Wielokulturowość Galicji jako wyzwanie i zadanie komparatysty
The Multiculturalism of Galicia as a Challenge and Task for Comparatists
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The subject of the multiculturalism of Galicia seems exhausted and subsequent attempts at describing it may lead to trivial conclusions. However, a few blank spaces still remain to be filled. The author considers how the images of nations populating Galicia collided. Polish Galicia (mythical and literary) is rooted in our consciousness; we do not know, however, the notions, poetics and rhetorical figures employed by other nations. From this perspective, the apparently well-known multiculturalism of Galicia proves a loose bundle of contradictory narrations. The coexistence of multiple cultures and nations was bound to cause the isolation of individual communities. The author scrutinises two nations, Polish and Ukrainian, between which there was cultural and political rivalry brought about by a sudden increase of well-educated people on both sides. Hence two types of discourse are presented in the article, in which the two nations learned about one other and decided upon which employed rhetoric was unwelcome and therefore excluded. Those discourses were created regardless of nationalist ideas; they were an emanation of “collective power” (as understood by Wilhelm Dilthey), an energy which had to be channelled into properly formulated senses and images. The article analyses texts which are results of those discourses; the discourses may prove contradictory within one culture. The author confronts the patriotic novel for youngsters, Dzieci Lwowa (Children of Lviv) by Helena Zakrzewska, which retains the image of an “ugly robber”, with diaries of women engaged in military actions in eastern Galicia (1918–1919). In their reports the figure of the barbarian Ukrainian is reversed – it was Ukrainian soldiers, not Austrian, who showed mercy and respect and who withheld fire when a lady might have been wounded. Even divided and antagonised worlds are susceptible to processes of exchange, influence and diffusion, therefore their discourses should not be analysed separately. It transpires that one issue, already exploited in one culture, may play a new role in another. And this particular aspect of the multiculturalism of Galicia turns out to be an unaccomplished task.
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