Delicate Souls between the Veil and the Habit: Images of Galician Ukrainian Women from 1890 to 1950

Roman Holyk


Abstract: This article explores the changing image of women in the social discourse and literary texts of Galicia during the late nineteenth and first half of the twentieth century. It begins with an analysis of memoirs by Ukrainian women and, in a few instances, of men. The study highlights the writings and readings of Galician women. It examines the cultural world of women who came primarily from the intelligentsia, clerical families or burgher society and were teachers, writers, and civic activists. It delineates the problems Ukrainian women encountered in choosing a life and the options society offered them: raising a family, entering a convent, or remaining single (unmarried). A separate section, based on Galician sources of the first half of the twentieth century, looks at women stigmatics and the social attitudes toward them. The article compares the image of the urban woman from the intelligentsia with that of peasant women in a modernizing society. On the basis of women’s biographies, autobiographies, literary works devoted to women’s themes, as well as the “women’s” press, the author attempts to reconstruct the various images of women in the Galician milieu before the Second World War.

Keywords: Ukrainian Women, Feminism, Galicia, Writing, Reading, Stereotypes

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© 2014 East/West: Journal of Ukrainian Studies. Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

ISSN 2292-7956