During the Napoleonic wars the future existence of Habsburg Galicia was regarded as uncertain, and in the period following the Congress of Vienna the identity of the province was likewise unclear. The eighteenth-century creation of Galicia gave way to the nineteenth-century attempt to create Galicians and to discover a non-national provincial meaning of “Galicia,“ capable of reconciling and transcending national, religious, and linguistic differences. In this article Larry Wolff juxtaposes the political perspective of Metternich and the literary perspective of dramatist Aleksander Fredro in order to analyze the imperial and provincial dynamics of the idea of Galicia, with fürther attention to the public sphere of newspapers and journals, and the cultural perspectives of Galicians like Franz Xaver Wolfgang Mozart (the son of the great composer) and Józef Maksymilian Ossoliński (founder of the Ossolineum library in Lviv). This article traces the evolving cultural meanings of Galicia up until 1835, the year of the death of Habsburg Emperor Franz and the year that Fredro was denounced by a Polish critic as a “non-national” writer. Especially in Fredro's celebrated comedies, it is possible to discern the submerged ideological tensions of empire and province that shaped Galician identity in the early nineteenth century.