Larry Wolff

Silver Professor; Professor of History; Director, Center for European and Mediterranean Studies

Professor Wolff works on the history of Eastern Europe, the Habsburg Monarchy, the Enlightenment, and on the history of childhood. He tends to work as an intellectual and cultural historian. He has been most interested in problems concerning East and West within Europe: whether concerning the Vatican and Poland, Venice and the Slavs, or Vienna and Galicia. He developed the argument that Eastern Europe was "invented" in the eighteenth century, by the philosophes and travelers of the Enlightenment, who attributed meaning to a supposed division of Europe into complementary regions, Western Europe and Eastern Europe. He has analyzed Western perspectives on Eastern Europe as a sort of "demi-Orientalism," negotiating a balance between attributed difference and acknowledged resemblance. Considering Venetian perspectives on Dalmatia and Habsburg perspectives on Galicia, he has attempted to explore the meaning of "Eastern Europe" within imperial frameworks and the ideology of empire. His research on the history of childhood has included projects on child abuse in Freud's Vienna and child abuse in Casanova's Venice. His current research concerns Turkish subjects on the European operatic stage during the long eighteenth century, and analyzes musical and dramatic representations in the context of European-Ottoman relations. His latest book, The Singing Turk: Ottoman Power and Operatic Emotions on the European Stage from the Siege of Vienna to the Age of Napoleon, was published in 2016.


Stanford University, PhD 1984


American Academy of Arts and Sciences, elected 2003
Guggenheim Fellowship, 2002-2003
International Research & Exchanges Travel Fellowships, 1997, 1999-2000, 2002-2003 
Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation Grants, 1998, 2001
American Council of Learned Societies Fellowships, 1990 and 1996-97 
Fulbright Fellowship, 1981-1982

Research Interests

Eastern Europe, Poland, Habsburg Monarchy, Enlightenment, history of childhood


Literary Edition (Pengiun Classics):  

Leopold von Sacher-Masoch.  Venus in Furs.  Introduction by Larry Wolff.    Translation by Joachim Neugroschel.  New York:  Penguin Classics, 2000. 


“Nostalgia antropologica: Venezia e la Dalmazia,” in Nostalgia:  Memoria e passaggi tra le sponde dell’Adriatico, ed. Rolf Petri (Venice: Centro Tedesco di Studi Veneziani, 2010), pp. 107-122. 

“Kennst du das Land? The Uncertainty of Galicia in the Age of Metternich and Fredro,” Slavic Review, Volume 67, Number 2 (Summer 2008), 277-300

“Dalmatinische und italienische Reisen: Das Paradies der mediterannen Rückständigkeit,” in Der Süden:  Neue Perspektiven auf eine europäische Geschichtsregion, eds. Frithjof Benjamin Schenk & Martina Winkler (Frankfurt:  Campus Verlag, 2007), pp. 207-228

“The Global Perspective of Enlightened Travelers:  Philosophic Geography from Siberia to the Pacific Ocean,” European Review of History/Revue Européenne d’histoire, Volume 13, Number 3 (September 2006), pp.  437-53. 

“Depraved Inclinations:  Libertines and Children in Casanova’s Venice,” Eighteenth-Century Studies Volume 38, Number 3 (Spring 2005), pp. 417-40.   

“The Spirit of 1776: Polish and Dalmatian Declarations of Philosophical Independence,” in History of the Literary Cultures of East-Central Europe: Junctures and Disjunctures in the 19th and 20th Centuries, eds. Marcel Cornis-Pope & John Neubauer (Amsterdam:  John Benjamins, 2004), pp. 294-306. 

"Dynastic Conservatism and Poetic Violence in Fin-de-siècle Cracow:  The Habsburg Matrix of Polish Modernism,"  The American Historical Review, Vol. 106, No. 3 (June 2001), pp. 735-764.