave well-attended lectures upon their return to the homeland, Lemmen provides scant evidence of how this “basic interest of Czech society in engagement with the extra-European world” (p.78) recast other, less global Czech national self-perceptions. But perhaps that is a topic for future study. Certainly, Lemmen’s enjoyable book provides an important corrective to the “all too western European image of Europe” (p.160) that emerges from scholarship on European entanglements with the non-European world in the age of empire. The pressing need to rethink the undifferentiated ideas of “Europe” that feature in much postcolonial and global history could be emphasized in even stronger terms than she does. If the jury is still out on whether European nationalism may be most profitably seen as an effect of “colonial globality” (to use Sebastian Conrad’s term), Lemmen’s claim that in this era the non-European world became a potential site of Czech national history is a persuasive one. It is a claim that would likely have made Jiří Baum, whose life ended tragically in a Nazi death camp in 1944, very proud.

Jakub Beneš
University of Birmingham

Kamasztükrök: A hosszú negyvenes évek társadalmi képzetei fiatalok naplóiban [Multi-faceted reflections: The diaries of jewish and non-jewish adolescents in wartime Hungary]. By Gergely Kunt. Budapest: Korall, 2017. 456 pp.

The book Multi-Faceted Reflections: The Diaries of Jewish and Non-Jewish Adolescents in Wartime Hungary by Hungarian historian Gergely Kunt takes a comparative approach to everyday life in Hungary during the troublesome years between 1938 and the 1950s through analyses of teenagers’ diaries. The methodological approach of the book draws on Charles Taylor’s concept of modern social imaginaries. Kunt uses egodocuments to present the different strategies with which young Jewish and non-Jewish adolescents identified themselves in Hungary during the Horthy period and the era of German occupation, which came to an end with the liberation of the country by the Soviet army. In the case of personal narratives by Holocaust survivors, for instance, there is certainly a vast literature of published memoirs and recorded testimonies available to those interested in the subject. However, Kunt’s research is not based on retrospective recollections recounted under circumstances in which interviewees often feel pressure to correspond to real or imagined expectations of the given period’s political circumstances or its morals. On the contrary, by following in the footsteps of authors Alexandra Zapruder (Salvaged Pages: Young Writers’ Diaries of the Holocaust [2002]) and Jacob Boas (We Are Witnesses: Five Diaries of Teenagers Who Died in the Holocaust, [2009]), Kunt uses entries from the diaries of twenty teenagers to offer a more authentic perspective on the perceptions at the time of the people in question of social norms, political values, religion, and prejudices, without any form of deliberate or unintentional self-censorship.

Of the twenty diary entries on which the book draws, eighteen were written by women. As Kunt notes, the practice of keeping journals was still considered more characteristic of women than men. Nevertheless, Kunt’s collection of personal narratives not only attempts to offer both young female voices and male voices, but also includes recollections from people of different religious and social backgrounds in Hungary. The focus, thus, is not restricted to experiences from Budapest, diary entries by people from other important Hungarian towns and the countryside are also included. Multi-Faceted Reflections is divided into two broad sections. The first part concentrates on the journal writers’ attempts to craft identities for themselves using cultural and religious upbringing, family, and schooling. The second examines the ways in which adolescents dealt with major social issues and prejudices. It is important to note, however, that for an all-encompassing comparison, more materials by diarists from the same geographic regions, and a more gender-balanced representation as well as the incorporation of a wider range of perspectives for instance, from Orthodox Jews would produce a more detailed exploration of the topic.

The paramount contribution of Kunt’s publication is his method of using micro-scale analyses to test and challenge the validity of macro-scale explanations within the given time period. It is common knowledge that both Jewish and non-Jewish adolescents had different perceptions of the other communities, and the sources bear this out. All groups, however, identified strongly with the Hungarian state. Neolog Jewish teenagers, for instance, considered themselves first and foremost to be Hungarians, and they considered their Jewishness only a matter of religion. Young adults with Christian beliefs described Jews not strictly as a religious group but as a separate and, more importantly, foreign entity within Hungarian society. Evidently, the political circumstances in the 1940s not only openly accommodated but strongly encouraged such anti-Semitic concepts among Hungary’s gentile population. However, as Kunt suggests through his analysis, there is greater depth to these anti-Jewish prejudices. On the one hand, it is perhaps not surprising that young Christians, influenced by their parents’ standpoints and contemporary political developments and rhetoric, would also adopt and even record on paper racially discriminatory comments against Jews, invoking tropes of their unmerited wealth allegedly obtained from Hungarian Christians, their responsibility for Hungary’s post-Trianon territorial losses, or the distinctiveness of their appearance. Of course, comments like these were largely built on popular stereotypes, social myths, and, most prominently, the political propaganda of the period. On the other hand, as we learn from the diaries, being a young anti-Semitic either on paper or among one’s nuclear family did not prevent most of the Christian adolescents from maintaining their friendships or forming new relationships with their Jewish acquaintances and neighbors.

A further important element of the book is its focus on the journal writers’ assessments of the Regent of Hungary, Miklós Horthy, and the irredentist indoctrination they received at school. Since every young adult in this group, regardless of religious affiliation, considered themselves Hungarian before anything else, they could easily identify with Hungary’s irredentist territorial claims. Furthermore, they placed great confidence in Horthy not only to reclaim the lost territory, but also to protect Hungarian Jews from growing discriminatory measures taking hold in other parts of Europe. Based on the descriptions in the diaries, this group of adolescents seems to have viewed the German occupation of Hungary as a direct attack on both the nation and on Horthy personally. Consequently, it is little surprise that when discussing the events of March 19, 1944 (the day on which the German army entered the country), even in the current context, Hungary continues to portray itself as a victim of Nazi Germany.

To conclude, Gergely Kunt’s book offers insights into the ways in which ordinary adolescents experienced and, moreover, adjusted to the gradual changes that began with the country’s own alarming political circumstances and evolved into a European tragedy. The diary excerpts prove that history constitutes a complex web of continuity, in which society continually undergoes changes in various directions. The historical truth lies between both macro and micro levels of analysis. Therefore, in order to have a comprehensive overview of a given period, it is necessary not only to observe the broader development of a given phenomenon, but also to focus on the ways in which individuals situate themselves in the world which surrounds them. Gergely Kunt’s volume offers a unique opportunity for the reader to approach the history of Hungary in the 1940s, not only on a macro level more commonly familiar and accessible to the public, but on a micro level as well. It presents the diverse and often opposing perspectives of young adults from various societal and religious backgrounds.

Ágnes Kende
Central European University

Elmondani az elmondhatatlant: A nemi erőszak Magyarországon a II. világháború alatt [To speak the unspeakable: Rape and sexual abuse in Hungary during World War II]. By Andrea Pető. Budapest: Jaffa Kiadó, 2018. 280 pp.

 Elmondani az elmondhatatlant addresses an often silenced and much politicized historical subject in a complex analytical mode while also taking a clear normative stance. As Andrea Pető explains, in the countries of the Eastern Bloc, the mass rape committed by members of the Red Army was a strictly taboo subject. These crimes may have been recurrently discussed in the West during the Cold War, but this was frequently done as part of broader anti-communist propaganda efforts and thus tended to lack proper context and nuance. As Pető rightly remarks, only as a consequence of the 1989 change of regime could the silence surrounding the subject finally be broken in Hungary. Democratization created space for various feminist (scholarly and artistic) approaches, which tended to explore mass rape and its aftermath of silence and silencing as integral parts of the imposition of (another) patriarchal order. As Pető notes, in more recent years, discussions of mass rape have been increasingly dominated by the hegemonic anticommunist politics of memory of the Hungarian Right. Since the institutionalization of illiberal perspectives, public discussions may reference the female victims of wartime rape more frequently than was the case before, but these new-old interpretations aim to embed these stories in an elaborate but nebulous history of national suffering. As Pető points out, these semi-official perspectives are rather selective and aim to impose gendered meanings on historical events without enabling those who actually suffered during the assertion of control by the Red Army to tell their individual stories and be listened to.

It is thus apt that Pető begins her monograph with a discussion of theoretical and methodological issues, focusing on the inherent difficulties of addressing a subject as painful and sensitive as mass rape, while pointing also to the fragmentary nature of the available sources. The book then sketches the history of rape in Hungary during World War II, while appropriately referencing the ethical concerns and epistemological difficulties any attempt at the narrative of such a history would raise. While the monograph recurrently emphasizes the structural causes of sexual violence, it also offers contextual analyses, which highlight that in the final stages of the war, all five main factors which predict the imminent threat of mass sexual violence (the collapse of state authorities, a vacuum of societal norms, the absence of effective military leadership, a militaristic definition of masculinity, and the widespread anger and frustration among troops) were present in Hungary. The book continues with a discussion of the major consequences of these crimes, such as related issues of public health and the resulting changes in Hungarian abortion law.

The bulk of Elmondani az elmondhatatlant in turn explores how the remembrance of mass rape or, more precisely, the dialectic of the silence surrounding mass rape and the externally imposed silencing of its accounts has unfolded in the postwar era. The author notes, on the one hand, that in the absence of reliable documentation, competing statistics concerning the number of victims and the heated debates surrounding these figures ought to be seen not only as unscholarly but, more generally, as inappropriate. On the other hand, she explains that the paucity of official, state-based documentation means that the memory of historical events has been construed and reshaped primarily through novels, memoirs, movies, documentaries, and partly also through photographs. Although, as Pető reflects, relatively few first-person memoirs have been published in Hungarian, with Alaine Polcz’s Asszony a fronton (published in 1991 and in 1998 in English translation by Albert Tezla as A Wartime Memoir: Hungary 1944–1945 and in 2002 with the title One Woman in the War) constituting perhaps the most significant exception.

The tendency to avoid the concrete subject, the use of strategies of impersonalization, and the emphasis on the consequences have indeed remained the dominant trends in efforts to address these unpunished crimes. The central question regarding remembrance might thus be who spoke instead of the victims and how. To answer this moot question, Pető’s monograph sketches the legal, historical, visual, and digital dimensions of remembrance. An uncontestable merit of the book is that she consistently avoids the ethnicist and Orientalist language that previous discussions of the subject have all too often employed.

Moreover, Pető also manages to relate to the perspectives of the perpetrators in a critical but not unemphatic manner, pointing to previously ignored aspects of the violent and brutal conquest of Hungary by the Red Army. While addressing some relevant features of the sharp contest underway at the moment between Russia and Ukraine regarding commemoration, Pető dissects the state-backed idealization of the Red Army characteristic of contemporary Russia and founded on the flat denial of mass crimes. She also strongly criticizes the continued practice of allowing researchers only restricted access to key historical documents.

Another notable merit of the book is that it illuminates specificities of the Hungarian case in a comparative framework. The mass crimes committed in Budapest and Hungary are studied alongside similar ones committed in Vienna and the French-occupied area of Germany, respectively. Another recurrent object of comparison is Poland, though with a somewhat different intention – namely to identify important differences and explain how the strength of Polish resistance may account for some of these. The remembrance of these crimes in Hungary is in turn compared and contrasted with recent contests regarding the remembrance of sex slavery of Korean women under Japanese subjugation. As Pető shows, in this case, similarly high levels of politicization, which also resulted in significant international tensions, have yielded many more and often rather laudable initiatives.

Accordingly, the book closes with a thoroughly negative assessment of the Hungarian situation in the vein of a Defizitgeschichte. Pető remarks critically that one finds in Hungary neither a welcoming institutional setting nor an inclusive narrative, and thus a shared perspective on different victim groups and their diverse stories cannot possibly emerge. Hungarians today do not possess a nuanced and precise language with which to discuss these questions, and there are no public spaces to enable and foster the articulation of painful and sensitive individual stories. As the author notes, the psychological processing of past experience is, thus, far from complete. This monograph is a milestone in Hungarian historiography, as it provides a complex and ethically conscious scholarly treatment of its rarely and even then often inadequately discussed subject. One can only hope that, Pető’s dark prognoses notwithstanding, it will help foster greater openness to the subject and more earnest dialogical engagement with it.

Ferenc Laczó
Maastricht University

Everyday Life in Mass Dictatorship: Collusion and Evasion. Edited by Alf Lüdtke. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016. xii + 260 pp.

This volume under review is part of the series entitled “Mass Dictatorship in the Twentieth Century.” The idea of the book dates back to a conference held in Seoul, South Korea in June 2005 and has grown out of the efforts of professor Jie-Hyun Lim at the Research Institute of Comparative History and Culture at Hanyang University. Everyday Life in Mass Dictatorship: Collusion and Evasion is a collection of 13 individual studies edited by Alf Lüdtke. Within the chapters, which have been arranged chronologically, the studies focus on a given country, its political system, and societal phenomena. The 13 authors come from universities in the USA, Canada, Great Britain, Germany, Italy, and South Korea, and this is reflected in the diversity of the themes treated in the volume.

Analysis of the history of everyday life and ordinary people, however, is hardly a new approach. In German historiography, the trend of “Alltagsgeschichte” appeared for the first time in 1989 in Lüdtke’s book (Alltagsgeschichte: Zur Rekonstruktion historischer Erfahrungen und Lebensweisen [1989]). Researchers in this subfield claim that political-historical study of the state party and related institutions yields a one-sided and restricted interpretation of the history of GDR. Research, which examines the party state from the perspective of everyday life, in contrast, furthers an understanding of how the state influenced society. If we regard this conception as a historiographical school, its most important characteristic is simply the shift in perspective, which embraces the notion of the study of “history from below.” This trend, in turn, is characterized by interdisciplinary approaches. It integrates the results of cultural studies, discourse analysis, and historical anthropology. Lüdtke’s work functions as an important reference point, and it has become part of a mainstream trend in research dealing with totalitarian regimes (mainly Nazism and Socialism). The most influential scholars in American-British Sovietology (Sheila Fitzpatrick, Stephen F. Kotkin) were also inspired by this approach.

The authors in this collection focus on the interplay between political power and society. As Lütdke repeatedly emphasizes, social history and political history do not exist as independent entities. They are intertwined. Since people live their everyday lives under the influence of central decisions, researchers seek to learn more about the kinds of processes which unfold from below and the motivations and meanings which shape people’s reactions. The contributors to the volume also highlight the roles of the multiple forms of active participation, mobilization, and self-mobilization under dictatorships. The attitudes of ordinary people included many forms of resistance, compromise, and collaboration. The main question concerns how the historical actors lived their lives and addressed challenges, which arose from Germany to Ghana and North Korea. How were their strategies everyday practices different, and how were they similar?

The book relies on two kinds of sources. Naturally, the sources chosen by the historians depend on their assumptions and methodologies. This yields a mix of two types of studies. The first group of authors offers historical summaries. These summaries focus on how preceding studies identified connection points between the state and society, thus going beyond the one-dimensional approach inherent in the totalitarian paradigm. In accordance with their practice and goals, the contributors use secondary sources, including monographs and essays. Peter Lambert, for instance, examines the role of the Gestapo in denunciations of ordinary people. Kevin McDermott presents the findings of research on the Great Terror which scholars have been able to pursue since the opening of the Soviet archives in the 1990s. Harald Dehne examines changes in consumption patterns in the GDR, focusing on what shortages meant for the rulers and the citizenry.

Other authors examine primary sources, including police reports, documents produced party organizations, and personal texts. Michael Wildt compares diaries of German people with different social backgrounds at the time of Hitler’s rise in 1933. Michael Kim examines how Japan tried to identify and promote the role of labor heroes in colonized Korea through propaganda campaigns and how this shaped the discourse about this phenomenon. His sources were newspapers and the oral testimonies of Korean workers. Andre Schmid focuses on the personal account of a North Korean woman, “Comrade Min.”

Undoubtedly, the main strength of this book consists in the comparative approach and the wide geographical framework within which the interaction between the state and society is examined. We read about Soviet and Eastern European socialisms, German Nazism, and Italian Fascism, but also Japanese colonialism and the postcolonial dictatorships in Asia and Africa. This wide selection of totalitarian regimes offers an opportunity to compare the different political, economic, and social systems in the interwar period and after 1945.

By applying the experiences of the military mobilization during World War II dictatorial regimes were established not only in Europe but also in post-colonial states in Africa and Asia. Can we compare these very different countries? All over the world, people need money, food, accommodation, and leisure time, and they have to work, study, consume, and travel. Every act takes place within the framework of the given societal, economic, political system. The viewpoint of everyday life (instead of central political decision-making) offers a comparative approach. Furthermore, the goal of these totalitarian systems was the same: to influence people’s thoughts and feelings and mobilize them to commit acts. In this situation, people not only confronted or collaborated with the system, they also lived in it, and to fulfill their everyday needs, they had an interest in ensuring its functioning. Self-mobilization is related not simply to terror and suppression, but also to self-interest. In addition to practical concerns, people have ideological imaginations, which support or criticize the regime. Together, these factors determine how ordinary people create their own strategies.

Two key statements in each contribution merit particular mention. Lüdtke suggests that it is more precise and adequate to use “many” instead of “mass.” This difference touches on the core conception of the book: in a totalitarian dictatorship, active individuals lived and acted. The word “mass” implies a shady, inaccessible entity. The other main statement concerns the basic level of the interplay between everyday people and decision makers. The regime expected a certain attitude from people, but at the same time, people could influence power with regard to the frames of everyday work, study, consumption, and so on. This was possible because they were individuals among the “many,” and not simply a “mass.” These practices included bargains, games, tricks (as Harald Dehne aptly puts it, “the petty everyday swindle for private gain”), and sometimes threats, extortions, and enforcement.

The structures and methodologies of the individual studies are very different. Authors who give historiographical syntheses focus mainly on the macrohistorical processes and use secondary sources. They do not connect these processes with the experiences of individuals. These studies do not accomplish the aim of the book, because the perspective of ordinary people is not a central aspect or concern of their interpretation, and the analyses they offer are confined to general political and economic processes. Consequently, it is not clear how these processes impacted everyday life.

The analytical practices of the authors include only a few of the numerous methodological approaches which would add further viewpoints from which to interpret the sources. For instance, in the empirical chapter Lüdtke demonstrates the importance of the “emotional turn,” but one could also mention the results of “spatial turn,” the “visual turn,” and so on. As an exception, Michael Kim examines the colonial discourse of labor heroes in the representations of these heroes in the media and the expressions used the press as part of a “linguistic turn.”

Consequently, the study of everyday life under dictatorships includes focus on a variety of different processes, including the expectations of the ruling political forces and the needs of ordinary people. This topic must be examined in a complex way and must take these aspects into consideration.

This volume is a promising initiation into this subfield of inquiry, and it shows how we can broaden our geographical scope in the study of this topic and how it is possible to create a common system of frameworks within which different totalitarian regimes become comparable. The further task is to use as many methodological approaches as can be effective and inspiring in analyses of the sources. Everyday Life in Mass Dictatorship is a good example of how to study macrohistorical processes and case studies simultaneously. The authors draw our attention to the fact that these sources (reports, diaries, newspapers), which originated in different countries, could reveal the features of individuals’ everyday practices in different but ultimately comparable social, economic, and cultural contexts.

Heléna Huhák
Hungarian Academy of Sciences

Vpdfolume 8 Issue 1 CONTENTS


Conflict, Bargaining and Kinship Networks in Medieval Eastern Europe. By Christian Raffensperger. New York–London: Lanham–Boulder, 2018. 223 pp.

Christian Raffensperger, a scholar who deals with the history of Kievan Rus’, is the author of several important monographs. Of these, Reimagining Europe: Kievan Rus’ and the Medieval World (988–1146) [2012] was met with considerable attention and, for the most part, was quite favorably received. Building on his earlier research, Raffensperger continues in his new book to deal with the eleventh century and the first half of the twelfth century. To some extent, however, the book diverges from his earlier work, as it offers a more comparative framework. The introduction (pp.1–12), which lays the theoretical groundwork, is followed by six chapters. The book also includes one map, 15 illustrations (sections of family trees), and 14 tables.

As noted above, the introduction provides the theoretical framework. One of Raffensperger’s essential goals is to avoid using terms which are not appropriate to medieval thinking but which nonetheless are often found in the secondary literature. These terms include, for instance, “state” and “nation.” He also seeks to avoid projecting modern state frameworks onto the past. As an example of the latter, Raffensperger mentions the imprecise use of the term “Medieval Russia” instead of Rus’. Raffensperger is undoubtedly right to insist on the precise use of terminology, but this problem is perhaps less of an issue in the more recent secondary literature than it might have been in the past, and Raffensperger offers no concrete examples of imprecise use. The notion that familial networks do not constitute political borders is also not a remarkably new insight. This question has been discussed several times in the context of dynastic ties. What might be worthy of further study is the family networks of the elites who surrounded the ruler. Regarding the spatial and temporal framework of the inquiry, Raffensperger enters into a debate with Nora Berend, Przemysław Urbańczyk, and Przemysław Wiszewski (the authors of Central Europe in the High Middle Ages) and Florin Curta. In the case of the first, he objects to the use of the term Central Europe, and in the case of Curta, he objects to the use of the term East Central Europe. Instead, he suggests simply using the term Eastern Europe to refer to the whole region. In my assessment, this is regrettable. Raffensperger fails to see important differences within the region, differences which existed even if they are difficult (though not impossible) to discern in dynastic relationships. “One goal of this work,” he explains, “is to demonstrate that the same ideas about kinship, identity, and conflict that are widely discussed, or already assumed, for western Europe, are also true for eastern Europe.” (p.3.) This statement demands substantiation. The temporal framework of the monograph is the beginning of the eleventh century and the middle of the twelfth. Raffensperger explains this decision with the observation that by the end of the tenth century, the entire region had become Christian. This is true, but there were significant differences within the region as it embarked down the path from the ritual of baptism to the embrace of the Christian mentality. One might think, for instance, of the development of the institution of the Church or the emergence of cults of saints. Raffensperger chose the middle of the twelfth century as the moment at which to conclude his inquiry because it was then that Poland and Rus’ were both disunited. This very observation calls into question Raffensperger’s earlier contention according to which the entire region of “Eastern Europe” can be treated as a unified bloc of sorts. In the case of Poland and Rus’, he identifies a “change in the political centralization of the polity.” In the case of the territory of Poland, this is correct. In the case of Hungary, it is not. In the case of Rus’, the mid-twelfth century was not the temporal border.

Raffensperger offers the following definitions of the terms family, clan, and kin: “With clan defined as the larger unit, family, without the adjective royal, can then be used for smaller groupings of kin comprising nuclear families”; “families could die out or grow into the clans of their own” (p.6); “In addition to family and clan, this work often discusses kin, kindreds, and kinship webs” (p.6). The introduction contains a subchapter entitled “Overview of chapters,” which gives the reader a short description of the individual chapters. The first chapter addresses the meaning of the term “conflict” in terms of its relevance to all of Europe: “‘conflict’ more than ‘feud’ or ‘civil war’ accurately expresses the range of activities, actions, and responses that occur in medieval sources” (p.7). In the second chapter, Raffensperger examines the development of the relationships between Vladimir’s descendants from the perspective of his contention that “conflict is a means of bargaining within the larger hierarchy” (p.7). The third chapter examines conflicts within the Rus’. The fourth, fifth, and sixth chapters consist of case studies.

The first chapter, entitled “The Nature of Conflict,” addresses questions concerning terminology like “civil war” and “feud.” The source in every instance is Povest’vremannykh let (PVL). The second chapter (“Conflict as Bargaining”) examines conflicts which arose in Kievan Rus’ among Vladimir’s descendants. As Raffensperger notes in his introduction, there is “a growing consensus for the understanding that conflict within the Volodimerovichi was a way of bargaining for a better position, political, territorial, or otherwise” (p.7). According to Simon Franklin, one basic question concerns the lack of regulation of Kiev’s rule. With regards to this, Raffensperger identifies two distinct groups: the “main line” and the circle which fell from power (izgoi). One of the types of conflicts concerned the acceptance of precedence or the struggle to avoid ending up excluded from power. The other concerned rivalries within the group identified by Raffensperger as the “main line.” Raffensperger again relies on the PVL as his source. The third chapter, entitled “Everyone Goes Home Alone,” focuses on the conflicts surrounding succession to the throne in 1015–1110 and again is based on the PVL. Raffensperger presents the data concerning the individuals involved in a table. Of the 14 tables in the book, nine are found in this chapter. This indicates that Raffensperger thoroughly studied the source.

In the fourth chapter, “The Kinship Web in Theory and Practice,” Raffensperger puts his discussion within a larger context, and he refers to Byzantine, Polish, and Hungarian examples. With a focus on the 1140s, he sketches partial family trees through marital ties to the neighboring ruling dynasties. Half of the illustrations of family trees were made for this chapter. In his assembly of the web of family relationships (which is based on the ascertainments of G. Althoff), Raffensperger gives an important role to the female branch of the family network and the ties between mothers and wives. He notes three emblematic examples: the relationship between Władysław II and Bolesław IV, the events which took place in Galich (Halych) in 1144, and the figures of the battles which took place around Kiev in 1146. In the case of the latter two, members of the Hungarian royal family are also mentioned. Raffensperger is careful to avoid using the expression dynasty, but he also avoids using the names Piast (the Polish Piast dynasty) and Rurik (the ruling dynasty of Kievan Rus after 882). Instead, he uses the names “Mieszkowice” and “Volodimerovichi,” which refer to the princes who embraced Christianity, for the families. When referring to the Árpád family, he uses “Árpáds,” which is not ideal since this name was not in use at all in the Middle Ages. True, had he sought other solutions, he would have found himself confronted with the difference expressed by the phrase “Kindred of the Holy Kings.” Since in the case of the “Mieszkowice” and “Vladimirovichi” there is no similar concept, it would immediately have become apparent that the use of the single term “Eastern Europe” to refer to the entire region is misleading.

In the fifth chapter (“Iaroslav Sviatopolchich’s Kinship Web in Action”), the focus again switches back to the study of Rus’ on the basis of the PVL, which Raffensperger knows thoroughly. The sixth chapter (“Géza II in the Center of a European Kinship Web”) deals very specifically with the kinship ties of the Hungarian ruling family. The choice of this particular period is clearly not merely matter of happenstance. Several scholars have already thoroughly mapped the European political scene of the mid-twelfth century. Raffensperger has made use of the works of Ferenc Makk, but neither Ostrogorsky nor Vasilievsky is mentioned in the bibliography, though as scholars of Byzantine history they were the first to study the network of relationships.

In general, given the complexity of the topic he has tackled, Raffensperger has made use of only a narrow slice of the secondary literature. Regarding the general precepts, he has failed to consult decisive works by authors like Johannes Fried and Christian Lübke or the Polish scholars Andrzej Poppe, Bronisław Włodarski, and Dariusz Dąbrowski. There are only a few references to works by Hungarian scholars, though Raffensperger devotes a significant section of his book to figures prominent in Hungary history. One of the basic problems is that for the most part Raffensperger relies on works which were published in English, including in the case of primary sources. Of the 34 primary sources mentioned in the bibliography, only eight are in the original languages (23.4%). Of the 122 secondary literature sources listed, only 19 are in languages other than English (15%). The works by Nora Berend, Przemysław Urbańczyk, and Przemysław Wiszewski would have been indispensable to this study. In the case of Hungarian history, Raffensperger does not even use the scholarship available in English, for instance the books by Zoltán J. Kosztolnyik and the many works I myself have written on the subject, which would have been directly pertinent to Raffensperger’s narrative (for instance Coloman the Learned, King of Hungary [2001]; “Emperor Manuel Comnenos and the Hungarian Kingdom,” in Byzantina et Slavica Cracoviensia V [2007]; and in German Im Spannungsfeld der christlichen Grossmächte [2008]). Raffensperger does not seem to realize that Mór Wertner’s genealogy contains contentions which have since been refuted. For instance, the date that Wertner gives for the death of King Coloman’s first wife is incorrect, as is the name (Makk has corrected these mistakes). Raffensperger sometimes draws on Makk’s work and gives the correct date of Coloman’s death, 1116 (p.138), but sometimes he gives the incorrect date, 1114 (p.170). According to Wertner, her name was “Busilla,” but we now know that in the local dialect, this word was not a proper name. It was a noun which meant “virgin girl.” Raffensperger’s narrative contains numerous mistakes with regards to Hungarian history. Beloš, for instance, did not declare himself palatine (and banus), as Raffensperger contends (drawing on Fine’s work, which is hardly the most recent on the subject; p.133, footnote 41). Beloš rose to an important role under Béla II, and presumably he also served as palatine at this time, even if we do not know the precise date when he was named to this position. Raffensperger also espouses the view of the outdated secondary literature according to which the wife of Volodimerko of Galich (Halych) was a relative of Béla II, of which there is no evidence.

In summary, if Christian Raffensperger’s goal was, as he himself states, “to present a new way of looking at eastern European political history, through the lens of conflict among and between kin” (p.6), then he has succeeded in part. The chapters which are based on his earlier research and which deal with the Kievan Rus’ (and in particular the chapters which are based on the PVL as their major source) are the strongest sections of this work. Raffensperger’s handling of sources in other chapters does not reach the same depth, and it is worth noting that he does not cite the Kievan Chronicle with adequate precision. He notes only the dates, but does not give page numbers or column numbers. He unquestionably merits praise for having presented the important role of the women’s branches of families in family relationships and the hierarchical nature of the family network. The subject nonetheless deserves more thorough treatment.

Márta Font
University of Pécs

Die Textilien des Hanseraums: Produktion und Distribution einer spätmittelalterlichen Fernhandelsware. By Angela Huang. Cologne–Weimar–Vienna: Böhlau, 2015. 311 pp.

The present book has been waiting in the wings for a long since the publication of the first samples of the author’s research in Hansische Geschichtsblätter (with Ulla Kypta: Ein neues Haus auf altem Fundament: Neue Trends in der Hanseforschung und die Nutzbarkeit der Rezesseditionen [2011]; with Carsten Jahnke: Bermudadreieck Nordsee: Drei Hamburger Schiffe auf dem Weg nach London [2012]; Hanseatic Textile Production in 15th century Long Distance Trade, in Textiles and the Medieval Economy [2015]). The book is a slightly modified version of Angela Huang’s PhD Thesis, which she defended at the University of Copenhagen in 2013. It builds first and foremost on a study of the London Custom documents compiled between 1384 and 1503. The core of the research consists of two types of custom lists containing detailed information on various textile fabrics imported to London: the “Tunnage & Pondage” and the “Petty Custom” files. Huang also carried out exhaustive archival research in Lübeck, Osnabrück, Braunschweig, Hannover, and Salzwedel, and her narrative offers a vivid and very engaging overview of the subject.

The importance of the work lies in two essential features. One is the focus on the cheaper textiles, primarily the textiles from Northern German regions (e.g. Westphalia, Prussia). The novelty of this approach is that earlier studies concentrated predominantly on the more expensive and thus better-documented fabrics, namely Flemish and English cloth. The other innovation is that Huang was able to identify and draw important distinctions among particular Westphalian and Saxon textile production cities and their considerable role in the Hanseatic economy.

The significant place of Western German cloth production in the European textile industry has been well known and widely accepted in earlier studies, but the presence of a highly differentiated, regulated, and controlled linen industry in the same region with strong exports to London is something that has been less obvious. Perhaps only the high-quality Cologne linens were in sufficiently widespread use to have been identified and studied in the secondary literature. According to the source material on which Huang draws, the textiles from Münster, Osnabrück, Herford, and Göttingen were transported via Cologne and sold in London, whereas textiles from Salzwedel, Hannover, and Braunschweig made it first via Lüneburg to Hamburg and then were shipped to London, probably via Amsterdam or Middelburg.

Another part of the book deals with the trade in the woollen cloth of the Hanseatic League, predominantly from Prussia and Saxony. Although these regions primarily produced cheaper and lower-quality fabrics, the Hansa-network enabled them to distribute them on a wider scale in various parts of Europe. Their simultaneous presence with the cloth fabrics from the Low Countries and England made it possible for Huang to compare their values and changes in prices over the decades.

From the Hungarian point of view, the relevance of this book is not so self-evident. Most of the Hungarian sources regarding medieval textile imports have been thoroughly evaluated and were published in the last century by György Székely and Walter Endrei, with only slight additions made by Slovak and Romanian historians. Hungarian historians did not continue to focus on this topic, however, and they have only recently begun discovering and studying new types of sources, which provide a great deal of unexpected data which have changed their attitudes. A new prompting in this research in Hungary was given by the appearance of new data, like cloth seals and the publication of archival materials, similar to Huang’s book.

The recent development of research currently underway in Hungary concerning the local textile trade (predominantly imports) has led to increased interest in the history of the textile trade in Central and Eastern European regions overall, especially regarding contacts with the medieval Kingdom of Hungary. For Hungarian scholars, Angela Huang’s volume provides several useful pieces of information. Perhaps the most significant collection of data is compiled in the almost thirty tables in the appendices of the book. These data concern the prices of particular fabrics from specified production centers in different periods. Some of the fabrics were definitely traded in medieval Hungary too, and thus their sales and value can be compared. This concerns primarily cities like Cologne and Ulm, but several towns in the Low Countries (Tournai, Arras, and Ypres) are also of particular interest for Hungarian scholarship. Similarly, the terminology and detailed descriptions of the fabrics, which are based on the contemporary sources and preserved textile samples, are of exceptional importance to the interpretation (or reevaluation) of the Late Medieval Hungarian written sources.

Huang’s book is a well-structured volume with a rich bibliography, and it will be useful as a foundation for further research. The book also has a 15-page long index, which includes geographical and personal names and also different fabrics (e.g. boykott, leinwand, kanfas, wolltuch). This monograph is a very important contribution to a worldwide history of textile production and trade, useful for scholars dealing with this branch of economic history.

Maxim Mordovin
Eötvös Loránd University

Utcák, szavak, emberek: A városi tér és használata Párizsban a középkor és a kora újkor határán [Streets, words, people: The urban space and its use in Paris at the boundary of the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period]. By Veronika Novák. Budapest: ELTE Eötvös Kiadó, 2018. 256 pp.

 Paris, as the classic example of a medieval metropolis, has attracted the attention of historians not only in the France but also in Central Europe. Bronisław Geremek’s study on the people on the social margins of medieval Paris, for instance, offers a clear example of this fascination. Veronika Novák, the author of the book under review, also studied medieval Paris at the beginning of her academic career. Inspired in part by Ilona Sz. Jónás, who dedicated much of her work to medieval Paris (focusing mostly on the merchants and laborers in the city), in the late 1990s, Novák studied the social history of late medieval Paris. She wrote her dissertation on the spread of news in late medieval Paris (published in Hungarian Hírek – hatalom – társadalom: Információáramlás Párizsban a középkor végén [News – power – society. Information spread in Paris at the end of the Middle Ages], published in 2007). The ways news circulated among Parisians had important spatial aspects. Hence, to a large extent her new book can be regarded as a continuation of the previous work.

When thinking of representing the space of a town in the twenty-first century, most people probably think of maps, either printed or, more and more frequently, digital. When getting from A to B, people increasingly rely on cell phones and their GPS applications. When working with these tools, the representation of space may seem rather objective. However, space as used by people is not objective, and, moreover, it is not the same for the different actors who use it. The way we walk around in a city changes our own ideas of its spaces, and this was true in earlier times too. Novák’s book looks at the ways the different constituents of medieval Parisian society used and thought about the space of the town.

The book offers a theoretical introduction and a discussion of the source material used and then moves into a discussion of the various aspects of the medieval and Early Modern practices of the space in Paris in three main parts, which form the three main chapters of the work. The first and longest part looks at the ways in which the urban space of Paris was divided into parts from different perspectives in the fifteenth–seventeenth centuries. The second, probably most consistent part looks at the spaces of power, i.e., how the different actors in power, both lay and ecclesiastic, used the streets of Paris. The third part discusses everyday practices of using the urban space of the city. In dealing with the different aspects of the use of space, Novák uses many kinds of sources, both archival and printed. The most important sources include chronicles, diaries, and sources rather specific to some towns or regions of Europe, such as street lists or letters of pardon. The ways in which Novák uses the latter group of source in dealing with the ways space was used by the people of Paris are probably the most innovative elements of the book.

The first main chapter of the book (pp.46–138) looks at the ways in which the actors in the city created their own understandings of its space and their own vocabularies which they used in explanations of the streets, neighborhoods, quarters, etc. Of the number of case studies, the subchapter that deals with the assassination of Louis I, Duke of Orléans and younger brother of King Charles VI, in the streets of Paris in 1407 is indicative of the way in which space was conceived by the people of Paris. The details of the act as we know it on the basis of the interrogations of witnesses analyzed by Novák clearly demonstrate the extent to which a point in space, such the crossroads where the murder took place, can be perceived differently by the different people involved. This is one of the most enjoyable parts of the book. The crime scene is explained in detail, like in a crime story. The whole chapter convincingly demonstrates that none of the notions used by modern scholarship to explain towns or their parts are rigid or self-evident categories. They are flexible for the people of late medieval and early modern Paris and change not only over time but also according to the different needs and preferences of the actors.

This second conclusion leads to the next part (pp.139–95), which deals with the use of space in practicing and representing power. The three events discussed are processions, proclamations of royal laws and decrees, and executions. This is the section in which, as noted above, the case studies are the most systematically tied together and the temporal scope of the book most clearly shows its benefits. In the case of each of these events, systematic and important changes took place with the Reformation on the one hand and the change in the nature of royal power on the other. This all led to a transformation of the spaces used in processions and, more importantly, to a shift in the way in which royal power was demonstrated with the proclamation of laws and the holding of public executions.

The third (and shortest) chapter of the book (pp.196–221) touches upon two related aspects of everyday life in Paris, crime and nights, of course again with a focus on their spatial aspects. The title of this chapter is slightly misleading, as the main source on which it is based, royal letters of pardon, can be used effectively as the foundation for a discussion of the ways in which criminals used Paris (as the book demonstrates), but they shed little light on dozens of other aspects of the spatial practices in everyday life. Nonetheless, the chapter clearly argues how space was experienced differently by someone migrating to work, someone going out to have fun, or someone committing a crime.

All in all, Novák’s book constitutes a valuable contribution to our understanding of the social history of medieval Paris. The vocabulary is consistent and easily understandable, which makes the book an enjoyable read even for non-specialists. When reading the book, one has the feeling that the author (unlike many of the contemporary citizens of Paris at the time) would have been able to navigate the crowded streets of medieval Paris easily. This is not such a simple task for the reader at times, however, so here and there, more detailed maps could have added to the reasoning in the different sections, and even the maps which were included are sometimes difficult to understand. As it was written in Hungarian, for the moment, the book is available only to a very small group of scholars interested in the social history of medieval Paris. However, it could also be read as a handbook which offers a methodology to the study of medieval and early modern practices of space. The book makes note of a number of Central European parallels in the use of urban spaces, which scholars of the region hopefully will study in further detail. Even if scholars who read Hungarian will make good use of the book, it would clearly be advantageous to have it translated into French (or English) in order to ensure that it reaches the audience for whom it is of primary importance. Hopefully, this will happen in the near future.

András Vadas
Eötvös Loránd University / Central European University

Batthyány Boldizsár titkos tudománya: Alkímia, botanika és könyvgyűjtés a tizenhatodik századi Magyarországon [Bolidzsár Batthyány’s secret science: Alchemy, botany, and book bollecting in sixteenth-century Hungary]. By Dóra Bobory. Budapest: L’Harmattan, 2018. 322 pp.

Boldizsár Batthyány is one of the most intriguing figures in the intellectual history of sixteenth-century Hungary. A highly educated patron of the sciences and arts, he imported a great many fruits of contemporary European culture to Hungary to his courts at Szalónak (Schlaining, Austria) and Németújvár (Güssing), all this in a time of war in Hungarian history. Despite his significance, relatively few scholars have studied his life and work in the twentieth century, and those who did for the most part wrote summaries about his life and courtly culture, of which only some aspects have been explored in depth (like cooperation between Batthyány and Carolus Clusius and the bookish culture). Dóra Bobory’s monograph provides what is for the moment the most detailed account of Batthyány’s life and the branches of natural philosophy which interested him and the people in his milieu. The predecessor to this book is a monograph by Bobory entitled The Sword and the Crucible (2009), which is based on her dissertation. However, Bobory not only translated the English monograph into Hungarian, she also extended and developed it further, incorporating new letters and editions of correspondence, as well as insights based on recent international secondary literature. The monograph is the seventh piece in the series “Microhistory,” launched by L’Harmattan Publishing House, and the first part of the prologue is devoted to a discussion of the benefits of microhistoriography as a method. Indeed, the sources do allow the exploration of several milieus within Batthyány’s world which mirror relevant macro phenomena of Hungarian and European cultural history. Furthermore, Bobory outlines the historical vicissitudes and the present state of the group of sources on which she drew (Batthyány’s private correspondence, mostly in the National Archives of Hungary). I must note here that there are other documents related to Batthyány’s court which could provide further data on the topic.

Both the title of the first chapter (“Imprints of a Life”), which is essentially biographical, and its first paragraph emphasize that the sources allow only a fragmentary reconstruction of Batthyány’s life. Nonetheless, a large part of the first chapter, which surveys Batthyány’s childhood and youth until he became a magnate in 1570, provides a relatively detailed and colorful story. As for his studies, several preceptors of different nationalities taught Batthyány (who stayed mostly at the Németújvár court of his great-uncle, Ferenc Batthyány, ban of Croatia and Slavonia). He then continued his studies in Vienna. His most important and, for a member of the contemporary Hungarian aristocracy, unique experience was his journey to France (1559–61), where he was involved with the milieus of the royal court and the multinational intellectual life of Paris, which brought him into contact with the intensifying religious conflicts. The blank spaces of the biography have been aptly covered by digressions concerning Batthyány’s time and milieu, such as the book merchant Jean Aubry’s impact on the interests of aristocrats or contemporary dressing customs. There are, however, some data or conjectures that are not supported by references (e.g. that he probably served at the Viennese court after returning from France, p.55). However, a greater problem lies in the fact that two of the important years in the history of Batthyány’s life, 1542 as the “probable” year of his birth and 1573 as the year in which his son, Ferenc, was born, are both highly questionable in light of information available in a genealogy by András Koltai entitled Batthyány Ádám: Egy magyar főúr udvara a XVII. század közepén (2012). The other part of the chapter does not proceed in a chronological order, but rather offers an overview of the major aspects of Batthyány’s adult life: the traces of his attraction to Protestantism, his distanced and contradictory relationship to the Habsburg court, and his military engagements against the Turks. Little attention is given to other considerations, e.g. his activity as a landlord and his relationships with the foreign, especially Austrian, aristocracy, although related letters survive in abundance. Naturally, one could hardly have expected Bobory to include all non-cultural aspects in one chapter, and this would have required considerable additional research, but it would have been preferable had she indicated that there are sources which make possible further research on other fields of Batthyány’s adult life. In sum, the biographical chapter complements our knowledge at many points (concerning mainly Batthyány’s youth), and this rich outline provides details concerning several aspects (Batthyány’s language skills, his foreign relations, etc.) which constitute useful background information for the following chapters on culture.

In chapter Two, Bobory discusses Batthyány’s library with particular consideration of his known books on natural philosophy (enumerated item by item in the Appendix). She embeds the aristocrat’s book collecting activity in the Hungarian (and partly in the international) context of bookish culture and also offers an overview of the development of the immense library, the uses of books, the potential manuscripts, and the future fate of the library. A problematic point in the otherwise well-rounded summary is the classification of books. In addition to works by the “classical authors,” the library did in fact include a number of grammatical and rhetorical works written or edited by humanists. Cosmography and geography are not mentioned, although they are at least as important in the library as, for instance, astronomy/astrology (into the category of which the philosophical didactic poem Zodiacus vitae, classified as a “horoscope” by Bobory, cannot be put). Bobory impressively surveys the many branches of alchemy (related to medicine, among other sciences) and their presence in the library. She offers more than an overview of groups of books. A panorama opens up on contemporary European alchemy and its bookish culture. The same applies to the focused discussion of Paracelsianism. Bobory’s narrative of the summaries on Paracelsus, his relationship to Hungary, and the spread of his ideas is informative and broadly supported by the international secondary literature. One significant observation made in the book is that, alongside the Paracelsians, their adversaries are almost as well represented in the library. The library being a cross-section of contemporary culture, the whole issue is highly important and requires further research. In a recent study (“Adalékok Batthyány [III.] Boldizsár könyvtárához,” Magyar Könyvszemle [2018]), I discuss the topic from these perspectives, and I call attention to several other minor topics represented in the library.

Chapter Three focuses on the actual practice of alchemy and medicine. In these fields, Batthyány cooperated with several humanists/naturalists, primarily the poet and alchemist Elias Corvinus, the Styrian aristocrat Felician von Herberstein, and the physicians Nicolaus Pistalotius and Johannes Homelius. Bobory refers to them as the members of an informal circle around Batthyány, although it is in fact questionable to what extent the complicated network of relationships should be considered a “circle.” Pistalotius, for instance, stands somewhat apart, while there were others around Batthyány who dealt with alchemy, such as the Styrian nobleman Balthasar Wagner. This discussion is followed by a colorful overview of several topics related to natural philosophy based on correspondence. The Batthyány family founded a mining company and dealt with mint owners, mine inspectors, and even alchemist adventurers. As for medicine, diagnoses and prescriptions were often given in letters or in the course of lay consultations as a substitute for consultations with professionals due to the general lack of physicians. Furthermore, both traditional and exotic or innovative methods were used. The subchapter on alchemy surveys the circumstances and conditions of Batthyány’s alchemical activity rather than the activity itself (the laboratory, the instruments, the acquisition of raw materials, his assistants and books, and an enumeration of the main procedures and two uncontextualized examples for experiments written down in letters). The correspondence includes several prescriptions and descriptions of experiments, along with contemplations about nature and its elements. In the future, it would be worthwhile to make use of this rich alchemical source material in depth, although this difficult task would be better entrusted to a research group than a single scholar.

Batthyány also patronized Carolus Clusius, Europe’s most famous contemporary botanist. Their cooperation enriched Batthyány’s garden, and the study of the plants and mushrooms of Pannonia resulted in pioneering botanical works. Chapter Four completes at some points what was already known about their cooperation. Bobory incorporates some additional letters into her research, and she provides new data and conjectures concerning both the intellectual historical context and Clusius’s activity itself. The most important result is perhaps the gathering of Batthyány’s demonstrable garden plants. Chapter Five touches on some further aspects of the culture of his court, including the images painted after his death (which were symbolic expressions of his interests and prestige), his relationship with his friends and clients, and the main characteristics of his court. Finally, the epilogue summarizes the extent to which Batthyány, as a collector and “prince–practitioner,” represented the newest Central European cultural trends.

I would be remiss not to observe that the translation of the Latin, German, and French letters is questionable at several points. Most of the quotations I checked at random contain one or more significant errors in translation (here I can only refer with the footnote numbers to some examples: 347, 654, 724, 734, 760, 811, 926, 931), and sometimes the summaries of parts of the letters suggest misunderstandings of the text (e.g. 837, 840, 904, 925, 931). For instance, the “unknown painter” on whom one of the subchapters focuses did not have to complete the work in Batthyány’s castle “in 8–10 days,” but rather had 8–10 days in Vienna (931). (There are also mistaken references to letters, but these mistakes probably are just slips of the pen.) It would have been preferable to have attached the transcriptions of the original texts at least to all the literal quotations (even if a partial edition of the correspondence is to be published soon), so that the reader would be able to check whether the translation and transcription are correct; this would not have significantly enlarged the book. These mistakes are regrettable, since the monograph in general provides a vivid and multifaceted presentation of Boldizsár Batthyány and the natural philosophical aspects of his courtly culture. It adds significantly to the existing secondary literature and offers a rich discussion of the relevant issues in an international context. Bobory’s style is also enjoyable, and both scholars and lay readers can benefit from the work, which demonstrates the zeal and excitement with which she pursued her research. The design of the book is also attractive. It includes eighteen color plates which conjure the atmosphere of Batthyány’s age and culture.

Áron Orbán
Hungarian Academy of Sciences–Eötvös Loránd University

Practices of Diplomacy in the Early Modern World c. 1410–1800. Edited by Tracey A. Sowerby and Jan Hennings. New York: Routledge, 2017. 306 pp.

This book, edited by cultural historian of Tudor diplomacy Tracey Sowerby (Keble College, Oxford) and Russo-European diplomatic historian Jan Hennings (Central European University), seeks to bring together a range of scholars and reflect the ongoing reassessment of diplomatic agency and practice in the early modern period. Divided into three broad thematic sections (“Status and sovereignty beyond the state,” “Familiarity, entertainment, and the roles of diplomatic actors,” and “Objects and beasts”), it collects the latest scholarship within what has become known as “New Diplomatic History.” The book seems in part the result of a conscious effort to overcome the development of various “national traditions” in this emergent field. In other words, the book adopts a more actor-centric approach to scholarship, allowing for all the complexities and contradictions of the early modern diplomatic experience, as opposed to a “state-centric” model, which tends towards a teleological acceptance of the unrelenting, uniform development towards modernity during this period. As such, the book positions itself on the cutting-edge of the evolving New Diplomatic History, with an ambition to become “essential reading for all students of diplomatic history.”

The volume is an ambitious endeavor, to say the least, but bolstered by a sensible thematic progression which neatly draws the contours of the current historiographical landscape into focus, it broadly achieves its aim of providing an overview of the latest scholarship, relevant to students and researchers in the field alike. This is not to say that the reach of the volume does not occasionally exceed its grasp. Its bold aim to tackle the “Eurocentric heritage” of canonical scholarship on diplomacy lies, rightly, at the heart of New Diplomatic History. However, reflective of a broader shortcoming of the field, the discussion of “Diplomacy in the Early Modern World” is only pushed as far as India in two chapters, both studied through the lens of the Dutch East India Company rather than through the study of interactions independent of Europeans. This apparent weakness could have been wholly rectified by replacing “world” with “Europe” in the title, since the content remains rooted in the study of Early Modern Europe. Furthermore, at this stage it seems something of a straw man to constantly use Garrett Mattingly and the historiographical canon of the 1950s and 1960s as a repeated oppositional reference point, though this again points to broader issues within New Diplomatic History as a field rather than a flaw inherent to the book itself. Overall, as a representative of the field of New Diplomatic History in 2017, the volume is a great success.

What strikes the reader most clearly throughout the volume is the overlap of cultural systems, norms, and networks in most if not all the cases studied. Duncan Hardy’s chapter on Burgundian clients within the Holy Roman Empire sets the tone beautifully from the outset, questioning how we may (or may not) differentiate between expressions of international diplomacy and/or local political culture within composite, dynastic polities, which frustrate traditional definitions of sovereignty on each strand of their vast networks. The theme of sovereignty (on the national, “regional,” and personal levels) comes through strongly in the opening section, with Gábor Kármán and Lovro Kunčević contributing illuminating chapters on the questions and contradictions thrown up by tributaries and indeed frontier provinces of the Ottoman Empire. Kármán’s chapter mirrors some of the work of Ottoman diplomatic historian Dariusz Kołodziejczyk.

The second section of the book turns to the more hardcore “cultural turn” approach to diplomatic history, discussing decoration and ceremony, how the beginnings of opera were intimately connected to diplomacy, females in diplomacy, merchants in diplomacy, and trans-imperial tendencies in eighteenth-century Vienna. It is with Florian Kühnel’s discussion of women that this section really takes off, offering real insight into the social history of an early modern embassy. Though Kühnel’s characterization of the Ottoman harem is somewhat problematic, the chapter clearly demonstrates the multifaceted roles played by ambassadresses in varying European contexts. Similarly, Guido van Meersbergen does much of the volume’s anti-Eurocentrism heavy-lifting by situating the Dutch East India Company as flexible merchant-diplomats and domestic players in an “Indian Ocean World.” Van Meersbergen contrasts their status and concerns with those of royal ambassadors and envoys, and he deconstructs the idea of cultural incommensurability in the process. David Do Paço similarly interrogates constructs of commensurability in his article on Ottoman diplomatic missions to eighteenth-century Vienna.

The latter part of the volume deals with gift exchange. In Felicity Heal’s case, this means sending a flock of geese in return for thirty ostriches and various cautions on the expensive inutility of elephants. These chapters largely expound the same theme: gift exchange as an important ceremony of premodern diplomacy, but never a sufficient substitute for a constructive exchange of words. There have been many studies of gift-giving, but this collection still provides new insights. Germán Gamero Igea shows how gifts which were used to manage domestic and international politics in Aragon-Castile elided internal tensions in a complicated multiple monarchy. In the case of the Dutch East India Company, gifting symbolized the sovereign authority of the company within its Asian theatre of operations. Frank Birkenholz shows that their gifting choices demonstrated their Asian trade network and their familiarity with Safavid and Mughal practices. Jan Hennings’ observations on practical gift-giving by trading companies as an illustration of their economic value are equally astute. Christian Windler’s afterword then serves to distil perfectly the state of the art and tie up the book’s themes.

Even to insiders, New Diplomatic History can appear to be a somewhat nebulous, ill-defined field. To the less charitable, it may resemble a group of historians distracted by what hats people wore to talks rather than the outcome of the discussion. If there is one area in which this volume particularly excels, it is in bringing to the fore the breadth and vitality of current scholarship on early modern diplomacy by scholars who, much like actors on the diplomatic scene in early modern Rome or Istanbul, hail from of a variety of backgrounds and nationalities. It will undoubtedly become “essential reading for all students of diplomatic history,” if it has not done so already.

Joel Butler
University of Oxford

Papok, polgárok, konvertiták: Katolikus megújulás az egri egyházmegyében (1670–1699) [Priests, burghers, converts: Catholic renewal in the Diocese of Eger, 1670–1699]. By Béla Vilmos Mihalik. Budapest: MTA BTK Történettudományi Intézet, 2017. 384 pp.

In a discussion of the spread of the influence of the Catholic Church in his synthesis on the cultural history of eighteenth-century Hungary, Domokos Kosáry pertinently remarked that we can only gain a clear image of the Catholic Church’s renewal in Hungary “if we put it together piece by piece, relying on the local sources of each diocese.” Béla Mihalik’s recent monograph fulfills this requirement. The book, which focuses on the Diocese of Eger, is a remarkable undertaking in many respects, and it constitutes an important contribution to our understanding of the (social) history of the Catholic church.

In this review, I wish to highlight three segments of the monograph. First and foremost, I would mention the sources used by the Mihalik. Mihalik deserves praise for having explored the materials held in the most important collections in Rome, Vienna, Budapest, and Esztergom. Furthermore, he did so in a systematic and consistent manner. He also delved into the local sources in Heves County (where the Diocese of Eger is found) and sources on the Catholic and Reformed Churches. As is appropriate in a study of the time period in question, he analyzed the secular and ecclesiastical sources side by side. This abundance of sources enabled him to explore his subject from a multifaceted view and create a sophisticated synthesis, in which the objectives of the Church and secular organs of power are presented simultaneously, as are local and individual interests. In the course of his research, Mihalik recognized the inner logic and dynamics of the institutions he was examining, as a result of which he was able to reveal certain aspects concerning the subjectivity and objectivity of his sources.

It is also important to note that Mihalik duly embeds his findings into a greater framework. We can distinguish two levels of contextualization. First, Mihalik strives to interpret the events and processes which took place in the Diocese of Eger in the framework of the Catholic renewal in Hungary and the Habsburg Monarchy. He reflects astutely on the findings of earlier scholarly literature and incorporates the newest insights on the history of dioceses in Hungary into his argument. Second, he adapts the methodological approaches and abstraction methods in the international secondary literature to his inquiry rather well. The theoretical framework is not there for its own sake. Rather, it is used by Mihalik astutely and successfully, as a result of which we are given a coherent image of the confessionalizing tendencies in northeastern Hungary, and also new perspectives are offered from which to consider the topic.

Furthermore, I must highlight the cases Mihalik uses to support his argumentation. It is characteristic of the whole book that its author brings the underlying aspects of his subject closer to the readers by drawing on relevant examples and case studies. Moreover, by relying on the micro-analysis of the three centers of the diocese (Kassa [today Košice, Slovakia], Nagybánya [today Baia Mare, Romania], and Eger), each of which had a heterogenous society and source basis, Mihalik is able to model and offer a comparative analysis of the complex and distinctive processes of Catholicization. He presents a sphere of action in which the Habsburg court, the Chamber of Szepes, the military, the diocese, the county, the magistrate, and the local society requested and were given a part in certain procedures, though each represented different ideas and viewpoints with varying levels of intensity. Furthermore, Mihalik presents the means and methods (for example, teaching, feasts, indulgences, the management of marriages and divorces, influencing the composition of the magistrates, etc.) through which it was possible for the Church to the Catholicize the society of the town.

Mihalik examines the participation and interaction of the different levels of secular and ecclesiastical authorities in the process of Catholic renewal, and he analyzes them from a multidirectional perspective. He puts great emphasis on the importance of interpreting Catholicization in the context of its own dynamics and on capturing the special nature of the different events and/or series of events, as well as the underlying interests. It is characteristic of the book that it presents the “two-faced nature” of the Catholic renewal, outlining both the violent aspects of the Counter Reformation which culminated in wars of religion, as well as the phenomena related to the inner renewal of the Catholic Church.

Mihalik’s decision to examine a specific period of thirty years in his monograph seems justified. The opening date (1670) is marked by the leadership of Bishop Ferenc Lénárd Szegedy and the political changes following the fall of the Wesselényi conspiracy, and the closing date (1699) is linked to the Treaty of Karlowitz, the leadership of Bishop István Telekesy, and the return of the episcopal see to Eger. However, if needed, Mihalik diverges from this strict temporal framework and reflects on the precedents and later consequences of certain events.

The structure of the book is logical, as the different layers build on one another, all the while presenting new perspectives. In the first part of the book, the actors of the Catholic renewal are introduced. Mihalik surveys the role of the bishops, the chapter, the vicars, and the religious orders, and he reflects on the cooperation between the church and the state. In the next part, Mihalik concentrates on the regions and spheres of the Catholic renewal, presenting an intelligible image of the constant changes which characterized northeastern Hungary in this period, as well as the interplay between the macro-, meso-, and micro-levels of analysis. He divides the development of the Catholic infrastructure into subperiods and outlines the cesurae which mark turning points for both the Catholics and the Protestants and their positions for negotiation. Thus, Mihalik is able to guide his readers through this transformative period, which is rather difficult to capture. He puts certain events, such as the Acts of Religion of 1681, Imre Thököly’s movement, and the impact of the Explanatio Leopoldina, in a new, somewhat more intelligible light.

Mihalik’s book fits well into the scholarship on the history of the seventeenth-century and eighteenth-century history of Hungarian dioceses, which gained momentum in the first decade of the new millennium. It presents the unique phenomena of the Catholic renewal in the socially and confessionally heterogenous region of northeastern Hungary as a system, and Mihalik’s findings and insights constitute a significant contribution to the history of the larger complex process of confessionalization in Hungary.

Zoltán Gőzsy
University of Pécs

The Sinews of Habsburg Power: Lower Austria in a Fiscal-Military State, 1650–1820. By William D. Godsey. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018. xx+460 pp.

An eminent scholar of the Austrian estates on the threshold of modernity, William D. Godsey applies the concept of the fiscal-military state to almost two centuries of Habsburg history in his recent book. (The term fiscal-military state was coined by John Brewer in The Sinews of Power: War, Money and the English State, 1688–1783 [1989]). Focusing on the example of the estates of Lower Austria and basing his narrative on overwhelming evidence, Godsey convincingly argues that, contrary to the established historical narrative (for instance, Gerhard Oestreich, “Ständetum und Staatsbildung in Deutschland” in Geist und Gestalt des frühmodernen Staates [1969]), the estates were not sidelined after the Thirty Years’ War, but their significance increased and their support was, indeed, decisive in making the Habsburg Monarchy into a “mature fiscal-military state able to tax and borrow effectively” (p.397) and therefore able to give adequate responses to the ever mounting challenges of Early Modern great power politics.

Following in the footsteps of Peter Dickson (Finance and Government under Maria Theresia, 1740–1780 [1987]), Godsey explains how the Habsburgs could finance their army (24,500-strong in 1650, 100,000 at the beginning of the eighteenth century, 200,000 in the 1730s, 300,000 at the accession of Joseph II, and no less than half a million by the end of the Napoleonic wars), and his reader is confronted by a decisive and even growing importance of the estates: their commissioners were charged with provisioning, billeting, and recruiting for the new standing army and also with providing logistical services. In 1689, the estates of Lower Austria began to vote for the annual contribution, the war tax, for a longer period in advance (Rezess), and they also borrowed increasing amounts of money (first from their own members and, at the end of the period investigated by Godsey, also from an increasingly wide stratum of the population) to make loans to the government at low interest rates, as the estates of the Bohemian and Austrian provinces were able to borrow at a significantly lower interest rate than their monarch. Thus, a “new fiscal-military system” (p.150) was established between the 1670s and the 1720s.

The great reforms of the mid-eighteenth century excluded the estates from jurisdiction and first introduced and then strengthened government agencies on the regional level (Kreisämter). The estates’ own administrative bodies were forced to undergo reform. The estates’ obligations to provide for the army through the system of commissioners were converted into a pecuniary burden. Prussian-style conscription and new taxes were introduced, and the contribution witnessed a twofold increase, but despite all these changes, the estates’ role in financing the army became more and more important. They voted for the war tax annually, even during Joseph II’s reign, in order to demonstrate their autonomy, which was crucial if they sought to preserve their creditworthiness. They continued to collect the contribution themselves, and a part of these monies (and sometimes parts of other government revenues) remained in their hands to cover debt servicing, i.e. to pay interest and instalments on the loans they themselves had put at the ruler’s disposal. Their survival was therefore an eminent fiscal interest of the state.

The success of the fiscal-military state of the Habsburgs is best demonstrated in comparison with France, where the reliance on the sale of offices, an exploitation of ancien régime privilege, and the introduction of an almost universal tax did not yield the expected financial stability in the long run. Alienated from the monarchy, the elites were reluctant to support the French monarchy, which was bankrupted by the wars of the second half of the eighteenth century and which collapsed thereafter. With the help of the elites of their central Austrian and Bohemian provinces, the Habsburgs, however, proved able to finance their growing debts. Their monarchy was close to financial breakdown at the end of the Seven Years War and in bankruptcy following the French occupation in 1809, but institutional changes helped them out of the crisis, including the devaluation of currency by 80 percent in 1811. Had the estates not played their role in taxation, provided for the army, and given credits to the government, the Habsburg Monarchy would not have survived the long wars and ever more overstrained periods of 1672–1718, 1733–1763, and 1788–1815. And all this time, the alliance between the Habsburg state and the noble elites was maintained.

During the Seven Years War, the province of Lower Austria contributed more to the war efforts in financial terms than the whole Kingdom of Hungary (43 vs 42 million florins respectively). Of these monies, 12 million florins were the contribution, 6 million florins the extra taxes, and the rest, almost 25 million florins, were loans given by the estates. Godsey argues convincingly that this last item is the key to understanding the survival and continuing importance of the estates in the Austrian and Bohemian lands of the Habsburg Monarchy. However, it is important to keep in mind that the Wiener Stadt-Banco was an even more important source of credit for the monarchy (p.224). Moreover, as the cases of Russia, post-1793 France, and (to a lesser extent) Prussia demonstrate, the mobilization of resources was possible in this period through other channels than those of the fiscal-military state (see Hamish Scott, “The Fiscal-Military State and International Rivalry during the Long Eighteenth Century,” and Michael Hochedlinger, “The Habsburg Monarchy: From ‘Military-Fiscal State’ to ‘Militarization’,” both in Christopher Storrs, ed., The Fiscal-Military State in Eighteenth-Century Europe [2009]).

As far as minor inaccuracies are concerned, one may note that it was not the Austrian abbey of Klosterneuburg (p.91) but that of Heiligenkreuz that took over the abbey of Szentgotthárd in Hungary after the expulsion of the Ottomans, and that instead of a mere three monasteries (p.295), the lower clergy had an approximately 40-strong representation in the Hungarian diet.

But these minor details do not alter the general impression that Godsey’s book is a major contribution to the field, one that presents a very convincing argument concerning the survival of the Austrian estates into the nineteenth century.

István M. Szijártó
Eötvös Loránd University

Südosteuropa: Weltgeschichte einer Region. By Marie-Janine Calic. Munich: C.H. Beck, 2016. 704 pp.

Marie-Janine Calic’s book is not the first attempt to offer an overview of Southeast European history, and it will not be the last. Yet it is a uniquely interesting and innovative attempt to present the complex history of this region. In contrast to other textbook treatments, such as the one coauthored by me, Calic approaches Southeastern Europe from a global history perspective: she is interested in the patterns of entanglement which link different local developments to processes in other parts of the world. Southeastern Europe is often said to be at the crossroads of different cultures and civilizations because of its geographic position and the frequent inclusion of the region, or parts of it, in large empires which stretched far beyond the Balkans. Rarely has this been taken so seriously as a general explanatory framework for the history of the region. This is a book about transfers and entanglements, about dependency and exchange, about Southeastern Europe’s place in global history and global history’s impact on Southeastern Europe. At the same time, the reader will find everything she/he needs to know for a quick overview of the important events, processes, and personalities which shaped the history of the region.

One of the dominant themes of the book is the diversity of the region and how diversity has been linked to external factors, such as Great Power interventions or the Americanization of global culture after 1945. In her introduction, Calic stresses that the people of the region share many experiences, and their fates have until now been closely entwined, but despite many commonalities in the historical development, no “unified socio-cultural space [has] emerged.” There is no “common identity,” but instead a “unique socio-cultural diversity” (p.9). Of course, such a claim is difficult to prove (what is the yardstick of diversity?), and the assertion in question seems Eurocentric (from the point of view of India or a city like Toronto, Southeastern Europe looks quite homogenous). Yet, it is indeed one of the notable features of Southeast European history that despite very long periods of shared rule by empires (especially the Byzantine and the Ottoman ones), similar dynamics of nation building, and the shared experience of state-socialism, the degree of regional integration and cultural unification is rather weak. This prompts reflection on the ways in which “larger” external forces are appropriated in different ways on local (and also “national”) levels.

The main units of analysis are not countries, nations, or personalities, but forms of exchange and transfers that have linked different parts of the region with one another and with other parts of the world. One of the recurrent questions, therefore, is what conditions and which actors promote and shape exchange and which factors obstruct it. As Calic makes clear, Southeastern Europe was incorporated into networks of communication and interaction which transcended the region since Antiquity. Yet at the same time, there were also infrastructural limits to deeper integration. Maybe this tension could have been more deeply explored, because at least in the Modern period, Southeastern Europe stood out as an isolated place in some social arenas (see for example the extremely low literacy rates in the nineteenth century). Even today, it is less integrated into pan-European circuits of capital, information, and transportation than other parts of the continent, mainly because of its economic marginality.

Despite its innovative conceptualization, the book meets the standard expectations readers tend to place on a history of a region. One does not have to read more conventional accounts before turning to this more ambitious one. The chronology is also quite familiar and helps the reader position Southeast Europe in larger historical contexts. The first, comparatively short part sketches developments from Antiquity until around 1500. This is followed by a chapter covering mainly the Ottoman period and the competition between the Ottomans and the Habsburgs and Romanovs for domination (1500–1800). Part three is devoted to the “Century of Global Revolutions” (1776–1878). Part four goes from the climax of the Oriental Question to the end of World War II (1870–1945). The fifth part covers postwar history until today. Postwar Greece receives rather scant attention, and the treatment of post-socialism is tangential. This periodization indicates that the author highlights parallel events in other parts of the world which either influenced developments in Southeastern Europe or could be seen as incarnations of similar structural forces, such as the revolutionary struggle against ancient regimes in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.

One of the strengths of the book is the way in which it interweaves structural history and stories of concrete places and personalities. Calic seeks to highlight the progress of globalization in terms of intensified trade and communication, but also to trace the actions and perceptions of the protagonists of these stories. One learns how people actually perceived the world, what they knew about it, and how they saw the place of their country in the larger global or at least European context. In order to craft a detailed and lively account, Calic developed a very well executed dramaturgic strategy: she closes each chronological section with a description of a concrete place and its entanglements with the wider world at that time. Thus, readers learn about (the Albanian town of) Kruja (1450), Istanbul (1683), Ragusa/Dubrovnik (1776), Plovdiv and the nearby mountain areas (1876), Belgrade (1913), Bucharest (1939), and Sarajevo (1984). As the selection makes clear, each case study presents insights into general developments which were characteristic for the whole region at the time, such as the complex power configurations in the Balkans on the eve of Ottoman conquest (Kruja) or the dynamics of urbanization and its ambivalences in the early twentieth century (Belgrade). It is a pity that there is no case study for today.

These case studies, all extremely engaging and interesting, indicate another major strength of the book. It is based on very extensive research, and it is therefore extremely informative. Calic took her information from the most current secondary literature, and she manages to weave the different empirical points into a coherent, compelling narrative, even using excerpts from diaries and other personal accounts. Rarely does a historical narrative combine a clear thread and interpretation with such a good mixture of erudition and detail. In contrast to other overviews, this one is richly referenced (though the reader needs a magnifying class to decipher the endnotes). Several images also illustrate the story. With maps, however, the publisher has been too frugal. A timeline of events and the index make the book easy to use.

A bold take on the history of the region invites also disagreement. Given Calic’s emphasis on entanglements and her understandable excitement about extremely mobile and interesting personalities, I sometimes wondered about the relative importance of localized forces of inertia, such as climate and terrain, ignorance, or the lack of infrastructure. I think it is part of the diversity of the region that highly interconnected arenas of social interaction existed next to very isolated ones and that important historical events were shaped by this tension (the Romanian peasant uprising of 1907 would be a case in point). But this quibble actually shows what this excellent book has achieved, in contrast to more conventional treatments. It inspires debate and will stimulate fresh research. A translation into English would be very welcome. Anyone with an interest in Southeastern Europe should read this book, anyone not yet curious will become so once they have read Calic’s account.

Ulf Brunnbauer
Leibniz Institute for East and Southeast European Studies

Climate in Motion: Science, Empire, and the Problem of Scale. By Deborah R. Coen. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2018. 425 pp.

Deborah Coen’s Climate in Motion argues that the modern concept of climate is a multi-scalar achievement. Drawing on an extensively researched and detailed history of climate science in the Habsburg Monarchy in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Coen argues that the history of climate science is also a history of scaling. Rather than the singular or orderly climate found in many accounts of climate science in the United States or in British scientists’ visions of the Indian climate, Habsburg climate science emphasized the continuing relevance and importance of local climate within a heterogeneous but interconnected whole. Coen suggests this distinctive characteristic had resonance with the structure of the Habsburg state, made up of a set of distinct kingdoms and principalities, and the natural variety in a region in which diverse local socio-economies were intimately tied to local climates and vegetation.

Habsburg scientists scaled their work in ways which made the particularities of place emblematic of the natural and social heterogeneity of the state. Coen argues that these scientists determinedly connected their science to interventions in matters of public concern, empire, and economic and political interest. Scaling was not only a scientific exploration, therefore, but a very human one too, “mediating between different ways of measuring the world” (p.20) and debating the uncertainties of science in considering the social, economic, or political implications of their work. Scaling was also built through bodily labor and artistic imagination, perhaps no better demonstrated than in the case of Heinz Ficker’s emotionally-charged diary of his travels through Turkestan.

Climate in Motion has three parts. The first explores the precursors to and development of mid-to-late nineteenth-century environmental science within the Habsburg Monarchy. It sets out the experience of empire throughout the territory of Austria-Hungary and the ways in which the imperial celebration of the diversity of local climates was significant for both scientific work and the mapping of territory. Meteorologist Karl Kreil’s work is used as an example of this connection between local and global perspectives, in emphasizing the studies of individual places while constructing a synthesis which would form a unity in a heterogeneous way. As Coen suggests, this work of scaling was political in its pluralism and reflective of the empire’s structure in its insistence on the relevance of localism while seeking a coordination of knowledge which would not be unipolar or authorized by a single calculative office.

The second part explores in more detail how scientists analyzed, mapped, and painted the empire to represent and inform this “Austrian Idea” of the diversity of the territory. Cartography presented a particular challenge in this regard, as maps (such as the 1887 atlas of Austria-Hungary) struggled both to convey the diversity of local detail and to remain relevant to the ideal of a connected territory. Cartographers needed to represent scale, and they did so through innovative techniques such as a greater use of color to display elevation and represent local variations as interdependent, making it possible for a more unified visual picture to emerge. Equally importantly, the development of dynamic climatology in Austria in the last two decades of the nineteenth century, through the work of scientists like Julius Hann and Alexander Supan, enabled the local climate to be significant in revealing and explaining a more interconnected global unity. The rapid expansion of observation stations, however, was not solely about creating datasets for a dynamic climatology, but was also a reassertion of the vitality through diversity of local climates for human concerns such as health or economic life in those places. While dynamic climatology enabled the word climate to be deployed on a more planetary scale, this did not displace the local scale. As Coen points out, the multi-scalar notion of climate which had emerged by the early twentieth century enabled scientists to assert the global effects of local climatic disturbances.

This becomes particularly important for the final part of Climate in Motion, in which Coen draws out the social work of scaling in exploring examples of work related to forests, flowers, and travel. Plants could be influenced by the climate and could influence the climate, and Coen draws on, for example, the naturalist Anton Kerner’s work to consider how changes in vegetation patterns could be scaled through dynamic climatology to provide evidence of the necessity and importance of local observations in tracking broader climatic changes. In a different example, forests provided the catalyst for a social scaling of scientific questions about forests and climate and about whether forestry legislation should be tightened. While many scientists recognized that deforestation would have to an impact on climate, the social scaling of these studies was contested through debates about the kinds of knowledges that were legitimate and the implications of such scaled knowledge for farmers and land owners. Austrian forestry law concluded both that deforestation influenced the climate and that the atmosphere was an unregulated and unlimited resource. Scaling, in this case, did not lead to stricter forestry legislation.

Throughout these parts and in the work of the various scientists under consideration, Coen maintains a clear focus on the work of scaling as scientific, social, and embodied and distinctive for the Habsburg Monarchy. It is interesting to ponder, however, whether this distinctiveness is primarily about the uniqueness of the empire or as much about the way histories of climate science in other places have typically been written. Coen challenges future historians of climate science to pay more attention to diverse and heterogeneous kinds of climate knowledges and the ways in which they are scaled and to resist singular, uniform accounts of a global climate “waiting to be discovered” (p.272). This is crucial to Coen’s hope that the lessons of scaling might be fruitfully applied to contemporary climate change debates and thus might further an understanding of how climate sciences have been scaled in particular ways, how they embody particular kinds of labors, and how they connect (or disconnect) multiple alternative local knowledges and are contested in their social scaling.

Climate in Motion is well-written, beautifully illustrated book, and I can highly recommend it not just to historians of the Habsburg Monarchy or the atmospheric sciences, but to anyone interested in exploring how the study of history can inform contemporary debates.

Samuel Randalls
University College London

Geteilte Berge: Eine Konfliktgeschichte der Naturnutzung in der Tatra. By Bianca Hoenig. Umwelt und Gesellschaft 20. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2018. 239 pp.

From the outset, the reader of the original German text has an advantage over the Anglophone, to whom the translated title Divided Mountains: A Conflict-History of Nature Use in the Tatras conveys only half of the intended meaning. The German verb teilen (adjectival form: geteilt) means to share as well as divide, something the author of this monograph expressly meant to convey. The cleverly chosen title, thus, could just as easily have been rendered “shared mountains.” Indeed, this compelling new contribution to environmental history deals with both the shared and divided nature (pun intended) of the Tatra Mountains, the highest range within the vast Carpathian mountain system. Although neither as prominent nor as famous as the Alps of west Central Europe, the Tatras have nonetheless played a disproportionally large role in their own region of Europe. They have also been many things to many people.

Much has been written about the Tatras, albeit primarily in their “divided” sense, with authors generally sticking to either the Polish (northern) side or the Slovak (southern) side. Having mined archives in Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Austria, Bianca Hoenig reminds us that these mountains are nevertheless a shared resource, and she demonstrates how at various times they have functioned transnationally. The subject of her book is the history of the clash between claims to the mountains in the “age of territorialization,” a concept introduced by Charles S. Maier. While not a comprehensive history of the Tatras, the book presents a series of well-chosen examples which show how various parties have sought to utilize the Tatras since the second half of the nineteenth century. (The traditional pastoral and forest economy, tourism, and nature preservation comprise the main uses of the mountain terrain.) Each chapter revolves around the question which serves as leitmotif of the book: “to whom do the Tatras belong?” However, each approaches this question from a different perspective. Four types of ownership (Eigentum) figure: landownership, the traditional usufruct of pastureland and forests, affiliation to a given state, and symbolic ownership by an ethnic, national, or social group or even humanity in general.

One of the strengths of this admirably analytical and cogently argued work is its transnational approach. This comes through in the first substantive chapter of the book, which deals with the nineteenth century “discovery” of the Tatras during the period of Habsburg rule. Hoenig laudably presents this fascination with the mountains among all parties to the “discovery,” to the south and to the north of the internal Habsburg border which separated the province of Galicia from the kingdom of Hungary. The reader is introduced not only to various groups of Poles and Slovaks, with their national claims, but also to Zipser Germans, who were the engine behind the development of resorts, sanatoriums, and hotels on the southern side. Ethnic Hungarians are largely absent from the story, if referenced in notes, although of course both Slovaks and Zipser Germans were members of the Hungarian state until its truncation after World War I.

The true meat of the book, however, is found in the remaining chapters, all highly original, well contextualized and crafted, the content of which can only be sketched here. Chapters Two and Three deal with the interwar period in the new states of Czechoslovakia and Poland, where the Tatras then lay. Here, the focus is on the conservationists’ idea of a transnational, American-style national park. Chapter Two considers the project—not realized–of a joint Czechoslovak-Polish national park, which was intended to help secure peace for the region. Yet mistrust on both sides ultimately led to the Tatras becoming more a bone of contention, as seen in the Polish annexation of Jaworzyna/Javorina in 1938. The chapter which follows switches focus from interstate to intrastate negotiations, as the respective national populations of Czechoslovakia and Poland were divided in their views of the Tatras and their visions for the region. The conservationists ultimately lost out to the locals, who feared losing their livelihood, and those who sought to “bring modernization to the mountains” (p.101), for example, in the form of a cable car up Kasprowy Wierch on the Polish side.

Although World War II marked a caesura in usage rights, it is given relatively brief treatment in the book, serving more as a point of transition to the final three substantive chapters, in which the “high modern new ordering of space and population” proceeded apace (p.117). In chapter four, the loss of the Jewish and German populations of the mountain region facilitated the establishment of individual national parks and, in Poland, the shift of transhumance out of the Tatras into the depopulated Carpathian regions of Beskid Niski and Bieszczady to the east. The final two chapters point to moments in which civil society emerged under socialist rule, such as the Czechoslovak idea of a monorail in the Tatra region, which seized the popular imagination (of Slovaks in particular) during the Prague Spring of 1968. Chapter Six reckons with the dispossession of the Polish Górale (highlanders), who lost their usufruct and other rights in 1970, only to regain them partially during the Solidarity period a decade later.

A concluding chapter sums up both the current situation and Hoenig’s overall argument. Among other things, she sees the conflicts she has examined (and persuasively contextualized within global and regional history) as exemplifying fundamental issues in the interactions of modern societies with nature. The overall impression of this dissertation-turned-book is impressive. Bianca Hoenig is to be commended for this fine contribution to the history of the Tatra Mountains and the environmental history of Europe (and—given its broad contextualization—the world). It will be enjoyed not only by those interested specifically in the Carpathian Mountains or this part of Europe, but also by environmental historians of all stripes.

Patrice Dabrowski
Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute

Germany’s Empire in the East: Germans and Romania in an Era of Globalization and Total War. By David Hamlin. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2017. 354 pp.

Was World War I a caesura in European and world history, or did it telescope and accelerate developments already underway at its outbreak? Was it a triumph of nationalism, a crisis of empire, or a test of long-established and possibly-obsolete systems of international relations and trade? David Hamlin’s book addresses these questions through a geographically and temporally specific case study: the sea-change in Imperial Germany’s economic and political relations with Romania in the course of the war. Hamlin combines economic history, the history of ideas, and the study of international relations as a dynamic phenomenon (how states interact with other states as well as substate groups and individuals over time) in order to examine abstract and fluid concepts such as the existence of an international order, informal empire, and Realpolitik and Weltpolitik. The book is structured both chronologically and thematically. The narrative opens with a discussion of the interdependence of nations at the turn of the twentieth century in economic terms as well as military and diplomatic alliances. Hamlin then devotes the two long central chapters to German-Romanian relations in World War I, and he then examines the economic consequences of German hegemony for Romania.

Hamlin brings World War I as a crisis of nineteenth-century Western liberal, national, and imperial values into startling relief through his analysis of Germany’s changing attitudes to Romania. The wartime disruption of global trade and attendant economic difficulties in Germany made German politicians and military leaders even keener than before to secure access to Romanian economic resources, especially its grain and petroleum. The sharpening perception of the world as divided, not so much into friends and foes as resources and foes, led to a willingness to justify German intervention in the domestic affairs and economies of other states in order to secure Germany’s position in Europe, a suborning of elements of Weltpolitik in the service of the goals of Realpolitik. German fear and resentment of British and American economic power in the world prompted German leaders to see Romania, which until then had been lauded as a developing European economy in which Germany could invest to the benefit of both countries and to facilitate global trade, as essentially an imperial dependency of Germany in Southeast Europe. This entailed an attendant change of attitudes toward Romanians as a vital nation with a bright future ahead of it to a perception of Romanians as economically backward and culturally inferior to Germans.

Following Romania’s attempted change of sides and declaration of war on Austria-Hungary in August 1916, the German occupation of its erstwhile ally quickly transcended established norms of military occupation, which ideally should have been temporary and should have minimized disruption in the lives of the conquered populations. Instead, the Germans treated Romanian territory, people, and economic resources as Germany’s to exploit, with only minimal planning for infrastructure maintenance and improvement or the maintenance of the Romanian standard of living. As Germany sought to reorient Romanian agriculture, the Romanian petroleum industry, and Romanian trade relations to its exclusive benefit, it used varied tools of economic domination such as currency manipulation, debt, and domestic sales monopolies, and German-owned companies were used to control Romanian oil and Danube shipping. Germany also assumed control of state commissions in charge of regulating rail and river transport. Hamlin provides a wealth of detail on the German decision-making which went into these economic mechanisms and their effects on the Romanian state and population. German behavior in and toward Romania was a peculiar combination of aggression and defensiveness, and it could be seen as a symptom of Germany’s growing desire to affirm its preeminent position in Europe and challenge both British-American economic might and Western traditions of the previous century.

Beyond the focus on changing German-Romanian relations, Hamlin’s book draws several conclusions which should inspire work by other historians. Especially intriguing is the suggestion that Germany’s increased interference in Romanian domestic affairs paralleled patterns of control and exploitation evident in the Global South but also in Britain’s own increased financial and economic interference in its colonies during the war. German perception of lands to its east as having negotiable borders, conditional sovereignty, and primary use as sources of food and raw materials for the German market weakened the strict division between Europe and colony, metropolis and periphery, inherent in nineteenth-century liberalism. Moreover, Hamlin provides a vivid reminder that economic decisions by state leaders are never merely about financial interest or cost-benefit analyses. On the contrary, economic self-interest is shaped decisively by the state’s dominant ideology and its elites’ worldview, and vice-versa, changes in economic relations with other states have a ripple effect on foreign policy and the state’s understanding of its place in the world.

This book challenges the work of a diverse range of historians, such as Fritz Fischer, Kristin Kopp, Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius, and Isabel Hull, to argue that World War I was a point of departure and discontinuity for Germany and to emphasize the distinctions between Imperial and Nazi Germany’s colonialist attitudes to the East and Southeast. Nevertheless, one wishes Hamlin had done more to explore “some alternative continuities with the Third Reich” (p.18), not least since so many of Adolf Hitler’s ideas about conducting a European war stemmed from his understanding of World War I as well as his racism. The concept of Grossraumwirtschaft (the economy of large areas) constituted a fundamental rejection of Weltpolitik’s reliance on global markets as a key to national prosperity and thus signified a departure from Imperial Germany’s economic policy, but it did so by building on practices and perceptions which the German state used in World War I as a prelude to the nexus of destruction and exploitation that would be Nazi economic policy in World War II. This is less a criticism of the present work than a possible point of departure for future scholarship.

Likewise, it would be interesting to read a more Romania-centric version of the events covered by Hamlin, based primarily on Romanian archival sources and stretching beyond 1918 to cover Romania’s fraught relations not just with Weimar and Nazi Germany but also post-imperial Hungary, given their constant one-upmanship during the Nazi period and the continuity of Germany’s imperialist/colonialist attitudes to eastern and southeastern territories, borders, and peoples. The present work folds a discussion of Romania’s relations with Austria-Hungary into the central narrative of German-Romanian relations, with some detail provided on Austro-Hungarian interactions with Romania within the alliance system, the former’s role in the occupation of the latter, and evolving German and Austrian attitudes toward Romania. A specific analysis of the Austro-Hungarian and Romanian dynamic would only enrich this narrative.

Mirna Zakić
Ohio University

Erdély elvesztése 1918–1947 [The loss of Transylvania 1918–1947]. By Ignác Romsics. Budapest: Helikon, 2018. 452 pp.

Transylvania, which was the eastern territory of the medieval Kingdom of Hungary and which is still home to a Hungarian minority of over 1.2 million, holds a special place in Hungarian national consciousness. The loss of the region at the end of World War I, exactly one hundred years ago, represents a traumatic moment in Hungarian historical memory. Ignác Romsics’s 2018 book Erdély elvesztése 1918–1947 [The loss of Transylvania 19181947] is made especially relevant at the moment by this anniversary, which is at the same time the centenary of Transylvania becoming part of the Romanian state, as well as by attempts over the course of the past decade to reinterpret twentieth-century Hungarian history.

Romsics is, without doubt, one of the best-known Hungarian historians today, and his book forms part of a series of syntheses focusing on different periods of modern Hungarian history. He devotes about 450 pages (including several maps) to a presentation of the history of the administrative loss of Transylvania, from the collapse of the Kingdom of Hungary in autumn 1918 to the Paris Peace Treaties concluded at the end of World War II. Later formally abolished the temporary revisionist gains made by Hungary during the war and reestablished the status quo created by the Treaty of Trianon. Romsics focuses on and builds his narrative around two series of events of central importance in this almost thirty-year process: the transfer of authority over territories and the Treaty of Trianon at the end of World War I, as well as the period of World War II and the Paris Peace Treaties.

The structure of the book is almost “classically” chronological. However, the manner in which the events are recounted does not obscure significant themes and phenomena, as the author pays particular attention to them and returns to them repeatedly. The result is a highly readable, gripping, and proportionately structured narrative, which devotes considerable attention to minute detail (e.g. narratives of events on the basis of diary entries and letters) and the summary of larger processes, including discussion of background and context. At the same time, Romsics, drawing on his most recent research and his earlier works, deftly synthesizes the relevant findings of the secondary literature on the topic, and he also uses Romanian sources (with help from his colleagues).

The overview of the historical antecedents and context is followed by an account of the events of 1918–1920. This second part of the book is the most substantial from the perspectives of both length and detail, as it focuses on the crucial years when the modern Hungarian state lost Transylvania, which it later reclaimed only in part and only temporarily. The borders reached by the Romanian army in the spring of 1919 and confirmed by the Treaty of Trianon in 1920 are valid today, and this was the time when the political and social processes which (in combination with other processes) have shaped the present conditions in the region began or gained momentum. The third part of the book begins with an overview of the situation in Transylvania between the two world wars. This overview is relatively brief, even though this period has been the subject of several important works, but Romsics places more emphasis on World War II and the years following it. In this section, Romsics presents the various views on the future of Transylvania which emerged at the time, the political games played by the Soviet Union, and the Paris Peace Treaties. He concludes with a brief afterword, which offers an overview of the topic in the second half of the twentieth century.

The structure of the work reflects Romsics’s overarching intention to present and analyze key moments which may further an understanding of the decline of Hungarian political dominance in Transylvania. The central role of politics is shown by the fact that politics was the decisive factor, even though the loss of Hungarian economic, social, and cultural dominance was a considerably longer and much more complex process. Transylvania became part of Hungary again following the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867 (after more than three centuries of independent development), and the Hungarian community could only maintain (or strengthen) its leading position in the multiethnic region (where the majority of the population was Romanian) by using the authority of the state.

Romsics could have placed greater emphasis on various aspects of social history or on the fact that Transylvania was not simply lost by “Hungarians” and the Hungarian state, but was also seized by another party, “Romanians” and Romania. Furthermore, he could have discussed in greater detail the briefly mentioned issue of historical antecedents, i.e. how Hungary obtained Transylvania after 1867, and by what means or campaigns Hungary attempted to (re)integrate and maintain ownership of the region. However, this would have been beyond the scope of the synthesis. Nevertheless, Romsics should also have made it clearer that in 1918–19, Hungary had to defend itself against invading foreign troops not only in Transylvania, but in all the border regions, and he should have devoted more space to a summary of the situation in Transylvania in the interwar period.

On the other hand, the variety of topics discussed in relation to the periods under scrutiny will certainly compensate the reader for any possible omissions. These topics include the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1918, the rivalry between national movements, the (limited) opportunities Hungary had for armed defense, the question of territorial integrity and ethnic borders, Soviet “vacillation” over the status and territorial affiliation of Northern Transylvania at the end of World War II, the background of the 1947 reestablishment of the status quo (i.e. the borders defined by the Treaty of Trianon), the diplomatic games and power politics resulting from rivalries between small states and large powers throughout the period, etc.

Romsics’s book is also profoundly inspiring in another respect. By describing the often unexpected turns of events and the continuous changes in conditions, he succeeds in demonstrating the accidental nature of history and the way events solidify into “history” with the passing of time. Furthermore, by presenting often confused and contradictory narratives, he shows how the past is constructed in retrospect. This allows for a better understanding of developments like the idea of a Hungarian-Romanian confederation (proposed as one solution to the problem of Transylvania), which may seem far-fetched, even though relations between the two countries and nations were not characterized only by enmity and rivalry, but also by a mutual interdependence which raised the possibility of an alliance. However, the conflict of interest between the two nation-building efforts proved stronger in the end.

The competition between Romania and Hungary for Transylvania ended, after two world wars, with Hungary’s defeat. Thus, any description of how Transylvania was lost makes for rather depressing reading for many Hungarians. The closing lines of Ignác Romsics’s excellently written, concise, and thorough monograph nevertheless suggest a certain cautious optimism: Romsics regards the current situation as a stalemate, and he suggests that, although Transylvania has been lost to Hungary in an administrative sense, it has not been lost to Hungarians in Transylvania. The “classic” treatment of the topic and the objective style, which is devoid of pathos, contribute to making this book one of the latest reference works on the history of Transylvania.

Csaba Zahorán
Hungarian Academy of Sciences

Beyond Balkanism: The Scholarly Politics of Region Making. By Diana Mishkova. New York and London: Routledge, 2018. 282 pp.

More than twenty years after the specter of balkanism was first exorcised by Maria Todorova’s defiant critique of Western representations of the Balkans in her prominent book Imagining the Balkans (1997), the topic still merits scholarly attention. This time, however, it is not the West’s orientalizing gaze towards the Southeast that comes to the fore. In her latest book, the Bulgarian scholar of the Balkans Diana Mishkova focuses on the scholarly exercises in symbolic geography of the Balkans, covering both external representations and, more importantly, local regionalist visions and self-designations.

Beyond Balkanism: The Scholarly Politics of Region Making fills an important research gap by giving voice and restoring agency to hundreds of Balkan scholars who have actively participated in and often decisively shaped academic and political debates on the region. Mishkova analyzes regional discourses of local academic luminaries like Nicolae Iorga, Ivan Shishmanov, and Jovan Cvijić, among others, whose names have unjustly faded from European intellectual debates on region making. Instead of being passive receptors or imitators of outside concepts of the Balkans, these scholars came up with their own vision of the region’s essence and place within the European and global political geography, and they often subverted existing models of modernity, modernization, Europe, and its civilization. Thus, their discourses, as Mishkova argues, deserve to be analyzed and taken seriously as partners, albeit hardly equal, in a two-way process of knowledge production and region making. It is Mishkova’s goal to combine the internal and external perspectives on the Balkans as a region in order to offer “the historical reconstruction of the understandings of the Balkans that have emerged from academically embedded discursive practices and political usages.” (p.3)

In terms of structure, the book is essentially chronological. It begins with the nineteenth century, when the first ideas about the Balkans as a separate geopolitical entity emerged in the works of German, Austro-Hungarian, Russian, French, British, and, later, American scholars. As was the case in subsequent periods, these initial regionalist discourses frequently reflected political debates and cultural cleavages at home and buttressed specific political projects, but they still maintained some level of scholarly autonomy which gradually evolved into the establishment of an institutionalized academic field. Likewise, the first home-grown generation of scientists were not exempt from the entanglement of politics with scholarship. Their attempts to conceptualize the Balkans/Southeastern Europe as a cultural-historical space (Chapter 2) were heavily influenced by linguistics, geography, anthropology, ethnography, and folkloristics, leading to some of the most methodologically innovate comparative approaches to the region’s unique and common features. Chapter 3 provides an overview of the afterlife of these local academic projects and traces their adaptation to the dominant ideological climate of the interwar period, which prioritized research forays into national and regional mentality, the then-fashionable concepts of ethnopsychology, and autochthonism. Once again, Mishkova balances domestic perspectives with the next chapter, which analyzes external research ventures on the Balkans that were mainly in the context of Nazi economic and territorial expansion eastwards.

Chapters 5 and 6 deal with post-World War II shifts in symbolic geography, which almost led to the disappearance of the Balkans as a separate scientific object. Local scholars had to accommodate the new ideological shifts, once again readjusting concepts and discourses for diverse audiences and speaking the languages of nationalism, regionalism, and internationalism simultaneously at various academic fora. External scholars of the Balkans were also influenced by the Cold War. They had to grapple with the relocation of the Balkans/Southeastern Europe into the newly institutionalized area study of Eastern Europe and the dominant research agenda of modernization and backwardness. In the post-1989 period (covered in the last chapter), the Cold War intellectual straightjacket was gone, but research on the Balkans fell into a new epistemological trap laid by the (pseudo-)academic literature, according to which the region’s supposed ontological essence was exemplified by the maelstrom of the Yugoslav Wars. This strand of engagement with the region was then strongly challenged by the spatial turn and postcolonial theory, which highlighted the constructed, arbitrary, and hierarchical nature of seemingly objective regional classifications and designations and questioned “whether the region can be a useful category of analysis given the ‘invented’ quality of the concept and its political uses.” (p.215) In her conclusion, Mishkova once again reiterates the methodological benefits of her project, i.e. how studying “academic balkanism” reveals “the transnational flow of ideas and the communication between ‘Western’ and ‘peripheral’ concepts and definitions” (p.4) and teaches us to “appreciate the flexibility and fuzziness of our units of analysis and comparison.” (p.239)

The book’s strongest feature is undoubtedly the analysis of the ideas of the local purveyors of regionalist discourses. Mishkova clearly demonstrates the heuristic potential of their concepts, yet these are neither idealized nor a-critically reproduced. The author illustrates how, despite their intellectually emancipating and deprovincializing potential, these conceptions of the region could easily function as the scholarly arm of an exclusionist project for ethnic homogenization. Their positivist methodological toolkit could counter romantic national(istic) discourse or just as well reinforce national stereotypes about uniqueness or superiority vis-à-vis neighboring peoples (in line with Milica Bakić-Hayden’s nesting orientalisms). More often than not, the region’s scholars were as enmeshed in politics as their Western counterparts, and their careers represented a constant struggle between serving the nation and maintaining scholarly standards. These professional dilemmas seem to have resulted in perennial methodological nationalism but, given the difficulties modern scholars have superseding the national framework, it is hard to fault their predecessors.

Finally, a few words must be said about the book’s minor shortcomings. Despite the author’s obvious expertise on Balkan scholarly production and intellectual history, there is a slight unacknowledged imbalance in the degree to which the various Balkan countries are represented in the book. Romanian, Serbian/Yugoslav, and Bulgarian regional discourses predominate over Greek, Ottoman/Turkish and particularly Albanian ones. The latter country seems to remain terra incognita even for specialists on the region, but Greek and Ottoman/Turkish academic output could have featured more prominently. In addition, I would have personally appreciated further elaboration on the intertwined academic and political activities of the large group of scholars of Balkan origin in the West whose expertise on their home countries and the region was in high demand during the Cold War. Notwithstanding these minor flaws and potential expansions, the book is indeed a major academic accomplishment.

Truly an example of entangled history, Mishkova’s book demonstrates the benefits of combining regional and conceptual history. Constantly alternating between extra-regional and intra-regional academic perspectives, Mishkova describes how over time various national, regional, and transnational scholarly and political projects about the region emerged, influenced, and reinforced or clashed with each other. Thus, her book is a timely tribute to a long-standing local tradition of regionalist discourses which were never a mere shadow of their external counterparts. Suitable for scholars with various research interests, Diana Mishkova’s richly researched book goes beyond the Balkans and balkanism in more than just the title and can provide a working model for exploring the scholarly politics of region making for other cases.

Filip Lyapov
Central European University

Coca-Cola Socialism: Americanization of Yugoslav Culture in the Sixties. By Radina Vučetić. Translated by John K. Cox. Budapest–New York: Central European University Press, 2018. 360 pp.

Six years after its original publication, Radina Vučetić’s popular study Coca-Cola Socialism is now available to broader audiences thanks to a new English-language edition. Viewed by Vučetić as one of the characteristic processes of the twentieth century, this detailed cultural-historical work offers an analysis of the trajectories and influence of Americanization on culture and everyday life in Socialist Yugoslavia in the 1960s. The study is framed by the definition of Americanization as a form of cultural imperialism through which the United States left a global impact primarily in the spheres of popular culture, mass consumption, and everyday life. Moreover, as Vučetić, persuasively argues, Americanization encompassed transmission and reception of cultural influences, with popular culture used as a political tool in domestic and foreign policies both in the US and Socialist Yugoslavia. In the Yugoslav case in particular, the character of Americanization and its appropriation is conceptualized through the often used historiographical notion of the country’s in-between or hybrid position in the Cold War period, which Vučetić further includes in the broader “contradictory” context of the 1960s.

In light of these guiding concepts, in the four chapters of the book, Vučetić maps various high, mass, and pop cultural phenomena which were either imported from the United States or which emerged in Yugoslavia under American influence. The first two chapters focus on cinema and music, primarily jazz and rock ‘n’ roll, while the third chapter offers insights into modern art movements, such as abstract expressionism and pop art, and modern and experimental theater. The final chapter overviews a range of phenomena related to the topic of everyday life, from cartoons and comics, popular literature, fashion, hippie subculture, and television to Coca-Cola and other elements of consumer culture, such as the supermarket.

In the similarly structured chapters, Vučetić analyzes the use of these cultural and consumer products in both American and Yugoslav political and diplomatic agendas during the Cold War. On the one hand, the United States actively promoted its cultural presence in Socialist Yugoslavia, for example, by setting an artificially low price for the importation of Hollywood movies into Yugoslavia, which then significantly contributed to their popularity. On the other hand, Yugoslav authorities equally accepted and institutionally endorsed American cultural imports through festivals, trade fairs, and the media. Vučetić completes the picture of these dynamics with a discussion of Yugoslav cultural phenomena which emerged under American influence – such as the so-called Partisan Western –, or with others that were characterized more generally by formal and intellectual tendencies similar to the global modern cultural production of the 1960s. In addition, a sketch of similar cases from other Eastern Bloc countries (such as Poland, Czechoslovakia and East Germany) and the indication of the continuity of certain phenomena from the interwar period complements the analysis with a useful, albeit rudimentary comparative dimension.

The argument that Vučetić makes on the basis of this extensive catalogue of examples is that while the diffusion and consumption of American cultural and consumer products was fully supported by the state-socialist authorities, the locally emerging modern artistic practices, primarily in the case of the critically oriented Black Wave cinema and experimental theater, were targets of censorship and repression. Vučetić’s explanation for these tendencies is based on her understanding of the agendas of foreign and domestic policies both in the case of the US and Socialist Yugoslavia. For the United States, the promotion of cultural and consumer products was in general part of its propaganda campaigns during the Cold War. More specifically, in the case of Socialist Yugoslavia, it was part of an attempt to Americanize Yugoslav society and consequently use it as a Trojan horse in the struggle against East European state socialism. For Socialist Yugoslavia, the open acceptance of American influences was useful in creating a modern and liberal image of Yugoslavia as a more successful state-socialist system. However, as Vučetić claims, in the cases of cultural phenomena that were formally perhaps similar to the accepted American or Western products, but from the perspective of their content critically pointed against the Yugoslav state, the authorities were far less interested in maintaining the liberal image and more in protecting the system through repression and censorship.

Vučetić describes the conflicting situation created by these tendencies of the Yugoslav authorities as the schizophrenic reality of the Yugoslav system, and she uses it as a basis for the concluding statement, according to which the paradigm through which Socialist Yugoslavia can be best understood is summed up in the symbolic image of the two-faced Roman deity Janus. This claim concerning the Yugoslav state’s Janus-like character (i.e. as being both in the East and the West) represents an attempt to redefine the existing scholarly perception of the in-between position of Socialist Yugoslavia during the Cold War. Without any more particular nuances, the readers are, however, left with the impression that the final conclusion simply echoes the starting point of the analysis.

Theoretical and analytical engagement is the place where Vučetić’s study seems to struggle the most. Concepts such as Americanization and the in-between position of Socialist Yugoslavia are taken without any critical distance, although the author herself provides a basis for their reconsideration. Firstly, examples of similarity with the Eastern Bloc and continuity from the interwar period significantly challenge the seemingly unique in-between status of Socialist Yugoslavia and thereby the character of Americanization during the Cold War. Secondly, although admitting that scholars mostly agree that the actual effects of Americanization are difficult to measure, Vučetić nevertheless draws sweeping conclusions concerning the United States’ success in Americanizing Yugoslav society by transforming the everyday lives and worldviews of Yugoslav citizens through the promotion of Western values, such as freedom and democracy. In this regard, Vučetić seems to want to affirm that the US Cold War propaganda machine was successful in achieving its goal of diffusing liberal and capitalist values in state-socialist countries through cultural and consumer products. In this way, however, Vučetić’s analysis disregards the complexity of messages conveyed by cultural media and traps these messages within the prevailing Cold War dichotomy of Western affluence and freedom versus the gray and repressed state-socialist reality.

Given the distance in time between the original publication and the translation, these conclusions have come to seem particularly problematic. Nevertheless, Coca-Cola Socialism appeared at a moment when there was no similar research on the cultural dimension of the political relationship between Socialist Yugoslavia and the United States. By covering numerous examples of American products and influences in Yugoslav culture and everyday life during the 1960s, Coca-Cola Socialism without doubt represents a pioneering contribution to the picture of the cultural and political landscape of Socialist Yugoslavia in this period. Moreover, the study gives shape to the broader story of relations between Socialist Yugoslavia, the United States, and to some extent Western Europe in the spheres of cultural diplomacy and commerce. The English edition of the study, therefore, will provide a larger audience of young researchers a much needed basis for further excursions into the complex world of Cold War interactions between Central and East European socialist states and the West in the second half of the twentieth century.

Ivana Mihaela Žimbrek
Central European University

Lajos Fehér: Egy népi kommunista politikus pályaképe [The career of a folk communist politician]. By István Papp. Budapest: ÁBTL; Pécs: Kronosz, 2017. 446 pp.

Before his book about Lajos Fehér was published, István Papp recommended it to his readers in a short video message on social media. In his review, he positioned the important agrarian politician of the party-state period between János Kádár and the recently deceased hardliner, Béla Biszku. This eye-catching new book, which, according to its subtitle, presents a “the career of a folk communist,” is more than a thorough political biography. It was published as part of the series of monographs by the Historical Archives of State Security Services (Állambiztonsági Szolgálatok Történeti Levéltára in Hungarian, or ÁBTL). It offers an analysis and reassessment of the development of Kádárism and the Hungarian model of the Soviet system over the course of the life of an individual. The volume is therefore at least as much about the Hungarian version of socialism as it is about the career of a talented young man from a rural community and his voyage into the party elite. While the reader follows the path of Lajos Fehér’s career (which led to the highest echelons of the party through the people’s movement and the illegal communist party, and then followed a typical trajectory from the organization of the political police through political demotions into Kádár’s politburo), the book also raises many political and social questions.

The well-edited, highly readable book is the result of a decade of research. At the same time, the monograph also follows one of the decisive trends in contemporary Hungarian historiography. The book reflects on works by writers of decisive biographies of Hungarian politicians, such as Ignác Romsics, János M. Rainer, and György Kövér, and it revisits the discourse on the respective era. István Papp provides insights into the Kádár era and Kádárism with regard to the social transformations and the decision-making mechanisms of the political system.

Though he uses an exciting variety of historical sources (memoirs, journals, recollections, newspaper articles, oral history interviews, public speeches, policy documents, secret service documents, etc.), Papp’s style remains coherent throughout. As a result of decades of diligent research, he has produced a work of meticulous philological analysis. He presents his theses in correspondence with the findings of the relevant secondary literature and embeds them in a comprehensible theoretical framework. The individual chapters offer analyses of Lajos Fehér’s responses to social and political challenges. At the same time, this is a proportionately written biography, which acquaints the reader with the protagonist’s family background, political awareness, and illegal work and the stages of his political career. The main strength of the work, alongside its scholarly precision, is the balanced and flowing manner in which the narrative is presented.

It is also clear from Papp’s lectures and journalism that the main questions of his research so far have concerned the processes of the transformation and ultimately destruction of the traditional world of agriculture. In addition, he has a keen interest in the opportunities public actors and ordinary people had and their room for maneuver, as well as the ethical dimensions of political activity. Thus, many parts of this monograph raise moral questions. By analyzing the stages of Lajos Fehér’s career, Papp returns to at least three questions: what was the key to Fehér’s success, what was his political responsibility, and what were the real results of his agricultural policy. This approach extends over his entire life and, indirectly, over the fate of an entire social class. The biography lays emphasis on the extent to which sacrifice made by Fehér’s father and Fehér’s education (i.e. inherited factors) and his diligence (his own efforts) determined his social mobility and political success. At the same time, this approach yields rather dramatic findings, as Lajos Fehér’s father eventually died as a result of the collectivization campaign (the loss of his lands), a process in which his son was a major actor. (One possible reading of the monograph is as a dramatic, twentieth-century Central European family history with persecution, emigration, and new beginnings.)

The monograph presents the Hungarian socialist model and everyday life in the Kádárian agricultural world through fine characterizations, secondary sources, and statistics. According to a prevalent general memory of the recent past, grocery stores, which were full and well-fed, even chubby Hungarians were defining characteristics of Hungary under the Kádár regime. This image, which was an element of the regime’s propaganda campaign, functioned as an illustration of the success of the regime’s agricultural policy. Papp also puts forward arguments and counterarguments regarding the applicability of this model, but he leaves the final conclusions to the reader.

Remaining “critically respectful” of the facts, Papp avoids the pitfalls of postmodern approaches, but he indicates the limitations of the extent to which we can know and document the past. The most exciting details of Fehér’s life may have been processes, which took place behind the scenes or, when he was part of an organization that was illegal, or they may have been the processes involving changes in personal conviction. I am thinking of processes like Fehér’s transformation into a communist, his role in the March Front, events, which took place when he was part of an illegal movement, his involvement with the political police, his departure from the organization, and, finally, his experiences of the 1956 Revolution. Many readers may be left feeling curious to know more regarding these questions. However, given the lack of adequate sources, Papp does not try to present stories, which go “beyond the facts.” At the same time, he devotes a separate chapter to Fehér’s character, and he deals with Fehér’s inner world at several stages of his life, including his religious beliefs and their impact (his attachment to the Calvinist tradition).

When reading this narrative of the eventful life of Lajos Fehér, the reader may even have the impression that he was one of the leading cadres who survived everything and suffered no major grief during times of upheaval. He survived as a member of an illegal movement, and he survived the war, the Stalinist “vigilance campaigns” (persecution of the alleged internal enemy), and the 1956 Revolution, and in the meantime, he became highly influential. As a leading agricultural politician, he had a distinctive concept of reform (which Papp presents precisely and clearly), and although he was not a simple yes-man member of the cadre, he conformed to the party’s internal policies. Indeed, the inner tensions of his public life reveal a great deal about the age. For instance, the introduction of Fehér as a former deputy chief of the political police (a short section of his career) offers new information. Reliable sources from this era are scarce, and Lajos Fehér is presented as a powerful man and a hard-handed figure insistent on adherence to order, who overstepped legal boundaries and who actively participated in the communist takeover. Müller Rolf’s work on Gábor Péter, the head of the State Security Authority (Államvédelmi Hatóság, ÁVH in Hungarian), was published at the same time as this biography of Lajos Fehér, and both can be seen as signs of the “ripening” of contemporary historical research in Hungary. Based on the narratives of their careers and the careers of their colleagues who are mentioned in the book, we get a more nuanced understanding of the lives of the cadres whose careers included periods working as functionaries or in the state security services.

In Papp’s analysis, the relationship between the economic reformer and the party cadre insistent on enforcing order is a recurring theme, as is Fehér’s attachment to Imre Nagy and his legacy. At the same time, the study takes important steps towards a reassessment of the orthodox communist and reformist qualities through a subtle presentation of minor actors. However, perhaps the main strength of the volume is the presentation of the agricultural lobby and the agricultural policy reforms. A clear and precise description of this lobby and these policy reforms is undoubtedly a new and significant scholarly achievement. In this respect, Papp’s work feeds into discourses about contemporary history, primarily the ideas of János M. Rainer on Kádárism, and the works of Zsuzsanna Varga and József Ö. Kovács regarding agricultural history. Papp’s monograph complements and occasionally amends earlier scholarly findings.

Ultimately, the main goal of the work is to introduce and examine a new political category, which will also serve as a new category in the study of politics. According to the subtitle of the book, it offers a narrative of the career of a populist communist. The proportionate structure and the chronologically written biography reveal the social foundations of “real existing socialism” in Hungary and the internal (human) resources of Kádárism more accurately than previous works have. The volume provides colorful social tableaux, and it offers a sociographical perspective, which draws ideas from political and economic history and agro-historical research.

The many stories in this 400-page monograph, which are narrated as anecdotes but analyzed according to scholarly methods, make for engaging reading. Papp’s work may well serve as a foundation for further research, and given its concise language and clear style of argumentation, it could also be used as a “textbook.” It provides an accurate biography, but it also offers essential support for an understanding of the reform potentials of Kádárism. The work is an essential read for those interested in the transformation of traditional peasant society in Hungary and the phenomena of “socialist modernization.” Ultimately, the monograph can be used by Hungarian and foreign readers interested in the mechanisms of Kádárism and the Hungarian version of socialism.

Gábor Tabajdi
National Széchényi Library – 1956 Institute