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: September 2019


Co-published with:


In this Ukrainian bestseller, now available in English for the first time, Yaroslav Hrytsak examines the first three decades (1856–86) in the life of Ivan Franko, a prominent writer, scholar, journalist, and political activist who became an indisputable leader in the forging of modern Ukrainian national identity. Hrytsak does so against the background of small communities—Franko’s family, his native village, his colleagues, the editors of periodicals for which he worked, and the revolutionary circles with which he interacted—during a time when multi-ethnic Habsburg Galicia evolved into several modern nations. This volume will remain a recognized standard for the study of the history of Ukraine and East Central Europe.

Yaroslav Hrytsak is an historian, public intellectual, and author of several books and numerous articles. He is a professor at the Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv, the director of the Institute of Historical Research at Lviv National University, and the director of the Petro Jacyk Program for the Study of Modern Ukrainian History and Society of the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies. He has also taught at Columbia University, Harvard University, and the Central European University (Budapest). He has received nine Ukrainian, Polish, American, or Austrian awards for his academic contributions and community involvement.


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
This book is a quintessential imperial biography of Ivan Franko, written by a historian who seems to know everything about turn-of-the century nationalizing empires, their challenges and opportunities. Covering just thirty years of Franko’s life, the book itself possesses many “imperial” qualities—from its length to its author’s all-embracing gaze, which is attentive to even the seemingly most marginal details of Franko’s early life. … In accessible and engaging prose, Hrytsak narrates the powerful yet subtle story of life as experimentation with gender, linguistic, national and cultural identities and loyalties. In the end, this is a fascinating and painstakingly researched story about nationalization as the reduction of past imperial ambiguities and complexity.
— Marina Mogilner, Edward and Marianna Thaden Chair in Russian and East European Intellectual History and Associate Professor of History, University of Illinois at Chicago

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