Ivan Franko and the Literary Depiction of Jews. Parsing the Contexts

George G. Grabowicz

Ivan Franko und die jüdische Frage in Galizien Interkulturelle Begegnungen und Dynamiken im Schaffen des ukrainischen Schriftstellers. Göttingen : V & R Unipress, Vienna University Press im Verlag V & R Unipress, 2016, Pages 59-92.

Context is always important, but particularly so in an issue as fraught as this. The basic context for the issue addressed here is the historical and social fabric of Ukrainian-Jewish relations in the course of the 19th and early 20th century and its reflection in Ukrainian literature. As much as our general focus is on Galicia, and the immediate context of Franko‘s life andwork, the basic fact that hewas writing in Ukrainian – and ultimately almost single-handedly implementing the monumental task of integrating western Ukrainian, Galician writing into modern Ukrainian literature, and with it the political goal of unification of the two Ukraines, i. e. of sobornist‘ – provides the broader context for his manifold activities, his reception and impact, and the literary dynamics at hand. Given this political and nation-building component, Franko is an intrinsically canonic figure, whose status is reinforced by the larger frame of Ukrainian nation-formation – and thus all the more resistant to revision.