Reconstituting the Fatherland in early modern Livonia

Keywords: early modern Livonia, medievalism, nostalgia, Heimatkunde, cultural intertextuality
Language: In English

This article is a short extract from the Prelude to the main body of my PhD dissertation in progress. The topic of the dissertation is: “Riga as a Work of Art with Emphasis on the Implications of Medievalism: 1857–1910”. It is a phenomenological study based on visual primary evidence. To interpret the implications of medievalism in Riga, it is necessary to focus on medieval reception in the Russian Province of Livonia in the previous century, which the nineteenth century looked back to when building a modern city out of the old. This paper identifies the medievalist impulse at a crucial time in its history as part of the reconstitution of the lost fatherland. It suggests nostalgia as the underlying psychological precondition of medievalism and links Heimatkunde (research of the fatherland) to a new collective cultural identity formation, sometimes referred to in scholarship as Kulturnation.