David FrickKith, Kin and Neighbors: Communities and Confessions in 17th Century Wilno

Cornell University Press, 2013

by Amanda Swain on October 9, 2015

David Frick

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In 1636, King Władsław IV's quartermaster surveyed the houses of Wilno in advance of the king's visit to the city. In Kith, Kin and Neighbors: Communities and Confessions in Seventeenth-Century Wilno (Cornell University Press, 2013), David Frick begins with this house-by-house account to reveal the complex relationships among the city's multi-ethnic and multi-confessional inhabitants. He weaves in birth, marriage and death records, litigation filed by citizens against each other, as well as guild and poor relief roles, to demonstrate the "practices of toleration" that allowed Vilnans to cross confessional boundaries and to define separate identities. Frick reveals how Wilno's Poles, Lithuanians Germans, Ruthenians, Jews and Tartars – representing Catholic, Uniate, Orthodox, Calvinist, Lutheran, Jewish and Muslim confessions – were able to live together in a mostly peaceful coexistence. Kith, Kin and Neighbors received the 2013 Przegl Wschodni Award, the 2014 Joseph Rothschild Prize from the Association for the Study of Nationalities, and the 2014 Kulczycki Book Prize in Polish Studies from the Association for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies.

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