Jahrbücher für Geschichte Osteuropas:  jgo.e-reviews 5 (2015), 2 Rezensionen online / Im Auftrag des Instituts für Ost- und Südosteuropaforschung in Regensburg herausgegeben von Martin Schulze Wessel und Dietmar Neutatz

Verfasst von: Zaur Gasimov

 

The Oxford History of Historical Writing.

Vol. 1: Beginnings to AD 600. Ed. by Andrew Feldherr / Grant Hardy. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011, XIX, 652 S., 6 Ktn., Abb. ISBN: 978-0-19-921815-8.

Vol. 2: 400-1400. Ed. by Sarah Foot / Chase F. Robinson. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012, XXIII, 643 S., 3 Ktn. ISBN: 978-0-19-923642-8.

Vol. 3: 1400–1800. Ed. by José Rabasa / Masayuki Sato, Edoardo Tortarolo / Daniel Woolf. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012. XXI, 727 S., 7 Ktn., Abb. ISBN: 978-0-19-921917-9.

Vol. 4: 1800–1945. Ed. by Stuart Macintyre / Juan Maiguashca / Attila Pók. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011. XXI, 650 S., 8 Ktn. ISBN: 978-0-19-953309-1.

Vol. 5: Historical Writing Since 1945. Ed. by Axel Schneider / Daniel Woolf. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011.  XXI, 718 S., 7 Ktn. ISBN: 978-0-19-922599-6.

Four years ago, a group of international historians initiated a gigantic publication project on the history of history writing which was financially supported by the University of Alberta and by Queens University, Kingston, Ontario. As a result of the project, Oxford University Press issued five volumes, which covered the past of the worldwide history writing since thebeginningsuntil nowadays. The aim of this review is to show to which extent the history of Central and Eastern Europe was integrated into the above mentioned compilation of articles (fourth and fifth volumes) as well as how that geography has been covered by the historians involved into the project.

In the final fifth volume we find the articles of Maciej Górny, Denis Kozlov and Ulf Brunnbauer, who deal with the historiographic mainstreams in Central Europe, in Russia as well as in the Balkans. While the volume consistes of thirty two articles, ten of them are devoted to the theoretical aspects of modern historiography since 1945. Three of the other twenty two geographically defined case-studies cover Central, East and South East European history writing traditions. Maciej Górny, a well-known Polish expert on Czechoslovakia, depicts the trends among the historians in Poland, Czechoslovakia and Hungary during the Communist regime and afterwards. Górny elucidates the process of history writing in those countries by pointing out the loyalty and opposition of the historians towards the official authorities, and Soviet views as well as Marxist interpretations of history. In contrary to Górny, Kozlov, whose article is devoted to Soviet Russia, tries to show the ambiguity of many Soviet historians. While working under the severe conditions of a totalitarian regime in the 1930s and of an authoritarian regime after the death of Stalin, many Moscow- and Leningrad-based historians tried to reflect on Western theory, to apply its approaches and to use the pre-Communist research in spite of the ideological bias.

A German historian of South Eastern Europe, Ulf Brunnbauer (University of Regensburg) depicts the development, the manipulation and the emancipation of historians in the Balkans since 1945. According to Brunnbauer, despite the partial communisation of the Balkans the historians in Romania, Yugoslavia and Bulgaria were able torestorecontinuity to their own historical research traditions of the inter-war period during the Communist rule. In this aspect, we clearly see one of several parallels in the research results of Brunnbauer, Kozlov, and Górny. Communist authorities and even the Stalinist period of purges and persecutions failed to cut absolutely the bonds of the historians after 1945 with the pre-Communist (and therefore in official termsbourgeois) period of intellectual discourses and research in Eastern Europe and even in Communist Russia and the Balkans. Only in Albania, where the history writing traditions were quite young, almost an absolute subservience of the local historians could be reached by the party authorities. Their colleagues in the other part of the Balkans were able not only to emancipate themselves from the Soviet view on the past during the 1970–1980s and to redefine thefriendship-with-the-USSR-thesis, but they were also able to transfer the research approaches of the French school of Annales to Sofia, Bucharest, and Zagreb.

The contributions of Brunnbauer, Górny and Kozlov offer very comprehensive insights into the mainstreams of the historiography in Central, Eastern and South Eastern Europe after 1945.

In the fourth volume, which elucidates history writing during the nineteenth and the first half of the twentieth century, the Hungarian historian of Russia, Gyula Szvák writes onthe golden age of Russian historical writing. Szvák describes hallmark figures as Karamzin at the beginning of the nineteenth century, the impact of the antagonism between Slavophiles and Westernizers on history writing as well as the contributions of Solovev and Kliuchevskii to the development of Russian historiography. Being a specialist on Russian history of thought, Gluya Szvák is able to show Russian historiography and historians in the context of the intellectual entanglement of the Russian intelligentsia with the German and French philosophy, and with the European ideas of the 19th century, while he depicts the emergence of the so called St Petersburg and Moscow schools as well as the slow transitionfrom plurality to Marxism(Vol. 4, p. 321) during the 1920s.

In contrast to the approach in the fifth volume by Maciej Górny, who wrote on historiography in Poland, Czechoslovakia and Hungary as Višegrad countries, Monika Baár from Groningen University offers an insight intoEast-Central European historical writing(Vol. 4, pp. 326–348) by covering not only the divided lands of the former Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and the Habsburg Empire, but Latvia and Estonia as well. Baár concentrates on the impact of Romantic nationalism and similar discourses on antemurale Christianitatis in Hungarian, Polish and Croatian historiographies by analysing the works of Palacký, Lelewel, Szujski, and Horváth. In this context Baár demonstrates the transfer of models from German historiography to Central Europe by showing that the enormous publication projects Monumenta Hungariae Historica in Budapest (1857) and Monumentae Historiae Bohemica (1865) were launched chronologically after the initial project of Monumenta Germaniae Historica. Baár describes in details the foundation of the first national history journals in Central European cities during the second part of the nineteenth century as well as the emergence of positivism and neo-romanticism as theoretical and philosophical schools of historians.

A historian from the Oxford Brookes University, Marius Turda delivers an interesting overview of the historical writing in the Balkans from 1800 to 1945. Turda elucidates the use of history for political purposes and the entanglement of national language issue and historical argumentation in that region by pointing out the case-studies of Serbia and Greece. Turda goes into the geopolitical aspirations in the Balkans and the (mis-)use of history and historians in this context by describing the further development of Hellenism and Romanism throughout the 19th century. The author is able to show the nexus between the racial argumentations of the historians in the Balkans during the 1930–40s.

In the fourth volume, Antoon de Baets, a historian of Groningen University, authors a brilliant article on Cencorship and History, 1914–1945, which takes up several examples and case-studies from Russian, Soviet, Polish, and Romanian history in the inter-war period.

An article co-written by Michael A. Pesenson (University of Texas at Austin) and Jennifer B. Spock (Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond) in the third volume is devoted to the Historical writing in Russia and Ukraine in the Medieval period. Pesenson and Spock demonstrate the main genres of Russian history writing throughout the fifteenth, sixteenth and seventeenth centuries by pointing out the chronographs, chronicles, hagiographical saintslives and later compilations. In the same time, both historians describe contradictions between different types of sources by analysing as an example the different Russian narratives about the same historical event and the interrelations between Muscovy and Tatars.

The Oxford History of History Writing is a fundamental publication on international historiography traditions, its problems, and key actors. Central and Eastern Europe as region and historical landscapes are covered by the editors of the volumes in a very detailed way. Many contributors, even those whose articles do not focus on Central or South Eastern Europe primarily, tried to touch issues like Bolshevism, Stalinism, and the events in the Balkans throughout the centuries.

Zaur Gasimov, Istanbul

Zitierweise: Zaur Gasimov über: The Oxford History of Historical Writing. Vol. 1: Beginnings to AD 600. Ed. by Andrew Feldherr / Grant Hardy. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011, XIX, 652 S., 6 Ktn., Abb. ISBN: 978-0-19-921815-8.Vol. 2: 400-1400. Ed. by Sarah Foot / Chase F. Robinson. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012, XXIII, 643 S., 3 Ktn. ISBN: 978-0-19-923642-8.Vol. 3: 1400–1800. Ed. by José Rabasa / Masayuki Sato, Edoardo Tortarolo / Daniel Woolf. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012. XXI, 727 S., 7 Ktn., Abb. ISBN: 978-0-19-921917-9. Vol. 4: 1800–1945. Ed. by Stuart Macintyre / Juan Maiguashca / Attila Pók. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011. XXI, 650 S., 8 Ktn. ISBN: 978-0-19-953309-1. Vol. 5: Historical Writing Since 1945. Ed. by Axel Schneider / Daniel Woolf. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011. XXI, 718 S., 7 Ktn. ISBN: 978-0-19-922599-6, http://www.dokumente.ios-regensburg.de/JGO/erev/Gasimov_SR_Oxford_History_of_Historical_Writing.html (Datum des Seitenbesuchs)

© 2015 by Institut für Ost- und Südosteuropastudien in Regensburg and Zaur Gasimov. All rights reserved. This work may be copied and redistributed for non-commercial educational purposes, if permission is granted by the author and usage right holders. For permission please contact jahrbuecher@ios-regensburg.de

Die digitalen Rezensionen von „Jahrbücher für Geschichte Osteuropas. jgo.e-reviews“ werden nach den gleichen strengen Regeln begutachtet und redigiert wie die Rezensionen, die in den Heften abgedruckt werden.

Digital book reviews published in Jahrbücher für Geschichte Osteuropas. jgo.e-reviews are submitted to the same quality control and copy-editing procedure as the reviews published in print.