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Historians and NationalismEast-Central Europe in the Nineteenth Century$
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Monika Baár

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199581184

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199581184.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Historians and Nationalism

Monika Baár (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

The introductory chapter defines the book's major aim, which lies in investigating the life‐work of five historians in comparative and transnational perspective and ascertaining their place in the intellectual landscape of nineteenth‐century historiography. They are: Joachim Lelewel (Polish, 1786–1861), Simonas Daukantas (Lithuanian, 1793–1864), František Palacký (Czech, 1798–1876), Mihály Horváth (Hungarian, 1804–78), Mihail Kogălniceanu (Romanian, 1818–91). The chapter surveys existing literature and identifies a gap in historiographical literature that exists between large‐scale general accounts and individual case studies and defines the book's scope between these two categories. It takes issue with the widely held view that smaller and marginal historical traditions were necessarily ‘backward’ and thus incapable of producing worthwhile contributions. It also challenges other established perceptions regarding the differences between nationalism in Western and Eastern Europe, especially with the view that intense political engagement was a trait peculiar to historians of Eastern Europe. It then goes on to address the methodological difficulties inherent in transnational comparison and, finally, introduces the major themes of the book.

Keywords:   transnational history, comparative history, European historiography, traditions on the periphery, backwardness theory, nationalism, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, historians as politicians

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