Rozprawy i szkice
The article is the first part of a comprehensive study on representations of Hutsuls and the Hutsul region in the interwar Polish literature, which showed them during the First World War and the wars for the borders of the Second Polish Republic, as well as in the 1920s and 1930s. The article discuses, first and foremost, literary visions of Hutsuls and their native land in the wartime. It argues that these visions were deeply affected by war events that took place in the Eastern Carpathians in 1914–1915, when Polish soldiers from the 2nd and 3rd Legions Infantry Regiments fought with Russians and occasionally cooperated with some military volunteers recruited from the Hutsul community. The interwar Polish literature showed the Eastern Carpathians as a space where Polish soldiers’ bravery and dedication to the national cause were distinctly manifested. It also described and, as a matter of fact, exaggerated acts of fraternization between Polish legionnaires and the Hutsuls. This way the Polish literature imposed an important, patriotic significance to the Hutsul region and strengthened its position in the Polish national memory. Simultaneously, it showed the whole Hutsul community as allies of Poles in the fight for independence. This literary approach suggested that Hutsuls had their own history and cultural reality that differed from the Ukrainian one but fit in well with the history and contemporary times of Poles.