Judith Baumel

Old and New Galicia

September 27th, 2010

I leave for Warsaw tomorrow.  And then I’m traveling to Lviv next week (3 October to 11 October).  I’m looking for contacts in the contemporary literary scene in Lviv, Zlolochiv and Przemyśl.  And I’m looking for people who may have been around in the thirties and forties.  Or people who can speak about the literary situation of the early twentieth century.

Zloczow Train Station

Zloczow Train Station

I am finally starting the research for a book about Galicia.  It’s called  Border Exchange:  crossing into a father’s mind and memory.  The project is a hybrid of personal narrative, travelogue, literary history, and translation theory about the experience and memory of the twentieth century in Galicia.  I intend to interrogate  the first generation American immigrant experience; and I will consider the tangled threads of textual meaning in 20th and 21st century literary and historical writing. I hope to look at the relationships, neighborly and cultural between the three dominant groups in that area, and will among other things consider the ways in which the Polish and Ukrainian experiences differ.

I’m focusing on 1) my father’s town, Zolochiv, and the poets who came from and wrote about it;  2) Lviv as a literary and publishing center—then and now; and 3)  Przemyśl, the town where my Ukrainian-American friend Askold  family hid Jews.

I have limited, kindergarten level reading ability in German, Yiddish, Hebrew, and Polish, but none at all in Ukrainian, Russian.  Nevertheless, I will be working with translator Alex Dunai and others. I am hoping you–dear reader– might guide me to the right people and the right questions.