“This book represents the most sophisticated historiographical approach to understanding nation-building. Patrice Dabrowski demonstrates tremendous erudition . . . making brilliant use of contemporary newspapers and journals, as well as archival material.” —Larry Wolff, Boston College, author of Inventing Eastern Europe
Patrice M. Dabrowski investigates the nation-building activities of Poles during the decades preceding World War I, when the stateless Poles were minorities within the empires of Russia, Germany, and Austria-Hungary. Could Poles maintain a sense of national identity, or would they become Germans, Austrians, or Russians? Dabrowski demonstrates that Poles availed themselves of the ability to celebrate anniversaries of past deeds and personages to strengthen their nation from within, providing a ground for a national discourse capable of unifying Poles across political boundaries and social and cultural differences. Public commemorations such as the jubilee of the writer Jozef Kraszewski, the bicentennial of the Relief of Vienna, and the return to Poland of the remains of the poet Adam Mickiewicz are reconstructed here in vivid detail.