2021 januárjában a Debreceni Egyetem Magyar Irodalom- és Kultúratudományi Intézetével közös szervezésben az Írói gazdálkodások a 19–20. században: Vállalkozás és befektetés Kazinczytól Jókaiig és tovább című online konferenciánkat. A konferencián elhangzott előadásokból készült tanulmányokat tartalmazza ez a lapszám. Kitűnik belőlük, hogy az 1800 és 1920-30-as évek közti időszakban – vagyis a rendi keretekben és ezek felbomlásakor, a kapitalista Gründerzeit, illetve a piaci termelési és kereskedési formák kiteljesedése idején – az „írói gazdálkodás” sokszínű változatai jöttek létre, de a mediális vagy jogi környezet, illetve az alkotói habitusok különbségei ellenére mégis kirajzolódik egy olyan történeti horizont, amelyen e változatok Kazinczytól Bajzán és Vörösmartyn át Móriczig egymást kölcsönösen értelmezve elrendezhetők. S ezzel, a maga eredményein túl, e gyűjtemény előkészíthet vagy tovább ösztönözhet olyan kutatásokat is, amelyek a szocialista korszak állami mecenatúrájának és szimulált irodalmi piacának a keretei közt tekintik át az „írói gazdálkodás” aktuális lehetőségeit: de megvilágíthatja az 1990 utáni korszak – az itt tárgyalthoz sok tekintetben visszatérő – „irodalmi gépezetének” (Margócsy István) jellemző mechanizmusait is.
This essay focuses on the relationship between Hungarian literature and economy in the nineteenth century. It does not o7er a sociological analysis of the capitalist turn of literary life. Instead, it examines how Hungarian literary authors themselves reflected upon the economic conditions of possibility of making literature. In the first third of the century, literary authors did not aim to earn money with their works: they presented their oeuvre as a sacrifice to the muses or to the nation. By the mid-nineteenth century, a literary market emerged in Hungary and literary authors pictured themselves as active agents on the market. This was the first time writers could earn a living from publishing. By the end of the century, the mass production of literature enabled the emergence of wealthy authors, but it also made literary failure possible, which could result in their impoverishment.
Do we know how many writers and artists actually made a living in Hungary in the last third of the 19th century from creative activity? What sources and numerical data and / or approximation options are available to do this? Gere is a lack of systematic and extensive research on the Hungarian intelligentsia of the 19th century. For this reason, we unfortunately still know very little about this largely “gray zone” circle. Data from census surveys and contemporary statistics starting at this time, if used carefully and with due caution in our analyses, can bring surprising and completely new results in research of literary sociology and social history. In many cases they can rewrite our hitherto generally accepted opinions and assumptions about certain literary processes.
Ferenc Kazinczy planned several agricultural enterprises in the 1820s. They mostly meant that he intended to purchase land, vineyards, and livestock but he also planned to trade with wine. However, he was not able to nance his plans from his own resources, thus he needed loans. This paper is aimed to examine these economic plans: their personal background, the peculiarities of the financial transactions and the serious consequences of indebtedness.
After the death of Károly Kisfaludy, the founder-editor of the ground-breaking literary almanac titled The Aurora. National Almanac, the so called Aurora Lawsuit broke out, which aimed to settle the control over the future fate of the publication. The literary consensus so far concluded that the polemics were won by József Bajza, who triumphed over his opponents, furthermore it was him who separated the hitherto confused definitions of author, editor and publisher, as well as the division of the rights of the publisher, author and editor, and he also managed to improve the recognition of the latter. The paper “reinterprets” the Aurora Lawsuit with a more critical view of József Bajza than before. Besides its purpose to prove that there was no superior triumph, it also aims to point out the basic motivation behind the situation, which was not discussed properly before, the aspect of power-financial gain.
The literary publishing practices related to Mihály Vörösmarty are among the least well-researched subjects of the author’s oeuvre, even though Vörösmarty himself was hoping for a substantial amount of his income to come from this source. This paper aims to focus on three major questions regarding Vörösmarty’s publications: did the published texts garner any substantial income, and did it affect his way of life in any way; what sort of funding was chosen by him (subscriptions, stakeholders, etc.); and on what genres was he focusing most intensely? In conclusion, the paper also focuses specifically on the question of whether the establishment of the Pesti Magyar Színház (Hungarian Theater of Pest), otherwise known as Nemzeti Színház (National Theater) and the staging of his dramatic works brought about any changes in these former practices.
Several economic factors contributed to the success of the Hungarian fashion magazines of the 1840s. They were widely read periodicals and they focused mainly on literature. The magazines competed to gain more subscribers and sign well-known authors. Journalism and working as an author were often tied together. Writers could make a living from publishing their works in these magazines, which was unprecedented in Hungarian literary history. Editing or working on a periodical also provided a significant source of income. This paper examines the Hungarian fashion magazines from an economic standpoint: the prots and the expenses of each periodical, the tactics publishers used to appeal to the public, while also focusing on the earned royalties and questions related to the authorial profession.
Tobacco products were extremely widespread in Hungary, cultivation and trade functioned as a key sector of the economy, and they also reflected the complex and contradictory relationship between the imperial government and the Orders. Like many of his compatriots, Mihály Tompa used self-grown tobacco, which formed a significant part of his farming, so he was also directly affected by the tobacco monopoly introduced in 1851. Based on the poet’s correspondence, the study seeks to present this involvement and to map how it all related to Tompa’s literary activity.
By the end of the 19th century, the writer’s former ‘normal career’, i.e. the wealth provided by social status, which helped to create the freedom and leisure time necessary for writing, had been transformed. However, the perception of the jobs that replaced it was not uniform in the authors’ descriptions. Through the examples of three early 20th century authors, Margit Kaffka, Mihály Babits and Zsigmond Móricz, I seek to answer the question of how the desire to preserve the elite position of literature influenced the notions of work, ‘productivity’ and pro+t in the perception of the value of a writer’s career.
This paper is about the importance of the Tiszaeszlár process (1882–83) in the different (political, public, and literary) discourses in connection with Károly Eötvös (1842–1916) and his works. The main thesis of my interpretation is that the Tiszaeszlár process is the most important component in the narrativization of Eötvös’s image, which (as a narrative abbreviation) shows spectacularly the most ideological and aesthetic problems of Eötvös’s writings and his legal, political and authoring career. My examination focuses on the ambivalent oppositions of moral success/financial gain, popularity/unpopularity and artform/ ideological content which are crucially represented and problematized in the literary reception and in Eötvös’s monumental book about the process (A nagy per… [e big process…], 1904).
My paper gives an outline of the literary career of the 20th-century Hungarian poet Erdélyi József between 1921 and 1944. What makes Erdélyi an interesting subject for such a case study is the fact that he was one of the apparently very few poets of the period who thought of literature as a full-time job. The paper surveys the reception of Erdélyi to reconstruct the ideological context that has determined his position-takings and strategies. The paper finds that the public discourse of the period was deeply divided between pro- and anti-capitalist opinions and that the habitus of Erdélyi was similarly torn: his career shows signs of alternately trying to adapt to the marketplace and to become a dominant player on the one hand – and rejecting calculations and rationality on the other.
The subject of my study is an area that has not been researched so far: the working relationship between Zoltán Ambrus and the Révai Brothers book publishing company, of which the head of the company, János Mór Révai, remembers in a warm but not realistic way in his memoir. However, the reality, according to the sources studied, was different, conflictladen. In December 1902, Zoltán Ambrus signed a life contract with Révai Brothers publishing company, which was one of the most significant book-publishing houses in Hungary. They have published the collected works of our most important writers e.g. Jókai, Mikszáth, Károly Eötvös. The subject of the contract was a 16-volume series that included all the works the writer had previously published in journals. The working relationship between the publisher and the writer deteriorated due to Ambrus’s slow pace of work and delays, the fact that some works were illegally transferred to other publishers and few subscribers applied. Although after the deterioration of the working relationship the series was still published with a five-year delay, the contract was terminated in 1913. This date coincides with the retirement of Ambrus from his career as a fiction writer, and he continued work as Director of the National Museum. The memory of Mór Révai and his propaganda book about the publisher presented the working relationship with a strong distortion.
Gyula Krúdy was one of the most productive authors of the Hungarian fin de siècle and the interwar period. His productiveness always had to align with the modifications of the contemporary press network, although Krúdy’s growing fame soon made it unnecessary for him to broaden the network of connections manually. The different methods of seriality (republications, new literary and journalistic genres) allowed a kind of automatic publishing strategy. The paper presents these strategies as the episodes of the narrative of the ‘Krúdymachine’ which produced approximately 8-9000 texts during 40 years.
In the first one third of my paper, I pursue the analysis of the changes in connection with literary mediation’s possibilities in the late 19th century. In this analysis I overview the press’s expansion processes in relation to the shock that the exclusivity of book suffers around this period. Then, continuing with the analysis of the literary creation’s conditions of possibility, I investigate the patronage and the function of the Baumgarten Foundation. Ce paper ends with an analysis of the modern writer’s degree of freedom.
The study seeks to answer how Móricz, as an artist and as a market player, finds his intellectual vocation and how it all relates to the issues of social and cultural modernity. Examining the topic is also important since so far research has not had a successful analytical proposition that would have found continuity in the transformation of the writer’s attempts into a success story. The hitherto little-researched sources (letters, notes, household accounts) attached to the publications may help to reveal the process of inventing both an intellectual “enterprise” as well as the writer’s poetics developed between 1900 and 1912 for further research.
In August 1910, the Nyugat Publishing Public Limited Company was established based mostly on the financial resources of Baron Lajos Hatvany. The editorial office launched new series of books, and invested big sums of money into representation. Nevertheless, the circulation of the periodical stagnated, so, in half-year’s time, the company produced enormous decit. In early 1911, Baron Lajos Hatvany tried to put the blame on the senior editor, Ernő Osvát, who rejected to alter his editorial policy. Hatvany started a silent war against Osvát trying to destroy Osvát’s reputation before the public. In this paper, I reconstruct how the co-editors (Ignotus and Miksa Fenyő) calmed down Hatvany with promises and insignificant corrections in the editing process. ey succeeded to maintain the virtual peaceful situation until they found new investors.
The paper looks at two famous cases when Goethe chose to market his works by offering them for auction: In 1797 it was his epic Hermann und Dorothea, in 1825 the rights for the ‘Edition of the Last Hand’ that he put up for sale in informal bidding processes. First I reconstruct the strategies that Goethe and his publishers followed in these deals (that of a second price or Vickrey-auction in the former, that of a sealed-bid auction in the latter case) as experiments of tackling radical uncertainty and contingency in the market evaluation of literary works. Then I analyze the ambivalences underlying Goethe’s views, both insightful and naïve, obsolete and progressive, “idealist” and “utilitarian”, on the relationship of literature and business in the light of his parallel disdain for literary commerce and the growing importance of economic tropes in his critical writings, especially in his notion of Weltliteratur.