54. évf. , 3-4. szám (2015): Az első világháború emlékezete
E folyóiratszám előzménye az a konferencia, amelyet a Debreceni Akadémiai Bizottság Irodalomtudományi Munkabizottsága és a Debreceni Egyetem Egyetemi és Nemzeti Könyvtára szervezett 2014 novemberében, Csataképek, életképek, emlékképek címmel. A rendezvény az első világháború kitörésének centenáriuma alkalmából fór...umot teremtett arra, hogy irodalom- és művészettörténészek, valamint a kultúratudomány szakemberei együttesen vegyék számba a „nagy háború” megjelenítését az utóbbi évszázad műveiben, valamint a mindennapok kultúrájában. Ez utóbbival foglalkozó cikkek más (néprajzi profilú) kiadványban kapnak helyet; ezzel az összeállítással irodalmi és művészeti alkotások, illetve folyamatok elemzését veheti kézbe az olvasó.
Since most of the leading Hungarian writers of the early twentieth century refused to participate in World War I, the most interesting Hungarian document is Noirmoutier (The Black Monastery) by the Transsylvanian Aladár Kuncz (1886–1931), published shorty before the death of its author. When the war was declared, he was in Brittany. Kuncz an...d some of his compatriots were interned, and his book is a narrative of captivity. Despite his sufferings, he never lost his great admiration for French culture. Among the German authors who fought in the war, Ernst Jünger (1895–1998), the author of Stahlgewittern (Storm of Steel, 1920), one of the most imaginative prose works about the war, expressed his unqualified respect for the ”enemy”. It is a difficult question to what extent the horror of the trench led some writers to political extremes. Henry Barbusse (1873–1935) became a Communist, whereas Louis-Ferdinand Céline (1894–1961) and Pierre Drieu la Rochelle (1893–1945) decided to support the pro-German régime during World War II. A somewhat comparable disillusion was expressed by Ford Madox Ford (1873–1939) in his novel tetralogy Parade’s End (1924–28). The conclusion is inescapable: Europe committed suicide in1914, as the Hungarian poet and novelist Dezső Kosztolányi (1885–1936) declared when the war broke out.
The main hypothesis of the article is that the two opposing poles of the spectrum of the (British) cultural memory of the Great War – official, monumentalizing memory and the various strands of counter-memory – are represented respectively by the image of the memorial and the motif of the ghosty voice. The article describes the variations o...f this dichotomy, discussing poetry by Sassoon and Owen, as well as fiction by John Galsworthy, Henry Williamson, Christopher Isherwood, Alan Hollinghurst and Adam Thorpe, among others, concentrating on moments that could be called memorial ekphrasis, as well as on various aspects of the spectral voice contrasted to monumentalizing memory. What the readings show is that the stark contrast between the two kinds of memory and the two motifs associated with them is ultimately rather unstable.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s festival piece Des Epimenides Erwachen [The awakening of Epimenides], 1815, and Gerhart Hauptmann’s work entitled Festspiel in deutschen Reimen [Commemoration Masque], can be connected to the First World War only indirectly. While the former was created for the ceremony celebrating the end of the Napoleonic Wars..., the latter was made for its centenary. Yet, both are in connection with the First World War, since in Europe before 1914, it was the Napoleonic Wars which meant the experience of a great war. Hauptmann’s play consciously relates to Goethe’s text and it was constitutive of the social discourse prior to the outbreak of the First World War.
Analysing representations of war, we tend to consult “canonized” texts, forgetting that authors of popular literature can also add important aspects to the topic. Thisessay explores this slice of literature through one particular case. In 1917 and 1918, Gustave Le Rouge, one of the most original and productive authors of French popular lite...rature, published five short stories in a series called Patrie (Homeland) by Rouff publisher. In the first part of the essay, I discuss the portrayal of the characters and the representations of war in the texts, while the second part focuses on the various levels of narration and literary communication, especially on the vehicle and the forms of blended written and visual codes.
Virginia Woolf ’s novel Mrs Dalloway is regarded as a very important work both in gender and in trauma studies. The present article provides an overview of the cultural history of the interwar period, in order to answer the question why the modernist novel used to be the only possible forum for public talking about trauma at that time. Modern...ist literature and the rhetoric of the trauma most probably have a lot in common and these analogies become apparent when studying the reception history of Mrs Dalloway. My close reading of the novel works not only within the framework of trauma studies but I also intend to operate with new theoretical contexts, such as the poetics of metamorphoses and theories on the social construction of time regimes. The two protagonists of the novel, Clarissa and Septimus never meet in the story, yet one may perceive a certain communication between them, enabled by the feeling of empathy. Empathy can, as I finally conclude on the basis of the poetics of the novel, temporarily function as a substitute transcendence in the age of modernity.
The memory of the First World War in Britain is closely linked with the poetry of the era. When we read such poems, we assess them both as works of art and as historical documents. We can detect a populist trend in the poetry of the Great War, whose emblematic text is John McCrae’s “In Flanders Fields”, which was extremely popular in thos...e years. On the other hand, the best war poets introduced such innovations in poetry that largely determined the later history of 20th-century British literature. Their major aim was to open people’s eyes to the horror which they were unable to imagine. I attempt to demonstrate this tendency through some examples.
When the First World War broke out there was general enthusiasm in the participating countries. Numerous artists, both in English and in Hungarian, for example Rupert Brook and John McCrae, Sándor Sajó and István Tömörkény, wrote in a patriotic tone. They were devoted to pro-war sentiments, and applied the rules of the previous ages’ he...roic war writing tradition. When the real nature of the war became obvious with the stalemate in the trenches, many artists realized that the previously predominant heroic ideal is anachronistic and unattainable: pro-war sentiments declined. Both English and Hungarian writers, such as Siegfried Sassoon, Wilfred Owen, Gyula Vitéz Somogyváry and Jenő Heltai, tried to find adequate artistic responses to the experience of the war, and although England and Hungary fought on opposing sides and they probably did not know the works of the other nation’s artists, there are striking similarities in the tone of their writing and in their representational strategies.
In my essay, I intend to survey how the topic of the Great War influences the poetic material of the interwar period (with special respect to the duration of the war itself). First of all, it is obligatory to recall (and, in a way, rethink) the relevant works of such well-known authors like Endre Ady or Mihály Babits. The previous one is parti...cularly important, because we can speak about innovative poetical (and not thematic) consequences in his case. I discuss more extensively the works of two minor poets of the era: the oeuvre of Géza Gyóni (the war poet of WWI Hungary) and Géza Juhász, whose expressive volume Háború (War) was published twenty years after its formation, only in 1937.
Taking stance regarding the question of war was the “litmus paper” of the test of patriotism. Whoever was against war was a defeatist, moreover, a traitor. The conservative, folk-national group – with a few exceptions - was on the side of war, while the generation producing “new songs for new times” (Endre Ady, Mihály Babits, Dezső...Kosztolányi, Margit Kaffka, Ernő Szép, Menyhért Lengyel, Ákos Dutka, Árpád Tóth, etc.) was, apart from some initial hesitation, on the side of peace. The full scale of production cannot be measured; we are talking about tens of thousands of work. One of the main characteristics of war poetry was the emphasis on the defensive aspect. Many poems connected the First World War with the Hungarian War of Independence of 1848-49. Some poets (such as Mihály Szabolcska) saw the essence of Hungarian identity in war-time valour. The main core of these poems consists of heroic and sentimental texts, belittling dying and praising heroic death. Some militarist poems disparaged “rotten” peace as the root of liberalism, cosmopolitanism, and ideas of freemasonry. Propaganda poetry was advocating national unity. War poetry drew an idealistic portrait of the relationship between the officers and the troops. Finally, one can find a multitude of poems mocking and hating the enemy. The Hungarian poetry of the First World War only gained a position of value by an ideological-performative power act; all other instances reveal its rhetorical emptiness.
János Kőbányai’s paper is centred on two crucial questions. The first is if literature can be a source of history. Second, what does it tell about a nation’s collective memory if some of their historical milestones do not appear in novels? After the First World War Hungary gained back its independence, which had been lost back in the Mid...dle Ages. However, the country lost most of its territory and population. There was also a civil war going on in the trenches, especially after 1916, mostly against Jews, who played a very crucial part in Hungarian modernity. The upheaval manifested itself in the battle between official and reservists. It is due to these socio-political factors that, despite some very sensitive and detailed works, no canonical, collectively determining and memorable novel appeared about the great war. Kőbányai highlights report literature and the hostage chronicles. Hungarian literature was rarely examined from the perspective of its migration literature, even though it was due to the revolutions following the Great War that a huge number of Hungary’s artists and intelligentsia emigrated. The most valuable works about the First World War were written in the isolation of emigration, and these are still not part of the canon.
This paper deals with various methods of presentation museums apply in order to make their visitors experience war. In theory, what they attempt is impossible, partly because exhibited objects become aestheticized as objects to be looked at, and partly because museums tend to stage entertaining and true-to-life exhibitions. Weapons are the most... important objects displayed at war exhibitions. However, the question is whether they should be displayed after cleaning or with all traces of use. Furthermore, it is also worth considering whether or not everyday objects can tell visitors more about the need and suffering people went through. Reconstructed scenes, which aim to give visitors a nearly first-hand experience of war, are very popular. Its critics, however, argue that wars are not action movies, neither are museums adventure parks. Photographs play a special role in the exhibitions as exhibits and instruments of installation. Works of art are also significant, because they are capable of exerting a powerful influence. Finally, there are exhibitions which refrain from attractive, experience-centred presentation and display the exhibits in the simplest possible way instead, prompting visitors to create their own interpretations.
A decisive turning point signalling the demarcation between the Romantic era and the so-called “modern music” is a symbolic date during the last year of the First World War, the day of Debussy’s death: 25th March, 1918. The Revue Musicale in Paris devoted a whole thematic issue to the significant composer as well as to the important date.... The magazine’s sheet music supplement (“Tombeau de Debussy”) contained pages from his contemporaries. Béla Bartók paid his homage with a Hungarian folk song adaptation. We can approach the background against this extraordinary decision from several perspectives. What is of importance here is that his work mirrored the end of an era and the need for something new. Igor Stravinsky had a totally different attitude. He contributed to the supplement with a modern chorale which, owing to his personal methods, became one of his greatest masterpieces, the “Symphony for Wind Instruments.” After all, he, just like Bartók, also intended to set the foundations of a completely new era with its new acoustics, inspired by Debussy and his oeuvre.
Folk music – just like any other work of art – bears the historical imprint of the age when it was born. World War military poetry is the last manifestation of the song creating imagination of Hungarian folk culture. Due to cultural history, we have a particularly colourful and nuanced image of the effects of the “Great War” on Hungaria...n folk music. It is a unique coincidence – both of historical and academic importance – that the significance of folk music and its research was recognized by the whole continent just a decade before the outbreak of the war, that there were two outstanding researchers of folk music in Hungary, and that these two researchers were both excellent composers. Due to the work of Kodály and Bartók, the collection of folk music, which formerly happened in the small villages of the country, spread to military communities, covering the songs that were born during the war. This way, the study of folk music made it possible for scholars to observe the effect of historical events on folk culture through living examples.
During the Great War both sides agreed on the special power of music to create a mythologized national community of destiny and to strengthen the fighting spirit of the masses. From the German perspective this war was one between western civilization characterized by capitalism and industrialization on the one hand and German high culture repre...senting traditional values and the homo hierarchicus on the other. In the first part of this paper I outline this ideological and social background of musical life. In the second part I explore the attitudes of Arnold Schoenberg and Alban Berg toward the Great War and their participation in the clash of civilizations. Finally I suggest a prophetic reading of some compositions of the Second Viennese School, particularly of Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 6 and Alban Berg’s Three Pieces for Orchestra, Op. 6. Because of their deconstructive and subversive nature these pieces can be read as prophetic not only of the Great War, but also of the further historical catastrophes of the twentieth century.