Intellectuals and Politics in Eastern Europe
Office Hours: Tuesdays 9-11 (WLH 107)
Fall Semester, 2003
Purpose: In Eastern Europe, intellectuals oppose imperial or quasi-imperial rule, or criticize nation-states that fail to provide the satisfactions promised by sovereignty. They are regular targets of abuse from all sides, and from one another, but are also adept in defending themselves. The cliché goes that history is written by the winners, but the losers very often make a good showing. This course shall focus on the Warsaw, Budapest, Vienna, and Prague, and thus Polish, Hungarian, Austrian, Czech, and Jewish thinkers -- bearing in mind that these categories could and did overlap. As we situate the intelligentsia, we may find ourselves gaining a richer understanding of modern ideologies such as nationalism, socialism, and liberalism.
Readings: Course readings are divided between secondary sources and literature. Prose and poetry serve a special role under conditions of censorship, allowing political messages to be transmitted by suggestion or by code. Intellectuals themselves considered novels and poems to be part of the political struggle, as did the regimes that they opposed. East European revolutionaries were and are novelists, playwrights, or philosophers, and the allocation of the reading also aims to captures this regional particularity. We will read novels by Prus, Olbracht, and Gombrowicz, essays of Miłosz, Havel, and Lukács, a pamphlet by Kołakowski and a poem by Herbert.
Evaluation: You will be graded according to class participation (50%) and a term paper of not more than 25 pages (50%). Participation involves two obligations. The first is to attend and discuss the reading each week. The second obligation is to present the reading once or twice during term. The term paper grade comprises three parts: outline (25%), the first draft (25%), and the final draft (50%). The research paper may be a deeper investigation of one of the intelligentsia predicaments discussed in the course. Or it may be on something else. We'll be keeping the research project in view each week. Books are available at the Yale Bookstore, the course packet at York Copy.
Week One (3 September): Disorientation
Bolesław Prus, The Doll, Budapest: Central European University Press, 1996, 1-43.
Piotr Wandycz, The Lands of Partitioned Poland, Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1993, 193-213 (PACKET).
Week Two (10 September): History and Liberalism (1863-1890)
Prus, The Doll, 43-345.
Week Three (17 September): Nature and Society (1863-1890)
Prus, The Doll, 345-680
Week Four (24 September): Patriotic Marxists (1890-1905)
Timothy Snyder, Nationalism, Marxism, and Modern Central Europe: A Biography of Kazimierz Kelles-Krauz, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1997, 1-41, 117-155, 173-220, 239-252.
Week Five (1 October): Revolutionary Budapest (1900-1918)
John Lukács, Budapest 1900: A Historical Portrait of a City and its Culture, New York: Grove Press, 1988, 108-181 (PACKET).
György Lukács, History and Class Consciousness, Cambridge: MIT Press, 1968, 1-26, 46-81, 223-255. Optional: 83-223.
Week Six (8 October): Lukács and his Sunday Circle (1900-1918)
Mary Gluck, Georg Lukács and his Generation, 1900-1918, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1985, 1-222.
Week Seven (15 October): Viennese Modernism (1890-1918)
Carl Schorske, Fin-de-Siecle Vienna: Politics and Culture, New York: Vintage Books, 1981, 1-180.
Week Eight (22 October): Provincial Zionism (1900-1930)
Ivan Olbracht, The Sorrowful Eyes of Hannah Karajich, Budapest: Central European University Press, 1999 [original Czech-language edition 1957].
Week Nine (29 October): Warsaw’s Nationalism (1890-1939)
Wandycz, The Lands of Partitioned Poland, 288-295 (PACKET).
Brian Porter, When Nationalism Began to Hate: Imagining Modern Politics in Nineteenth-Century Poland, New York: Oxford University Press, 2000, pages to be announced.
Roman Dmowski, excerpts from Thoughts of a Modern Pole, 2pp. (PACKET).
Zygmunt Balicki, excerpts from National Egoism and Ethics, 2pp. (PACKET).
Week Ten (5 November): The Modern State
Witold Gombrowicz, Ferdydurke, New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000 [original Polish-language publication 1938]
Week Eleven (12 November): The Communist Embrace (1945-1968)
Piotr Wandycz, The Price of Freedom, New York: Routledge, 2001, 236-265.
Czesław Milosz, The Captive Mind, New York: Vintage Books, 1991 [original Polish edition 1953, awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature 1980].
Week Twelve (19 November): Anti-politics (1968-1989)
Václav Havel, “The Power of the Powerless,” (PACKET). 80pp.
Leszek Kołakowski, "How to be a Liberal-Conservative Socialist," (PACKET). 1p.
Zbigniew Herbert, "Go," (PACKET). 2pp.
Due: Outline of term paper. Comments will be emailed to you.
Week Thirteen (3 December): Class presentations of term papers
3 December: Draft of term paper due in class
4 December 9:00am: Drafts returned with comments to course box in HGS
10 December 5:00pm: Final papers due in my box in History Department lounge, HGS.