The Art of Identity and Memory: Toward a Cultural History of the Two World Wars in Lithuania. Ed. Giedrė Jankevičiūtė and Rasutė Žukienė. Lithuanian Studies. Boston: Academic Studies Press, 2016. xvi, 308 pp. Notes. Bibliography. Index. Illustrations. Photographs. Maps. Musical Examples. $99.00, hard bound

Michelle R. Viise
2018 Slavic Review: Interdisciplinary Quarterly of Russian, Eurasian, and East European Studies  
was developing after 1867, the Hungarian government organized large-scale celebrations to commemorate the 1000th anniversary of the conquest. Varga describes these centralized activities, but his real focus is on the various monuments built in seven Hungarian locations in the late nineteenth century. It is worth noting that before Kálmán Thaly proposed these monuments there were no modern national memorials (with one exception, in Arad) in provincial towns. The first location was the Castle of
more » ... heben, west of Pressburg. The second monument was erected on Zobor Hill, near Nitra. The Munkács castle was the third location. The Fourth was Cenk Hill near Brassó. The fifth monument was built in Semlin. The sixth was located near the Benedictine Monastery of Pannonhalma. And the seventh monument was built in the Great Plain at the ruins of the Pusztaszer abbey. Thaly had clear reasons for choosing these seven locations: "They represented the borders of Hungary and were meant as a message to the neighboring countries (Theben to Austria, Munkács to Russia, Brassó to Romania, and Semlin to Serbia); they recalled the conquest and the glorious Magyar victories over the indigenous peoples: Pusztaszer reminded people of the ancient constitutional legacy of Hungary; while Pannonhalma was related to the Christian heritage" (36). Part Two of the book examines the local stories of the towns and cities where these seven monuments were built. In each chapter Varga provides a look at conditions in these locations and how locals supported and opposed the new national myth and the monuments that symbolized it. Varga shows how the local religious, class, and regional identities shaped fin-de-siècle Hungary far more than scholarship had previously emphasized. Part Three continues this local focus by examining how local actors participated in Millennial celebrations in 1896 and how stories concerning Millennial monuments were framed. The Monumental Nation is a kind of genesis story: how the urban and rural leadership of fin-de-siècle Hungary created a myth of origin, and how that myth and the symbolic politics behind the myth were presented and received in seven different locations throughout the country. Varga successfully alters how we think about Hungarian history and especially how we think about the story of ethnic and national belonging. His book challenges top-down histories that emphasize activities in the capital; instead he provides us with a fascinating study of how local and regional identities reacted to, as well as helped to create, national myths, such as the one concerning the Hungarian conquest. As the art historians Giedrė Jankevičiūtė and Rasutė Žukienė note in their foreword to this volume, Lithuania in the two world wars has been studied extensively by military, political, and social historians but has been given little attention by researchers of culture and art. With this selection of modern Lithuanian scholarship from an impressive array of disciplines, Jankevičiūtė and Žukienė have taken a welcome step toward correcting that omission. They have composed a collection of interest to a readership beyond that of students of modern Baltic history; the articles engage equally with film and music theory, memory studies, and narrative theory.
doi:10.1017/slr.2018.222 fatcat:7lflp3ll5jestfuiqukteqlbxi