Ivan Franko and His Community

Ivan Franko and His Community


Yaroslav Hrytsak
Translated by Marta Daria Olynyk

Series: Ukrainian Studies
ISBN: 9781618119681 (paperback)
Pages: approx. 570 pp.; 14 tables
Publication Date: November 2018


A bestseller in Ukraine and now available in English for the first time, this is the biography of young Ivan Franko, prominent Ukrainian writer, public intellectual, and political activist. This book examines Franko’s life in 1856-1886 against a background of small communities: his family, his native village, his colleagues, the editorial staff of newspapers and magazines in which he worked, and illegal circles among whom he conducted his propaganda. Born into a family of low social status, he became an indisputable leader in forging a Ukrainian identity during a period in which the traditional multiethnic society of Habsburg Galicia was transforming into modern nations. Because Franko’s biography spans the time of these changes, it brings us to the very core of the debates about the emergence of nationalism in Eastern Europe. This volume has established itself as the standard for anyone studying the modern history of Ukraine or East Central Europe. 

Yaroslav Hrytsak is a leading Ukrainian historian and public intellectual. He is the author of numerous publications in modern history of Eastern Europe. He has taught at Columbia University, Harvard University, and the Central European University (Budapest), and has been awarded various Ukrainian and foreign awards for academic achievements and public endeavors.


This is a study of one of the most intriguing Ukrainian activists of a century ago by one of the most important Ukrainian thinkers of today. Anyone who wishes to see demanding theories of nationalism tested in the practice of nuanced historical research should read this book. It is the culmination of a long discussion about the origins of nations that began in the 1980s and one of the most important books in its field.
— Timothy Snyder, Richard C. Levin Professor of History, Yale University
Yaroslav Hrytsak’s brilliant study of Ivan Franko illuminates the history of Ukraine, Galicia, and the late Habsburg monarchy. Franko emerges as a dynamic, complex figure whose life and work were deeply important for the history of politics and ideas. Hrytsak presents him with great skill and subtlety, and this book should be read by anyone interested in the intellectual history and comparative literature of Eastern Europe.
— Larry Wolff, New York University, author of "Inventing Eastern Europe" and "The Idea of Galicia"
Yaroslav Hrytsak is one of Ukraine’s most prominent liberal intellectuals, an essayist and historian. Ivan Franko and His Community is not his first book on Franko, the writer and polymath, but it is certainly his most ambitious and best. The Ukrainian original was an award-winner in Ukraine. It is a conceptual book, very creative, and extremely readable in the excellent translation by Marta Daria Olynyk. Franko’s strong personality jumps from the pages. Franko was forever falling in love and making hot-headed marriage proposals, but Hrytsak also tells us about his more unconventional relationships. Franko consciously fashioned his self-representation as a son of the people, a peasant boy borne aloft into higher social spheres by the sheer power of his talent. But Hrytsak tells us a rather different, and more interesting, story. I can recommend this book without reservation to lovers of biography, those curious about life in the peripheries of Habsburg Austria, and to readers who like to think.
— John-Paul Himka, Professor Emeritus of History and Classics, University of Alberta

Table of Contents

Translated by Mark Baker

PART I: Franko and His Times
Chapter 1: Austrian Galicia: Movement without Changes, Changes without Movement
Chapter 2: The Riddles of His Birth
Chapter 3: Early Childhood
Chapter 4: School Years
Chapter 5: Between the Small and the Large Fatherland
Chapter 6: Did the Peasants Have a Fatherland?
Chapter 7: The Turning-Point: The Modern Metropolis
Chapter 8: At the Forefront of the Socialist Movement
Chapter 9: “A Journal, All We Need Is a Journal!”

PART II: Franko and His Society
Chapter 10: Franko and His World Perception
Chapter 11: Franko and His Peasants
Chapter 12: Franko and His Boryslav
Chapter 13: Franko and His Women
Chapter 14: Franko and His Jews
Chapter 15: Franko and His Readers
Chapter 16: How Franko Became a Genius
Chapter 17: A Prophet in His Own Land