A COMMENT ON TEODORA SHEK BRNARDIĆ'S ARTICLE

in East Central Europe
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Abstract: This comment expresses sympathy with the concern underlying Dr Shek Brnardic's paper, namely that East Central European history is in danger of homogenizing distortion in academic discourse emanating from the currently hegemonic West. It argues, however, that the remedy to this is not to be found in some of the postmodernist critiques deployed by Brnardiċ, which are themselves the product of that hegemony and help promote a homogenizing view of what Western scholars have actually said. The view that Western models played a part in the shaping of Enlightenment in Central and Eastern Europe is perfectly compatible with, indeed invites, the study of the wide variety of ways in which those influences were received and mediated, interacting with social, religious and historico-political legacies to produce the distinctive formations that Brnardiċ rightly stresses.

A COMMENT ON TEODORA SHEK BRNARDIĆ'S ARTICLE

in East Central Europe

References

1. In the book Dr Shek Bmardi¿ refers to, I speak of "Eastern Europe," which was probably the most common term between 1945 and 1989, if not from 1918. The reservation is that parts of the Balkans are arguably no more central than Prague, say, is in the East. See R. F. Q. Okey, "Central Europe/Eastern Europe: Behind the Definitions," Past and Present, 137 (1992),� 102-33. East Central Europe is probably best defined as the lands of the old Polish-Lithuanian Common- wealth and the Habsburg Monarchy: see Maciej Janowski, "Pitfalls and Opportunities. The Con- cept of East-Central Europe as a Tool of Historical Anafysis," European Review of History - Re- vue europeenne d'Histoire, 6, no. 1 (1999) , 91-100.

2. Sarah Maza, "Stories in History: Cultural Narratives in Recent Works in European His- tory," American Historical Review, 101 (1996), 1493-1515 (1500).

3. Lawrence E. Klein, "Enlightenment in Conversation," in What's Leji of Pnlightenment?: A Postmodern Question, ed. by Bacon and P. H. Reill (Stanford, CA: Stanford Univ. Press, 2001), ■ pp.148-66(151). ). 4. Josef Haubeit, Ceski osvicenstvi (Praha: Svoboda, 1986), p. 241.

5. See Brnadic's article, p. 177, citing D. Smith, Working the Rough Stone. Freemasonry and Society in Eighteenth-Century Russia (Dekalb: Northern Illinois Univ. Press 1999), p. 16.

6.SeeBmadi6's article, p. 167. 7. A piquant illustration from the other end of the continent of the way such strategies may shift: The Irish, in revolt against British rule at the start of the last century, declared their art : uniquely Celtic and would have no truck with metropolitan academician categories; since entry into the European Union as a mature, if small nation state, their art historians have been con- cerned to fit their artists into the relevant genres of the standard canon. The Welsh, formerly loyal Britons and glad if any of their artists met academicist approval, now more assertive, claim for previously disdained figures the qualities of the naive painting tradition, following a potent precedent: the successful rehabilitation of American "colonial" i.e., pre-1776 art in the United States since the 1920s. ,

8. Anton Springer, Aus meinem Leben (Berlin: G. Grote, 1892), p. 102.

9 See Ante Starčevié, Politički spi.si, ed. by T. Ladan (Zagreb: Znanje, 1971 ). 10. Mikulas Teich, "Bohemia: from darkness to light,' in Roy Porter and Mikulas Teich eds., The Enlightenmertt in National Context (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1981), pp. 141-63 (161). 11. Sidney Pollard, European Economic Integration 1815-1970 (London: Thames and Hud- son, 1974).

12. Teich, "Bohemia," p. 161. 1. 1'3. N-K., Lebensbegenheiten des vortrefflichen Menschen und Landwirths Franz Vavak (Prag, 1796), p. 122. 14. J. Tibensky, "Adam Frantisek Kollir," in Die Maria-Theresianische und Josephinische Reform und ihre Bedeutung fur die Entwicklung der Slowakei (Bratislava: Stimul, 1998)¡ 15. Thus Haubelt, České osvicenstvi, p. 409, argues that the use of German as medium of Enlightenment in'the Czech lands could last only until the "development of socio-economic ac- tivity at the popular level in the Czech nation." Ernest Gellner, of Czech origin, has most sys- tematically developed the functional view of the emergence of nationalism through culture in his Nations and Nationalism (Oxford: Blackwell, 1983). i ' . V ■

16. R. J. W. Evans, "Was There a Welsh Enlightenment?," in R. R. Davies and Gerai R. Jenkins, eds., From Medieval to Modern Wales: Historical Essays in Honour of Kenneth O. Morgan and Ralph A. Grffths (Cardiff: Univ. of Wales Press, 2004), pp. 142-59. The Welsh elite used their own literary language for a millennium; from circa 1600 this elite increasingly changed to English but did not cease to think itself Welsh till the nineteenth century. 17. Janowski, "Pitfalls and Opportunities."

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