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Moritz Benjowsky – ein (mittel)europäischer Held

Materialien der internationalen wissenschaftlichen Konferenz, Wien, 22.–26. Mai 2019


Edited By Alois Woldan and Katalin Blaskó

Die Beiträge dieses Bandes untersuchen das große Erbe, das der Abenteurer und Weltreisende Moritz Benjowsky (1741–1786) in Literatur, Theater und Film vieler europäischer Kulturen hinterlassen hat. Benjowsky ist Autor berühmter Memoiren und Held literarischer Werke in einem. Die Autoren dieses Bandes analysieren Werke über Benjowsky in deutscher, ungarischer, polnischer, slowakischer und russischer Sprache vom 18. bis zum 20. Jahrhundert, sie untersuchen die Verflechtungen innerhalb dieser Texte und die Bedingungen ihrer Entstehung. Sie zeigen, wie in diesen Texten ein Mythos von Benjowsky geschaffen wird, der auch als nationaler Erinnerungsort von Bedeutung ist. Ethnische Stereotypen in diesen Texten werden aufgezeigt, koloniale Mythen dekonstruiert.

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Mór Jókais Benyovszky: Imagologische Strukturen im Dienst der Konstruktion eines ungarischen Freiheitshelden

Pál S. Varga (Debrecen)


Abstract: In 1891 Mór Jókai, the most popular Hungarian writer of the 19th century novelized the first half of Móric Benyovszky’s memoirs, which recounts Benyovszky’s escape from a Kamchatkan exile. According to Jókai, Benyovszky’s main character trait, the desire for freedom, not only shaped the count’s own fate but also planted the idea of liberating other slave nations in his mind. Jókai deduces this latter concept from a subsequent episode of the count’s life: Benyovszky’s colonialism – as seen from the „Kingdom of Madagascar’s“ viewpoint – is represented as a fight for peoples’ freedom by Jókai.

Benyovszky is able to embody the Hungarian national character because the auto-image represented in the novel is based on the Hungarian love of freedom. And if freedom is a typical European value, Benyovszky can missionize Western values as a Hungarian in the midst of Russian despotism and Eastern savagery.

Benyovszky’s character as a Hungarian freedom fighter is placed in the context of various hetero images such as that of Slovaks who fought the Austrian oppression alongside the Hungarians as well as the freedom loving Polish nation to which he is tightly bound but that also suffers from internal polarization.

The Russian and the Kamchatkan hetero images, which lack a concept of freedom, stand in contrast to these. The novel’s love story and the portrayal of Kamchatkans as savage emphasize the superiority of Western people including their emotional culture, etiquette, morality and civilization.

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