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Abstract  

In Der Anfang der Philosophie Hans-Georg Gadamer attributed a constitutive trait of Plato’s philosophy to the literary qualities of the dialogues, and claimed that in the transition of Greek philosophy from mythological appreciation to conceptualization (from myths to logos) fictionalization ranked high as a genuine structural element of philosophical speculation. Meanwhile Gadamer’s reconstruction of pre-Socratic philosophy in view of its Platonic reception seems to be subordinate to his conviction that Heidegger’s revolution was unprecedented in the history of philosophy.

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Summary  

This is a discussion of Volume I (“Junctures and Disjunctures in the 19th and 20th Centuries”) of the History of the Literary Cultures of East-Central Europe, a four volume synthetic enterprise in the framework of the Literary History Project of the AILC/ ICLA. The editors, Marcel Cornis-Pope and John Neubauer, rightly claim that the work helps lay the spiritual foundations of European integration. “East-Central Europe” seems to be the most acceptable term to define a part of Europe exposed for centuries to German and Russian hegemonic threats. Today there is a chance for regional rapprochement and it is a primary task to defeat nationalism with national myths and “great narratives” as its main spiritual ammunition. Their criticism is, however, not an international, but a strictly national affair, a self-addressing dialogue. The method of “temporal nodes”, applied as a structural principle by the editors, may help unveil “great narratives”, as the reader, faced with a kaleidoscopic arrangement of “micro-histories”, is provoked to discover realistic and meaningful correspondences.

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Nation-religion is a term for a national myth and rhetoric formed in Hungary from the 15th

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After the fall

Literary histories after the fall of literary history

Neohelicon
Author: József Szili

Abstract  

The “Fall” was inaugurated by Ren Wellek at the Bordeaux Congress of the AILC/ICLA in 1970. Postmodern theory of literature was concerned first with radical criticism of conventional historical approaches for their lack of “literariness”. Then Hayden White exposed the “literariness” of historiography. According to Writing Literary History: Selected Perspectives from Central Europe (eds. Darko Dolinar and Marko Juvan) national literary histories do not necessarily play their former emancipatory role and eventually they may serve nationalist purposes. This is underlined by Hungarian experience as classics of Hungarian literary history created a continuous past of ten centuries for “Hungarian literature” veiling substantial changes in the concepts of “literature” and “Hungarian”. An answer to the problem might be the decomposition of “grands rcits” by “micro-histories” and temporal “nodes”. Meanwhile recent comparative histories — Literary Cultures of Latin America (eds. Mario J. Valds and Djelal Kadir) and History of the Literary Cultures of East-Central Europe (eds. Marcel Cornis-Pope and John Neubauer) — seem to have an innate disposition to deconstruct “great stories” of nationalism and regionalism. A forthcoming history of Hungarian literature (ed. Mihly Szegedy-Maszk) is based on nodal dates and problems to make tractable confronting literary canons. Vilgirodalom (World Literature, ed. Jzsef Pl) published in 2005 surveys nearly forty literatures from the point of view of an East-Central European variety of the “Western Canon”.

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