Central Europe (Cent Eur)

Publisher: University of London. School of Slavonic and East European Studies. Centre for the Study of Central Europe, University College London, School of Slavonic and East European Studies

Journal description

Central Europe publishes original research articles on the history, languages, literature, political culture, music, arts and society of those lands once part of the Habsburg Monarchy and Poland-Lithuania from the Middle Ages to the present. It also publishes discussion papers, marginalia, book, archive, exhibition, music and film reviews. Central Europe has been established as a refereed journal to foster the worldwide study of the area and to provide a forum for the academic discussion of Central European life and institutions. From time to time an issue will be devoted to a particular theme, based on a selection of papers presented at an international conference or seminar series.

Current impact factor: 0.00

Impact Factor Rankings

Additional details

5-year impact 0.00
Cited half-life 0.00
Immediacy index 0.00
Eigenfactor 0.00
Article influence 0.00
Website Central Europe website
Other titles Central Europe (Leeds, England: Online)
ISSN 1479-0963
OCLC 60621910
Material type Document, Periodical, Internet resource
Document type Internet Resource, Computer File, Journal / Magazine / Newspaper

Publisher details

University College London, School of Slavonic and East European Studies

  • Pre-print
    • Author cannot archive a pre-print version
  • Post-print
    • Author cannot archive a post-print version
  • Restrictions
    • 2 years embargo
  • Conditions
    • On author's personal website or institutional repository
    • Published source must be acknowledged with full citation
    • Publisher's version/PDF may be used (provided on request)
  • Classification
    ​ white

Publications in this journal

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This article argues that literary texts can serve as 'lieux de memoire' of the Central European dictatorships of the twentieth century. The study considers literary representation of features common to the dictatorships of the last century, in particular the trauma of 'forced disappearance'. It analyses the memory strategies used by the selected authors with a particular focus on the use of photography. The article demonstrates the cathartic function of writing as it is represented in the chosen texts. It considers the following authors and works: German author W. G. Sebald's Austerlitz (2001), Czech author Jiri Kratochvil's The Pledge: Requiem for the 1950s ('Slib: Requiem za padesata leta', 2009), Slovak author Pavel Vilikovsky's The Autobiography of Evil ('Vlastny zivotopis zla', 2009), and Polish author Pawel Huelle's Mercedes Benz: From Letters to Hrabal ('Mercedes Benz: Z listow do Hrabala', 2001).
    Central Europe 05/2014; 12(1):62-68. DOI:10.1179/1479096314Z.00000000023
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    ABSTRACT: Our fascination with the ambivalences of ruin shows little sign of abating. Taking as its focus the Baltic resort of Prora, this paper explores the particular ambivalences that arise when the East German socialist past inhabits the ruins of the preceding National Socialist dictatorship. Developing a theoretical approach to the ruin as palimpsest and heterotopia, I examine three types of intervention that have been made in the post-socialist present at this largely derelict and disused site: redevelopment; musealization; and photographic representation. In each case I consider, first, the strategies that stabilize the ruin in the present and, second, the processes through which the ruin persists as a more troubling and destabilizing force. Ultimately, I argue that the ambivalences of these ruins of dictatorship are increasingly being simplified and consolidated in the post-dictatorship setting, often at the expense of the socialist phase of the site.
    Central Europe 05/2014; 12(1):47-61. DOI:10.1179/1479096314Z.00000000022
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    ABSTRACT: This paper revisits the controversies surrounding commemoration of the Second World War in the Baltic states and explores the difficulties of translating the complexities and ambivalences of history, personal experience, and memory into monolithic statues and acts of commemoration. In particular, the Baltic states are faced with the difficult challenge of commemorating the atrocities of two dictatorships and are failing to meet that challenge. A fundamental impediment to such collective remembrance and commemoration is the breadth and depth of historical displacement and suffering of different ethnic communities. The lack of commemoration of two marginalized groups, namely, the Roma and psychiatric patients is also examined.
    Central Europe 05/2014; 12(1):32-46. DOI:10.1179/1479096314Z.00000000025
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    ABSTRACT: This article assesses the potential for memory of communism to become part of the EU’s memory culture by comparing three contrasting case studies: the Baltic states, Hungary, and Germany. It argues that, rather than the emergence of a western European memory culture that is challenged by a uniform eastern memory culture within the EU, as some commentators have claimed, the different positions of EU member states tend to be conditioned by a range of domestic and international factors. In terms of the promotion of the memory of communism within the EU, these factors can vary significantly from state to state, demonstrating the continued dominance of the national frame in the mobilization of historical memory.
    Central Europe 05/2014; 12(1):99-114. DOI:10.1179/1479096314Z.00000000018
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    ABSTRACT: This article examines the recent discussion of Romanian-German writers' involvement with the Securitate since the airing of Oskar Pastior's file in 2010. Drawing principally on German and Romanian newspapers, journals, and blogs from 2010-11, I argue that while the Stasi debates of the early to mid-1990s were more concerned with examining literary and political traditions in order to effect reorientation in a new political and societal landscape, the Romanian-German discussion recognizes the need to transcend personal loyalties and enmities, but rarely achieves it. The Romanian-German discussion's high degree of differentiation and moderation represents an advance on the German polemics of the early 1990s, but the debate appears to be stuck somewhere between the documentation of biographical detail and a search for an effective way to read contentious source material.
    Central Europe 05/2014; 12(1):69-81. DOI:10.1179/1479096314Z.00000000021
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    ABSTRACT: This article examines 'lay' memory and understandings of the Soviet Union within a working-class community in regional Russia. Based on ethnographic fieldwork and materials, it presents informants' narratives on the past as seen through the division of lived experience into the present and the 'time before' 1991. Positive associations of the past refer to the benefits of the social wage under socialism, the loss of which is keenly felt even while paternalistic relations continue to be expected by workers from enterprises. Shared class-based memory is a resource articulating a 'lay' reasoning on the supposed superiority of the socialist social contract, rather than any articulation of political support for the Soviet system. What endures is a clearly articulated, morally normative understanding of social justice, mythical in the past and absent in the present.
    Central Europe 05/2014; 12(1):16-31. DOI:10.1179/1479096314Z.00000000020
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of this article is to explore the remaking of national identity in post-communist Poland through the analysis of urban spaces, and, in particular, two controversial monuments that were erected under communism and survive to this day in two Polish cities. By systematically tracing the trajectory of the contested monuments, from their inception through their changing symbolism to their disputed legacies, this article will pose important questions not only about the development of cultural memory and of Polish civic society, but also the role of various agents involved in these processes. The article will examine the interaction between the official and local ‘politics of memory’ and individual initiatives centred on these monuments in an attempt to unravel the intricacies of Poland’s de-communization and nation-building following the fall of communism.
    Central Europe 11/2013;
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The aim of this article is to explore the remaking of national identity in post-communist Poland through the analysis of urban spaces, and, in particular, two controversial monuments that were erected under communism and survive to this day in two Polish cities. By systematically tracing the trajectory of the contested monuments, from their inception through their changing symbolism to their disputed legacies, this article will pose important questions not only about the development of cultural memory and of Polish civic society, but also the role of various agents involved in these processes. The article will examine the interaction between the official and local ‘politics of memory’ and individual initiatives centred on these monuments in an attempt to unravel the intricacies of Poland’s de-communization and nation-building following the fall of communism.
    Central Europe 11/2013; 11(2):127-142. DOI:10.1179/1479096313Z.00000000015
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    ABSTRACT: Dezső Szabó (born 1879, Klausenburg/Kolozsvár/Cluj, Austria-Hungary, died 1945, Budapest) was a towering figure of his generation. Literary critic, social pamphleteer, satirist, and novelist, he aroused strong passions on all sides with his rhetorically freighted prose and his fluid, yet forceful, political views. All accounts of his work concentrate on its intent, content, or consequences, and it is widely agreed that Szabó’s ‘style’ was his most prominent trait. And yet it is as if the political and ideological impact of the man has all but eclipsed the writing itself: with the exception of one brief monograph of 1937, we have no study devoted to the detailed examination of the ways in which he used Hungarian. Such a study is what is attempted in this essay. The method is primarily linguistic: all pertinent features of Szabó’s use of Hungarian are discussed, from the submorphemic (alliteration and other sound-patterning) through his immoderate derivational morphology, overstuffed noun phrases, and idiosyncratic lexis.
    Central Europe 11/2013; 11(2):102-126. DOI:10.1179/1479096313Z.00000000014
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    ABSTRACT: This article considers the Czech cliché ‘the heart of Europe’ and its sentimentalization. It ends by linking the Czech heart with another nationalist symbol, the heart-leaved linden. The article derives the nationalist symbolism of the heart from medieval Saxon mysticism and its descendants, the Baroque cult of the Sacred Heart, taking in Cupid and his arrows on the way. Sources from the seventeenth to the twentieth century include belles-lettres, but also political writing from the Romantic historian Palacký to Václav Havel.
    Central Europe 05/2013; 11(1):1-23. DOI:10.1179/1479096313Z.0000000009
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    ABSTRACT: This article examines the Slovak Clerical Council, one of a number of clerical councils which were founded in Central Europe in the immediate aftermath of the First World War. On the basis of primary sources and extensive familiarity with the relevant secondary literature, it challenges the existing historical consensus that this clerical council was merely one manifestation of Slovakia’s desire to break away from Hungarian rule and was, therefore, of limited scope and import. Instead, it argues that the clerical council’s nationalist agenda manifested itself not only in its eagerness to support and influence the establishment of the Czechoslovak state but also in its determination to reconstruct and reinvigorate the Catholic Church in Slovakia. It also explains why the ambitions of the council, and the threat it posed to the unity of the Church in Slovakia, were stymied. This account of the Slovak clerical council serves, therefore, as a case study of both the radicalizing impact of nationalism in the aftermath of the First World War and the limits of that radicalization. No account of any of the post-war clerical councils has, hitherto, been published in English, and thus this article will contribute to a clearer understanding not only of developments in Slovakia in 1918–19, but also of the broader challenges affecting the Catholic faith in Central Europe in the aftermath of the First World War.
    Central Europe 05/2013; 11(1):46-66. DOI:10.1179/1479096313Z.00000000011
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    ABSTRACT: This article explores how the GDR dealt with intellectual remigrants, in particular ‘bildungsbürgerlich Marxist intellectuals’, who had survived the Third Reich in Western exile. It analyses the political biographies of three such remigrants, namely the journalist Hermann Budzislawski, the publisher and author Wieland Herzfelde, and the journalist and party functionary Hans Teubner. In the late 1940s and 1950s, these three men were appointed to professorships at the Faculty of Journalism at Leipzig University, a future training school of party journalists, and thus filled important strategic positions at the intersection of higher education, mass media, and politics. However, their biographies testify to more than just individual success stories. They point to the difficulties of returning Communists in adapting to the political realities of the GDR in the 1950s, marked by widespread distrust and coercion. Behind the scenes, the remigrants in question here were put under enormous pressure to bow to Party command. As Budzislawski and Herzfelde were Jewish, the article also discusses to what extent their problems were related to antisemitic prejudices in the Stalinist period of the GDR. Regardless of individual differences, this article demonstrates that one of the central hopes of the remigrants, that is, to erase the scars of emigration, remained unfulfilled.
    Central Europe 05/2013; 11(1):24-45. DOI:10.1179/1479096313Z.00000000010
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    ABSTRACT: In the late 1790s the extravagant Bohemian aristocrat Franz Joseph Thun (1734–1801) composed a massive encyclopedia containing his wide-ranging and esoteric knowledge, which was not discovered until 2009. In this article I discuss the contents of his encyclopedia and investigate Thun’s place within the broader intellectual climate in Central Europe. I argue that Thun was an exceptional case in the Habsburg context, where scientists generally rejected outright the sort of excesses his encyclopedia contains. None the less, he became famous for his experiments with a spirit named ‘Gablidon’ and for his sessions in Mesmerism. His encyclopedia focuses on three topics: human ethics, man’s place in nature, and the sins of the French Revolution. He saw man as the middle link in the ‘great chain of being’, whose morality must be based on submission to God. Although he distanced himself from the Catholic Church, he rejected the French Revolution as an attempt to establish a state without religious basis.1
    Central Europe 11/2012; 10(2):91-107. DOI:10.1179/1479096312Z.0000000006
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    ABSTRACT: Professor Bernhardi was one of Schnitzler’s most successful plays, and at the same time, a key document in the development of his Austrian-Jewish identity. The central conflict in the play is not, as often assumed, that of science against religion, but rather that between the critically minded individual and those who submit to a political or religious programme. The figure of Bernhardi reflects Schnitzler’s own position on the Jewish identity crisis, which may be termed ‘enlightened apolitical individualism’. In addition to his experiences working in his father’s clinic, Schnitzler drew inspiration for the plot from sources that are cited here for the first time.
    Central Europe 11/2012; 10(2):124-142. DOI:10.1179/1479096312Z.0000000007
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    ABSTRACT: Between 1914 and 1935, the cities of Vienna and Pressburg/Bratislava were linked by an electric railway known as the Pressburgerbahn. More than just a line of transportation, the railway became intertwined with the complex politics of identity in Pressburg. The Pressburgerbahn presented nationalists in the Habsburg Empire with a dilemma: it had the potential to contribute to the unification of the nation, but at the same time was transnational by definition. This paradox generated a heated controversy about the Pressburgerbahn between Magyar nationalists and the predominantly German-speaking Pressburg bourgeoisie. Using biologized rhetoric, Hungarian politicians and journalists portrayed their nation as a body politic that was disfigured by having a railway ‘vein’ cross the border into Austria, in particular from such a peripheral location as Pressburg. By contrast, the discourse of the German-speaking bourgeoisie was firmly anchored in an imperial, supra-ethnic landscape. This controversy was replayed following the incorporation of the renamed city of Bratislava into Czechoslovakia in 1919: the Prague-based Ministry of Railways employed the rhetoric of the railway as an integrating structure within the body politic, while the eventual closure of the Pressburgerbahn in 1935 was closely connected to the belated nationalization of Bratislava. The railway to Vienna thus became a symbol of the liminal status of the town as a whole, in terms of nation, geography, politics and culture.
    Central Europe 05/2012; 10(1):1-17. DOI:10.1179/1479096312Z.0000000001
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    ABSTRACT: The 1945–46 expulsion of Bohemian Germans and the subsequent colonization of the Czech borderlands both stemmed from the rationalist, utopian pursuit of purity and perfection that pervades twentieth-century history. Intrinsic to that pursuit is the attempt to eradicate guilt, which can be readily seen in Czech responses to the expulsions and the social and environmental devastation of the post-war borderlands. Beginning with the principle of ‘collective guilt’ used to justify the expulsions, Czech political, academic, and media rhetoric, schoolbooks, international collusion, and collective amnesia have perpetuated the dominant myth of the Czechs as victims, while seeking to discredit any suggestion of Czech guilt. Key novels from the first wave of Czech literature about the post-war borderlands — Sedlmayerová’s The house on the green hill (1947) and R ˇezácˇ’s Advance (1951) — explicitly show the suppression of guilt in action. This suppression is also evident in the imprisonment, soon after the 1948 Communist takeover, of the journalist Michal Maresˇ, who in 1946 and 1947 accused the state of both encouraging and covering up criminal conduct in the borderlands, thereby embedding criminality in the fabric of the emerging new society. Since the 1970s, a minority of Czech intellectuals have called on the Czech nation to confront this ‘embedded’ guilt as a step towards ‘self-healing’. The origins of this perspective can be found in Jaroslav Durych’s God’s Rainbow (1969) and Josef Jedlicˇka’s In the Midway of This Our Mortal Life (1966), both written in and about post-war North Bohemia in the 1950s. While Durych reasserts the place of guilt within the traditional Christian model of repentance, atonement, reconciliation and absolution, Jedlicˇka reflects the more fashionable Existentialist view of guilt as an inescapable part of the human condition. Their histories of publication and receptions show the extent to which their messages have been misunderstood and misrepresented. Their reincorporation into the mainstream, together with Maresˇ, as part of renewed reflection on the fragile concept of guilt, is vital to current efforts to complicate Czech understandings of their post-war history.
    Central Europe 05/2012; 10(1):18-54. DOI:10.1179/1479096312Z.0000000002
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    ABSTRACT: The film Somewhere in Europe articulates a vision of the political future of post-World War II Europe. War orphans are depicted as the agents of the continent’s reconstruction. The Marxism embodied in the film challenges the Soviet-style Communism soon to be imposed in Eastern Europe, and stylistically Somewhere in Europe distances itself from Socialist Realism. It assumes the role of a foundational film for the recently rebuilt Hungarian film industry and aims to provide the emerging generation of Hungarian filmmakers with an inventory of the major cinematic styles of the first half of the century.
    Central Europe 05/2012; 10(1):55-76. DOI:10.1179/1479096312Z.0000000003
  • Central Europe 11/2011; 9(2):142-149. DOI:10.1179/147909611X13164249562973
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    ABSTRACT: Examining the relationship between two of the most significant Czech writers of the early twentieth century, Richard Weiner (1884–1937) and Karel Čapek (1890–1938), this article sets their divergent developmental paths into the context of broader issues within European Modernism as a whole. The re-emergence of 'allegory' as privileged aesthetic category — represented prominently by Walter Benjamin's work in the 1920s — characterizes a cultural phenomenon that can be termed 'melancholy Modernism'. Weiner and Čapek's contrasting responses to this melancholy allegorical impulse trace a fundamental fault line within the philosophical and historical development of Modernism.
    Central Europe 11/2011; 9(2):83-107. DOI:10.1179/147909611X13164249562856