A kortárs magyar irodalom folyamatait elsősorban a műkritika legkülönfélébb szakmai orgánumai követik nyomon, s bár több irodalmi és művészeti folyóirat rendszeresen megjelentet összegző áttekintéseket a történő magyar irodalom legaktuálisabb tendenciáiról, ezen folyamatok átfogó, tudományos igényű leírására viszonylag ritkán kerül sor. Éppen ez utóbbira vállalkozik jelenlegi lapszámunk, amely a kortárs magyar líra és próza aktuális folyamatainak széleskörű feltérképezését és mélyebbre ható vizsgálatát ígéri.
The present study attempts to delineate the biopoetic tendencies in contemporary Hungarian poetry. After a general introduction to the theoretical context of biopoetics and its different approaches of literary interpretation, three main topics are discussed. The first part of the paper examines how the representation and the rhetoric of the body have changed in several poetic constructions concerned with various experiences of the self and the other. The second one focuses on texts that rethink human perception and experience in relation to other forms of living beings and the ecosystem as well with critical reflection on the role of the language and the sociocultural and scientific background that shapes the concepts of life and human existence. The final part of the paper is centered around the question how technology and digitality affect our way of thinking and experiencing, and how this knowledge appears in literary texts that either incorporate the principles of other media (e. g. video games, smart keyboards) into their internal textual operation or change the concept of the lyric voice through intermedial connections.
In my paper I provide an overview of the theme of love in contemporary Hungarian poetry. My investigation reveals a shift in love poetry that is partly grounded in the latest decades’ socio-political tendencies in the global West and is partly connected to a broader transformation in the language of love as well. The paper offers two close readings as examples of the tendencies outlined above: one that interprets Márton Simon’s poem Életünk napjai and another one focusing on Tímea Turi’s poem Fontosabb dolgok.
Having identified a number of dilemmas concerning the meaning and usage of the term „avantgarde” in the context of contemporary literature, the essay sets out to explore the possibility of avantgarde legacy, tradition and poetic approaches in contemporary Hungarian poetry. Through a brief analysis of eight collections published in 2022, the essay assesses how contemporary Hungarian poets attempt to provoke, engage and stimulate readers. Finally, the paper assesses whether interpreting these approaches as avantgarde could be a viable interpretive strategy.
The new anthology of Transylvanian poetry entitled Címtelen föld (“Land Without a Label”) has intensified the discussions on the concept of metamodernism in the contemporary Hungarian literary scene. In my paper, I carry out a scrutiny of the conceptualization of metamodernism and how it is applied to contemporary Hungarian poetry. Firstly, I analyse the context, both Hungarian and international, in which the need for a new epochality succeeding postmodernism has arisen. Secondly, I examine the historical consciousness (or the lack of it, for that matter), which seems to be characteristic of a metamodern perspective as far as its relations to modernism and postmodernism are concerned.Thirdly, I carry out a comparison between how metamodernism is applied differently to novels and poems. In my conclusion, I argue for the return of modernism’s so-called “unhappy consciousness” with respect to contemporary Hungarian poetry’s obsessive fixation on manifesting the structure of feeling in contemporary Western society.
This paper attempts an observation of Gergely Vida’s poetry, particularly his collection Mellékalak („Sideforms”), through a bare scientific understanding of life as well as through the presence of visual techniques. The biomaterial conditions of life are given meaning by cultural techniques, and vice versa: cultural techniques (and art) prefigure what is known about life. This duality gives simultaneous function to the anthropological horizon, while also leading onto the preceding (or proceeding) corporal reality.
The paper examines the presence and forms of autofiction in contemporary Hungarian literature. It does not contain a broad theoretical discussion of the genre, as I only aim to highlight some theoretical connections that can be specifically applied to Hungarian works. After a general description of the autofictive works published in the recent decades, three contemporary pieces shall be interpreted. The double narrative structure of Zsolt Láng’s novel Bolyai can be associated with several literary genres. In addition to autofiction, the codes of crime fiction play a prominent role in the work, and the combining and mixing of genres, narrative forms, and discursive modes also contribute to the complexity of the novel. The works of Imre Bartók and Andrea Tompa provoke the expectations concerning the genre of autofiction in a subversive manner. Bartók has already experimented with the possibilities of autobiography and autofiction in his previous novel (Jerikó épül), and his „failure-novel”, Lovak a folyóban also ironically and parodistically uses various narrative forms, popular and high-brow genres. Its autofictive element also falls victim to the satirical reflection on literature as a whole. Andrea Tompa subverts autobiographical facts for a completely distinct purpose and in a different way in her novel Haza. At the centre of the novel we can find questions about the concept of homeland, emigration, homelessness, language, mother tongue and translatability. Vital tools of representation such as omission, concealment, and erasure also render any autofictional approach impossible.
This article analyses Imre Bartók’ Jerikó épül (“Jericho is being built”, 2018) in the context of contemporary Hungarian and international autofiction. Using the distinction established by Hannah Arendt and Giorgio Agamben between the notions of “bios” and “zoe” as a starting point, I argue that the novel deconstructs the logic of autobiographic narration via its expansion of the semantics of the term “life”, playing upon its evolutionary, biological and material connotations. Furthermore, identifying “the” as one of the book’s central, self-reflexive motifs, I explore its links to the most significant autobiographic tradition of European literature (hallmarked by the names of St. Augustine and Rousseau) and interpret it in the light of the text’s affective and performative functioning.
This paper discusses the prose volumes of János Térey, focusing on the importance of style imitation, autobiography and generational experiences in Termann hagyományai (“Termann’s traditions”, 1997) and the re-written version of the volume entitled Termann hagyatéka (“Termann’s testament”, 2012). The purpose of my investigation is to show that there is a connection between Térey’s poetical traditions (sentimentalism, aesthetic modernism), the genre of the volumes (short story cycle) and the (auto)biographical narrative presented in the Termann cycle and, to a lesser extent, in his posthumous memoir (Boldogh-ház, Kétmalom utca [Boldogh House, Kétmalom Street], 2020). The thesis of the paper is that Térey adjusted his first prose volume to his later poetic oeuvre by the poetical reworking of the Termann-texts and by reducing the significance of the autobiographical and generational aspects that had originally played a crucial role in them. ¤e article addresses the relevance of Térey’s rewriting aspirations in the context of his generation and the atmosphere of the contemporary Hungarian literary scene, comparing his career to that of his contemporaries (Krisztián Peer, Zoltán Poós).
The aim of the article is to analyse the relationship between transculturalism and cartography in some works of contemporary Hungarian literature. In doing so, the paper introduces the concept of “transcultural geographical tension”, which refers to the tension resulting from the flow of information, data and people between the points A and B. Furthermore, the study examines how individual literary works produce this geographical tension in such a way that their text is also created as a map. e following works constitute the corpus of analyses: Zoltán Csehy: Grüezi! (2020), Tamás Korpa: A lombhullásról egy júliusi tölggyel (2020), Tantalópolis (2016) by Peter Macsovszky and Anikó N. Tóth’s A szalamandra mosolya (2022).
In my paper, I examine the novel A dögeltakarító (“The Scavenger”) by the Yugoslavian-born Hungarian writer Zoltán Danyi, published in 2015. The protagonist of the novel is an anonymous man from Vojvodina who participated in the Yugoslav Wars, and whose story can be interpreted as the representation of the war trauma and the identity crisis resulting from belonging to a minority. However, the main aim of my study is not to argue in favour of the protagonist’s madness or to prove his mental illness, but rather to analyse the poetic devices that make him seen by the reader as a “disturbed mind”. As a result, my paper is not interested in identifying the set of symptoms of a disease defined by psychiatry, but rather in the description of those narrative, poetic and motivic features related to intertextuality and transmediality which can somehow result in the interpretation of the main character as a pathological case.
The article explores the ways Róbert Csaba Szabó’s novel Alakváltók (“Shapeshifters”) represents Romania’s 20th century history, with special respect to the regime change in 1989. Accordingly, I link the motifs of “shapeshifting” and metamorphoses to the novel’s desillusionary view on the prospects of political change and transformation in Eastern Europe. Focusing on the central character of Rajnai/Perjovschi, I conclude that the story of his life displays at the micro level what totalitarian power attempts to achieve at the macro level: the disfigurement, concealment or total eradication of personal and group identities.
A philosophical account of genre and of the criteria for genre-membership should explain at least five empirical facts: (i) genres may change over time, so genres have histories, (ii) membership in categories of genre is determined by a cluster of non-essential criteria, (iii) a work’s membership of a genre can affect its interpretation, and (iv) may significantly influence the aesthetic value we ascribe to it, (v) a one-to-many relationship occurs between works and genres, which is sometimes defined by conflicting principles (see hierarchies of genres, hybrid genres etc.). In this paper I examine how well some recent philosophical theories of genre can do this explanatory job – namely, Simon J. Evnine’s view of genres as traditions (i.e., temporally extended particulars), Gregory Currie’s conception of “genres for a community” and “dynamical genres”, Enrico Terrone’s cluster account of genres, and Catharine Abell’s Gricean theory of genres, according to which genre-membership is partly determined by the autor’s and audience’s common knowledge of the purpose characteristic of the genre.
This essay examines the relationship between contemporary Hungarian autopathographies and the myth of the solitary hero. Illness-monomyth – a widespread narrative pattern that underlines the ill person’s mental investment and responsibility in their recovery – seems difficult to avoid when writing about illness, even one’s own life-threatening somatic disease. Understanding the genre as consisting of several competing narratives, the article discusses eight autopathographies from different aspects. e list of works discussed includes books by established writers as well as journalists and amateur autobiographers, and the correlations between narrative choices and gender as well as cultural status are also considered.
In my article I review the history of writing schools in Hungary over the last 20–25 years, analyse the reasons for their birth and existence, and sort them into different groups according to their target group and purpose. }e paper proceeds with analysing quotes by popular contemporary writers that recall the beginnings of their career, when they attended writing schools, creative writing courses, or literary camps. I conclude by outlining what writing schools offer to beginner writers (both younger and older ones), what editing as a paid service means, and what the prospects are for collaborative work.
The twelve-headed dragon from Marcell Jankovics’ film Son of the White Mare is more alive than ever. is dragon has a skin made out of pixels and can devour almost everything. In this paper I take a closer look at the monster, drawing on contemporary thinkers who continue the tradition of critical theory in a postdigital age. The logic of computation has a number of consequences: in some ways it has fundamentally reshaped the world order, but in other respects it is just the continuation of the logic of capitalism itself. Our guiding thread is the concept of reification, because if we look at digitality as a process of universal reification, we can come to a critical understanding of our own contemporary practices. Art, and more narrowly literature holds particular interest among these practices; the cornerstones identified in this article suggest that we need to renew our approach to art and its interpretation.