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Attempts at creating a new concept of literature •

(The Hungarian literature in Slovakia between the two world wars)

Hungarian Studies
Author: Zsófia Bárczi

The term “Hungarian literature in Slovakia” has been present as a problematic concept in literary historiography since the emergence of minority Hungarian literatures defined by geopolitics. Following established practice, the phrase “Hungarian

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Following the success of Eugène Sue's serial novel Les Mystères de Paris a pattern emerges in the era's literary market. Sue's works provide a narrative, politico-cultural and economic model with a worldwide impact. These works created a new way of presenting a city, while also developing a type of narrative that sometimes precedes the actual urbanization of an area, thus offering ready-made panels when talking about often unfinished processes. Several Hungarian works following the same literary model were published that used the panels introduced by Sue in relation to a city early in the process of urbanization and promote a distinctly national image of Budapest. The popularity of Sue's works helped the kindred Hungarian novels become successful projects. This piece of research attempts to identify the ways in which these transnational patterns became adapted and domesticated by the earliest Hungarian urban mysteries and helped the emergence of a specifically urban nationalist sentiment.

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In terms of poetic composition, Zsigmond Kemény’s Pál Gyulai is probably the fanciest Hungarian romantic novel, although this is the first literary work the excellent Transylvanian writer published, in 1847. It could easily win international acclaim among specialists in Romanticism, if it had a translation into one of the widely spoken foreign languages. This essay attempts to interpret the novel from a primarily mediological point of view, focusing on a small number of scenes, and discussing some relations between certain images, poetic interpretation and ethical issues.

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In this article I offer an overview of the ways in which the term realism has been understood and used in Hungarian literary criticism, from the introduction of the term into Hungarian discourses in the middle of the 19th century to the post-1989 period, when the term had to grapple with the legacy of its appropriation by the Socialist regime. I examine three specific junctures in the critical trajectory of Realism: the introduction of the term in the 1850s, the uses and abuses of the term by Marxist ideologues, and finally the aversion towards the term that emerged in the post-Socialist era. In addition to examining pivotal moments in the history of this critical concept in Hungarian literary discourse, my inquiry also offers a critical perspective from which to consider an enduring anxiety concerning the achievements, past and future, of Hungarian literary culture, an anxiety that finds expression in a symptomatic concern with the ways in which tendencies in Hungarian culture do or do not relate to cultural developments outside of Hungary.

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This paper focuses on a forgotten Hungarian author's forgotten novel. Zsigmond Justh's Mûvész szerelem [Artist's Love] was published in 1888 and considered to be a “styleroman”, because a number of artistic styles meet in the landscapes it depicts, involving the basic changes in literature from realism to imressionism, Art Nouveau, symbolism, and naturalism. This study examines these descriptive parts of the novel because they provide a peculiar type of self-reflection. The analysis starts with the description of a character's appearence which can be conceived as a narrative representation of portraiture. Then two narrated landscapes reflecting on their own compositions are examined. The aim of the paper is to establish that most of the descriptive parts have the same function in the novel: they denaturalize the spectacle, representing a created visual structure which refers to the text itself, and builts on a narrative mechanism disavowing the realistic illusion. Finally, the analysis concludes that description can be regarded as mise en abyme in the novel because the descriptive parts illustrate the priority of the artist's subjectivity in art just as the whole novel realises this aesthetical idea as well.

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Though rarely made a subject of study, methods of literary translation may well reveal a great deal about the cultures in which they are practiced. In the case of the English canon, the prevalence of domesticating translation can be interpreted as an expression of the confidence of a colonial culture in the adequateness of its language as a means of universal expression. The use of translation as a means of introducing elements of style foreign to the target language in the Hungarian literary tradition, in contrast, suggests a culture more self-conscious of the particularity of its culture. A comparison of divergent approaches to translation in the Hungarian and English literary traditions offers a critical perspective from which to consider the self-conceptions of the two cultures.

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In this essay I examine the ways in which language functions both as a means of preserving the past and as a marker of change by examining the significance of phrasemes in the novel Pacsirta (Skylark) by Hungarian author Dezső Kosztolányi. In part by examining the ways in which the English and German translators of the novel dealt with the complexities posed by the historically and culturally embedded nature of language, I explore the complex and at times contradictory functions of language in the novel. Kosztolányi’s use of phrasemes in Pacsirta, I argue, exemplifies several of his theoretical ideas about language itself and the roles of language in the mediation of the past.

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Abstract

The present paper deals with the correspondence of Count Johann Mailáth, a supranational go-between in the first half of the 19th century. The essay is a stocktaking of Mailáth's letters, they are collected in the Austrian National Library and the Vienna City Library. The author of the article would like to show that 1) Count Mailáth can be seen as a multiple “Grenzgänger” between communication spaces, languages and genres and 2) that the analysis of his multilingual and multiethnic network can determine several turning points in his writing career. The aim of the contribution is to supplement the previously known biography of the author and to define epochal boundaries in his oeuvre.

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It is a highly peculiar phenomenon in Hungarian — and perhaps in East and Central European — literature of the early 20th century that Avant-Garde tendencies started to gain some (weak) position parallel with the first wave of Modernism, and when they received — understandably — a rather hostile reaction on the part of Conservative (nationalistic, traditional, anti-Western) literary circles, their reception on the part of the evolving Modernist literature was not much more friendly either. Strangely enough, besides some signals of solidarity and sympathy, the criticisms of Modernism turned against Avant-Garde were in harmony with those formulated by the Conservative circles. However, as the Latin saying goes, “duo cum faciunt idem, non est idem” (that is, when two do the same thing, it is not the same thing) — despite the apparent interference of Modernist and Conservative criticisms aimed against Avant-Garde tendencies, the position of the actors in question was radically different. In what follows, I give a short account of the Avant-Gardists’ debate with their Modernist contemporaries and an even shorter account of their debate with their Conservative adversaries.

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Béla Balázs, the librettist of Béla Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle and Wooden Prince, wrote many remarks about Bartók in his recollections throughout his life, and their manuscripts are preserved in Budapest, in the Library of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and National Széchényi Library. Some parts of these texts, however, still remain unpublished. Even though his reminiscence tends to exaggerate their friendship, which in fact ended in their earliest period in Budapest, examination of the sources provides us with a new understanding of the relationship between the librettist and the composer. Therefore, this paper introduces the documents written by Balázs, gives a selective overview of their friendship, and examines how the image of Bartók changed in Balázs’s mind over time.

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