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A Journey Into History

Essays on Hungarian Literature


Moses M. Nagy

Hungarian literature is far from having reached the attention and appreciation of the English speaking reader. Our series of essays proposes an «introduction» to rather than a «reappraisal» of this literature which, though unknown, deserves an honorable place among other literatures of the world. Its roots go back to the sources which have been feeding Western art: Christianity and Humanism. Now, if all the other national literatures participate in the universal concert of arts, literature of Hungary, too, would like to make its voice heard, its beauty known. What fascinates the Hungarian writer is not «psychology» or «destiny»; it is history which inspires him courage and perseverance in fighting for the survival of his nation. His authentic poetry saves his artistry from becoming «chauvinistic». On reading these essays, one will enjoy learning how the Hungarians feel about being placed in this narrow corridor of Europe, between East and West, where they witness history in its making.
Contents: Hungarian literature and the West - history as central interest of this literature: historical novel as a great genre; a poetry rich in music and patriotism with the anxiety of being; a drama born under the fascination of Western playwrights. This book does not intend to be a descriptive history of Hungarian literature; it hopes to sensitize the reader to those values which make it unique: its musical quality, «rhapsodic spirit,» its preoccupation with history, the sincere love of the writer for his country, and the agglutinative nature and rich vocabulary of the language. The essays represent standards of original research papers.