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Hollywood Ascendant: American Films in Hungary in the 1970s
Published February 1, 2021

Hungarian cultural policy makers denied Hungarian viewers access to American films between 1949 and 1956. Hollywood movies were publicly shown again behind the Iron Curtain from 1957 in spite of hostile American–Hungarian bilateral relations after the crushing of the Revolution of 1956. The de-Stalinized cultural policy of Hungary allowed for... one third of the films released in Hungarian cinemas to come from capitalist countries. In the 1970s the United States became the largest non-socialist film exporter to Hungary and Hollywood export “sky-rocketed” at the end of the decade. The annual purchase of thirteen to twenty-nine American films still made it possible to apply ideological filters; however, only a part of the films released in Hungary could be regarded as useful in representing negative social trends in the United States. The majority of Hollywood movies screened in Hungary should rather be labeled as entertaining, and these served leisure on one hand and financial considerations on the other. Entertainment was recognized as a legitimate demand of the public after 1956 and the program of the cinemas had to be supplemented from Western sources. In the 1970s Hollywood became the number one Western movie entertainer in communist Hungary. The narrowing budgetary sources of cultural policy and the need for self-financing also paved the way for this tendency. (RT)

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Honoring Professor Mária Kurdi
Published January 4, 2021

Book review:

Csikai, Zsuzsa, and Rouse, Andrew C., eds. Critical Essays in Honour of Mária Kurdi. Tanulmányok Kurdi Mária tiszteletére. Martonfa: SPECHEL e-editions, 2017. 243 pages. ISBN 978-963-12-9291-6. E-book. 747 HUF.

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Eugene Havas and an Early Attempt at Personal Diplomacy to Normalize US-Hungarian Relations, 1960-1964
Published June 28, 2020

After the fall of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution and War of Independence, communist Hungary had struggled to break out of diplomatic isolation. The government formed by Secretary General of the Hungarian Socialist Workers’ Party János Kádár had not been recognized by the Western powers, including the United States of America. American- Hung...arian bilateral relations, therefore, were rather strained, and before the restitution of Hungary’s full status in the United Nations Organization, the US minimized the communication between the two countries. To change this, the Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Intelligence Service working under the aegis of the Ministry of Internal Affairs endeavored to engage expatriates—more or less famous or well-known professionals who still had some family connection to Hungary—as amateur gobetweens and semi-assets in order to find channels of communication with the American political elite and thus, via personal diplomacy, foster better relations between the two countries. The essay discusses the case of Eugene Havas (1899-1967), American economic expert and journalist of Hungarian decent. The representatives of the Kádár regime had great expectations towards him as an intermediary, this notwithstanding, as the essay will conclusively demonstrate the effect of Havas’s activities remained rather limited. (IP)

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From Poverty to Assimilation: Thomas Jefferson on Native Americans as Indigent People
Published June 25, 2022

Thomas Jefferson has long been noted for his vested academic interest in Native Americans, whom he considered to be a doomed, yet, through assimilation, a redeemable race—who in his view were people living in poverty; an aspect of Jefferson’s vision of the indigenous peoples of North America which has so far been ignored. This essay therefo...re claims that Jefferson’s general concern with them was also fueled by his understanding of Native Americans as people whose way of life relegated them into the condition of indigence by definition—a state Jefferson wished to alleviate. Drawing on Jefferson’s ideas of political economy, combined with a perspective provided by early American poverty studies, I argue that his republican ideal of free-holding male household heads was also a key to his conception of Native American poverty as well as to his solution to it. In his view, gender roles and practices within the Native communities prevented male heads from adapting to the Euro-American ideals. In Jefferson’s eyes, women’s contribution to basic activities of sustenance, thus, rendered their spouses incapable of providing for their families by the Euro-American standard of the gender division of labor. He regarded them as indigents because of their actual mode of sustenance, but a desirable shift to white ways, Jefferson implied, held the promise for them to get out of destitution. (ZV)

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Rewriting History: Narrative Resistance and Poetic Justice in Martin McDonagh’s A Very Very Very Dark Matter
Published January 4, 2021

Martin McDonagh’s A Very Very Very Dark Matter (2018) explores how the stories of exploited people have been written out of history. The play includes several storytellers, and it both replicates and deviates from the details of numerous existing narratives, including McDonagh’s own plays. Set in 1857, the play imagines that Hans C...hristian Andersen’s fairy tales were written by a pygmy woman from the Belgian Congo who has traveled back in time; Hans calls her Marjory and keeps her in a box in his attic. Eventually Marjory writes herself out of the box and departs for Africa to prevent the colonization of her people. Dark Matter compels us to question the narratives about the past that have become embedded in our culture and to uncover the facts that official accounts have altered or suppressed; rewriting history is acceptable only in imaginative storytelling, as an act of poetic justice. (JL)

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Nixon, Ford, Kissinger, and the Holy Crown of Hungary in Bilateral Relations
Published February 1, 2021

The Holy Crown of Hungary spent thirty-three years in American custody between the end of World War II and its repatriation in January 1978. Open hostility between the US, the leader of the Free World, and Hungary, a Soviet colony in the middle of Europe, prevented any discussion about its return between 1947 and 1970. The normalization of bila...teral relations (1969-78) opened up new possibilities, and the Nixon White House considered the return of the Hungarian coronation regalia briefly in 1970-71. Spirited protests by Congressmen and East European immigrants convinced National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger and President Nixon that they could lose more by returning the Crown than by keeping it in American custody (in Fort Knox, KY), so the issue was dropped. Yet the press continued to discuss the possibility of its return and the White House had to deny any such plans again and again. As normalization ground to a halt after 1973, Budapest exerted more and more pressure and the matter was on President Ford’s desk one last time in December 1976, right after he had lost the election. Ford accepted the advice of his foreign policy team and “sleeping dogs” were left alone. It was the next president who decided to “face the goulash hitting the fan” and the Holy Crown of Hungary and the assorted regalia were returned by the new Carter administration on January 6, 1978. (TG)

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“And Now for the Rest of the Story”: The ITT and Vogeler/Sanders Case Revisited
Published June 25, 2022

Robert A. Vogeler, an American businessman, served seventeen months in a Hungarian prison after being found guilty of espionage and economic sabotage. During his detainment and imprisonment, the US government used diplomatic and economic pressure to try to secure his release. Lucille Vogeler, a socialite, used personal diplomacy, the media, and... contacts with underworld figures in Austria to pressure the US and Hungarian governments to release her husband. After their return to the US in 1951, the Vogelers became prominent critics of the Truman Administration’s policy of containment and urged their audiences, including many members of the US Congress, to wage a more aggressive campaign to defeat communism. Their experiences illustrate the ways in which the American business community and individual citizens contributed to the formulation of US Cold War policies. The case also illustrates the many ways in which media and public pressure could influence US foreign policy during the early Cold War years. (MMM)

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Bridging the Narrative Gap: The Ghost Narrator in Marlon James’s A Brief History of Seven Killings (2014)
Published June 24, 2020

The essay reads Marlon James’s A Brief History of Seven Killings (2014) in the context of Walter D. Mignolo’s discussion on “border thinking” and “border gnosis” in Local Histories/Global Designs: Coloniality, Subaltern Knowledges and Border Thinking (2000). Through introducing the narrative voice of Sir Arthur Jen...nings Marlon James creates a link between past and present, between Caribbean and European tradition of cultures of orality and literacy, and between pre- and post-colonial times, critically engaging in the erasure of thresholds of epistemological location. Specific attention is paid to Sir Arthur’s role as a “duppy” (a ghost or spirit in the religious practice of Obeah) and as a “griot” (an African/Caribbean bard and story-teller) whose function is to narrate and document local histories and guard verbal art traditions of the community. (AMT)

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Sage, Hero, Ironist: Sublimity and Irony in Thomas Carlyle’s Sartor Resartus and Lectures on Heroes
Published February 1, 2021

The paper focuses on the complex interplay between sublimity and irony, explored through a parallel reading of Sartor Resartus and On Heroes, Hero-Worship and the Heroic in History by the Victorian philosopher and historian Thomas Carlyle. The essay shows how a common philosophical framework, firmly based on a sublime principl...e, is affected by the style and structure of the analyzed works: it finds total affirmation in one case (On Heroes), while it undergoes ironic subversion in the other (Sartor Resartus). Carlyle’s transcendental ideal is dramatically at odds with what he identifies as the delusions of language and history, therefore, it requires an unusual agency and extraordinary cognitive powers defined as “heroic” to transform the common individual and ordinary collective being. The “hero” in Sartor Resartus, however, is radically different from those in the lectures On Heroes: the value of his sublime experience is repeatedly questioned through the intervention of an editorial persona and the fragmentation of the text.  (NN)

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The Crisis of the American Sense of Mission at the Turn of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries
Published June 25, 2022

The sense of mission is an integral part of the national spirit. Therefore, questioning its validity can lead to the destabilization of a nation’s fundamental values and a major crisis in its self-image. This type of crisis accompanied the transformation of the American sense of mission at the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, w...hich arose from the clash between the principles of traditional continental expansionism and new imperialist aspirations. In the wake of the 1898 Spanish-American War, the United States found itself definitively enmeshed in the global arena of great power politics. The control of overseas possessions not meant for statehood in the Union turned the federal republic into an empire in all but in its name. The crisis of the sense of mission fed on the inherent tension between liberal democratic traditions and the attempt made at imperial governance. As research into the Congressional Records will indicate, in the congressional debate developing between traditional and new ideas of expansionism, a consensus emerged that the questions relating to the status of the new overseas territories were the most significant the American people had faced during the nineteenth century, for these questions touched upon the roots of the nation’s consciousness. With view to the significance of this historical moment, this essay examines the forces at work both for and against the transformation of the American sense of mission at a time when Congress still constituted a powerful check on the executive in the field of foreign policy. (ÉESZ)

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A New Account of Britain’s Economic Development
Published June 26, 2020

Book review:

Broadberry, Stephen, Bruce M. S. Campbell, Alexander Klein, Mark Overton, and Bas van Leeuwen. British Economic Growth, 1270-1870. Cambridge: CUP, 2015. 461 pages. ISBN 978-1-107-67649-7. Pbk. £25.

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Nature, the Picturesque and the Sublime in Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s Travel Narratives
Published February 1, 2021

The article explores Mary Shelley’s approach to the sublime and the picturesque in her two travel narratives, History of a Six Weeks’ Tour and Rambles in Germany and Italy. These two accounts of her travels through France, Switzerland, Italy, and Germany reveal her debt to a variety of contemporary sources aimed at ex...ploring the nature of a sublime or picturesque experience. The analysis illustrates the complexity of Mary Shelley’s approach: while moving beyond the “egotistical sublime” typified by some key passages from William Wordsworth’s Prelude, her travel narratives reveal a variety of approaches to nature and the landscape, aimed at bridging present and past, personal experience and recent historical events.  Thus, while in History, the experience of the landscape offers a way out of the suffering caused by the Napoleonic Wars, in Rambles, Mary Shelley turns to poetry and painting, this way transforming the eighteenth-century aesthetic appreciation of landscape based on the pictorial categories of the sublime and the beautiful, and embracing a modern, cultivated sensibility nourished by guidebooks and art history manuals.  (AB)

 

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Irish History, Ethics, the Alethic, and Mise En Abîme in John Banville’s Fiction
Published December 5, 2021

A controversy within John Banville scholarship focuses on his seemingly ambivalent relation to his Irishness. The dominance of Banville’s philosophical topics has seemingly rendered the specifically Irish issues redundant. However, there are Irish traits that have significance for more subtle themes or motifs in certain novels. These passages... often appear as side-paths in the eccentric protagonists’ meandering narration. In The Blue Guitar, Oliver Orme mentions that his “namesake Oliver Cromwell” attempted an attack upon the town in which his childhood home is situated, but eventually “the victorious Catholic garrison hanged half a dozen russet-coated captains” on the hill where the house stands and where “the Lord Protector’s tent” had been erected. Such casual remarks on violent historical incidents harbor a key to a particular Banvillean ethics. The frequently recurring prose structure of thematized mise en abîme and the mazes of signifiers indicate that no historical ontology in terms of a meta-narrative seems to exist. However, many of Banville’s novels revolve around the disclosure of a truth. This alethic element questions an all too convenient reliance on a completely constructivist understanding of history and thereby of Irish historical events appearing in the Banvillean oeuvre. (JW)

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Introduction
Published June 1, 2021

Introduction to the Special Thematic Block: British Seaside Resorts and Their Representation in Literature and Cinema

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Our Affairs from England
Published June 24, 2020

Book review:

Kiséry, András. Hamlet’s Moment. Drama and Political Knowledge in Early Modern England. New York, Oxford: Oxford UP, 2016. 340 pages. ISBN 9780198746201. Hb. £66.

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The Destructive Potential of the Imagination
Published June 28, 2020

Two contrary concepts dominate our understanding about human imagination—this all-but-undefinable human faculty. While one tradition contrasts the creativity of the imagination, on the one hand, and the perception of reality, on the other—often suggesting that fact (reality) and fiction (imagination) are mutually exclusive—the counter-tra...dition defines imagination as integral to the creation/perception of reality, what Edith Cobb calls the “preconfigurative imagination.” Drawing on these theoretical-philosophical considerations, the essay takes an interdisciplinary approach to probe the inherently adverse nature and the destructive potential of the human imagination in action. With examples from literature, cultural history, politics, and diplomacy the analysis offers the case in point and demonstrates the ways destructive imagination, impervious to rational argument, may render our ability void; as Henry James put it in “The Art of Fiction,” “to guess the unseen from the seen, to trace the implication of things, to judge the piece by the pattern.” (ÉM)

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The Image of Immigrants as Anarchists in the American Press, 1886-1888
Published June 26, 2020

The article analyzes the American press coverage of anarchism and anarchists between 1886 and 1888. The bomb explosion during the May 4, 1886, mass protest in Chicago started a wave of “anarchism scare” that swept through the United States. Anarchism and anarchists became one of the major public topics of the period. Relying on theoretical ...concepts such as libertarian press theory and René Girard’s idea of the scapegoat, and applying the method of critical discourse analysis, I explore how local and metropolitan US newspapers framed anarchism as a foreign ideology professed only by immigrants, making them the collective scapegoat for the social upheaval. The press set the standard of “appropriate behavior,” according to which all patriotic and loyal citizens were to accept the political and economic system and those who thought otherwise were branded anarchists and foreigners. Therefore, the American press proved to be an important pillar of the sociopolitical system. (KW)

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Editor's Notes
Published June 25, 2022

Editor's Notes

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Anglo-Saxon and Arab Encounters
Published June 1, 2021

Book review:

Stampfl, Tanja. A Century of Encounters: Writing the Other in Arab North Africa. New York: Routledge, 2019. 197 pages. ISBN 9781138363106. Pbk. $155.

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Editor's Notes
Published June 26, 2020

Editor's Notes

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The Petrified Men and the Scarecrow: Substance, Body, and Self-image in Seamus Heaney’s Bog Poems
Published January 4, 2021

Seamus Heaney’s poetry was engaged with violence for decades. His artistic exploration of land and fossils revolved around the same questions: to what extent can a human being move himself away from an inherent “tribalism”? To what extent is identity inherited through history and what rights, responsibilities come with it? These questions... arose in the author's oeuvre when the horrors of civil war reached their peak in Northern Ireland. The issues of shared community not only played a significant role in the development of self-identification, they also meant the survival of the sectarian conflict. Starting with the first bog-poems, Heaney was keen on producing a mythology to serve identity, and sometimes allowed his political opinion to filter through the images of Stone Age remains from the bog. For scientists, the investigation of archeological finds means relying on methods such as the necessary carbon analysis and careful identification of evidence, as to who these bodies were, when they lived, what characterized their daily routines, and the times they lived in. The same findings, however, had a different impact on Heaney. He used the metaphor of the land of these ancient bodies, and of history, to engage with the question of identity, but criticism made him reconsider what position he should take on the morality of the given past society. At the same time the poet, who voluntarily shared common roots with these long-forgotten forbears, was the one who started deconstructing their moral heritage in the works written towards the end of his poetic oeuvre. In contrast to earlier poems on bog-bodies, “Tollund” from the 1996 collection, The Spirit Level, and “Tollund Man in Springtime” from 2006, reflect a forward-looking attitude in which Heaney left behind an apologist viewpoint for sectarian violence. (JP)

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Acknowledging Hybridity
Published June 26, 2020

Book review:

Oliete-Aldea, Elena. Hybrid Heritage on Screen: The “Raj Revival” in the Thatcher Era. Houndmills, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015. ix + 227 pages. ISBN 978-1-137-46396-8. $95.00.

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From Advocacy to Coercion: Public Opinion and Propaganda in the United States from the 1880s to the 1930s
Published February 1, 2021

Book review:

Auerbach, Jonathan. Weapons of Democracy: Propaganda, Progressivism, and American Public Opinion. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 2015. xii + 220 pages. ISBN 978-1-4214-1736-3. Hb. $49.95.

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Journeying Across Languages, Cultures, and Literatures: The Poetry of Mervyn Morris
Published December 5, 2021

The West Indian poet Mervyn Morris (1937-) is renowned for espousing the importance of a national language in creating national literature as well as for integrating European poetic heritage with Caribbean literary traditions. Through an exploration of Morris’s selected poems, the paper discusses the role language plays in shaping the themes ...of diasporic writing and of postcolonial identity, and argues that his works show a deep awareness of the fundamental aspects of West Indian and British culture. Since Morris “refuses to be trapped in the excesses of post-modern Romanticism or political propaganda parading as nationalism” (Thompson), the paper also looks at the presentation of eternal values like love and humanity celebrated in his poems. By foregrounding the frequent use of epiphanies in his poetry, Morris conveys human affection in the frame of colonial and postcolonial history. (PF)

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Editor's Notes
Published February 1, 2021

Editor's Notes

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