60. évf. , 1–2. szám (2021): Városi emlékezet és identitás
Tudományos műhelyünk, a Magyar Emlékezethelyek Kutatócsoport 2020 tavaszán jelentette meg a Debreceni Egyetemi Kiadó Loci Memoriae Hungaricae sorozatának IX. köteteként A debreceniség mintázatai: Városi identitás és a lokális emlékezet rétegei a kora újkortól napjainkig című tanulmánygyűjteményt (fősz...erkesztő: Fazakas Gergely Tamás, szerkesztők: Bódi Katalin és Lapis József). Korábbi terveink szerint e munka szakmai eredményeit vitattuk volna meg – további előadásokkal kiegészítve – egy 2020 őszi kerekasztal-beszélgetés alkalmával. A járványhelyzet azonban nem tette lehetővé a személyes találkozást. Ezért most, a Studia Litteraria tematikus lapszámában teszünk közzé egyrészt a korábbi kötetünkről szóló, arra reflektáló és annak eredményeit továbbgondoló négy írást, másrészt tizenhárom olyan tanulmányt, amelyek számos újabb szempontot vonultatnak fel.
From the 1870s onwards, Debrecen became a regional economic, commercial and educational center. By the end of the century, the notion of Debrecen being the safeguard of national and literary culture became popular, preserved by the pure Hungarian culture of the city’s middle class. At this time, however, this prominence in national policy was... only the aspiration of the literary elite of Debrecen. In 1909, the notion of Nagy-Debrecen (Great Debrecen) became a political category, meaning the real capital of Hungary was not Budapest, but Debrecen. It was particularly important that the concept was introduced by Viktor Rákosi, editor of Budapesti Hírlap, an official government newspaper, which made it seem that this was not only the aspiration of the local elite, but an officially endorsed notion. e study is concerned with exploring the origins of the Nagy Debrecen notion and its layers of meaning, and showcases how this late 19th century concept became the basis for the Nagydebrecen (Great Debrecen) notion of the 1920s, put forth by Kuno Klebelsberg.
In Hungarian the word ’local’ refers to a somewhat inferior and subordinated term correlated to national identity. Therefore, local identity is handled as merely a subnational category. However, if we speak of local identity as a historic phenomenon, it can be seen as a directly inaccessible category which once implied notions of networks a...nd extensively interacted with the national identity itself. The towns on the Great Hungarian Plain experienced rapid urbanisation and social change in the second half of the 19th century that arose the question regarding the identities of the inhabitants. Many archaic, local rites were still in use, yet under the aegis of modernisation new, general values became universal. In these circumstances people sought the best forms to express their thoughts, mentality and vernacular while living a modern lifestyle. Their demand for regional orientation has not been studied yet. Researching these historic practices, long forgotten rituals and traditions may overwrite the way we now think of these as simple juxtapositions. e history of these techniques of localisation and identication goes far beyond the subnational perspective. These traditions, that are considered to be of local importance, help us understand social, artistic and architectural changes. us the history of urbanisation, especially the urbanisation of the country, which is oen told eschatologically, can be better understood.
A movement in the early 20th century aimed to re-acquire the expenses of the redemption paid nearly two centuries before. Although they could not reach their goals, this movement had a significant impact on activating and reshaping the local identity that was previously composed mainly of feudal merits. To mobilize the masses the participants p...ublished several articles offering a positive self-image and even the promises of an alternative Hungarian history. The leading figures were only partly native within the local society, so they made conscious choices to become devoted Jász patriots. #is paper focuses on their lives and attempts in order to analyze how their messages interacted with local experiences.
Considering the cultural elite of Debrecen, it is inevitable to interpret the social and cultural phenomenon, which is known as the identity of Debrecen and appears in the public consciousness. The concept of the identity of Debrecen is still incomplete in the social sciences, only literary science researched this concept. In my study I try to...understand what constructs nowadays the identity of Debrecen, the concept: ’debreceniség’. To understand this concept I use my empirical results, in which I asked the cultural elite in Debrecen, what they think about ’debreceniség’. The results are dichotomous, but the community recognises this concept, and some people can fill it with content, too.
My study focuses on the local memory of the Hungarian Revolution and War of Independence of 1848–1849 in the city of Debrecen. I examine how the annual ceremonies on the days of remembrance, and the meaning of monuments changed in the second half of the nineteenth century in Debrecen: on the Day of the Revolution (15th of March), on the anniv...ersary of the lost Battle of Debrecen in 1849 (2nd of August), and on the memorial day of the political martyrs of Hungary (6th of October). Public commemorations on these days were prohibited during the first few years after the repression of the War of Independence. I argue that ritual remembrance of the Hungarian Revolution from the 1850s to 1902, and erecting memorials after the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867 was a symbolic placetaking process in the urban space of Debrecen, and in other cities of Hungary. One can trace this progress from the repression of remembrance to the community fiesta of the local society on the map of Debrecen: from the Western and Eastern periphery of the city (burial places of the heroes of the war) to the city centre (Memorial Garden, High Street, Town Hall).
The aim of our study is to try to outline, through the urban and architectural efforts of the post-Trianon civic town, the partial results the population of Debrecen was able to present in terms of civic, urban, church and state investments, starting from the inner city ring and reaching to the outskirt dimensions. In addition to all this, we a...re looking for the answer to the question of how Debrecen coped with the tasks, facing it at that time, when it necessarily became the second largest and most populous city in the country.
The University of Debrecen, together with the first Hungarian university faculty of reformed theology, was founded in 1912. The institute relocated to its new campus in 1932, and there had also been plans for the erection of a university church, which was finally completed in 1942 by architect József Borsos. This study focuses on the 1938 desi...gn competition for the university church which re-emerged recently when a significant part of the submitted entries was discovered in the collection of the local church district’s library. Due to this discovery, along with the winning design of Borsos, the two further awarded and the three purchased entries have also come to light. This study’s primary aim is to publish the blueprints that had been unknown up until recently. Additionally, I attempted to position the competition entries in the context of the religious architectural history of interwar Hungary; as well as to compare the ideas of the architects and the clients. During the exploration of the competition’s history, I considered the following question to be the most relevant one: Was there any chance that the university of a city often called the “Calvinist Rome” would have a church built in any other style than “classicizing modernism” in interwar Hungary?
The Simon Editions Kra publishing house, based in Paris, launched a series in the late 1920s concerning the literary history of various nations, titled Panoramas des Littérature Contemporaines. Preceding Scandinavian and Balkan literatures, the Hungarian literary history was published in May 1930 in French, with the above mentioned title, writ...ten by two authors from Debrecen, professor János Hankiss and secondary school teacher Géza Juhász. The volume managed to attract and keep up the interest of the national literary public for over half a year; forty reviews, reports, debates and corresponding articles were produced in response. Among the authors were Mihály Babits, György Bálint, Pál Ignotus, Attila József, Sándor Márai, etc. Two other teachers from Debrecen, László Kardos and Pál Kardos published their views on the 348-page volume in a 24-page separate booklet in Debreceni Szemle. The authors began with the explanation of the book’s content-editorial principles, emphasising that the book is only a panoramic overview, thus it is “not a report on the contemporary Hungarian literary hierarchy and its inner merits, but merely aims to attract interest in Hungarian literature”. The debates around the Panoramas reflect the divided nature of the contemporary Hungarian over-politicising intellectual life: the liberal and left-wing papers criticise the volume for satisfying course demands and for its anti-Semitism, which they despise, right-wing papers, on the other hand, appraise the work.
The study analyzes Magda Szabó’s historical drama “Shout, City!” looking for an answer to how the memory of Debrecen appears in the play. In the first two chapters, the paratexts of the play (title, prologue) are examined, followed by an analysis of the characteristics of the memory in the drama. The drama recalls different memorial topo...i associated with Debrecen, reflecting that these are constructed by literary tradition. Magda Szabó’s text not only simply evokes the memorial narratives of Debrecen, but also questions their validity due to the dramatic events and the rhetorical complexity of the dramatic language. One chapter of the study discusses in detail the dramatic memory and dramaturgical role of Calvinian predestination. The analysis concludes that “Shout, City!” evokes Calvinist thoughts and their memorial narratives through a complex dialogue, shaped by dramatic events, dialogues and debates between characters. e nal chapter examines the end of the drama, based on Aleida Assmann’s study, focusing primarily on the issue of sacrice. As a result, the signicance of Magda Szabó’s historical drama is not given by drama poetic innovation, but by the intention to rethink the stories that construct the cultural memory of Debrecen.
The significance of Szilágysomlyó to our topic is given by the fact that in the second half of the 16th century it was the family estate of the Roman Catholic Báthory family, who gave princes and voivodes to Transylvania. It was only in the early 17th century that the Báthorys could begin to strengthen the position of the Catholic denominat...ion, even on their Somlyó family estate, which was already a mixed-religion region. At the same time, the support which the 17th-century Reformed princes of Transylvania lent to the Reformed Church in the region reflects a very conscious church policy, see primarily the principality of Gábor Bethlen and the selection of the Reformed deans of Szilágy (Sălaj). It must be noted that the majority of the clergy in early modern Szilágyság did not receive training in Nagyenyed but presumably in Nagyvárad (Oradea) and - after 1660 - verifiably in Debrecen, where, following a public debate and examination, they were ordained as ministers. Their education, spirituality, and thinking thus bind them here, to the two early modern citadels of Puritanism.
The focus point of my study evokes the poetic rhetorical tradition of the early modern death poetry. At the beginning I would like to review the metric characteristics and the genres of mourning poems rooted in antiquity, then trough the rhetorical shapes, allusions, and tropics of the verse texts that are the subject of my analysis, I will poi...nt out the connection of the funeral poems with the classic literary patterns. At the end of my study anthologies will be analyzed from the perspective of representational gestures appearing in death poems. e poems include the representation of the departed and the weeping community as well. The poems emphasize the most important moments of the departed, his turning point events, the characteristics of the individual that are worthy of recognition and praise, his merits or just the important historical events of the given era. At the same time the micro and macro-structure related to the 17th century intelligentsia is drawn from the varied composition of the volumes, as well as the connection of the people living in Debrecen with the other members of the diocese. The lyrical speakers say goodbye mostly on the behalf of the community (family, friends, school, church, home) interpreting death as a collective loss.
Having been founded in 1739 by professor György Maróthi, the College Choir of Debrecen has been working studiously on performing on every important event and occasion of the College. Among many other roles, it has served as a means for keeping the memory of Csokonai, the great Hungarian poet of the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries. This st...udy aims to present the mostly subjective written memories which registered the ways of remembering past events and important persons. But also the continuously changing fellowship of the choir needed a definite point in time to define their own identity. Ferenc Balogh, professor of Church history was the first to find the history of the male choir that functioned as a student society for more centuries. The study focuses on the period between 1861 and 1924, based on the registries of the choir, local and national journals, and memories to show the ways of keeping the past alive in order to live in the present.
The central question of this study is the question of the identity from a special perspective. What has the identity of the church, or with other words: what has the religious identity to do with public spaces? The question of the identity became one of the most important questions of theology in the 21st century. Does the church have an identi...ty crisis today? If yes, what is the manifestation of this crisis? The present study is focusing on different identity-constructions and on the question, how the church can create an own place on the present “religious market”. With reference on the studies of Niklas Luhmann, Jürgen Habermas and the Theologians Karl Barth, Eric Peterson and others the following thesis is verified: the Christian religion has an alternative space in the public space, the so called “eschatological publicity”. The consequence of this kind of publicity is that Christian religion is able to create a sort of “anti-space” against the mainstream places and against the simplified mainstream discourse in society.
One of the central questions of both the A debreceniség mintázatai (Patterns of Debrecenness) conference and its subsequent 2020 edited collection was the background of the conflicting relation between Ferenc Kazinczy and the intelligentsia of Debrecen. The city followed the path of organic cultural development, based upon its traditions, c...ountry town impulses and inner development. The opposition promoted the modelling of western societies, as well as implementing their literary characteristics based upon the aesthetic qualities of western-European languages: all these led to nationwide outcries reminiscent of the heated polemics. The local intellectuals, referring to the profane populace and the idea of the language’s “collective precedency”, stepped up against the elite who interpreted taste as an objective factor. This is how in the 18th century the most populous and major city of traditional Hungary was scape goated. In the conflicts even Lajos Domokos, who was educated at western universities, spoke four languages and translated Fénelon, the mayor of Debrecen, was labelled as the embodiment of plebeian provincialism. The paper also considers the effect of the church on xeno experience in the city with reformed majority, and then it follows certain characteristic statements - in relation to the in the volume often mentioned assessment of civic mentality – up until the First World War.
The Research Group for Hungarian Realms of Memory affiliated to the Institute of Hungarian Literary and Cultural Studies at the University of Debrecen has taken on the thread of a long-running debate with its latest research program. Its research results were published in the conference volume entitled “Patterns of Debrecen…”. The studies... presented in this volume are extremely inspiring, especially the analysis of Attila Debreczeni, which proves to those approaching the topic from other disciplines that the term ‘Debrecenness’ is not as timeless as it is commonly used. The term was coined at the turn of the 18-19th century by Ferenc Kazinczy, who was calling for the renewal of Hungarian culture and language. Its aim was to draw a deterrent example of a remnant that hinders the catching-up of Western European cultural development. He created his deterrent example from the most backward elements of the urban development peculiarities of Debrecen - this is the term ‘Debrecenness’. Kazinczy’s rhetorical construction became so strong that those who thought about the development of the city, about the special role and identity of Debrecen could not later get rid of the discursive position of defence. Other intellectual workshops examining the history of the city (historians, settlement geographers, church historians, others) can finally find proved the strength and impact of the Kazinczyan discourse and the term he coined as part of the development of the Debrecen mentality and identity. However, based on their research results, they came to the conclusion that the peculiarities of urban history of Debrecen, and its role in Hungarian nationwide development was richer and more diverse than the Kazinczyan term. Therefore, in addition to the ‘debreceniség/Debrecenness’ category, it is also worth examining whether there was a specific urban development path of Debrecen, which can be called ‘debrecenség/Debrecenity’ to avoid misunderstandings. In the light of recent modernization theories and current developments (depletion of traditional resources driving industrial modernization, environmental damages, climate change), the urban development of Debrecen cannot simply be classified as a lagging and receding force compared to the development of the central regions. Moreover, perhaps it can bring lessons and specific (partial) solutions to the interpretation of development that does not absolutize growth at all costs. The re-enacted debate is an intellectual challenge for all scientific workshops dealing with the urban development of Debrecen, their collaboration and the organization of a joint research project promise real scientific progress.
In the first decades of the 21st century Debrecen is once again preoccupied with the question of its existence, as in this time period a number of major conferences were devoted to the overview of the city’s cultural media and media representations (arts, mass culture, tourism), moreover, with the survey of its local identity, local economy,...contemporary arts and popular culture. The conference, titled A debreceniség mintázatai: Városi identitás és a lokális emlékezet rétegei a kora újkortól napjainkig (Patterns of Debrecenness: Layers of Urban Identity and Local Memory from Early Modern Era to the Present), organised by the Hungarian Memory Places Research Team of the Institute of Hungarian Literature and Culture at the University of Debrecen in January 2018 was also part of this series of conferences. The conference, starting out from the discourse of memory place archaeology but also including the present, questioned the diverse Debrecen-representations’ potential to form identity. The 9th volume of the esteemed series, Loci Memoriae Hungaricae, collected the materials of this colourful and efficient discussion. This complex interdisciplinary and inter-artistic volume is separated into five major segments: starting with the stereotypes, the systematic discussion of the concept of „debreczeniség”/debreceniség (Debrecenness) and the effect of the culture creating force of reformed Protestantism, through the interpretations of literary representations, urban texts, and social history-historiographic interconnections, finishing with the descriptions of the architecture of recent past and present, and urban marketing. The present review, now extended into a study, responds to the papers included in the volume by maintaining an animated discussion with them.
One of the “hidden” merits of the volume titled A debreceniség mintázatai: Városi identitás és a lokális emlékezet rétegei a kora újkortól napjainkig (Patterns of Debrecenness: Layers of Urban Identity and Local Memory from Early Modern Era to the Present) is that the authors approach the extraordinarily rich history and present o...f Debrecen with impeccable evaluation and local patriotism enriched with well-aimed, strict criticism. It should be emphasised that some of the authors “works ahead” for the posterity, when, for instance, discussing the architecture in Debrecen in the past few decades they provide foundation for future centuries on how to interpret the past. It is also worth mentioning that the emotionally loyal caretakers of Debrecen’s past, in almost all the cases, have a somewhat ambivalent relationship with the topic, besides identification they also maintain a certain critical distance.