This paper looks at a novel by László Krasznahorkai in the context of the narrative turn in history, which also stimulated a revaluation of the fictional historical narrative. War and War was one of a series of Hungarian historical novels, or mixed novel formations with a historical theme, published at the turn of the millennium, whose primary aim was not to recount a self-assured historical tale but rather to highlight, via the story, the models/schemas/shifts/blank spaces in our present-day comprehension of the past. This paper interprets the novel with reference to historic-philosophical conceptions (Löwith, Koselleck), tracks its references to the Judaeo-Christian tradition, and argues that it transforms the teleological idea of the historical process into an apocalyptic model of history.
The much-cited theorist of autobiography, Philippe Lejeune, uses the term autobiographical pact to describe the silent contract between the author and reader, in which textual (and extra-textual) signals about referential and autobiographical nature of a narrative are understood as coming from the author and are accepted by the reader (Lejeune, 1989, 3–30). Autobiographical themes, connections and concrete allusions have always been present in Péter Esterházy’s fiction (e.g., Termelési regény, 1979; Helping Verbs of the Heart—A szív segédigéi, 1985; The Book of Hrabal—Hrabal könyve, 1990; Celestial Harmonies—Harmonia cælestis, 2000; Not Art—Semmi művészet, 2008). In this context, the text Revised Edition (Javított kiadás, 2002), written in the form of a diary, which describes a real event in the form of one of the most authentic autobiographical genres, signifies not only a change in the author’s understanding of the relationship between autobiography and literature, but also changes the reader’s expectations, i.e. the aforementioned silent covenant between him and the author. I will attempt to explicate the character of Esterházy’s autobiographical writing (understood on the one hand as autobiographical referentiality and on the other as an autobiographical way of writing) on the basis of the texts Celestial Harmonies and Revised Edition.
Péter Nádas’s novel published in the Hungarian language in 2005 deals with both European and Hungarian history, and validates a very specific view on history. The purpose of this paper is to reflect upon the question of relevance to the text concerning the body/body ideology aspects of Nádas’s historical approach. Differing representations of our sensuality in addition to placing the issue into a new context is one of the substantial undertakings of Parallel Stories, which in my opinion is worth approaching in the interrelationship of body – sensuality – body ideologies – history – power – novel structure. In my study, I start out from K. Theweleit’s theory, which combines the forceful exercise of power with the ideology of male camaraderie, I then analyse how this approach appears in different text levels, motifs, scenes of Nádas’s novel, up to the composition following the “chaos structure”.