Quest for a Suitable Past

Myths and Memory in Central and Eastern Europe
$50.00 / €44.00 / £34.00
Publication date: 
164 pages

The past may be approached from a variety of directions. A myth reunites people around certain values and projects and pushes them in one direction or another.

The present volume brings together a range of case studies of myth making and myth breaking in east Europe from the nineteenth century to the present day. In particular, it focuses on the complex process through which memories are transformed into myths. This problematic interplay between memory and myth-making is analyzed in conjunction with the role of myths in the political and social life of the region.

The essays include cases of forging myths about national pre-history, about the endorsement of nation building by means of historiography, and above all, about communist and post-communist mythologies. The studies shed new light on the creation of local and national identities, as well as the legitimization of ideologies through myth-making. Together, the contributions show that myths were often instrumental in the vast projects of social and political mobilization during a period which has witnessed, among others, two world wars and the harsh oppression of the communist regimes.

Lucian Boia
Claudia-Florentina Dobre
An Obscure Object of Desire: The Myth of Alba Iulia and its Social
Functions, 1918–1940 
Gábor Egry
Croatia between the Myths of the Nation-State and of the Common
European Past
Neven Budak
Deconstructing the Myth of the “Wicked German” in Northern and
Western Parts of Poland: Local Approaches to Cultural Heritage
Izabela Skórzyńska and Anna Wachowiak
Mythologizing the Biographies of Romanian Underground
Communists: The Case Study of Miron Constantinescu
Ştefan Bosomitu
Women in the Communist Party: Debunking a (Post-)Communist
Luciana-Marioara Jinga
Avatars of the Social Imaginary: Myths about Romanian
Communism after 1989 
Claudia-Florentina Dobre
Post-Communist Politics of Memory and the New Regime of
Historiography: Recent Controversies on the Memory of the “Forty-Five
Years of the Communist Yoke” and the “Myth of Batak”
The Phenomenon of “Parahistory” in Post-Communist Bulgaria: Old
Theories and New Myths on Proto-Bulgarians
Alexander Nikolov
Note on contributors

All good bookshops stock CEU Press books or will order them for you. You may also order directly from the Press or from one of our local distributors. 
You can also buy books in our Budapest office (Oktober 6. utca 14). CEU faculty, students, staff, and alumni receive 20% off on all titles.


NBN International
Airport Business Centre
10 Thornbury Road,
Plymouth PL6 7PP, UK
Telephone: 44-1752 202301
Fax: 44-1752 202333


CEU Press
c/o Hopkins Fulfillment Services
P.O. Box 50370, Baltimore, MD 21211-4370
Telephone: Toll-Free 800-537-5487
Baltimore Area: 410-516-6965
Fax: 410-516-6998


CEU Press Customer Service
1051 Budapest, Október 6. u. 14.
Telephone: 36-1 327-3138
Fax: 36-1 327-3183